Sunday, May 9, 2010

Suburb No 34: Windsor

I know, I know, I'm late. Apologies but before I explain why, can I tell you something I've been
bursting to tell you ever since last Monday - I have a book deal! Sometime next year 52 Suburbs
will metamorphose from ether into a beautiful, inky, three dimensional object. One that you can
touch and feel and smell, or at the very least use as a doorstop. 

Around the same time the book is published, there will also be an exhibition - to which you are of
course invited.

As if both book and exhibition weren't enough to spin my head. On the same day I hand-delivered
the signed contract to my publisher, I received an email asking me to submit a proposal for an amazing
photographic project that celebrates this amazing city we live in, in a way that's very similar
to what I do here. Whether I get it or not, it was just so wonderful to be asked.

To celebrate all this amazingness, I decided to take you the furthest we've ever been on 52 Suburbs
  - to Windsor, a whopping 60km from the city centre.

So why so late? Travelling so far swallowed up a lot of time just in the driving. Then there was the
doozy of a head cold that swept in mid-week. And then all weekend I've been at a photography

Anyway, to Windsor. I remember driving through neighbouring suburb, Richmond, about 15 years ago,
on the way back from the country somewhere. I have a vague recollection of driving past Richmond's
RAAF base but that's about it.

So I did some of my 'research':
• Settled in 1791, Windsor is the third oldest place of British settlement in Australia
• The Hawkesbury River runs through this incredibly flat area, its floods responsible for past tragedies
as well as wonderfully fertile soil 
• Governor Lachlan Macquarie changed its name from Green Fields to Windsor, after Windsor-on-the-Thames
in England
• Famous for a cracker of a church - St Matthew's Church, a Francis Greenway beauty - as well as a
handful of lovely old buildings.

My biggest discovery was that there are two Windsors - the one during the week and the one on
Sunday. The former is quiet, especially so out on the river flats that stretch as far as the eye can
see. And then Sunday arrives and it all changes. The place is crowded with locals, day trippers,
markets and music. The river buzzes with speedboat races and kayaks. And the main street dazzles
with chrome and throbs with the sounds of deluxe, touring motorbikes. Then 12 hours later, back to quiet. 

Part 1: Bikers

Visit Windsor on a Sunday and you can't miss them. They hang outside Windsor's Macquarie Arms Hotel,
the "oldest pub in Australia" (1815), enjoying a few refreshments before they continue their ride. Unlike 
bikees, bikers are "motorbike enthusiasts", of the Harley Davidson, Royal Enfield or Triumph persuasion.

waiting patiently for their masters to return

it's thirsty work

that beer looks so good

the main game

wild vs tamed

men in uniform :: 1

symbols of the divine

men in uniform :: 2

King of the road on his Royal Enfield

he's a Triumph man

it's a free world

pimp my ride

one for the road


James Dean

heading home

Part 2: Other wheels of Windsor

After checking out the bikers, I moved on - to a blood-red Fiat 500 ("PUP"), a bright yellow Ford 

Hot Rod ("James Dean"), a cyclist (wearing red and yellow) and Gerry on his cobalt blue 'Walkabout', 
an electric mobility scooter. 

James Dean meet Pup



hot dog

no 1950s Hot Rod is complete without fluffy dice

he goes like one

leg power

no helmet required: Gerry, 88, on his Walkabout

And my final set of wheels for the day while filling up the car at the servo...

a Roller rolled in

white is the new black

even Rollers have to get gas

Part 3: The church

Aside from bikes and cars, Windsor is also known for some of the oldest buildings in Sydney, including 

St Matthew's Church, considered one of 'convict architect' Francis Greenway's finest creations.

1817 and still going strong

it's not a straight road to heaven

heavenly colours

almost real

above and below ground

they brighten up the place

must be a nice view up there

Part 4: The river

Blessing and curse, life-giver and life-taker, the Hawkesbury has flooded its banks many times,

drowning life at the same time as enriching the land. As a result, the area is a major turf producer,
making it appear like one big giant lawn.

river of life and death

Easy Rider


blessing and curse

For anyone who may not have noticed, I like skies. A lot. And the stormier the better. So I was excited
to hear thunderstorms were expected on my second visit to Windsor. Sadly they didn't eventuate
- but the skies were moody enough.


"For Sale. Needs a little work"

"bring your builder"

form and function

like Tibetan prayer flags but not

and skies

the real true blue colours of Australia

fields of gold :: 1

fields of gold :: 2

Part 5: The couple from Cronulla

When I was chatting to the bikers, I noticed a man sitting behind them wearing a cap, tattoos

and a fine set of rings. He and Rosemary, his partner, had driven up from Cronulla for the day, 
to buy, amongst other things, a wiccan broomstick. I like it.

through the window


day trippers

Part 6: And other randomness around Windsor

history plus a Chinese

a young boy walking past told me it's haunted

worst pun of 52 Suburbs so far... holy



The beauty in Windsor? I loved the wide open spaces as much as the historical old buildings.
In particular, the endless lawn under an enormous sky and that field of round hay stacks. Plus those
two, three and four wheelers that roam Windsor's streets. They've got a certain something.

See you next Friday (ever hopeful).


  1. Congratulations on the well deserved book deal..
    I have been passing this link around to friends with the thought that this will have to become a book for sure..
    Cant wait to see the exhibition and snap up a copy..
    thanks for sharing..

  2. Hurrah! I think that is what I said on my first comment on the first suburb. "Rays' & "For Sale.." are standouts for me this week.
    I have never been to Windsor, I am not sure if I prefer the suburbs that are new to me, or the thrill of seeing a familiar place through new eyes either way and as always - love it and thanks.

  3. I love it. These would have to be one of my favourite set of photos or maybe it's just I have a soft spot for Windsor? :)

    A thousand congratulations for all your successes. Can't wait to see the book and exhibition!

  4. How wonderful to get the book if only we get an SBS series and I will be happy!

  5. Oh Louise I am thrilled to absolute bits for you ... when I discovered you in those early days I just knew a book deal was going to come your way!
    Today 52 Suburbs - Tomorrow the World!!!
    Hip, Hip, Hooray ... Applause, Applause!

  6. Oh Louise I am thrilled to absolute bits for you ... when I discovered you in those early days I just knew a book deal was going to come your way!
    Today 52 Suburbs - Tomorrow the World!!!
    Hip, Hip, Hooray ... Applause, Applause!

  7. About time, the book deal I mean, congratulations I will definately buy a copy.

  8. Congratulations for the book deal. Your images are inspiring.

  9. Congratulations on the book deal! I hope it's coming out in time for Christmas. I'm planning to buy a copy for my Dad.

  10. Congratulations on the book!
    What about a docco next?

  11. Congratulations on the book deal!!!!! You deserve it.

    Really looking forward to getting my hands on a few copies for friends and family, and might also go well as the Christmas present for clients that year.

    Looking forward to next week.

  12. Hi all
    Through bleary tired eyes I'm looking at these lovely comments and thinking how bloody lucky I am to have such fabulous people accompanying me on these journeys - the journey around Sydney as well as the journey of this project, from a few words scribbled on a piece of paper about an idea for a photographic project to this amazing internet life to a book and exhibition. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

    Louise x

  13. Congratulations on the book deal, Louise. I love reading things online but somethings just deserve to be in print and I believe 52 Suburbs is one of them. Have you read The Secret River by Kate Grenville? It's a fictional novel on the first settlers of the Windsor area - convicts that were granted land. Makes a good read and whet my appetite for the area. Thanks for topping it up!
    Jennifer XX

  14. Congratulations! Always worth waiting for. xo

  15. HUGE congratulations, Louise! Incredibly well-deserved - all the hard hours must feel like they're paying off. Can't wait to come to the exhibition and the book will be in my bookcase, for sure!

  16. Congrats! Looking forward to seeing the book :)

  17. Thanks for a great blog that's always a welcome sight in my inbox. Fields of gold :: 1 is my favourite this week. I got married on the Hawkesbury in January~ It's so lush at the moment. I look forward to the book and exhibition.

  18. Congratulations on the book deal! I love seeing your photos each week.

  19. How wonderful! Congratulations on your book deal. You definitely deserve it. It's great that you doing something you love, is being rewarded.

  20. Many congrats on being able to showcase your fine work to the world!! I can't wait to buy it!!

  21. Congratulations! Love your photographs, and happy they're being recognised :)

    As for that stack of wooden things, they're pallets, used to put other things on and make them easy for forklifts etc. to carry them. Often used in factories and other places where you need to move things around.

  22. G'day Louise,

    Congratulations for the book deal. Your images are inspiring and I'm like missing "home" already! Lol~
    I enjoyed and frequently checked on your new posting and it is always very refeshing! Thank you for sharing. again, all the best with your book deal, Cheers!

  23. Thanks all - Forgive me for not personally replying to each of you here - I'm still under the weather and feeling very sleepy right now! Anyway, thank you so much. It is a great feeling doing something I absolutely love and having people enjoy it so much too.


  24. Huge Congratulations on the book deal!!! That's fantastic! We can all say "we knew her when she was just a humble blogger!" But of course you were already far more than that.

    Love the Windsor post! Adore all those fabulous biker shots!

    Awesome as always ...

  25. J.D. (Biker) at WindsorMay 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Hi Louise...I am definitely a fan...your photo's I feel reflect your own beauty and to share all this with us is a wonderful thing...congratulations on the book obviously deserve it...really great stuff...cheers and thanx...

  26. What a fantastic achievement on the book deal. You deserve all the accolades are inevitably going to come your way. Well done to you.

  27. Congrats on the book deal. as usual your photos are fantastic.

  28. Jodie - Thanks and so glad you liked Windsor and the bikers!

    J.D. - Thanks for your kind comments - and for being so accommodating, being dragged away from your friends to 'pose' with your bike! Much appreciated. Please say g'day to the others and let them know they're famous!

    Jenni and Goldie - Thank you.


  29. wonderful news on the book deal louise well deserved!!!! Also those "things" are pallets for transporting anything from bales of hay to books. You put the box of what ever on top and wrap it all with plastic and transport!

  30. Congratulations!!! Can't wait for the book to come out (can I put in a bulk order?)

    I love the For Sale one this week, and the true blue colours of Australia.

  31. dagnabbit - Thank you - and thanks for clarifying what those pallets are - I have seen them before transporting stuff but couldn't work out what they'd carry around there - seemed too small to transport rolls of turf. Anyway, good to know and I have now changed the caption on that shot!

    Kate - Thank you - and yes, go for your life, bulk order away!


  32. Hi Louise, what a great blog! You have a wonderful eye. Lovely to see you last night. Eleanor x

  33. Eleanor - Thank you, so glad you checked in! Have fun in the states if I don't see you before.

    Louise x

  34. Louise, congratulations! Brilliant idea + hard work = a fantastic outcome. I look forward to walking out of a bookshop with my copy of your book in hand.

  35. Tim from BonvilleMay 12, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    The link here may assist yoy understanding of pallets (!

  36. Wow. A walk down memory lane. Suburb #3 (Potts Point) was the last place I lived before I moved to Canberra, and I grew up in and around Windsor. You've done a great job of both, and it's really interesting to see places through someone else's eyes. Thank you. Can't wait for the book!!

  37. Nice coincidence, Louise. I'm heading out to Windsor this morning... to look at motorcycle for sale *cue Twilight Zone music* This could be the one!

  38. Your work is beautiful - congrats on the book, can't wait to see it. I was wondering what sort of camera you prefer to use?

  39. Amelia - Thank you!

    Tim - Ha! I did wonder as they've all got quicte clearly written on them, 'property of x'.

    Meagan - Thanks and glad to facilitate the walk.

    Jamie - So, did you purchase?!

    Anon - Many thanks. My camera is a Canon 5D Mk II.


  40. Congrats again on your great work. Windsor is a beautiful area! Have been telling my daughter in law about your site as she is a keenh photographer. Can't wait for your book, definitely deserved!!

  41. Fantastic news about the book! What a great next step for such a fabulous project. Congratulations!

  42. Yep! Nice Italian bike, a Moto Guzzi. Here's a linky:

  43. Good old Windsor, the home of my Convict ancestors a lot of whom were married, christened and buried at St Matthews. My dear 101 year old Aunt warned me to be careful with the initials of my children's names because there was a man buried at St Matthews who's name was Samuel Henry Issac Thomas!
    Just love it but didn't do it to my children!
    cheers Pennie

  44. Its not a straight road to heaven
    Almost real

  45. A delayed comment, but I've only just discovered this blog - what an absolute gem! Was stoked that you've visited such a diverse bunch of suburbs - proof that there's life and beauty all over the city if you're prepared to look for it. I used to live in Pennant Hills & Epping, and when I was feeling the grind I'd escape to Windsor and the banks of the Hawkesbury and never want to return! It's such a gorgeous spot.

  46. I have just discovered your blog (thankyou well- redhead of abc on line) You are a wonderful artist, I live at Windsor and mum and dad live near manly and I really have enjoyed your take on the burbs. Congrats on the book and I look forward to your exibition