Saturday, 28 June 2014

Toll House at Windsor

If you have ever travelled to Windsor along Windsor Road and over the Fitzroy Bridge at South Creek, you may have noticed the small white building tucked next to the bridge. This is the Toll House, where during the nineteenth century, tolls were collected for using the road. If your ancestors lived in the Hawkesbury during the 1800s they would have most likely paid tolls here at some time or other. It is one of only two intact toll houses remaining in NSW, the other is at Mt Victoria in the Blue Mountains.

The concept of charging tolls for the use of a road or ferry was in wide use throughout the United Kingdom and Europe and was introduced into NSW by Governor King in 1802. Permission was granted to Andrew Thompson  to charge a toll for the use of his "floating bridge" over South Creek near the Green Hills (now Windsor) in 1802. There was possibly earlier buildings on the present site however there are no surviving records. 

Sydney Gazette & NSWAdvertiser 9 March 1806, p. 1
Retrieved  from

Tenders were called for a Toll House in 1834 and the building was completed in 1835. In the 1864 flood "the town the waters came up within a foot of the Barrack gate, Bridge-street ; and the Fitzroy Bridge was totally under water. The toll-house and adjoining houses...were entirely flooded" according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. As a result the building was practically demolished as a result of the 1864 flood when the building was actually shifted off its foundations. It was rebuilt with some alterations shortly after. It is a small building with three rooms and a projected bay window, which the toll keeper could view the road from both angles, to collect tolls. 

In 1886 a deputation was made to the Minister for Works, urging the toll to be abolished as it was unjust particularly as many others throughout the country had been removed. The toll was eventually abolished by the Windsor Road Trust in 1887.

Toll House at Windsor  1947 Courtesy of the State Library of NSW [No. d1_40918]

In 1975 a new high level bridge was constructed over South Creek almost concealing the Toll House from view. The building, has in the past, been damaged by both vandals and rising flood-waters however the exterior of the building was restored in 1997. The public can view the Toll House from the outside by walking from Court Street, on the pathway down beside the Fitzroy Bridge.

Sources :
Exploring the Hawkesbury / Ian Jack
Macquarie Country / D. G. Bowd
Windsor Toll House : user pays in the 19th century / Justin O'Connell
Sydney Gazette & Sydney Morning Herald newspapers on Trove