School holidays and no idea what to do next with the kids? Easter Long Weekend coming up, and you have too much time to kill? There is a Sydney attraction waiting for you that you may never have heard of: The Australiana Pioneer Village near Windsor in the picturesque Hawkesbury region.
This open-air museum is dedicated to the early years of the Australian settlement and even among most Sydneysiders widely unknown. You will be happy to hear that it will be open over the long weekend and during selected school holiday days, best to check out their website. During other times of the year it is mostly welcoming visitors on Sundays only, so now is a good time to plan a visit. And may I just add that the fun starts at only $5.00 for adults, $15.00 for families?
At the Australiana Pioneer Village you will encounter at least a dozen of authentic buildings from the region which happens to be one of the oldest rural settlement areas in Australia. These wooden structures, cottages, sheds, public buildings, have been either purchased or donated and have grown over the years to a collection that makes up a whole village. An army of volunteers ensures with lots of love and dedication that the museum is well maintained and can be enjoyed by the public.
The houses make up a mix of settlers’ cabins, public buildings like a school, a post office and a quaint church as well as commercial buildings like a tiny bank, an undertaker’s shop and a barber’s which is cheekily completed by an upstairs brothel. Most of the buildings are open and can be visited, allowing visitors to get a really good look into the way of life of the daredevils who tried to make a living in this new continent that is Australia more than 100 years ago.
Real damper, freshly made, is available just like more modern treats at the on-site café, and in another location you can check out beautiful crafts by local artists as well as other souvenirs. Volunteers in costume make sure all visitors big and small are having a great time, and are more than happy to share stories and anecdotes, for example true accounts of the life of a bank teller who had to work with incredibly big ledgers prior to the introduction of modern electronic banking systems.
All buildings are lined up beautifully along a semi-circular main road, and a number of benches under the gum trees allow for a relaxed pace and plenty of breaks. The illusion is perfect from all angles and there are plenty of photo opportunities. There is also plenty of space for picnics and BBQs, so make sure you pack a hamper and some food. With a couple of cents you can buy carrots for the horses which are grazing in the paddocks nearby, and if you are lucky you may take the kids for a ride with the horse cart.
Indeed, the Australiana Pioneer Village is so real and in such outstandingly good condition that it was used as backdrop for the Australian Western TV show “Wild Boys”. But it is not just the looks that contribute to the overall experience: the sounds of nature and the smell of open fires, as well as the gorgeous location in the middle of the Australian countryside make for a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a great day out.
If you are tired of the usual attractions like Harbour Bridge and Opera House then plan a visit to the Australiana Pioneer Village this Easter Long Weekend. We had a fantastic time here and I would warmly recommend it to anyone who would love to learn more about Australia’s past.
Australiana Pioneer Village, http://www.theaustralianapioneervillage.com.au/
Rose Street, Wilberforce
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