I recently had the opportunity to spend the day wandering around the Australiana Pioneer Village at Wilberforce near Windsor. It’s an interesting place to spend some time, particularly if you are related to one of the many wonderful pioneers of the area.
What is most amazing about the village is that it gives us the opportunity to see a number of the original buildings of the area which have thankfully been preserved.
One of my favourite buildings was Aiken’s Hut. Aiken’s Hut was built by William Henry Aiken in West Pennant Hills in 1875, the same year he married Elizabeth Bowerman. Aiken’s Hut was notable for being the last remaining slab hut in West Pennant Hills.
William was the grandson of notable early settler John Aiken. John was born in the West Indies and arrived in Sydney in 1796. John and family were granted 30 acres in the Field of Mars and settled in the area that is now West Pennant Hills. Those who know the area will know Aiken Road, which is of course named after the Aikens.
John’s son William (William Jnr’s father) was killed in a horse and dray accident in 1869 at the age of 53 (William is buried in St Paul’s Church Cemetery at Carlingford). This left his wife Mary with seven children to care for alone (two of William and Mary’s nine children had died previously).
William Jnr stayed on the family farm and married Elizabeth Bowerman. The building that now stands at the Australian Pioneer Village is where they lived with their children – a family of nine in a tiny hut! It was transported to Wilberforce in the 1980s with the exception of the kitchen which was unfortunately not in good enough condition to be transported.
Elizabeth and William both died in West Pennant Hills, Elizabeth in 1907 and William in 1933.
The Australian Pioneer Village is located in Rose Street, Wilberforce – a nice drive out of the city. It is open every Sunday from 10am-4pm and also extra days during school holidays. I will hopefully include a few more posts shortly with stories of some of the other unique buildings at the village and the families who built them.