Meeting – Saturday 24 September 2016

Heneage Finch of Laguna - the real story

Dharug & Lower Hawkesbury Historical Society Inc is pleased to welcome on Saturday 24 September Mike Hodgetts, retired quantity surveyor, resident of Pokoblin and a lifetime researcher of Heneage Finch. Mike will lead us in a discovery talk on the true story of this remarkable man, Heneage Finch.

Please join us as we uncover the real history around Heneage Finch, a Land Surveyor along the Great North Road and in the Wollombi area. Of course, it is this Finch who was responsible for the section of the Great North Road that came to be known as Finch’s Line.

Mike has written several books about Heneage Finch who arrived in Sydney on 23 January 1825. As a government surveyor, Finch located and measured eligible portions of land around Wollombi and to some extent around Wisemans Ferry. His somewhat dysfunctional relationship with both Governor Darling and Major Thomas Mitchell makes for a compelling story.

Mike will commence his talk at the Wesleyan Chapel, 6445 Wisemans Ferry Road,24 Gunderman, at 12.00 midday on Saturday 24 September. Following his talk he will join us for lunch under the peppercorn trees.

Time: Talk will commence at 12 midday to be followed by lunch in the chapel grounds.

Cost: $15 for members and $20 for non-members. All welcome.

Bookings essential (for catering purposes): Phone or text 0404 272 969 or email

Come and hear the real story 

  Last Updated: 

Background: Formed in 1983 the Dharug and Lower Hawkesbury Historical Society's premises are located on Wisemans Ferry Road, Gunderman, between Wisemans Ferry and Spencer.The premises include a State heritage listed, historic, stone chapel completed in 1855 where meetings and functions of the Society take place. For further details about the NSW Heritage listing Click Here.

The major aim of the Society is the research, collection, presentation and preservation of the history of Wiseman's Ferry and surrounding areas following initial settlement and the on-going involvement and support of the local community in such tasks. A secondary undertaking of the society is the preservation of the former Wesleyan Chapel at Gunderman to ensure its availability to members of the public and for historic research for future generations.

Membership: Annual membership is available for $25 per household (max 2 adults). Please contact for a membership form.

Venue: The Chapel is an ideal venue for small weddings, naming ceremonies, memorial services and other occasions. For more details please email


Boutique B&B accommodation is available next door at The Missions 1937 -


Meetings: The Society meets on the last Saturday of every second month (March, May, July, September, November). Past speakers have included Kate Grenville, author of The Secret River, on her research on Solomon Wiseman for her book; Keith Vincent Smith, biographer of Bungaree and author of Mari Nawi: Aboriginal Odysseys which reveals and celebrates the significant role that Aborigines played in Australia's early maritime history, Elizabeth Roberts, Historian, on the history of the Great North Road; Jeremy Steele who has made an extensive study of Aboriginal languages; Dr Geoff Ford, Local Historian, on the Hawkesbury's forgotten tribes; Les Dollin on the history of the mills on the Hawkesbury and their importance to the survival of the early Colony; and Jean Purtell, author of Hawkesbury River Boats and People. Most recently cultural historian, Warren Fahey, helped the Society celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Chapel.

Excursions are arranged on alternate months and have included the now world heritage-listed Convict Trail, Finch's Line, the original crossing location of Wisemans Ferry, Half Moon Farm, Cockatoo Island and visits to the sites of local aboriginal rock art and engravings. 

If you would like to host a tour or speak at a meeting please email

Research: The Society maintains a small archive and library which is available for researching the history of the area as well as local family history. If you would like to contact our archivist, please email

Mangrove Creek Walking Tracks: To receive your free copy of Mangrove Creek Walking Tracks with maps and notes on the history of the area please email

Visiting Groups Welcome: We can host groups at the Chapel. A talk about the history and/or an excursion to the nearby historic sites are options for visitors. To book a tour please contact us at

How to Find Us: From Wisemans Ferry cross the Hawkesbury and turn right. The Chapel is on the right approximately 8 kilometres.

From Gosford to through Mangrove Mountain and Spencer. The Chapel is approximately 18 kilometres from Spencer on the left.

  Site Map