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The Story of Food:
Butchers Boats and Tidal Mills

tour leader

Max Burns-McRuvie


Spencer, Mill Creek, Trollop Reach, Finch's Line, Gunderman, Lower Hawkesbury

time & date

09.30am - 12:30pm

16 April 2022

fitness level

Moderate with some walking up slopes and

on uneven surfaces (around 5kms)

ticket price

$30.00 - $65.00


  • Enjoy a colonial morning tea at the Hawkesbury Duck, a new museum space on the Lower Hawkesbury River.

  • Meet Max Burns-McRuvie, expert history teller and raconteur

  • Discover an original tidal mill and the stories of the floating stores and butcher boats when the river was the highway. 

  • Traverse Governor Darling’s route to the Hunter and appreciate the rigours and rations of the no three iron gang

the tour
Explore the story of food on the lower Hawkesbury with Max Burns-McRuvie engaging historyteller and interpretation expert. Our tour starts at the Hawkesbury Duck where we hear about the convict and colonial menu - wonga pigeon pie, hominy porridge, wallaby tail soup anyone? We travel to Mill Creek to the site of Singleton’s tidal mill where in the 1830s wheat and maize were ground for the convict stores. At Trollops Reach gain insights into the butcher and bread boats - the floating stores delivering food to the communities of the lower Hawkesbury when the river was the highway. Our explorations continue to Finch’s line one of Governor Darling’s great routes from Sydney to the Hunter, abandoned in 1829. Hear about the rigours and rations of the no 3 chain iron gang hacking out the route north amidst an abundance of native yams, tubers, figs, grapes and berries regularly eaten by the local Aboriginal people.

the guide
Max Burns-McRuvie is a Sydney historian and storyteller. Over the last 12+ years he has created and conducted historical walking tours in Sydney, Barcelona and Amsterdam. His focus has been reinterpreting the age of exploration, gaining a deeper understanding of the colonial age, animating the eccentricities of the Victorian age and digging up many juicy stories from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. He holds a masters of Museum and Heritage Studies from Sydney University.

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