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Spencer Yarns-A Walking Tour

tour leader

Max Burns-McRuvie


Spencer, Dunkirk Hotel, Ma Hanna's boatshed, the stonehouse

time & date

10.00am -12.30pm

Sunday 13th Feb 2022

fitness level


ticket price



  • Hear stories about the first post office of 'Fernleigh' and the original stone house 'Burneau'.

  • Stories from Ma Hanna's boatshed; CurlyKneebone's boatbuilding site and the white house

  • Hear about Greenmans and Government wharf for the 'mosquito fleet' at the confluence of the Hawkesbury and Mangrove Creek

the tour

Join historyteller extraordinaire Max Burns-McRuvie as he regales you with tales - improbable - fabulous and mainly true. Our tour starts at the Hawkesbury Duck Spencer's new museum workshop space for a heritage morning tea where we hear stories of the characters and lives of 'Fernleigh' at the mouth of Mangrove Creek. Our trail meanders through Spencer village taking in Peter Rush's ephemeral sculpture Serenity and the one teacher school. We learn about boatbuilding on the river and the 19C trading boats when the river was the highway. Visiting the Dunkirk Hotel we may hear a yarn or two from a local as we survey the tales of Arthur Philip's landing at 'a mashy place' on his voyage in search of land, food and where in the world he was. Colonial stories, land speculation and resistance.

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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