• Tony Bosworth

Macquarie Park’s Boathouse Restaurant resurfaces bigger and better after the flood

There used to be a movie site where people had to write a review in no more than four words. The one for Titanic was, “even the kitchen sinks”.

While that is mildly amusing, the similar impact of the March floods on Windsor’s iconic Macquarie Park Boathouse Café and Restaurant was no laughing matter, and just like the tragic ship, everything at the Park was sunk, completely lost when the waters swept through. They had to replace everything, even the teaspoons.

When you visit the Restaurant it’s easy to see what a beautiful yet precarious position it sits on. There can be few buildings closer to the mercurial Hawkesbury River.

High up on one pillar inside the restaurant, well over two metres high, they’ve marked where the flood waters reached this time around. You can’t help but look at that for a while and wonder how they managed to get the place open again at all – and yet with sheer hard work they did it in just six weeks.

Today, if you didn’t know about the floods

Water's reach...height of the flood, indoors

you’d have no idea how devastating it was for the folks who run it. The place is spick and span and they’re busy serving their signature dishes once again – chief of which are the locally renowned fish and chips, and salt and pepper squid. And if fish isn’t your own personal haute cuisine, there’s plenty more to choose from – it’s one of the most extensive local menus we’ve ever seen.

We dropped in to the Boathouse to talk to manager Norah Allan and meet with owner Wayne Edwards to see what happened when the river rose and to ask how they’re doing just over two weeks since reopening.

“At 8.30 on the Saturday evening we left the premises as the water began to rise,” Norah told the Post, the details still fresh in her mind.

Manager Norah Allan back at work...

“At that time, the water was nowhere near but by 6am on the Sunday the bridge was closed because the water was rising and flowing very fast but it was not particularly worrying us.

“It took about a day and a half to reach here. When it did we hadn’t managed to salvage anything at all because then it all happened really quickly and we hadn’t been able to get back into the building, and access the building because of safety on the bridge, so it would have been a week or so later that we came back and saw the destruction.”

They had lost everything but the building itself.

“It destroyed everything. Every item had to be replaced - fixtures, fridges, fittings, every single thing right down to the teaspoons,” said Norah.

“Nothing was salvageable. All the stock was lost. There were two lovely restaurants in Windsor who were going to take the stock but because we weren’t able to access the building it all perished.”

And insurance didn’t cover the losses either. For a business which had only been open three years before disaster struck, it was like a punch to the gut.

But now the team is back.

Looking good - the undercover outdoor area is open for business...

“We’ve had lovely feedback form our customers, they have really missed us,” said Norah.

“We really had some really great feedback the first weekend back. We even got flowers from customers.”

Owner Wayne, who is a lovely man of few words but who produces arguably the region’s best fish and chips and salt & pepper squid, has been busy in the kitchen making sure the extensive menu is even better than before.

“Wayne has been in hospitality for 40 years,” says Norah. "He’s run and worked in local pubs, clubs and restaurants, so he’s been around for a long time and food is his forte. He started off in pub restaurants. He knows his stuff, “Norah told us.

So, what are you waiting for? Get down there to Macquarie Park and grab some freshly prepared and freshly cooked food.

Not only will you be getting a great value and very tasty meal, you’ll also be helping these Hawkesbury locals and their business get back on its feet.

Macquarie Park Boathouse Café and Restaurant

Where – Macquarie Park, Windsor

Opening hours - Mon-Thurs 11am to 3pm. Friday 11am to 3pm and 5pm to 8pm

Saturday 11am to 8pm

Sunday 11am to 4pm

Tel: 4587 7512

For the price of a coffee...

Many of us like a cup of coffee, and most of us like to know what's going on in our area. So we've got a deal for you - give us the price of a single coffee each month - let's call it $4.50 - and we'll keep providing quality daily online news as it happens. You can even read it while you're having your daily coffee. Support Hawkesbury Post right here.

1,114 views0 comments