The wharves along the river were vital for the river trade and the regional economy, connecting the Hawkesbury communities to the outside world. Archaeological excavations in 2018 found evidence of several wharves having been built on the river. Subject to intermittent flooding, they often needed repair or even rebuilds after significant flood events.

One of the more substantial finds during the underwater investigations was timber from a wharf built in 1862 by Edward Orpen Moriarty, Engineer-in-Chief of the Harbours and River Navigation Branch of the NSW Department of Public Works. The Moriarty wharf replaced that constructed by convict architect, Francis Greenway, in the later 1810s.