Parramatta Park

November 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Posted in Australia, Experiences, Gardens, History, Nature | 2 Comments

The Parramatta River runs through the park

I visited Parramatta Park on Thursday. It is the first time I have been there, although I had been to Parramatta before. Do you like the name? It derives from the language of the Dharug who inhabited the area around Sydney: ‘Barra’ meaning ‘eel’ and ‘matta’ meaning ‘river’. The people around the river called themselves the Barramattagal.

The town, about fourteen miles west of Sydney city centre, was established very soon after the first settlement of Australia (1788) at Sydney Cove. Explorers had found the land along the Parramatta River to be a fertile area for growing food – something the fledgling colony sorely needed.

Old Government House

Parramatta Farm was established and, by 1790, vegetables, cattle, fruit trees and other food crops were doing well. Cottages sprung up and a residence was also built for the governor. It was later re-built and then enlarged as the town grew.

The park is very large, though its website doesn’t give an area. But I do know that I walked in and around the park, often in a drizzling rain, for about four hours. There were other walkers too, and these and the joggers increased in number when the lunch period came – workers getting their exercise endorphins for the day.

Lovely jacaranda tree

The good rains in the last year or so have given the park a beautiful green that usually disappears through summer. The jacarandas were in full bloom, with carpets of mauve flowers all around them.

Ducks, ibis and pigeons vied with each other to get the bread that one small boy and his mother tossed to them. The ibis, about the same size as the little boy, actually took the bread from his hand. The bird’s long curved beak made it all rather scary for him. 

The old Dairy

I saw Old Government House and several other historic buildings in the park. Two large, strangely shaped stones also remain. These supported the transit telescope at the observatory that was built by Governor Brisbane in 1822.

I left the park reluctantly, but with my shoes, socks and the bottoms of my jeans saturated. I didn’t mind at all. I’d had an educational, enjoyable and relaxing time, and I had gotten some much-needed exercise into the bargain. And I hope I can go there again before too long.

 

© Linda Visman

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2 Comments »

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  1. Parramatta’s a fantastic city. Put a whole day aside to visit the old graveyard, too – it will keep you enthralled. Then there’s Elizabeth farm down the road, with something I’ve never seen before or since; a cork tree.

  2. Yes, Tina, I’ve promised myself we will both go back again and see the many things we’ve missed so far. I think Dirk has seen most of them though, as he’s always lived closer, while I spent most of my life in other places.


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