Parramatta Park – Monuments & Sites – Review

Boer War Memorial
The group at the Boer War Memorial

A self-guided walking tour

On Friday, the 6th November a group of 13 members met at Cabarita Wharf for a walk of interest to Parramatta Park. I was a little doubtful on Thursday if we would be able to go ahead as the weather was not looking good. Friday was a little cloudy, but the group remained optimistic and it turned out a lovely day for a walk.

We caught the ferry upstream, a pleasant 40-minute trip to Parramatta wharf. We arrived with calls for a coffee break to be heard. We walked 15 minutes along the river to the George Street Gatehouse one of six gatehouses to the park and they date from as far back as the 1870’s and are intact today. The Tudor-style George St gatehouse was built on the site of Governor Macquarie’s small stone lodge in 1885 and is now a local landmark.

After our morning tea break, we set off with maps in hand to casually walk around the other monuments and sites the park had to offer. Among the monuments we saw were the Bath House completed in 1823 for Governor Brisbane. It contains the archaeological remains of a pumping system, which was developed to bring water to the building and heat water as well. This convict build heating and pumping system made the Bath House significant in heritage terms. In 1886 the Trustees converted the Bath House to a pavilion, which survives today.

Government House Parramatta was used by the early Governor’s and its standing as a focal point for colonial society make Government House significant. The building was restored by the Government Architect in 1908. It has been managed by the National Trust since 1967.

Government House Parramatta

The Crescent is a natural amphitheatre formed by a small billabong on the bank of the Parramatta river known as “Little Coogee” a popular swimming spot in the 20th century. Visitors can see important buildings and landmarks from this vantage point, including Parramatta River, Old King’s School, and the spires of St Patrick’s and St John’s Cathedrals.

The Dairy Cottage was constructed between 1796 and 1805. It is one of the oldest surviving intact cottages in Australia. Here they have planted a vegetable & herb garden for the café’s on site to use. We all enjoyed the array of smells from the herbs and guessing the vegetables.

Everyone in the group commented how nice it was to be out in the open space enjoying the day and the company of each other after limited outings due to lockdown. Due to COVID19 restrictions we were not able to have lunch in the tea house on site. Some members had brought their own lunch, which they enjoyed in the park whilst the rest of us enjoyed our lunch at Parramatta RSL. We headed home around 2:30 pm on the ferry back to Cabarita Wharf. An enjoyable walking tour in a beautiful park that takes in some of the significant features from a farming settlement to a Park for everyone to use.

Sue Colubriale

Our group standing in front of “Lachlan’s” Old Government House