A forecast of the coldest early-June Sydney morning since the early 1980’s seemed not to deter Hillview’s regular walkers as 26 of them gathered at
Parramatta Wharf for the walk.  Most arrived by ferry, but a few travelled there directly (some even indirectly... RM?)

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Leader John foreshadowed touching on the historical background of some of the areas on the banks of the Parramatta River we would traverse, as we
walked to Meadowbank, by quoting Elizabeth Macarthur, in c.1790, then residing at Elizabeth Farm across the river in Parramatta:
A few Burramattagal families still lived around us… two or three men might be seen down by the river’s edge with their fishing spears when the eel
were plentiful, and groups of women with their children hunted crabs among the mangroves.”
It was hard to reconcile that this description was of the very same stretch of river before our eyes – 232 years later!

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                                                                                                          Official pose.

Setting off, we walked, perhaps for the first time for HVB, along the newly completed (2021) ‘Charles Street Weir Escarpment Boardwalk’ on our way to the Western Sydney University’s Parramatta South Campus – passing under the historic Gasworks Bridge and later the James Ruse Drive Bridge. A brief look at the beautifully restored and now re-purposed Female Orphan School (1815 – 1850) in the university grounds and it was time for morning tea in a made-to-order table and benches in a sunny coutyard – thanks WSU (we could have been mature students – after all – who would know?). Morning tea under our belt, Leader Ros took the group on a very short tour of some of the historic buildings on campus – even pointing out the former ‘padded cells’ from the days of Rydalmere Psychiatric Hospital (1888 -1980s) which served as her office in times past!

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Clockwise from top: Parramatta Female Orphan School, Office of the Faculty Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, Boiler House restaurant.

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2022 06 10 Reg Lyndy 20220610 102110 

                                                                                                    The Gingko Tree     See more

Then we crossed Vineyard Creek – hardly recognisable as one these days – and it was straight into the Rydalmere industrial area, where we threaded our way between
the factories and warehouses on our combined pedestrian/bike path – ‘The Parramatta Valley Cycleway’ – to cross Subiaco Creek (ditto) and emerge onto parkland near Rydalmere ferry wharf.  The significance of Vineyard and Subiaco Creeks was that as early as 1791, large land grants were given in this location and the area was successfully farmed – including the first vineyard established in the new colony.  The property was first named Vineyard and later Subiaco and a fine residence was built there.  After WW2 the area became an industrial area and 1961 Rheem established a very large manufacturing complex on the site.  Sadly, all that remains of history is the name of the two creeks.

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                       Guardian Plover,                                                 Sea Eagles (pavement art work),                                           Hungry Heron.

From there it was steady walking through riverside parklands – many seriously overgrown as a result of Sydney’s recent rains – and onto the Ermington Bay Nature Trail – a boardwalk through the mangroves, completed in 2011, to emerge at the Ermington boat ramp where lunch was had – perched on stone walls with a view of the river (and some unscripted entertainment as a hapless boat owner tried to navigate his boat onto his boat trailer with a fair sort of wind blowing – we stopped counting after his 10th attempt!!).

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                                     Battling through the grass                                                                    Lunch - watching the 'hapless boat owner'. 

Post-lunch ‘twas but a doddle to complete the walk to Meadowbank wharf, coffee being had at the ‘Fork & Spoon’ where the very obliging staff set us up – all 22 of us, by then – with our very own tables and chairs so the many conversations being had continued unabated.  Our waitress even got the orders exactly right – now that doesn’t happen very often – does it?

2022 6 10 Reg Walk Don Wo 1349 Coffee after                                                                                                                                         'Fork and Spoon' at Meadowbank Wharf - top spot.

From Meadowbank, the walkers headed off to catch ferries and trains home after what was weather-wise, a very pleasant day’s walking.

The leaders, Ros and John, were accompanied on the walk by: Helen A, Nick B, Don B, Barbara C, Susan C, Ann D, Elaine, Annette Ell, Sue & Michael, Christine G, Phyllis, Lyndy, Bill M, Robyn Ma, John M, Elizabeth, Barbara R, David R, Lyn, Pauline, Don Wo, a visitor Colleen and Bill’s carer John.

First Aid: Lyndy
Tail End: Don B

Words: John G
Photos: John G 1,2; Don Wo 3,11,12,13,15,16; Passer-by (Barb R setup): 4; Barb C 5,14; Helen A 6; Barb R 7,8; Pauline 9; Lyndy 10