After we travelled by rivercat to Rydlemere, we transferred to a bus to travel to Parramatta Wharf. Ten walkers set out for our historic tour, which was based on information from Trevor McAllister’s book Exploring Hidden Sydney.
At Queens Wharf Reserve we saw the unusual tower marking the site of Howell’s Mill. This was a combined wind and water mill. We then saw the stern of the first HMAS Parramatta. We stopped here for morning tea. Following our break we saw the monument of all four HMAS Parramatta naval vessels and the stone steps remaining from the 1834 Queen’s Wharf.
We then walked to Hambledon Cottage, which was built in 1824 by John Macarthur as a second house on the Elizabeth Farm Estate. The cork tree in the grounds is Australia’s oldest known cork tree. We then walked to Elizabeth Farm Cottage. This is the oldest surviving European building in Australia. The earliest part of the house was built in 1793. It was restored and preserved by the Swan family.
Next we went to Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral. The church has a stunning circular design. We stopped for a much needed milkshake break at the café near the church.
We then went to the site Experiment Farm, where James Ruse grew the colony’s first wheat crop. The current house was built by Dr. John Harris, who bought the land from James Ruse in 1793. Nick impressed the tour guides at the house with his gold Historic Trust membership and was given a quick tour of the house.
We then walked to the Robin Thomas Reserve, where we had lunch near the skate board park. After lunch we went to George Street. Harrisford House at 182 George Street was the original site of the Kings School, which commenced in 1832. At 85 George Street we saw Perth House, built in 1844 by politican George Oakes. He planted a Morton Bay figtree in the grounds. It is believed to be the oldest figtree in Parramatta.
We walked up Barrack Lane to Macquarie Street, past the tiny workers cottages. These were built between 1842 and 1844. We had coffee in a café near the railway station and then caught the train home.
Walkers: Bill, Cherry, Drina, Gabriella, Jocelyn, Lyndy, Marilyn M, Nick B, Robyn and Rex
Leaders: Robyn Mi and Lyndy; Tail-ender: Nick B; First aider: Lyndy
Photos: Drina (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8); Robyn Mi (5, 7, 9, 10)
Words: Robyn Mi