This spectacular UNESCO World Heritage-listed park continues to provide an idyllic space for the Parramatta and wider community to come together, 160 years since it was first declared ‘the people’s park’.
Discover a park that tells a story
Across the country, parks generally share a number of common features: each might have a playground, a sprinkling of benches and picnic tables, and perhaps a barbecue. Of course, Parramatta Park includes all the usual ways to get active in a park, and yet there’s so much more than meets the eye. Here, walkers, cyclists and playground-goers will stumble across historical sites that tell a unique Australian story.
Sprawling Parramatta Park is a popular destination for locals and sightseers, cycling through its natural splendour, playing on the equipment and enjoying picnics on the greens. Yet it once played a significant role in the lives of Aboriginal people and, much later, the European settlers.
With its wide-open spaces and picnic and play areas, the park has become a central recreational space for the Parramatta community and visitors alike. There’s fun to be had at the Domain Creek Playground, located on the Westmead side of Parramatta Park, with a flying fox, in-ground trampolines, slides and other activities for the young and young at heart.
Today, visitors can get walking and explore the park’s colonial history, observing remnants of 18th-century Parramatta, including the oldest Government House in Australia, Governor and Mrs Macquarie’s landscaped estate and the Dairy Precinct. The people’s park is brimming with monumental nods to the region’s past – from its 1820s Bath House, to the Observatory Transit Stones, the Lady Fitzroy Memorial, the Boer War Memorial and the settlement at Rose Hill.
Take a walk through Australian history in the Dairy Precinct
It may come as a surprise, but within this green expanse sits one of Australia’s oldest colonial sites. Overlooking the river, Parramatta Park’s Dairy Precinct is the northern neighbour of Old Government House. Having undergone major restorations in 2016, the Dairy Precinct is now home to an exhibition space, digital displays and landscape works.
Tour The Dairy and Ranger’s cottages
Beyond the picket fence, park-goers can view the Dairy Cottage, which was constructed by ex-convict George Salter. The project took nine years, from 1796 to 1804. Today, the small house is one of the oldest standing cottages in Australia. Half a century later, in 1857, the Dairy Cottage became the home of a park ranger and his family. A Ranger’s Cottage was constructed c1875 and the Dairy Cottage became a storeroom.
Whether a self-guided or professional tour is the order of the day, visitors will be fascinated by the history hidden within the walls of Parramatta Park’s iconic structures. Book a tour via Eventbrite website. Bookings are essential.
Parramatta Park, Pitt and Macquarie Streets Parramatta NSW 2150. For more information call (02) 9895 7500 or visit the Parramatta Park website.