Parramatta, New South Wales
Parramatta is a suburb in the City of Parramatta in western Sydney, in the
state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 25 kilometres west of
the Sydney central business district. Parramatta is approximately at the
geographical centre of the Sydney urban area. Situated on the banks of
Parramatta River, it is a major government and commercial centre,
sometimes called Sydney's "second central business district". It is home
to Westfield Parramatta, the largest shopping centre in Australia.
European settlement at Parramatta was begun by Governor Arthur Phillip in
November 1788, just nine months after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney
Cove. For a time in the early 1800s it was the seat of government of the
colony of New South Wales (which at that time encompassed the eastern
two-thirds of the Australian mainland). Much of the early colony was
relocated to Parramatta because of the greater supply of fertile soil
and fresh water. Afterwards the seat of government was moved back to
Sydney, but the Governor's former residence, Old Government House,
remains as an historic site and museum and is Australia's oldest
surviving public building.
Parramatta is the site of Australia's oldest farm, Experiment Farm, which
was owned by James Ruse, a First Fleet convict who became the first
successful European-style farmer in Australia, and which was the first
land grant in Australia. Nearby is Elizabeth Farm, the home of
controversial wool pioneer John Macarthur.
The name Parramatta is derived from a local Aboriginal expression meaning
"place of many eels". The area was at first named Rose Hill, later
changing to the native name for the area. It is located at a portion of
the Parramatta River which is indeed a gathering place for native
species of eel, as it is the point where saltwater meets freshwater
which creates a profusion of nutrients. The eel has been adopted as the
symbol of the Parramatta Eels Rugby League club who compete in the NRL.
At the start of the new millennium, Parramatta saw the consolidation of
its role as a government centre, with the relocation of facilities, such
as the NSW Police Headquarters, from Sydney's CBD. At the same time
major construction work occurred around the railway station with the
expansion of Westfield Shoppingtown, the creation of a new "Transport
Interchange", and the development of the Civic Place local government
Lake Parramatta is a 10 hectare reserve, based around a former reservoir.
The catchment area for the Lake is bounded by North Rocks Rd, Pennant
Hills Rd and Hunts Creek. Enter from Lackey Street, North Parramatta.
Drive carefully to avoid the ducks.
Parramatta Park is a large park adjacent to Parramatta Stadium. It was
formerly the Governor's Domain and contains Old Government House
mentioned above. Another feature is the natural amphitheatre located on
one of the bends of the river, named by Governor Philip as "the
Crescent", which is currently used to stage concerts.
The ferry wharf is located at the Charles Street Weir which divides the
tidal saltwater from the freshwater of the upper river, on the eastern
boundary of the Central Business District. The wharf is the westernmost
destination of the River Cat ferry service.
Church Street is the home to many restaurants with a diverse range of
cuisines. It takes its name from the St Johns Anglican Cathedral located
opposite the Town Hall. Nearby is the historic St Johns Cemetery.