A Private Tour of Parramatta

My cousin, Armand, arranged to take me on a tour of Parramatta with his friend, Terry, whom he told me was an expert on the history of the city. Well, he wasn’t joking about the ‘expert’ part!

Two wild parrots we saw in Terry’s garden

I think Terry knows Parramatta inside-out. He hardly paused for breath during the whole time we were with him. He was sharing facts, background and information about the buildings and history of the city. There was so much information that it was difficult to absorb it.

Our first stop was at the oldest dam in Australia. Terry told us about the dam and pointed out some of the flora and fauna. On our way back to the car he told me that the two trees shown in the photograph above are often planted together in Australian gardens. The Jacaranda has purple flowers and the Wattle has orange flowers. They bloom at the same time and the result of the two together is spectacular!

Terry told us about John MacArthur who was famed for breeding the famous merino sheep, only it wasn’t him who bred them – it was his wife, Elizabeth!

He took us to the site of the former female factory, pointing out which buildings were original and which had been built reusing sandstone from former buildings. We followed that with a visit to Elizabeth House, but it was closed and there was no way of seeing any of the building. We tried walking around the block but there is no view of the house. Then we went to Hambledon Cottage – also closed – then on to Experimental Farm. The farm was set up to see how quickly people could become self-sufficient for food. John Harris, a Cornish farmer turned criminal was chosen to try the experiment. It was successful in a short space of time – something like two years, I think.

We had lunch at the Parramatta Eels rugby club then dropped Terry at his home and returned to Sydney city centre. We  to drove to Armand’s apartment where we looked through lots of old family photos whilst drinking tea blended by Armand in honour of his visiting British cousin. Delightful. It’s not every day that someone creates a unique blend of tea in your honour!


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