Old Government House
The convict-built Old Government House and garrison buildings are set within the lush parklands of the former Governor's Domain, now Parramatta Park, with sweeping views overlooking the Parramatta River. For seven decades it was the 'country' residence of the first 10 Governors of the colony, including Governor and Mrs Macquarie who, from 1810 to 1821, preferred the clean air and space of rural Parramatta to the unsanitary and crime ridden streets of Sydney Town.
The central block was built in 1799 by Governor John Hunter over the original lath and plaster cottage built by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1790 (footings of his outbuildings are on view). However the appearance of the house today is largely thanks to Governor and Mrs Macquarie. Their 1815 extensions, transformed the house into an elegant Palladian style residence in the English manner.
Visitors to the property today can step straight into the fashions of 1821. A meticulously researched ‘soft furnishings’ program has transformed the main rooms of the house to recreate the tastes and styles of Mrs Macquarie, influenced as they were by distance and a climate very different to ‘home’. Rooms are furnished with pieces from the National Trust’s collection of early colonial furniture; the largest collection in Australia.
Old Government House was built on Darug land, home to the Burramatta people. You can hear stories of first contact and can see how shells from Aboriginal middens were used to strengthen household mortar. The property is considered both a European and Aboriginal archaeological resource of national significance and is a unique and rare demonstration of the evolution of New South Wales and Australian society since 1788.
Stepping into the surrounds of Old Government House is richly evocative of our early colonial past, from the Burramattagal, the convicts, the military to the Governors and how they all lived in the colonial society of NSW and Parramatta.
Both the ferry and the transport interchange link with the free 'Loop' bus; the route includes Phillip Street restaurants, Parramatta Station, Westfield, Parramatta Park, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta Stadium, the Leagues and RSL clubs, and Eat Street (Church Street).
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