Parramatta Heritage and Visitor Information Centre
346a Church Street, Parramatta 2150


Visitor Information Centre
(02) 8839 3311

Sydney Science Festival celebrates and showcases Sydney’s diverse and multidisciplinary science and innovation community through a program of talks by world-leading researchers, hands-on workshops, exhibitions and family events exploring all areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).

From Saw Bones to Specialists 

Join us as we time-travel through the evolution of Australian medicine, from colonial times - when the convict hospital caused more illness than it cured - to the cutting-edge treatments of today.  Discover how developments in scientific and medical knowledge have influenced the treatment of patients and their ailments since pre-settlement, and the early days of the colony, through to the current time.
There is evidence that in pre-colonial times Parramatta was a gathering place for Aboriginal people, where ideas and techniques would have been exchanged and discussed. 
This walking tour will visit Aboriginal lands, along with the sites of the Colonial Hospital, Estella Private (Maternity) Hospital and the Parramatta District Hospital. It will conclude at Brislington Medical and Nursing Museum, where the nursing specialist who instigated the establishment of the Parramatta Cardiac Fitness and Rehabilitation Unit will explain the significant changes to cardiac rehabilitation that were pioneered in Parramatta, leading to improved survival rates of cardiac patients around the world.

When: Thursday, 16th August 10:00am - 12:30pm

Where: Parramatta Heritage and Visitor Information Centre, 346a Church St Parramatta 2150

Register and secure your spot on the Eventbrite website.

Bush Medicine Workshop 

At a time when traditional indigenous knowledge is gaining recognition from mainstream scientists around the world, we invite you to join us in an exploration of Aboriginal medicine at an interactive workshop.
Join this engaging workshop to delve into the world of traditional Aboriginal medicine and discover a range of natural cures and treatments for illness, injuries and infirmities which can be found in the Australian bushland.
Two experienced Aboriginal presenters will share knowledge of traditional medicines and remedies on an easy bushwalk in the beautiful Lake Parramatta Reserve, a rare surviving plot of Sydney shale -sandstone forest. Following the walk, they will lead a yarning circle and workshop where Aboriginal people will share knowledge of the myriad medicinal uses of native plants and other natural resources. As Aboriginal culture is dynamic and evolving, the use of some introduced plants may also be discussed.

When: Saturday, 18th August 10:00am - 1:00pm

Where: Parramatta Heritage and Visitor Information Centre, 346a Church St Parramatta 2150

Register and secure your spot on the Eventbrite website.

Treating the Troubled Mind 

Join us on a journey through the evolution of Australian mental health treatment, from colonial times to the cutting-edge, holistic treatments now being provided at Westmead.
As the centre of governance throughout much of the colonial period, Parramatta also became the location of many early medical institutions, including asylums. In more recent times Westmead Hospitals have become a centre for medical innovation and excellence, including in the treatment of mental health. Parramatta thus serves as a microcosm of the development of psychiatric medicine in Australia and the resultant improvements in treatments.
This coach tour will visit the sites of the Parramatta Lunatic Asylum (1848-1963), Rydalmere Psychiatric Hospital (1888-1980s) and the Cumberland Hospital to examine the science behind the treatment of mental health in Australia and discover the outcomes of its implementation.

When: Friday, 17th August 10:00am - 2:15pm

Where: Parramatta Heritage and Visitor Information Centre, 346a Church St Parramatta 2150

Register and secure your spot on the Eventbrite website.

World-leading Westmead: Oncology Innovations

Join us for a fascinating journey through the past, present and future of cancer treatment at Westmead Hospital, the world-leading research and teaching hospital in Sydney’s West.
Embedded within the neighbourhoods at the heart of Sydney, and providing essential health services to the local community and beyond, this year Westmead Hospital marks its 40th anniversary of opening.
This talk will see a panel of multi-disciplinary Westmead professionals explore the development of cancer treatment at the hospital - from the pioneering doctors who headed out West in 1978 to establish a new hospital, through to the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre’s current status as an internationally recognised Centre of Excellence. A glimpse will also be provided into the ground-breaking medical innovations, significant infrastructure developments and community connections shaping the future of treatments provided at the Centre.

When: Wednesday, 15th August 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Where: Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead Hospital Darcy Road Westmead 2145

Register and secure your spot on the Eventbrite website.

Nursing Innovations From and For the Heart

Delve into the intriguing story of the establishment of the Parramatta District Hospital Cardiac Fitness and Rehabilitation Auxiliary, and discover the medical science behind it. This pioneering unit was the first of its kind in Australia - and one of the first such units in the world.

Hear firsthand accounts from nurses of the day about the advances that were being pioneered in the unit and elsewhere. See photographic displays of their cutting-edge work and inspect rarely seen cardiac diagnostic and treatment instruments of the day, along with a range of historic medical technology.

When: Monday, 7th and 14th August 11:00am - 12:00pm and 12:30pm - 1:30pm on both days

Where: Brislington Medical and Nursing Museum,160 Marsden Street Parramatta 2150

Register and secure your spot by calling (02) 8839 3311