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Parramatta Cultural & Historic Walk
This is a wonderful walk of about 8 kilometres along and around the Parramatta River.
Catch a ferry from Kissing Point Wharf to Parramatta Wharf, a journey of about 35 minutes. After exiting the ferry to your right, walk across the Charles Street Weir and along the River Foreshore Reserve. Along the Cultural Path, bright murals tell stories of Indigenous history from the river's culinary abundance, to the invasion of the First Fleet, to the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their parents.
Further along is Lennox Bridge, a heritage-listed single arch sandstone bridge, built under the supervision of David Lennox using convict labour between 1836 and 1839. Posters on the walls of the tunnel illustrate the history and notable personalities of Parramatta. Go up the stairs immediately beyond the tunnel and proceed north along Church Street. Walk diagonally across Prince Alfred Square to Victoria Road. Directly opposite is St. Patricks Cathedral, the oldest Catholic Parish School in Australia, dating from 1820. The foundation stone for the church was laid in 1854, with the tower and spire added in the 1880s.
At the intersection of Victoria Road and O'Connell Street is the impressive Bankwest Stadium, a multipurpose facility for Sydney's west. A statue of legendary Parramatta rugby league great Ray Price adorns the western forecourt. Continue along O'Connell Street past Parramatta Leagues Club and turn left at Eels Place, right into North Lane and left at Fennell Street and left again into Greenup Drive. This is the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, now the location of Cumberland Hospital. The site was first occupied on 31 January 1821, with the transfer of convict women from the nearby factory above the town jail. It operated as an assignment depot, prison, place of industry and medical facility until 1847, when it was re-purposed as an orphanage, convict / invalid and Lunatic Asylum. The Precinct is not open for public access and there are no public facilities for visitors. The Australian Government added the Parramatta Female Factory to the National Heritage List in November 2017.
Retrace your route back to Parramatta Leagues Club. Next to the car park turn right and take the path down to Buttons bridge, which you cross, and follow the signs to the Dairy. Located in Parramatta Park, the Dairy Cottage was built in 1798 by George Salter, a convict who had been granted 30 acres of land by Governor Hunter. The trail continues through the park, parallel to the river. The first historical landmark is the Boer War Memorial, followed by the Governor's Bath House and Parramatta Astronomical Observatory Site founded in 1822 by Sir Thomas MacDougall . Down the road is the heritage listed Old Government House.
Walk down the hill to the charming Gatehouse Tea Rooms. Next door on Pitt Street are the Rumsey Rose Gardens. Walk back on Pitt Street which becomes Macquarie Street and turn left along O'Connell St to the Tudor style George Street Gatehouse built in 1885. Proceed along George Street then go left at Marsden Street and right into Philip Street. Take a left into Dirrabarri Lane and walk to the far right hand side of the car park. When you reach the other small car park go to the right as far as you can. There you can look over the fence to the beautiful heritage listed Willow Grove, built in 1886. Turn around, go to Wilde Avenue and head down to the river and walk to your right to the ferry wharf.
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