Created By: Free Hugs
Starvation threatened the newly arrived colonists at Sydney Cove who were struggling to survive in a foreign land. The fertile soils and fresh water which they found here in 1788 changed the course of the Parramatta story and shaped the future of Australia. Successful crops meant that Parramatta was settled as a town, which soon outgrew Sydney in size and importance for some time owing to its role in sustaining and governing the new colony
In an attempt to deal with the food crisis, Phillip in 1789 granted a convict named James Ruse the land of Experiment Farm at Parramatta on the condition that he develop a viable agriculture. There, Ruse became the first person to successfully grow grain in Australia. The Parramatta area was also the site of the pioneering of the Australian wool industry by John Macarthur's Elizabeth Farm in the 1790s. Philip Gidley King's account of his visit to Parramatta on 9 April 1790 is one of the earliest descriptions of the area. Walking four miles with Governor Phillip to Prospect, he saw undulating grassland interspersed with magnificent trees and a great number of kangaroos and emus.
The Battle of Parramatta, a major battle of the Hawkesbury and Nepean Wars, occurred in March 1797 where resistance leader Pemulwuy led a group of Bidjigal warriors, estimated to be at least 100, in an attack on a government farm at Toongabbie, challenging the British Armyto fight. Governor Arthur Phillip built a small house for himself on the hill of The Crescent. In 1799 this was replaced by a larger residence which, substantially improved by Governor Lachlan Macquarie from 1815 to 1818, has survived to the present day, making it the oldest surviving Government House anywhere in Australia. It was used as a retreat by Governors until the 1850s, with one Governor (Governor Brisbane) making it his principal home for a short period in the 1820s.
In 1803, another famous incident occurred in Parramatta, involving a convicted criminal named Joseph Samuel, originally from England. Samuel was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging, but the rope broke. In the second attempt, the noose slipped off his neck. In the third attempt, the new rope broke. Governor King was summoned and pardoned Samuel, as the incident appeared to him to be divine intervention.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Parramatta Historical Walk