The City of Parramatta Council Archives, Research Library and Collection Services Team

The Research and Collections Services Team (RCS) primarily provides services to Council and the residents of its Local Government Area (LGA). Many of the services are made available to the broader Australian community and international visitors to extend the understanding and appeal of the Parramatta region as a destination with a vibrant innovative culture and heritage.

Its services include: management, storage and dissemination of Council archives dating back to 1860. Access to library books, pamphlets, and journals relating to the development of the Parramatta LGA from its Aboriginal past through to the present.

RCS also manages, stores and disseminates information relating to the material culture and artistic life of the Parramatta. It acts as a respected Western Sydney based centre for professional advice and expertise relating to: cultural heritage, museum collection management, archival records, family history, and innovation in the cultural sector.

The team develops, manages and programs exhibitions, school programs, public talks and symposiums, research partnerships, and community based workshops.

Parramatta Timeline 1788 - Present

A chronological list of events from Parramatta’s early colonial settlement to the present.

1788 24 April. Site of Parramatta chosen by Governor Phillip.
1788 2 November. Settlement at Rose Hill (now Parramatta) founded.
1788 King’s Wharf, Parramatta, established.
1789 1 November. James Ruse established the first private farm in Australia.
1789 November. First wheat crop harvested at Rose Hill.
1790 June. First burial in St. John’s Cemetery.
1790 Parramatta Town laid out.
1791 James Ruse granted 30 acres.
1791 Australia’s first grape vines planted in the Governor’s garden, Parramatta Park
 1791  30 March.  Experiment Farm, No. 1 grant.
1791 May. Military barracks completed.
1791 4 June. Rose Hill renamed Parramatta
1792 First Public House erected.
1792 Foundations laid for the first Town Hall site in Parramatta.
1792 22 February. John Irving, Australia’s first emancipated convict, granted land on the Parramatta River.
1793 Elizabeth Farm House built.
1793 First road constructed to Parramatta. An unsealed road travelled from Sydney to current Flemmington then to Mona Street, South Granville and then to the south of Parramatta around Pitt and Church Street.
1796 Sydney’s first Gaols built in Alfred Park and in Sydney Town.
1796 September. First Church opened.
1799 First part Old Government House, Australia’s oldest surviving public building, completed.
1799 First Parramatta Gaol burns down.
1801 17 August. Female Ophan School opens.
1803 9 April. First St. John’s Church opened.
1804 First Female Factory erected
1804 New gaol completed in Prince Alfred Park.
1810 April. First horse-race held in Parramatta.
1810 John Eyre’s school opened.
1811 Town extended by Macquarie
1812 Map of the town by James Meehan, Deputy Surveyor.
1814 ‘Native Institution’ school for Aboriginal people founded.
1816 New St John’s Parsonage built.
1818 New Hospital erected.
1818 Parramatta Orphan School completed.
1820 Military barracks completed
1820 Convict Barrack erected.
1820 Towers of St. John’s Church completed.
1821 First Methodist Church built.
1821 Second Female Factory completed.
1821 Brislington House built.
1822 Aboriginal Meetings in Parramatta Square, 1822-1833
1822 Agricultural Society established.
1823 Parramatta Observatory erected.
1825 Foundation stone of the Darling Mills (Flour) laid
on site of present Sydney Woollen Mills.
1828 First Post Office built in Parramatta
1828 Work begins on Howell’s wind and water mill
1832 13 February. The first King’s School opened at Harrisford House.
1836 Jnauary. The Second King’s School building completed above the weir North Parramatta.
1839 Lennox Bridge completed.
1840 Harvey’s Mill built and begins operations between 1840 and 1841.
1840 John Ireland and Issac Titterton proprietors of White Horse Hotel
1841 Byrnes Bros. Flour Mills erected. Later used as a cloth mill.
1842 Third Parramatta Gaol opens Clifford and Dunlop Streets  
1843 Parramatta’s first newspaper “The Parrmatta
Chronicle” published.
1843 Second St. John’s Church opened
1855 26 September. 1st Railway opened to Parramatta Junction near Granville.
1856 Dam at Lake Parramatta completed.
1857 Parramatta Park Created
1859 Parramatta Fire Brigade established.
1860 Parramatta Rifle Corps fromed
1860 4 July rail line extended to current Parramatta Station.
1861 November. Parramatta incorporated as a municipality.
1863 Ranleigh House built.
1868 Municipality styled a ‘Borough’.
1870 Parramatta Amateur Dramatic Society formed.
1872 Parramatta Gas Company purchased land on the Parramatta River.
1872 19 May. Congregational Church building opened.
1873 Gas turned into town mains for first time.
1881 First Parramatta Council Chambers erected.
1882 Anderson Fountain erected.
1883 Parramatta Town Hall completed.
1888 Foundation Stone of the Centennial Fountain laid.
1888 15 September. Centennial Baths opened.
1889 8 February. The King’s School new chapel opened.
1890 Friendly Societies form a Medical Institute.
1900 First motor car runs in Parramatta.
1902 Granville District Football Association formed.
1908 2 December. New Friendly Societies Dispensary building
opened.
1910 August. Sewerage scheme completed and taken over
by Municipal Council.
1911 May. St. John’s Church Parish Hall opens.
1911 4 November. Billy Hart’s Australia’s first aviator lands in Parramatta Park.
1913 Parramatta High School opens.
1913 4 December. Parramatta and District Historical Society formed. 
1915 Electric light used in town for first time.
1915 23 February. New High School Building opened.
1917 2 July. Nurse Dorothy Cawood saves patients at Messines and is first woman in Sydney to be awarded a Military Medla.
1918 15 September. Foundation Stone Royal Gate, St John’s laid.
1924 21 May. New Masonic Temple opened.
1925 New Presbyterian Church completed.
1925 Work begins on Parramatta’s first shopping arcade.
1930 6 February. Roxy Theatre opens.
1930 Rivoli skating rink opens.
1935 Wishing Pool opens Parramatta Square.
1936 Granville Swimming Centre opens.
1936 26 May. Third St. Patrick’s Church, opened.
1938 27 October. Parramatta proclaimed a City.
1938 Parramatta Grand Prix in Parramatta Park.
1938 150 year celebrations.
1938 The Star Hotel, Parramatta Square opens.
1947 Parramatta District Leagues Club play their first season.
1948 December. First Greater City of Parramatta Council elected.  (The Greater City of Parramatta was formed by the amalgamation of Dundas, Granville, Ermington, Rydalmere, and Parramatta)
The first traffic light in NSW installed at Parramatta.
1955 The completed maternity unit opened at Parramatta Hospital.
1956 11 December. Olympian Betty Cuthbert victory parade. 
1958 Meals on Wheels service established.
1958 Children’s Library opened in Prince Alfred Park.
1958 A central library was established in Jubilee Hall within the Town Hall
1958 New Parramatta City Council Chambers opens a 2 Civic Place (now Parramatta Square)
1959 Opening of the Parramatta Leagues Club.
1959 24 October. Parramatta War Memorial Swimming Centre opens.
1959 A branch library opened at Granville.
1960 The Queensland Insurance Building opens in Centenary Square.
1961 David Jones’s first suburban store opened.
1961 Miss Australia Tania Versak visits Parramatta
1962 Silverwater bridge opened.
1964 28 November. Central Library Building opened.
1975 Westfield complex opened as the largest shopping complex in the southern hemisphere.
1975 Survey of historic buildings in the Parramatta CBD completed
1975 Barry Wilde Bridge Opens.
1977 18 January. Granville Railway Bridge Disaster
1978 Westmead Hospital opened.
1979  Album “Canned Rock” recorded from three concerts held inside Parramatta gaol
1981 Macquarie House built.
1981 HMAS Parramatta Memorial unveiled.
1988 Bicentenary of Parramatta’s foundation.
1988 50th anniversary of the declaration of Parramatta as a City.
1988 Position of Mayor of Parramatta raised by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to the status of Lord Mayor in recognition of Parramatta’s significance in the Greater Sydney metropolitan area.
1988 Opening of the Riverside Theatre complex in February.
1989 Archaelogical Management Plan of Parramatta CBD completed.
1993 Rivercat Service to Parramatta inaugurated in December.
1998 Opening of the Parramatta Heritage Centre.
2006 Opening of the new Parramatta Transport Interchange in February including the upgrading of the station and a new bus interchange.
2008 Opening of the new Justice Precinct in February.
2010 Old Government House and Parramatta Park, as well as ten other Australian sites with a significant association with convict transportation, were inscribed as a group on the World Heritage List as the Australian Convict Sites.
2012 Sydney Wanderers, Soccer League franchise launched.
2013 David Jones Building on Church Street demolished
2015 Library and Post Office in Civic Square demolished as a part of the Parramatta Square project.
2015 Council Works Depot moves to Rydalmere Operation Centre

Heritage Stories

Library Museum and Archive Services

Parramatta Museum and Art Collections

Museum and Art Collections

The City Council has acquired a number of significant objects and artworks related to Parramatta and the broader district. The Centre also has on display a free permanent exhibition on the history of Parramatta.

Research Library

The research library is free to visit and contains a significant collection of books, magazines and journals related to Parramatta and Western Sydney. It also has online subscriptions, databases and magazines relating to family history.

Council Archives

The Parramatta City Council dates back to 1861 and its archives contain  rare and interesting documents from the mid 1800s through to the late 1900s. Items include rate books, valuation lists, photographic work, DA’s, minute books, maps, drawings, and ephemera.

Photographic Collections

The Heritage Centre has an extensive photographic, print and audio/visual collection relating to people, places and events in the Parramatta District dating back from the present to the early 1800s.

Parramatta History Blogs

Parramatta Square: A 200 Year History

Situated adjacent to St John’s Cathedral is the area now referred to as Parramatta Square. But don’t be fooled by the modern facade for this area has been a community hub at the centre of Parramatta  for over 200 years.

Cumberland Hospital and Female Factory Precinct

The Cumberland Precinct in North Parramatta is home to some of the most significant heritage sites in New South Wales. From the 1790s until today it continues as a mental health precinct for the Cumberland Hospital.

River Foreshore Parramatta

This stretch of river foreshore was arguably the most significant piece of land during the early European settlement of the area. It was also significant for the local Aboriginals for it was here that the fresh water of the river and the salt water of the harbour met.

Parramatta Stories

From our various collections our team continue to put together research on people, places and events that relate to Parramatta and district from its earliest days to the present.

World War 1

 Biographical stories and accounts of events which relate to the actions of Parramatta servicemen and women during World War One

Parramatta Mayors

Biographies of Parramatta’s Mayors and Lord Mayors brought together in a single resource, not only for interested researchers, but as a way of exploring the heritage and identity of Parramatta. 

Centenary Square

The revitalisation of Church Street Mall and its renaming to Centenary Square provides an opportunity to visit some of the interesting sites and buildings at the square.

Civic Place

Civic Place

In the coming years Civic Place, Parramatta will see dramatic changes as it transforms into Parramatta Square. Learn more about the site’s history and what it will become.