Parramatta Stories

The team at the City of Parramatta Heritage and Information Centre is continually adding new stories about people, places and events from Parramatta’s rich history.

You can explore the site by looking at the list of ‘Our Stories’ in the top menu bar, using the search field or subscribing to our site in the field at the bottom of the page to receive an alert every time a new research post is published.

Pandemic in Parramatta: The Influenza Outbreak of 1919 (Part 1)

Commuters in Sydney wearing masks during the influenza pandemic, 1919. Source: The Australian A global pandemic reaches Australia In November 1918, as peace was declared and the guns of the First World War fell silent, people across the world began to succumb in great...

Pandemic in Parramatta: The Influenza Outbreak of 1919 (Part 2)

Makeshift Pneumonic Influenza hospital, Melbourne, 1919. Source: Heritage Council of Victoria Parramatta prepares, and the pandemic arrives In January 1919, cases of the deadly pneumonic influenza pandemic sweeping the world were diagnosed in Australia, first in...

Pandemic in Parramatta: The Influenza Outbreak of 1919 (Part 3)

Motions of Condolence. Source: Minutes of the Meeting of Dundas Municipal Council, 2 April 1919 Loss and recovery in Parramatta As the pneumonic influenza pandemic took hold in Parramatta during the first few months of 1919, the small Parramatta District Hospital was...

Vanished Parramatta: Lost urban landmarks

Dundas Skyline Drive-in, c. 1950s (Source: www.drive-insdownunder.com.au) Some previously well-known features of Parramatta’s urban landscape have, over the years, given way due to changes in taste or developments in technology. Here, we take a look at the stories...

Gazing on green: The Trees of Parramatta

A spectacular tree in Parramatta Park (Source: City of Parramatta Council, 2012) Trees across the Parramatta area make our surroundings more attractive and pleasant. They provide relief from heat and glare, improve the quality of the air we breathe, and help retain...

Elton Ward Photographic Collection

Group of children around a pony horse promotional of the film "Misty", 1961 at Roxy Theatre, Parramatta. (Source: Elton Ward Collection, Parramatta Heritage Centre ACC002/10/2) “A new world in photography” is how Mr G. E. Edwards described the showroom at Elton Ward...

Leslie W Pye – Parramatta Chemist and Cricketer

Leslie Walter Pye  in his torpedo bodied A Type Vauxhall. 1912.  Photograph Courtesy Peter Wier Leslie Pye was born in 1871. He became a pharmacist with his own business in 1894, it was called Mr Virtue. The pharmacy was popular and stayed in the family until the...

Korean New Year

 새해 복 많이 받으세요! "Sae-hae bok man-hi ba-teu-se-yo!" (meaning "I wish you many blessings this year!") In Korea, Lunar New Year is celebrated and called Seollal or Sŏllal (설날). Based on the Lunisolar calendar, traditionally the event is celebrated over three days unlike...

Sensational Accident at Subiaco in Rydalmere 1904

Just over a week before Christmas 1904 a sensational accident occurred at the historic Rydalmere convent 'Subiaco'. In the afternoon of Thursday 15th of December some repairs were being done on the verandah when, without any warning, it collapsed and fell with a...

Lunar New Year around the world

SIGNAGE - Year of the pig (Source: Anne Tsang) City of Parramatta is home to a diverse multicultural community with 20 percent of the population with Chinese ancestry. Many people with Asian heritage will be celebrating Lunar New Year.[1] Lunar New Year starts on the...

Keeping Good Time: Clocks of Parramatta

The Centennial Memorial Fountain in Centenary Square, Parramatta, 2017 (Source: Anna Namuren) Devices have been used to measure the concept of time for thousands of years - from the tracking of the sun by obelisks and dials, to the use of hourglasses and waterclocks,...

New Acquisition – An etching of The Woolpack Inn

The Heritage Centre recently acquired a richly detailed etching depicting an afternoon lawn bowling game at one of Parramatta’s oldest pubs – the Woolpack Hotel. This etching was completed in 1939 by Geoffrey C Ingleton who was a well-known naval historian, writer,...

History of Mayoral Regalia

It is reasonably common for Mayors and Lord Mayors in Australia to adopt the tradition of wearing the robes of office on special occasions such as formal functions, Council meetings and Citizenship ceremonies. An English tradition dating back to the 1300s, it is still...

World War One and Indian Soldiers

India played a significant part in World War One. The normal annual recruitment for the Indian army was 15,000 men, during the course of the war over 800,000 men volunteered for the army and more than 400,000 volunteered for non-combatant roles. In total almost 1.3...

World War One and Parramatta Nurses

Australia’s involvement in World War One began on 4 August 1914. Many who joined up believed that the war would be a great adventure, but none could have imagined the scale of the endeavour on which they were about to embark. Sadly, many of these soldiers, sailors,...

Cremation – Hindu Death Rites

In Hindu religion, fire is considered a sacred gateway to the spiritual world. Cremation is the disposal of a corpse by fire. It is an ancient and widespread practice. Cremation of the body has to occur within six hours of the person's death in the simplest ceremonial...

The Red Gum Walk: Civic commemoration, moving images and memory

     The Red Gum Walk sign, Boronia Park, Epping, 1952. Source: City of Parramatta Council Archives    In the dappled sunlight of Boronia Park in Epping, a mysterious and forlorn sign stands by an avenue of trees. Although now barely decipherable, writing on the...

World-leading Westmead Hospital

Aerial image of Westmead under construction, c. 1977 (Source: City of Parramatta Archives, ACC002/61/01) In 2018, Westmead Hospital marks 40 years of service as a specialised tertiary referral hospital for the western Sydney area. Initially known as the Westmead...

The Parramatta Hospitals

Staff at Parramatta District Hospital, c. 1890 (Source: City of Parramatta Council Local Studies Photograph Collection, LSP00098) Background It can be assumed that Principal Surgeon John White planned hospital facilities at the new settlement at Rose Hill in a similar...

Dr Sydney Evan Jones: Mental health pioneer

Portrait of Sydney Evan Jones as a medical student, c.1910. Source: Friends of Mays Hill Cemetery Photograph Collection The ground-breaking career of Dr Sydney Evan Jones (1887-1948), one of Australia's earliest psychiatrists and doctor on Sir Douglas Mawson’s...

Lennox Bridge – Parramatta – Time Line

The Lennox Bridge, Parramatta (Source: Local Studies Photographic Collection LSOP 896, Parramatta Heritage Centre, City of Parramatta) Lennox Bridge - Time Line - 1796 to 2016 1790: July - Town of Rose Hill (later Parramatta) marked 1794: First (wooden) bridge over...

Governors of New South Wales

Governors of New South Wales The Governor is appointed by the Sovereign and is her representative in New South Wales. The Governor is the formal head of state in New South Wales. The Role of Governor has changed greatly over the years. The Governor today has an...

John Paul – Blacksmith of Parramatta

The prosperity and growth across the eastern colonies which marked the years following the gold rushes of the 1850s was not sustained into the 1890s. In contrast, this decade was characterised by a sharp decrease in British investment in the colony leading to a...

Lunar New Year – Year of the Dog

Lunar New Year -  Year of the Dog (Source: City of Parramatta) The celebration of the Lunar New Year has long been part of the Parramatta region and community. Lunar New Year is one of Parramatta’s most popular annual events. On 16 February, Parramatta  will welcome...

Edward William O’Sullivan, 1846-1910

Edward William O'Sullivan, printer, journalist and politician - portrait, ca. 1895-1905 / unknown photographer. Image Source: State Library of New South Wales. Edward William O’Sullivan was born on St. Patrick’s Day, 17th of March, 1846 in Launceston, Van Diemen’s...

Where the Riverside Theatres Stand

From Baths to Box Office - Riverside Theatres in Parramatta, 1993. Source: City of Parramatta Archives Photograph Collection In 2018, Riverside Theatres will celebrate 30 years of sharing stories on stage and screen. The popular and successful multi-venue...

Sir James Martin, 1820 – 1886

Sir James Martin, photograph thought to be taken between 1873 – 1879. (Source: Blue Mountains City Library) James Martin was born on the 14th May 1820 in County Cork, Ireland. His parents, Mary and John Martin, migrated to Australia and arrived in Sydney on November...

Origins of the City of Parramatta Crest

Plaque from City of Parramatta Council Chambers building. Date unknown. Parramatta Heritage Centre collections, 2006.146. Parramatta was one of the first councils in Australia to depict Aboriginal people as a focal point for a crest which originated in 1862. History A...

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