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.

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...

Wild things: The history of Parramatta Zoo

Emus in the zoo at Parramatta Park, c. 1930s (photograph donated to City of Parramatta Community Archives by the family of S.Davies)   In September 2017 it was announced a new world-class zoo, overlooking Bungarribee Park in Blacktown, will be opening in 2018....

King of Thailand and His Connections to Parramatta

His Royal Highness Vajiralongkorn Mahidol in The King's School, Parramatta - Macarthur boarding house with other students (1970). Image from The King’s School Archive Collection His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun His Royal Highness...

Happy Diwali

Diwali Display @ Parramatta Heritage Centre Diwali is a five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the globe. Diwali night is the darkest night of autumn and diyas (lamps), candles, lanterns make the festival of light very...

Australia’s Retail History – Westfield Parramatta

Westfield Parramatta, September 2017. Image: Anna Namuren, Parramatta Heritage Centre The Westfield retail centre was launched in Parramatta in 1975 [1] in the same year that consumers were introduced to Bankcard, Australia's first credit card. [2] Westfield...

The Parramatta Eels

  'Go the Eels' banners adorn the Town Hall, 2001, City of Parramatta Cultural Collections, 2002.127 The connections between Parramatta and eels are strong and historic. [1] The word ‘eel’ derives from Old English and German, with similar pronunciations appearing in...

World War One – Parramatta Soldiers – Victor Earle Brinkman

Victor was the eldest son of Mrs J. Brinkman of Guidlford New South Wales (Myrtle Cottage, Albert Parade, and later "Le Roy" Calliope Street). He was born in Cabramatta and was a Railway Porter when he joined the forces on 7 May 1915 at 22 years of age. He served with...

World War One – Parramatta Soldiers – Private Wallace R. McKenzie

Private Wallace McKenzie was a 20 year old shipwright from Sydney. He was the son of Mr J McKenzie and Mrs Jane McKenzie from Granville, New South Wales. He and his family were part of the Church of England. He enlisted on 17 August 1914. He was appointed as Corporal...

Perth House and Stables

Perth House, 85 George Street, Parramatta Perth House is aesthetically and technically significant. It is a single storey Colonial Victorian Georgian residence with a hipped roof to a central block with encircling verandahs. The verandah is paved with stone. It...

History Week 2017: Pop goes Parramatta

As part of History Week, hosted by the History Council NSW, the City of Parramatta Research and Collection Services team held an an open day - Pop goes Parramatta -  to collect your popular culture memories! Check out the details, and our Pinterest board showcasing...

Dragoon Horses For India – 1857

Colonial Secretary’s Office, Sydney, 11th September, 1857 DRAGOON HORSES FOR INDIA The following official communication from the Government of India, notify that an officer is about to be dispatched for Sydney for the purpose of selecting horses suited to carry men in...

Indians in Parramatta for Australian Horses – 1820s

'The new mode of shipping horses to India'- ramps were safer and faster than slings - wood engraving, 1880.  State Library of Victoria. Indian Australians are Australians of Indian Heritage. A study of DNA has found that Indian people may have come to Australia around...

India’s untold story in Australia

Let’s look back and explore the centuries old contributions of Indians to the development of Australia. Australia’s multicultural phenomenon is not a recent one. During 19th and 20th century people from Britain, Europe, China, India, Egypt and Turkey came to Australia...

Bushrangers in Parramatta – Part 1

Bushrangers’ Camp by S T Gill artist, (1818-1880), c. 1871 From the time of the establishment of the European settlement at Sydney Cove in January 1788, members of the largely convict population attempted to break free from government control and regulation. As early...

World War One – Parramatta Soldiers – William Dawson Fisk

William was the son of G.D. Fisk of Guildford, New South Wales. He was born in Inverell, New South Wales and was a 24 year old shop assistant when he joined the forces on 22 March 1915. He married Miss Ella Virtue (also of Guildford) on 8th April 2015 prior to...

Baludarri – A Significant Figure in Parramatta History

A significant figure in the history of Parramatta, Baludarri was a young Darug man who was living in the area when the Europeans colonists arrived in 1788. In early 1791, Baludarri befriended Governor Phillip, and joined the Governor’s expedition to the Hawkesbury, as...

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