First settlers down under

Parramatta. It’s not a place many foreign tourists visit, but if you are in Sydney for a longer time, well worth the visit. In 1788 the first English entered Australia right here in Parramatta. Governor Philip arrived with a small group and built the first farms. It all started small, but now it has grown and became a suburb of Sydney.

hambledon cottageHambledon cottage is a cute little house with a beautiful garden. Here you can see how Penelope Lucas lived, the first woman who was paid to work. All the furniture in the cottage is original and you can take a tour where they explain exactly what everything is and what it was used for, which isn’t always obvious. The garden has a huge, non-indigenous tree, with equally huge pine cones. Imagine something the size of a pineapple falling onto your head.

indoorsThe office had old letters, written with feather and ink. Sending letters was an expensive and long process. Therefore they tried to fit in as much as they could by writing a second story after the paper was turned around a quarter. Often the person receiving the letter had to hire someone to read it to them, because many were illiterate. If you ordered something from England, you probably had to wait about 20 months for its arrival. Long live modern days.

bowlingClose by, Elizabeth farm also give you a look into history. All the furniture is copied and because of that you can touch and use it. Originally, a lot of it was brought from England, but that changed over time. Even convicts could become quite rich after their sentence was over. There weren’t many people, so if you had a skill like clock making you were probably the only one. Even after prison, your life could become a prosperous one. Slowly Australia developed into a country that wasn’t so dependent on England.

parramatta rivercatIf you don’t like all this history, Parramatta is also a place for shopping, with Westfield and several small shops around the train station. Apart from the train or bus, you can also reach Parramatta on the Rivercat. You’ll then take the journey of the first settlers in Australia, over the river. Parramatta is a nice place to visit on a sunny day, or for a day filled with shopping. There is a visitor center for more information.


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