Community invited to Parramatta heritage festival
The public will have a rare opportunity to discover the history and heritage of North Parramatta, see convict buildings dating from the 1800s, and explore stories about resilience and survival that helped shape a nation as part of an open day at Parramatta North.
Identified by the National Trust as one of the top events of the Australian Heritage Festival 2018, the Parramatta North Heritage Open Day will take place on May 19 from 10am to 3pm.
UrbanGrowth NSW was a strong supporter of the federal government’s decision to place the Parramatta Female Factory and Institutions Precinct on the National Heritage List.
“We received fantastic feedback from the community about our Archaeology Open Day last year, so we are very excited to once again open the site up and, with the help of local groups, share the site’s rich and significant heritage with the public,” said UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation CEO Barry Mann.
“We are inspired by what we learn as we think about relevant and meaningful interpretations of this site’s past, into buildings and greenery which will conserve, unlock, and share it with the rest of Sydney.”
Heritage specialists will be on hand throughout the day to speak about the site’s buildings and history, and there will also be talks from authors Meg and Tom Keneally, and historian Dr Terry Smith and Brian Powyer from the National Trust of Australia.
The community will be able to go inside some heritage buildings rarely open to the public, including the Parramatta Girls Industrial School. The Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council, owners of the Parramatta Goal, has organised a paid tour of $15.
“The conservation and activation of the heritage buildings on site is one of our primary focuses, so it’s important that the local community can see works currently taking place,” said Mr Mann.
The public can also see exhibits showing the site’s history in photos, videos, and images including how heritage repairs have been completed over the past 18 months using traditional trades and handcrafts.
Artefacts discovered during recent archaeological investigations, and images taken during digs, will also be on display. The Aboriginal archaeologists who have worked on the site will demonstrate the making of stone tools.
Flying fox and bat specialists Eco Logical will talk about the protected grey-headed flying fox colony nesting next to these heritage buildings alongside Parramatta River.
The open day will also feature activities for kids, and pleasant shady places to have a picnic and enjoy the grounds. Light meals and drinks will also be available for purchase.
“I encourage everyone with an interest and curiosity in history and Parramatta’s early days to enjoy what will be a great day out,” said Mr Mann.