Long before Parramatta Park was gazetted as a People’s Park in 1858, it played a vital role in the lives of Aboriginal people and European settlers.
The area of Parramatta was known as Burramatta by the Darug people – the area’s first inhabitants and traditional owners for more than 40,000 years. The people who lived in the area called themselves the Burramatta and used the river as a large Aboriginal Meeting Place.
The river has always been significant to Parramatta, having also drawn European settlers who established a colonial settlement in 1788 after Governor Philip led an expedition through Darug Nation country in search of farming land.
Parramatta Park secured a World Heritage Listing in 2010, and is one of 11 Australian Convict Sites which collectively illustrate the global phenomenon of the forced migration of convicts.
In September 1788 Governor Phillip announced his intention to establish a settlement at Parramatta. The soil of the area was found to be more suitable for farming than the area surrounding the settlement of Port Jackson.
By 1790 under the supervision of Henry Dodd who was a member of Governor Phillip’s personal staff, fruit trees were planted, cattle introduced and crops of wheat, barley, maize and oats were being cultivated. One hundred convicts worked under the supervision of Superintendent Dodd on the farm. They were also engaged in constructing the town of Parramatta. A small house was built for Phillip replacing the original redoubt structure.
In 1791 the first four settlers of New South Wales were granted land in the Parramatta area.
Farming continued in the area under a succession of Governors. Hunter created an improved Government House in 1799, which was later extended in 1815 by Governor Macquarie.
Governor Hunter granted George Salter 30 acres in 1796. Salter erected a small cottage sometime between 1796 and 1800, which was later purchased by Governor Macquarie for Government use. This cottage, which is still standing, was enlarged by Macquarie and became known as the Governor's Dairy. It is one of the oldest buildings in Australia.
Under Macquarie, Government lands were consolidated and the Government Domain provided more area for farming activities for the Government Stores and also provided a "Gentleman's Park". It comprised approximately 800 hectares. Macquarie enlarged Government House, acquired the Dairy building, and constructed numerous cottages in the surrounding area.
Brisbane replaced Macquarie as Governor in 1822 and in the same year ordered the construction of an observatory, the transit stones built to support a transit telescope, are still standing today.
In 1823 Brisbane also constructed a bathhouse west of Old Government House. When in operation a sunken bath was located in the centre of the building surrounded by a suite of rooms. In 1886 the building was converted to its present form as a pavilion after it had been extensively vandalised following the Domain becoming a public Park in 1857.
In order to complete this cache you will need to obtain parts of coordinates by visiting the following historical landmarks, all of which are remnants of the Governors Domain. Gather answers at these landmarks to complete the final coordinates.
The initial Virtual Cache coordinates will place you at Old Government House, which is a fitting location to begin your adventure. Standing in 200 acres of parkland overlooking historic Parramatta, the convict-built Old Government House and garrison buildings were built in 1799-1816, the oldest surviving public buildings in Australia. For seven decades, it was the ‘country’ residence of ten early governors of the Colony. Today the house is open for guided tours and contains a major collection of Australian colonial furniture.
Part of the cache requirements dictate that you will need a photo of yourself (or part thereof) with Old Government House in the background.
At each of the listed waypoints the following questions will need to be answered…
(A) Government House & Gardens:
Governor Phillip encouraged gardening in order to reduce the colony’s dependency on public stores.
In the main body of text on the information sign (excluding heading) at the listed coordinates, how many times does the word “garden” appear? (plurals such as gardens & gardening to be included)
(B) Macquarie Bridge:
This bridge started as a wide timber bridge built in the late 1790s. Governor Macquarie then had a stone arch bridge, wall and dam constructed by convict labourers in the latter part of his governorship. The bridge is believed to be the oldest remaining stone bridge in Australia and has recently been restored.
An obelisk stands on this bridge. What day in December 1847 did something terrible occur on this bridge?
(C) The Observatory:
The observatory was built by Governor Brisbane in 1822 and was used to make some of the most important early astronomical observations in the southern hemisphere. Two marker trees were planted to the south of the transit stones with two additional trees in the southern domain (in the May’s Hill area). All four trees marked a north-south alignment across the Governor’s Domain. The observatory building fell into ruin and was demolished in 1848, with only the transit stones on their plinth left standing.
An information sign at this location will provide the answer to the following equation. Add each numeral in the year that the Observatory was closed. The last digit of the resulting number is to be used as C.
(D) The Bath House:
The Bath House was completed in 1823 for Governor Brisbane. It is believed that, due to his war wounds, the Governor wanted a private place with warm baths. This building has been associated with the two colonial architects Francis Greenway and Standish Harris. The Bath House contains archaeological remains related to the pumping system which was developed to bring water to the Bath House, as well as to heat the water.
A copper plaque on the floor of the Bath House will provide the answer to the following question. What is the last number of the year that the Bath House was restored by Parramatta Council?
(E) Governor Phillip’s Redoubt:
A simple monument marks the site of Governor Phillip’s Redoubt, which was the first building in Parramatta, completed on 2nd November 1788.
How many separate stones/slabs make up the monument at this site?
(F) The Dairy Cottage:
The Dairy Cottage was constructed between 1796 and 1805 as a two-roomed cottage by ex-convict George Salter. It is one of the earliest intact cottages still standing in Australia today. In 1813, Governor Lachlan Macquarie purchased Salter’s farm for the use of the Government. Several years after Governor Macquarie purchased the property, he converted the cottage into a dairy. A sunken milk room was constructed on the southern side in about 1823 and another small building was added on the northern side.
How many cows are in the backyard of this property?
The final location can be found at: S 33’ 48.ABC E 150’ 59.DEF. Replace the letters with numbers obtained from answers at each individual waypoint to complete the final coordinates.
Check your solution here...
What would you have seen from this location in 1791? A sign at the final coordinates will help with your answer.
There are 2 requirements for logging this cache…
1. Post a photo of yourself (or part thereof) with Old Government House in the background. Bonus points awarded for additional photos documenting your journey, but no spoilers please.
2. Email/PM your answer for the FINAL question to me. Without the correct answer, your log may be deleted. Please do not post the answer in your log.
I hope you have fun completing this cache and learn something about the history of the area along the way. Parramatta Park is a great place to picnic, get active, explore history or attend one of the many events or festivals hosted here. The Park has more than two million people visiting each year.
Virtual Reward - 2017/2018
This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.
Note: Feel free to log your find without my returned confirmation. I will be unable to check messages for a few weeks, but will check all logs when I am next able.