Oldest Public Building in Australia


Old Government House, Parramatta.

Occupation of Australia by Europeans began with the foundation of the colony of New South Wales and establishment of the first two settlements at Sydney and Parramatta respectively, both in 1788. Except for a brief period in the early years, the settlement at Sydney was always the larger, but Parramatta was preferred by the British governors whenever possible and some governors spent the majority of their time at Parramatta. The governors who resided here included William Bligh (of Bounty fame) who was also the first Australian victim of a military coup d'etat and his successor, Lachlan Macquarie, who is often credited with being the man who turned the struggling colony into a viable and vibrant state. At various times, the governor of New South Wales was administrator of the eastern half of the Australian continent, the colony of Tasmania, New Zealand and some Pacific islands including Norfolk Island and Fiji. Government House at Parramatta was the place where many important decisions were made.

In 1847 the wife of Governor Fitzroy was thrown from a carriage in an accident. Her head hit a tree along the tree-lined avenue from Government House and she subsequently died. The governor, who had been driving the carriage at the time if the accident was grief-stricken and abandoned the House. Parramatta was no longer to be the scene of government but the people of Parramatta benefitted because the extensive Governor's Demense (Domain) was bequeathed to the public as park land. Old Government House continues to nestle in the extensive surrounds of Parramatta Park.

In the early 21st century, the Park and its treasures are threatened by encroaching development encouraged by the New South Wales State Government.

For more information about this remarkable building see:
 
Old Government House, National trust

Old Government House, Parramatta in Wikipedia

Old Government House, Parramatta Museums and galleries of New South Wales