Discover Indigenous History in Parramatta

Discover the rich Indigenous history of Parramatta. Take a walk through Parramatta Park, visit the heritage centre and examine archaeological sites.

5 mins read

Want to know more about Sydney’s Indigenous origins? Parramatta is a great place to start. Our city has a rich Indigenous history that you can spend an entire day learning about alone or with friends and loved ones.

Parramatta is home to an array of educational centres, resources, and facilities dedicated to helping modern-day folks learn more about the area’s Indigenous origins. From Parramatta Park to the various archaeological sites to the Parramatta Heritage & Visitors Information Centre, there’s no shortage of enriching educational experienced to participate in.

Get started on your journey to learning about Aboriginal and Indigenous history in Parramatta today.

History Revealed in Parramatta Park

Parramatta Park is the first place to start if you are looking to learn more about Indigenous history in Parramatta. It has a strong connection to the Burramatta people and is home to thriving native fauna and flora, which today are the same as they were before European settlement.

Parramatta Park houses many historically significant sites of relation to the indigenous community, including St John’s Cathedral. This site is where Governor Macquarie first hosted a gathering for local Aboriginal clans in 1814. The cathedral is still used today for an annual event.

Warami Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural Tour

The Warami Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural Tour is another reason to visit Parramatta Park. The guided tour takes you on a leisurely walk along the river in Parramatta Park. It is a great way to connect with an Aboriginal traditional custodian and learn more about the Darug people’s lifestyle and culture in Parramatta. You will learn about Aboriginal relationships with the land, hunting strategies, and how they used native plants.

Traditions Rediscovered at Parramatta Heritage & Visitors Information Centre

Parramatta Heritage & Visitors Information Centre provides you with a comprehensive introduction to Parramatta, recounting settlement traditions as well as indigenous culture and history. It has a wealth of resources to help you learn more about Indigenous history in Parramatta, from guided tours to educational webinars to school holiday programs.

The centre’s Council Archives holds thousands of historical records dating back to 1846, many concerning indigenous communities of different timelines. You can access maps, photographs, and film footage when exploring the archive and even dig through more detailed annual reports.

Parramatta Heritage & Visitors Information Centre also sports several cultural collections, containing over 100,000 culturally significant objects - mostly comprised of indigenous ceremonial gifts and artworks. You can view the artworks and crafts by contacting the centre and filling out a research enquiry form.

The Past Uncovered at Archaeological Sites

Archaeology is one of the best methods for uncovering the past and learning about the history of a culture or community. There are many confirmed and potential archaeological sites in Parramatta that have provided important evidence of indigenous Australia's history and growth.

Moreover, the City of Parramatta also has many heritage conservation areas which display parts of indigenous culture and history. There are 18 heritage conservation areas in Parramatta, most of which are located in Epping, Granville, Harris Park, Rosehill, and Sydney Olympic Park.

These sites help preserve the pattern of subdivision, building and landscaping style, and streetscapes of Parramatta’s past. Aboriginal heritage such as rivers, creeks, mountains, missions, and post-contact sites are also protected by the Parramatta Council. 

The Parramatta River in particular is rich in geological and palaeontological history, having developed flourishing life for hundreds of thousands of years. The ancestors of the Burramatagal people are known to have settled in Parramatta River. Learn more about the foundations of Parramatta River here.

History Relived at Baludarri Wetlands

The Baludarri Wetlands is another place to explore if you are looking to learn about Indigenous history in Parramatta. The wetlands were traditionally a resourceful place for the Darug people, filled with fish, medicinal plants, and shelter sites.

The wetlands were named after a young Burramatagal man, Baludarri, who was one of the first Indigenous Australians to initiate trade with early settlers. You can learn more about Baludarri here with our mini documentary.

Currently, an eye-catching Jamie Eastwood designed artwork displays proudly along the foreshore, depicting Parramatta’s history from an Aboriginal perspective. The Reconciliation Soundscape can also be heard near Lennox Bridge. Take a stroll through Baludarri Wetlands and acknowledge the traditional owners of this land.

Discover Parramatta’s Indigenous History

There are many ways you can learn about Indigenous history in Parramatta. From participating in a guided tour through Parramatta Park, to visiting heritage sites, to contacting the Parramatta Heritage & Visitors Information Centre, there are many resources available to you to learn about of the origins of the land. Get started at Parramatta today.

Image: Jodie Choolburra