Enquiring Minds: exploration and discovery in colonial New South Wales

Enquiring Minds will delve into the eighteenth and nineteenth century voyages of discovery which combined the exploration of the great southern land with scientific advances in navigation, astronomy, mapping, and botanical collecting.

Governor Brisbane had a keen interest in using astronomy for marine navigation, and established an observatory next to Old Government House, where the first chart of stars in the southern hemisphere was compiled from 1821 – 1825, cataloging over 7,500 stars. The chart, and some of the instruments will be featured.

The marine explorations of Mathew Flinders and Phillip Parker King, and the inland explorations of John Oxley added greatly to the European knowledge of the land as they were accompanied by botanists, geologists and naturalists. Although the fabled inland sea was never found, the expeditions of Oxley and those who followed him opened up the country for agriculture and settlement, and had a profound effect on both the land and the indigenous peoples.

Enquiring Minds will examine how these discoveries added to the knowledge of the world at a time when new theories of evolution were being developed and exotic Australian specimens created a sensation in Europe.


The exhibition is open Tuesday – Sundays until 28 November 2021.

Event dates

Event Details

Parramatta Park, corner Pitt and Macquarie streets, Parramatta, NSW

Old Government House is located within Parramatta Park.


10am -4pm (last entry 3.30pm)

Entry fees:
Adults $15, Children $10.00, Concession $10, Family $35.00
Attendance limit:
Onsite facilities:
Other things
you need to know:
Timed and ticketed parking is available nearby in Parramatta Park