Commanding Change and Social Advancement – Old Government House, Parramatta

Witness the past in the present and explore ideas of governing, economical and societal change in this Stage 3 education program at Old Government House.

Looking for an excursion that delivers the concepts of governing, democracy and societal change to your students through hands-on and explorational learning opportunities?

Old Government House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of eleven convict sites in Australia. Located on Sydney’s doorstep in leafy Parramatta Park, students in Stage 3 can witness the past in the present and explore ideas of governing, economical and societal change – and how decisions made by individuals and groups affect changes in communities and the environment in the past, present and into the future.

Commanding Change and Social Advancement – Old Government House

Pre-visit lesson

In the pre-visit lesson, students explore the changing social and economic landscape of 1800’s colonial New South Wales and the impact on the lives of First Nations Australian’s freedom to participate in Cultural Practices.

Students consider the strength of community voice in determining governing principles and laws as they investigate the economic and class tensions between the growing working class and the established wealthy.

On-site excursion

In our on-site lesson at World Heritage Listed Old Government House, students explore the growth of skilled trades in our 1815’s workshop and learn about the connection between the shortage of skilled tradesman and female domestic servants and the subsequent transformation of the colony’s social, economic and class structures.

In the Macquarie-Era house, student’s identify differences and similarities between their lives and those who have lived in the past and consider how decisions from the past shape Australian society today. In our Dharug room, students explore sustainable environmental practices including fire management through the Cultural Practice of Firestick Farming.

Teacher led on-site excursion booklets

Our teacher led booklets offer greater flexibility in terms of timing and pricing compared to the guided excursion above. Following an introduction to the site, you will be welcome to explore at your own pace. Our booklets will guide your exploration, providing primary and secondary sources to help you and your students learn about the significance of Old Government House and the lives of people in the colony.

Post-visit lesson

The post-visit lesson consolidates the topics explored on the on-site excursion. In this whole class lesson and activity, students consider Firestick Farming as an ongoing environmental management strategy.

Students reflect on the provided questions, develop their own questions, consider different opinions and develop and sort their ideas to propose possible actions.


Booking Information

Number of students: 60 max

Teachers: 1 per 10 students FOC (Max 4) extra adults are charged at the student rate

Duration: 90 minutes

Sessions: 10am – 11:30am & 12:30pm – 2pm

Cost: $14 or $22 joint ticket with Experiment Farm Cottage programs

Teacher led booklets: Cost is $11 or $20 joint ticket with Experiment Farm Cottage programs. Start anytime between 10 and 2pm. Estimate time length 60-90 minutes.

Bookings: (02) 9635 8149


Education Booking Enquiry - Parramatta

Booking Enquiry form for Old Government House & Experiment Farm Cottage

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Teachers resources

Resources for teachers planning an excursion to Old Government House.

Download risk assessment Download social scripts

Plan your visit

Commanding Change and Social Advancement – Old Government House, Parramatta


Parramatta Park, Pitt Street Entrance, Parramatta NSW 2150


Good Friday, Anzac Day, King’s Birthday, Labour Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day

(02) 9635 8149
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