The Thief, The Farmer & The Surgeon – Experiment Farm Cottage, Harris Park

The Thief, the Farmer and the Surgeon education program offers both primary source investigation and hands-on learning activities.

Stage 1, 2 & 3

Through this program, students gain insight into different lives in the early colony, the hardships and achievements of James Ruse, a poor farmer, and the comparative power and affluence of John Harris, a military surgeon.

The house of Surgeon Harris contains original colonial furniture and household objects. A guided tour explores early technologies and lifestyles revealed through the house’s contents, the roles of domestic staff and the activities of the surgeon.

Activities include seed-planting, early water-carrying techniques and costume-dressing.


  • Stage 1 – Present and past family life
  • Stage 2 – First Contacts
  • Stage 3 – The Australian Colonies


  • USE primary sources for historical investigation.
  • RECOGNISE the effects of change and urbanisation to the environmental landscape.
  • REFLECT on early food production and the work of a farmer through activity based learning.
  • DEVELOP an understanding and empathy for people of the past.
  • COMPARE the living conditions of an ex-convict with that of a wealthy military surgeon.
  • LEARN about significant people in the development of a wealthy military surgeon.


  • Stage 1 – HT1-2, HT1-3, HT1-4
  • Stage 2 – HT1-2, HT2-4, HT2-5
  • Stage 3 – HT3-1, HT3-2, HT3-3, HT3-5

Booking Information

Number of Students – 45 max
Teachers – 1 per 10 students FOC (Max 4) extra adults charged at student rate

Duration – 90 minutes

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

Cost – $8 per student

Bookings – (02) 9635 5655

Joint Bookings – with Old Government House programs available for a reduced cost of $12.00 for two programs

Education Booking Enquiry - Parramatta

Booking Enquiry form for Old Government House & Experiment Farm Cottage

Call to action section

Teacher's Resources

Resources for teachers planning an excursion to Experiment Farm Cottage.

Download Risk Assessment

9 Ruse Street
Harris Park 2150 NSW


Open: Wed - Sun 10.30am – 3.30pm
Last tour 3:00pm
Mon and Tues – available for Group bookings only


Mondays, Tuesdays
17 - 26 December inclusive, New Year's Eve, New Years Day
Easter Long Weekend
Anzac Day 25 April

(02) 9635 5655
[email protected]
What we offer:

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