How does your garden grow?

Gardening enthusiasts of all ages and capabilities are invited to bring along their green thumbs and help us plant a new kitchen garden in honour of International Year of Fruits and Vegetables and National Science Week.


The kitchen garden was a vital source of food in the early days of the colony. Governor Phillip, the first governor and first to live on the site of Old Government House, encouraged gardening to reduce the colony’s dependency on the public stores. To set the example, he had a kitchen garden established out the front of Old Government House in 1789. Five years later it was described by the Spanish botanist Don Luis Nee as having ‘well grown fruit trees, such as pomegranates and apples and nearly all the vegetables known in Europe for culinary purposes’.

Governor Hunter rebuilt the house in 1799 but retained the useful kitchen garden. In 1805 the French naturalist Francois Peron described it as a fine garden ‘in which many interesting experiments are made with a view to naturalising foreign vegetables. Here are also collected the most remarkable of the indigenous plants’.

Although these gardens have long been lost you can help us recreate them in a small way by trying your hand at sowing, potting and planting some vegetables this National Science Week.

The garden team will be on hand to help you and can tell you more about how Parramatta was once the centre of food production for the early colony and the science behind a simple veggie patch.

Tickets will be available for the Enquiring Minds exhibition, where you can learn more about these early agricultural experiments. Lachlan’s restaurant will be open offering a café-style menu with specials inspired by the fruits and vegetables that once grew on site. Bookings and program information relating to the City of Parramatta National Science Week activities will be available on

This event is run in partnership with the City of Parramatta, who will be offering supporting programs, and Parramatta Park Trust as part of National Science Week 2021.

Please note that this is an outdoor event and we recommend you dress for the weather. Please check the event webpage for updates.


  • Enquiries: Contact the property directly on 02 9635 8149 or via email at
  • Tickets: This is a free event being held on the front lawn of Old Government House. Standard admission into the house and Enquiring Minds exhibition applies.
    Bookings are essential via Eventbrite as attendance numbers will be limited to meet our COVID-19 safety requirements.

Old Government House


Parramatta Park, Pitt Street Entrance
Parramatta 2150 NSW


Tuesdays - Sundays, 10am – 4pm.


Mondays and public holidays.

(02) 9635 8149
Entry Fees:

National Trust Members – FREE
Adult - $15
*Concession/child - $10
Family - $35
Children under 5 years – FREE
(* Concession applies for full-time students, seniors, pensioners and children aged 5-15 years.)
Please note: To ensure we can manage timed entry and safe physical distancing, we are asking visitors to pre-purchase tickets via Eventbrite. Booking fees will apply.

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