The River: Burramatta to Cockatoo

Explore the history of the Parramatta River over its centuries of use as a transport route and food source, and as a site for colonial houses, industrialisation and recreation.

Just near Old Government House the confluence of Darling Mills Creek and Toongabbie Creek form the headwaters of the Parramatta River.

This area was used by the local Burramatta people as a gathering place before the arrival of the British, and it was chosen for the settlement of Parramatta as the land was fed by the freshwater of the river.

“The River” will tell the stories of centuries of use of the River, including by the Burramattagal, and explore the impacts of colonisation and industrialisation on the River, its use for recreation and the current campaign to clean up the River to allowing swimming.

The exhibition will feature objects from the National Trust collection and on loan from the Maritime Museum, Powerhouse Museum and Parramatta Council.

Visitors will be able to explore the story of Subiaco House, a once grand colonial mansion demolished for an industrial site, learn about the early ferries, delight in the swimming spot of “Little Coogee” and become involved with the campaign to make the River swimmable again.




Exhibition details

This exhibition runs Saturday  4 March – Sunday 26 November 2023 in accordance with Old Government House opening hours and days, as listed below.

Last entry at 3.30pm for 4pm closing.

Access: Please note this exhibition is located on the top floor of Old Government House, up a flight of stairs.

Special members-only viewing and morning tea also available. Click here for more info. 


How to book your tickets

General Entry pricing applies. Your exhibition ticket also grants full access to the house.

Book via Eventbrite where possible, to guarantee a spot.




Please contact the property direct using the details below.


Images (L-R): Subiaco by Frederick Charles Terry, c. 1860, published by Degotardi & Co., courtesy of National Library of Australia; Bayview Park Baths Launch, courtesy of Parramatta River Catchment Group.


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Old Government House

Old Government House


Parramatta Park, Pitt Street Entrance
Parramatta 2150 NSW


Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 4pm. Last entry 3:30pm.


Friday 7 April 2023
Tuesday 25 April 2023

(02) 9635 8149
Entry Fees:

National Trust Members – FREE
Adult - $15
*Concession/child - $12
Family - $42
Children under 5 years – FREE
(* Concession applies for full-time students, seniors, pensioners and children aged 5-15 years.)
Booking fees apply.

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Images above (L-R):
  • Goal Bridge in 1826. Horses stand behind where the Parramatta Riverside Theatre now resides,Vue d’un pont a l’entree de Paramatta by Louis Auguste de Sainson, c. 1860, courtesy of National Library of Australia
  • Little Coogee. A popular swimming and picnic spot on the river, image c.1920, courtesy of Parramatta Park and Western Sydney Parklands Trust
  • Lake Parramatta in 2020, courtesy of City of Parramatta
Images below:
  • The landing place at Parramatta, Port Jackson by George William Evans, c. 1809, courtesy of State Library of New South Wales
  • Lake Parramatta in 2020, courtesy of City of Parramatta
  • A view of Government Farm at Rose Hill, New South Wales 1791

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