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Queens Road Gatehouse

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Parramatta is the historic heart of Sydney's west, a dynamic city with beautiful parks and colonial sites such as the World Heritage-listed Old Government House and Parramatta Park.


This tour includes a number of new projects and strategy that form part of the growth seen in this region of Sydney. Discussions will include the shifting landscape of our urban cities.

Projects include:

  • Parramatta Park (Queens Gatehouse, Domain Playground, The Crescent, The Garden precinct and George Street Gatehouse)

  • Parramatta CBD and a discussion on the new Civic Link project and Light rail (City of Parramatta and Transport NSW).

Transport: Meeting point at 10am at Queens Road Gatehouse (walking distance from Westmead Train Station). The tour will include walking in the park and into Parramatta CBD, to end at Parramatta Ferry Wharf.

As part of the tour, Street Furniture Australia will provide a pop up picnic lunch in Parramatta Park including delicious food and craft beer. An opportunity to enjoy views of the river and natural surroundings, lunch will refuel you for the remaining walking tour in the early afternoon.

Sponsor: Street Furniture Australia

Projects and Speakers

Parramatta Park


UNESCO World Heritage-listed Parramatta Park is one of the 11 sites that make up the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. The 85-hectare urban park has significant Aboriginal, convict and Victorian history including Old Government House and The Dairy Cottage - one of Australia’s oldest buildings. It is also home to The Crescent, Sydney's newest major outdoor events space and a beautiful natural amphitheatre on the Parramatta River. The Park is an important recreation and cultural green space in Western Sydney that attracts more than 2 million visitors each year.

Queens Road Gatehouse


A mid-19th century Heritage-listed Gatehouse in Parramatta Park at the Queen’s Road entry near Westmead.

There are six gatehouses in Parramatta Park located at the entrances on George Street, Macquarie Street, Ross Street, Queens Road, Mays Hill and also Park Parade. The existing gatehouses were built from the late 1870s up to the early 20th century and, as a group, make an important contribution to the cultural landscape values of the Park, mark the public entrances to the Park and have historically played a key role in the day to day management of the Park.

The bricks used in the Queens Road Gatehouse were found to be even older then the structure itself and probably dating from around 1840 – while not convict-made, they did have the distinctive arrow-style frog indicating they were made by Government employees.

Domain Playground


Domain Playground in Parramatta Park is an award-winning contemporary playground, voted as Sydney’s Best Playground by TimeOut Magazine in 2016. The design combines a range of interesting and attractive play elements which foster a sense of discovery, alongside native vegetation that is in keeping with the world heritage precinct.

Sarah Christie, Senior Project Manager, Western Sydney Parklands Trust and Parramatta Park Trust

Sarah Christie is a senior landscape architect with extensive experience in project management and delivery of public domain, streetscape and open space projects. Sarah is currently responsible for the delivery of the extensive and award winning capital works program at Western Sydney Parklands and Parramatta Park, her recent achievements include the delivery of the new $15M Bungarribee Park.

Julia Manrique, Associate, McGregor Coxall

Julia is a registered Landscape Architect with professional Urban Design and Urban Planning experience. She has studied Architecture in Barcelona, Spain, where she also gained professional experience in urban design and planning. Julia was the project manager that worked on the Domain Playground from schematic design throughout construction supervision.

John Choi, Partner, CHROFI

John Choi is a partner of CHROFI, a dynamic architectural practice that operates across a wide portfolio from houses to cities, widely recognised for its design innovation and urban strategy. He is Adjunct Professor at University of Sydney and serves on the board of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

The Crescent


The Crescent is Sydney's newest major outdoor events space and a beautiful natural amphitheatre on the Parramatta River. It is an important cultural hub in Western Sydney and hosts an annual program of events called ‘The Crescent Summer Series’.

This topography of this part of Park was initially formed by a billabong on the bank of Parramatta River. In April 1788 Governor Phillip set out from Sydney Cove to explore the upper reaches of the harbour to locate potential farm land. On April 24th, he reached this site and named it ‘The Crescent’.

The Gardens Precinct


The Gardens Precinct is located to the east of Old Government House on the south side of the Parramatta River. It is located between George Street Gatehouse and Old Government House, including the Murray Gardens, Murray Gardens Creek and Pavilion Flat. The Gardens Precinct has recently received a $1 million upgrade including restoration of the convict era Macquarie Bridge by artisan stonemasons, as part of the NSW Premier’s Stoneworks Program. It remains an important entry into the Park and the Government Domain.

George Street Gatehouse


The Tudor-style gatehouse at the George Street entrance is an important gatehouse and entryway into the Park as it was built on the site of the main entrance to the Government Domain on an alignment set out by Governor Phillip. It was built on the site of Governor Macquarie’s small stone lodge.

Julie Marler, Landscape Principal, Phillips Marler


Julie is Landscape Principal at Phillips Marler, a Fellow of AILA and Registered Landscape Architect with 23 years experience of public domain landscape projects within New South Wales and the ACT. Julie has a Master of Heritage Conservation in addition to landscape architecture qualifications and widespread experience in conservation planning, adaptive reuse and revitalisation of cultural landscapes. Julie has a reputation for delivering subtle and restrained ideas into sites of special values. Prominent projects include the Audley Precinct at Royal National Park, The Gardens Precinct at Parramatta Park, and Blundells Cottage heritage precinct in Canberra.

Lunch provided by Street Furniture Australia at Rose Hill, Parramatta Park


Admiral Arthur Phillip RN sailed with the first fleet from England as Governor-designate of the proposed British penal colony of New South Wales settled Rose Hill in 1788 on rising ground next to ‘The Crescent’ – a billabong on a bend in the Parramatta River, where fresh water from a system of creeks met the tidal salt water of the harbour.


By 1790 a small single storey cottage of lath and plaster had been built at Parramatta for Governor Phillip. It was not much larger than a convict hut and was the first Governor’s residence in Paramatta.


A formal street was also laid out from the base of Rose Hill below Government House. This street, now known as George Street, became the main street of the new settlement with convict huts set out in an ordered manner along each side - 60 feet apart as a “useful precaution against fire”.


Although the colonial settlement at Parramatta was originally called Rose Hill on 4 June 1791 Phillip officially declared the name of the settlement as Parramatta – the name the Burramattagal people used. Parramatta was the first European settlement to be formally named using the Aboriginal language.

Parramatta CBD

City of Parramatta is a thriving cosmopolitan city in the demographic and geographic heart of Sydney with access to important amenities such as a strong public transport network, education facilities, healthcare, jobs, restaurants, cafes, shops, parks and open spaces, and arts and cultural offerings.

Bordered by the boundaries of the M2 motorway in the north and the M4 in the south, the City of Parramatta covers an area of 82sq km and services almost 216,000 residents. City of Parramatta encompasses the economic hubs of the Westmead Health precinct, the Parramatta CBD, the whole of the Epping Town Centre and Sydney Olympic Park. The ability for people to live, work, learn and relax within and in close proximity to Parramatta is a big drawcard.

Within the next 15-20 years there is predicted to be an additional one million people living in Western Sydney. Parramatta will be the commercial hub for this additional population, which is driving business and infrastructure growth in the region.

The Parramatta city centre walking tour will focus on projects that create a liveable city that goes beyond post-industrial urbanisation by asking at what is necessary and what is possible for its people, its ecologies, its territories and spaces.

Speakers from the City of Parramatta.

Joshua French, Senior Manager Urban Design, Parramatta Light Rail, Transport NSW

Please note: This event is exclusive to Festival ticket holders only. If you haven’t purchased your Festival pass yet, please do so here then pop back to register for this tour.

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