The Convict era in Parramatta
27th May 2022
By Michele Rainger
Parramatta was first settled by Europeans late in 1788—only months after the First Fleet had landed at Sydney Cove.
Finding the land around the harbour unsuitable for growing food desperately needed to feed the fledgling colony, Captain Arthur Phillip turned his attention inland to the area that was soon to become known as Parramatta. In 1789, convict farmer James Ruse produced the first successful corn harvest in New South Wales at Rosehill near Parramatta.
The town of Parramatta was laid out in 1790 along modern-day George Street, leading from the wharf to Government House. It was lined on both sides with huts occupied by convicts who built many of the early buildings including a granary, stores, and military barracks.
The first Gaol was established in 1798 and the new Parramatta Female Factory, designed by convict Architect Francis Greenway, was first occupied in 1821. This Female Factory operated as an assignment depot, prison, place of industry and medical facility for approximately 5,000 women and children until its closure in 1848.
If you would like to know more about convicts in the Parramatta area join members of our Convict Special Interest Group at our meeting on Wednesday 8 June 2022 when we will be welcoming Gay Henrikson to tell us about aspects of Parramatta’s convict past.
Gay Hendrikson is founding partner of the Rowan Tree Heritage and Cultural Services. Gay is a history curator and writer. She has researched and interpreted cultural and social histories for 30 years with content ranging from Colonial times to the present with an emphasis on women’s stories. Her writing and curatorship has focused on early Colonial Australia. She curated the national award winning Women Transported – Life in Australia’s Convict Female Factories.
Gay is currently President of the Parramatta Female Factory Friends.
Visit our Family History ACT website to reserve you seat at this meeting.
Note: This program has changed a little from that previously advertised due to the unavailability of a speaker.