Parameter is now almost an inner suburb of Sydney, but even though the ‘town’ has been gobbled up by the urban sprawl, Parramatta to many remains its own city within a city. Parramatta is old, and pleasingly there has been some heritage buildings survive.
Parramatta was founded in 1788, the same year as Sydney. The British Colony, which had arrived in January 1788 in the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, had only enough food to support itself for a short time and the soil around Sydney Cove proved too poor to grow the amount of food that 1,000 convicts, soldiers and administrators needed to survive. During 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip had considered several places before choosing Parramatta as the most likely place for a successful large farm. Parramatta was the furthest navigable point inland on the Parramatta River (i.e. furthest from the thin, sandy coastal soil) and also the point at which the river became freshwater and therefore useful for farming.
On Sunday 2 November 1788, Governor Phillip took a detachment of marines along with a surveyor and, in boats, made his way upriver to a location that he called The Crescent, a defensible hill curved round a river bend, now in Parramatta Park. As a settlement developed, Governor Phillip gave it the name "Rose Hill" (now used for a nearby race course) which in 1791 he changed to Parramatta, approximating the term used by the local Aboriginal people.
Parramatta is not easy to get around and parking up for the day will be difficult, but is worth the effort.