Day 28: Bella Vista Farm


In 1799, Joseph Foveaux was granted 300 acres (1.2 km2), which he expanded to over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) and later sold to John Macarthur in 1801. John and Elizabeth Macarthur farmed sheep on this property in addition to their properties at Camden and Parramatta. For much of the time that the Macarthur’s owned this farm John was overseas and it fell to Elizabeth to manage the various Macarthur properties and flocks. Reference is made by her to “my Seven Hills Farm” and this refers to the property, part of which later became “Bella Vista”. Although claims are made by some that the Seven Hills Farm exclusively was used by the Macarthurs for the breeding of their merino flocks, this is clearly not the case as the documentary evidence of the Macarthur papers shows that their Merino rams were paddocked at “Elizabeth Farm” at Parramatta. The Seven Hills farm was isolated and stock there were always in danger from theft and aboriginal attack. Two of Macarthur’s stockmen were killed on the farm by natives in 1805. In fact the sheep at the Macarthur’s Seven Hills farm had their genesis in the 600 sheep which were purchased from Foveaux at the same time as the property. What can justifiably be claimed about the site is that it was one of the first major Australian sheep breeding farms and that the results later achieved at Camden with fine merino sheep only followed Elizabeth’s efforts at Seven Hills. Part of this land was later acquired by the Pearce family and became known as Bella Vista. All the buildings on the site today date from this period of its history with no extant buildings from the Macarthur period. In the 1890s, Edward Henry Pearce (1839–1912) of Bella Vista was declared the “largest and most successful orange grower in the colony.” Bella Vista was sold by the Pearces in 1950.

Until the mid-1990s, the area was primarily used for small-scale agriculture. Since then, significant changes have become apparent as it incorporates a residential area and a busy business district. However, the homestead and old farm buildings have been preserved and this portion of the former Pearce family property is now owned by The Hills Shire Council. The Friends of Bella Vista Farm Park has been formed and they are working actively to achieve the continued restoration of all buildings on this unique site.

Day 22: Sydney Town Hall

The Sydney Town Hall is a landmark sandstone building located in the heart of Sydney, New South Wales. It stands opposite the Queen Victoria Building and alongside St Andrew’s Cathedral. Sitting above the busy Town Hall station and between the cinema strip on George Street and the Central Business District, the steps of the Town Hall are a popular meeting place.

Day 20: Lennox Bridge, Parramatta

Lennox Bridge is a stone arch bridge in Parramatta, Sydney, Australia. It was designed by David Lennox and constructed with convict labour over the period 1836 to 1839, making it one of the oldest bridges in Australia. The bridge carries Church Street, the main street of Parramatta, over the Parramatta River.

Lennox Bridge is on the site of the earliest documented crossing of the Parramatta River in the Parramatta area, dating from early colonial settlement. The current bridge is the third on, or adjacent to, the site. The first was a simple timber footbridge which was destroyed by floods in 1795. The second – also a timber structure – was completed in 1802.

In 1901-1902 the bridge was strengthened internally for the Castle Hill Tramway. In 1912 the parapet on the western side was removed, providing a cantilevered pedestrian way. In 1934-5 this new section was removed; the Department of Main Roads widening the bridge in order to handle increased traffic, replacing the original balustrading with an open concrete type.

In 2012 it was controversially proposed to construct tunnels through the bridge on both sides of the bank for pedestrians and cyclists. This was approved by Parramatta City Council at the end of the year.

Day 19: Cockle Bay

Cockle Bay is a small bay in inner-city Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

When the First Fleet reached Sydney Cove in January 1788, a consignment of 5,000 bricks and 12 wooden moulds for making bricks was included in the cargo carried by the transport Scarborough. This token consignment was adequate enough to enable the first settlers to make a start on the colony’s first buildings, until the location of a suitable site for brick-making could be found. A site deemed suitable for this endeavour would need to have a plentiful supply of clay and a ready source of fresh water. Approximately a mile from the settlement, at the head of a long cove (and consequently so named), a suitable site for brick-making was located. This site was later named Cockle Bay, and still later, Darling Harbour.

Day 14: Building 60 – Royal Australian Naval Armament Depot

The RAN Armament Depot Newington was a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) armament depot at Newington, New South Wales, Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald in October 1875 reported the recommendations of a Board appointed by the Government of the Colony of New South Wales into the removal of the Goat Island magazine. The second recommendation was “That a separate and distinct magazine for merchant’s gunpowder, capable of storing about 300 tons, be established on the right bank of the Parramatta River…”. In May 1876, the Herald reported that the Government had set aside 3,700 pounds to purchase land on the Parramatta River at Newington.

Day 13: Dragon

Australian water dragons have long powerful limbs and claws for climbing, a long muscular laterally-compressed tail for swimming, and prominent nuchal and vertebral crests. (A nuchal crest is a central row of spikes at the base of the head. These spikes continue down the spine, getting smaller as they reach the base of the tail.)
Including their tails, which comprise about two-thirds of their total length, adult females grow to about 60 cm (2 feet) long, and adult males can grow slightly longer than one metre (3 feet) and weigh about 1 kg. Males show bolder colouration and have larger heads than females. Colour is less distinct in juveniles.

Day 11: Town Hall Railway Station

Town Hall railway station is the second-busiest railway station on the CityRail network (after Central station), located in Sydney, Australia. Located underground, it is situated in the Sydney central business district, under the street in front of the Sydney Town Hall, about 1.2 km north of Central.

The station is built on the site of Sydney’s earliest colonial cemetery.[citation needed] In 2008, part of this cemetery was being excavated from under the Town Hall.

The station opened on 28 February 1932.