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On 26 January 1788 Governor Phillip landed at Farm Cove in Sydney to establish the colony of NSW. His crops of wheat and corn soon failed having been planted in the heat of summer and in the sandy salty soil of the cove.

In April of that same year Governor Phillip rowed up what is now the Parramatta river and selected this site for his farms and his Government House. The soil was good and the hard Australian Eucalypt trees grew naturally far enough apart so the First Fleeters did not have to cut too many trees down with their poor English axes. The oldest part of Old Government House still standing is Governor Hunters house which is the front of the two storied section in the middle part of the house. When Governor Macquarie arrived in 1809 after the rum rebellion he found the house almost uninhabitable and carried out renovations and extensions which were completed in November 1816. The house as you see it today is largely as completed by Governor Macquarie. The restaurant is located in the Garrison building was completed at the same time and housed the officers of the day. The Governors living quarters were located at the river end of the main house and the kitchen and servant areas at the opposite end. All the early Governors lived and worked here including Phillip, Hunter, King, Bligh, Macquarie, Brisbane, Darling, Bourke, Gipps and Fitzroy. Fitzroy was the last Governor to live here leaving the colony in 1855.

If you were arriving to visit the Governor back in 1815 you would most probably have rowed up the river if you were coming from Sydney Town. On arriving in Parramatta you would have walked the length of George street. This street runs in a straight line from the Governors portico to the old river wharf.

So when you celebrate at Lachlan’s, on the Garrison verandah, by one of the officer’s fireplaces in winter or in the garden marquee enjoy the history that surrounds us and remember that you will also become a part of the history of Old Government House, of Parramatta and of Australia…..

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