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  • Parramatta River Panorama

    Posted by Trevor Patrick February 13, 2014 - 1,332 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #new south wales  #parramatta 

    The offer of a restful and invigorating ferry voyage along the Parramatta River was too good to refuse. A shallow draught catamaran cruises the river every day in daylight hours.

    We will be travelling in the wake of the first governor of the colony, Arthur Phillip, who sailed this way in a ship’s longboat in 1788 looking for land suitable to grow food for the thousand souls under his command.


    Ferry Marjory Jackson leaving Parramatta

    The Parramatta wharf is at the junction where fresh water of the river meets the salt water of Port Jackson, known as Sydney Harbour. The comfortable ferry slips effortlessly away from the wharf, underneath the Gasworks Bridge, past Hambledon Cottage and Clay Cliff Creek whose banks supplied clay for the first bricks of the settlement. The three storey brick building, the Female Orphan School, was the first such structure in Parramatta and looks down at us from the northern shore.


    Dense mangroves line the banks of the upper reaches until we reach Homebush Bay, the Bicentennial and Sydney Olympic Park. Residential development has proceeded at a pace with high rise apartments offering water views to all inhabitants. We pass under the northern railway line and road bridge linking suburbs of Concord and Ryde which were first settled in 1793. James Squire planted a crop of hops on his 30 acres at Kissing Point making the first legal beer in the Colony.


    Ryde Road Bridge and Rivendell


    Across the river to the south is the stately Thomas Walker Hospital and Rivendell Adolescent Unit. Mr Walker deeded his property in his will to the people of New South Wales to provide free medical care.


    Mortlake Riverside Appartements


    The Mortlake Ferry crosses the river between Breakfast Point and Putney and is the last link to Mortlake’s industrial past. The Australian Gas Light Company occupied the land with the sixth largest gas-producing works in the British Empire. Gas was supplied to Sydney for lighting and cooking from the Queen’s birthday May 24, 1841. Natural gas has now replaced the conversion of coal transported from the Hunter Valley. The removal of the gas holders and industrial plant has released the land for quality residential apartments.


    Riverside Home Henley, Oil Tanker and Tugs, 

    Jet Boat on Parramatta River, Abbotsford


    A kilometre along the river brings us to Abbotsford wharf on the south bank and Looking Glass Bay to the north. Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson’s home nestles in the bay and his 150th birthday was celebrated on Sunday February 16, 2014. Banjo Paterson’s ballad “Waltzing Matilda” is considered by many as Australia’s unofficial anthem. The Great North Road of 1830s reaches the water’s edge at Abbotsford Point where the old punt carried traffic across to Bedlam Point, on to Punt Road, northward through Beecroft, Dural, Wiseman’s Ferry to link with the Hunter Valley, a distance of 240 kilometres.


    Gladesville Bridge, Old Gladesville Bridge Sandstone Support,

    Fitzroy Dock


    We pass under the Gladesville Bridge, noting the sandstone supports of an earlier low level bridge. On our right is Cockatoo Island, known by the aboriginal people as Warriubah. The island was occupied as early as 1813 being used as an isolation prison until 1902.

    Prison labour was used to excavate the Fitzroy Dock between 1848 and 1853 where ships were repaired. The State and then Commonwealth Government took control of the island building 25 large vessels, including six warships by 1938.


    Sydney Harbour Bridge


    The deepest point of the harbour – 26 fathoms, or 156 feet - near Lavender Bay leads to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a single span bridge which measures 1650 feet, weighs 54,000 tons and was opened on March 19, 1932.


    Sydney Opera House, Black Pearl Sailing Ship, Sydney Ferry CBD and Buoy

    Luna Park Lavender Bay, Tarban Creek and Bridge, Mulgi Heritage Ferry


    Turning south around Dawes Point where the first cannon battery was mounted in 1789 we approach Circular Quay and the overseas terminal. Cruise ships regularly visit Sydney Harbour to give passengers a taste of Australia.


    Cruise Liner at Overseas Terminal

    Fort Dennison, Fort Dennison CBD Backdrop, Martello Tower at Fort Dennison

    Buskers at Circular Quay, Fort Cannons and City, Tower Cannon Room

    Wallaby at Taronga Zoo, Lion and Lioness at Taronga, Dinosaur model at Taronga Zoo

    Cockatoo Island, Sydney Rowing Club, South Head Lighthouse

    RAN Museum Foyer, Sails near Bradley Head

    Back in time: Manly Beach 1958, The Queen Mother visits Manly in 1958

    The wharfs at Circular Quay offer an exciting variety of travel options: Fort Denison with its Martello Tower dominating midstream Port Jackson; Garden Island and the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Museum; Watson’s Bay, South Head and Macquarie Lighthouse; Taronga Zoological Gardens; and Manly with ocean waves suitable for surfboard riding.
    Trevor Patrick.  February 2014


    See all full size images in the accompanying album!