SketchingNow Adventure: Parramatta and Harris Park

December 17, 2014 | Leave your thoughts


This week for the last of my SketchingNow Adventure this year, I headed to Parramatta. It marks a half way point in the metropolitan area and is located at the point where the Parramatta River becomes freshwater. It also the location of the oldest inland European settlement in Australia; within a year of the British landing, it was established as a town for farming. There are many historic colonial buildings scattered throughout the central business district and I explored a few.


It was a wild and windy day and I only lasted till lunchtime but this is what I managed in the few hours I was there.


First sketch was St John church on the way to somewhere special. I was playing with my yellow and green De Atramentis ink that I put into a waterbrush. Very quick sketch.

My first destination was  Circa – a serious coffee shop!


I had a great time interacting with the great staff and owner… and enjoying my orders.


A lovely coffee to start and amazing French toast


and then a great Teacraft Oolong tea.

Didn’t really have the time to sketch the interior but I do intend to go back soon!


I had to rush back to my car as my parking was about to expire, but on the way I did a super quick sketch of Brislington 1821 – the oldest example of a privately built colonial townhouse in mainland Australia (that is what my guide says…hmm,  sounds like it is trying too hard to make it the oldest something). I was playing with my DeA green ink with this sketch. Bottle green is a common colour for architectural details in Australia and I have often wanted a good solution for doing them. I am thinking that mixing a darker green might be a very useful colour to have in my kit.

This is located in the Justice Precinct just near the Tudor Gatehouse entrance to Parramatta Park – sadly didn’t get a chance to sketch it this visit.


I also didn’t get to sketch the lovely Old Government House designed by James Bloodsworth in 1799 (the oldest public building in Australia) but I did get to say hello to a few Corella birds on the way – I don’t often see them where I live. They have a much nicer call than the sulfur crested cockatoos!

I drove a little further into the park and sketched the Boer War memorial – the weather changed from sun to overcast to little rain three times during the sketch. This memorial was built in 1904 and the four Doric columns, entablature blocks and cornice are from the Parramatta Courthouse built by Mortimer Lewis in 1837. The broken pillar in the centre of the memorial signifies “life broken short” to remember the lives lost in the war.
I was sitting next to the spot of the first building in Parramatta (the oldest building site?)


Next I headed to the suburb next door of Harris Park – which is a ‘little India’ but right in the middle is a striking 1970s church – A Lebanese Maronite church. I did a quick loose sketch of this before tracking down a few more colonial structures.


There are three farm cottages in this area, the best known is Elizabeth Farm 1793 (the oldest surviving building in Australia). But you can also visit Experiment Farm 1834 and Hambledon Cottage which was the residence of the Macarthurs’ governess. I sat on the grass outside the latter and did one final sketch for the outing.


I then popped in and had a cup of tea with my brother and his family before heading home.


I don’t often share family details here on my blog but sometimes I just have to indulge. Warning: proud Auntie moment coming up… These two sweet children are a big part of my life. I think they were pleased to see Auntie Liz!?!

There is still SO much more I want to sketch and explore in this part of Sydney but this adventure was a start.

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