On this day, 2nd November 1788, the settlement at Rose Hill was founded.
This was the beginning of Parramatta, now a thriving centre of modern western Sydney.
In the early days of the colony (New South Wales), Governor Phillip’s instruction from King George was to “immediately …proceed to the cultivation of the land … for procuring supplies of grain and ground provisions”.
The sandy soil and unreliable water supply at the first farm, located in Farm Cove was unsuitable for farming. Phillip knew that the success of the colony depended on becoming self sufficient, so explored the vast harbour in search of fertile land. In April 1788 he discovered the lightly timbered, open country at the head of the Parramatta River, which offered the prospect of easy cultivation,
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” after George Rose, Secretary for the British Treasury. He established a government farm there, 23 km to the west of Sydney and then the town was laid out in June 1790. On June 4, 1791 Rose Hill became Parramatta, similar to the name used by the Aboriginal people.
The State Library of New South Wales holds early depictions of Rose Hill including