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The Darug people who lived in the area before European settlement regarded the area as rich in food from the river and forests.

They called the area Baramada or Burramatta ('Parramatta') which means "head of waters", To this day many eels and other sea creatures are attracted to nutrients that are concentrated where the saltwater of Port Jackson meets the freshwater of the Parramatta River.

There, Ruse became the first person to successfully grow grain in Australia.

The Parramatta area was also the site of the pioneering of the Australian wool industry by John Macarthur's Elizabeth Farm in the 1790s.

Parramatta was the furthest navigable point inland on the Parramatta River (i.e.As such, Parramatta is the second oldest city in Australia, being only 10 months younger than Sydney.The British Colonists, who had arrived in January 1788 on the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, had only enough food to support themselves for a short time and the soil around Sydney Cove proved too poor to grow the amount of food that 1,000 convicts, soldiers and administrators needed to survive.Governor Arthur Phillip built a small house for himself on the hill of The Crescent.In 1799 this was replaced by a larger residence which, substantially improved by Governor Lachlan Macquarie from 1815 to 1818, has survived to the present day, making it the oldest surviving Government House anywhere in Australia.

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