Parramatta Park is a place for the community to connect with and enjoy the natural environment. Parramatta Park Trust aims to maintain the Park as a haven for native flora and fauna. For more information about the Park’s native flora and fauna, its related history and strategies for future preservation and management, please see the Parramatta Park Biodiversity Strategy.
Water has been a critical feature of the Park, the main waterways being the Parramatta River, Domain Creek and Murray Garden Creek. Parramatta River flows through the Park and was vital to the survival of the Darug Nations Burramattagal Tribe who used the river to fish for food and for fresh water. The river was the original water supply for Parramatta and a weir built at Marsden Street dammed the river during Macquarie’s governorship. A second weir further upstream created a controlled river height along the length of the Park. A third weir also acts as a causeway for vehicle crossing. Fishways installed on the Marsden Street weir and the causeway, but not the weir furthest upstream, allow the migration of Australian native species into the Park stretch of Parramatta River.
Parramatta Park is home to some 140 species of wildlife. The waterways are dominated by exotic Common Carp and Mosquito Fish but also have native Longfinned Eel, Australian Bass, Cox's Gudgeon and Firetailed Gudgeon. Reptiles, typical of suburban waterways, are often sighted in the quieter habitats in the Park. Eastern Long‐necked Turtles, Red‐bellied Black Snakes, Bluetongue Lizards and, particularly, Eastern Water Dragons have been seen.
The Grey‐headed Flying‐fox is the only threatened species recorded within the Park, and is listed as vulnerable under both the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) and the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Other bat species recorded close to the Park and likely to utilise habitats within and adjoining the Park include the Southern Myotis and Eastern Bent‐wing Bat.
Parramatta Park Trust, Parramatta Council, Urban Growth NSW and the Office of Environment and Heritage, in collaboration with consultants, EcoLogical Australia, have developed a Camp Management Plan for the Grey-headed Flying-fox camp in Parramatta. The purpose of the plan is to protect and maintain a camp while minimising impact to the community.
The Park contains a mixture of local indigenous and broader Australian native species. The waterways and the ridgeline above The Crescent contain remnant and reconstructed bushland of Shale Plain Woodland: Cumberland Plain Woodland and Riverflat Eucalypt Forest on coastal floodplain in the Sydney basin. Both vegetation communities are listed as Endangered Ecological Communities under the TSC Act. Cumberland Plain Woodland is also listed under the EPBC Act. Flora surveys conducted by the Trust in 2014 found that the amount of exotic weed species was generally low to moderate reflecting a history of ongoing bush regeneration.
The major tree species is Forest Red Gum which dominates the slopes and ridges with the occasional Broad‐leaved Ironbark and Grey Box. Rough‐barked Apple, Broad‐leaved Apple and River Oak dominate the riparian zone interspersed with Narrow‐leaved Paperbark on swampy ground, and White Feather Honeymyrtle and Prickly‐leaved Paperbark in groups on the slightly better drained terrain adjacent to the creek lines. Lemon-scented gums, endemic to more northern climates, have been planted throughout the Park landscape providing shade and structure in the more open recreational areas.
Pine, English oaks, rainforest trees and jacarandas provide a reference to both the Vice Regal Domain period and the 19th Century Park period where connections to the old world influenced the park's setting. In particular, the oaks lining the avenue of roads and walkways, typical of the European influence. Nature lovers should also be sure to take in Parramatta Park’s beautiful Rumsey Rose Garden, which boasts one of the largest collections of heritage roses in Australia, and Murray Gardens, a beautiful landscaped area near the George Street Gatehouse.