Rose Hill and Government Farm
The settlement at Rose Hill
Governor Phillip settled Rose Hill in November 1788, under instructions from King George. The sandy soil and unreliable water supply at Sydney’s first settlement in Farm Cove (now the Royal Botanic Gardens) meant it wasn’t suited to farming and the success of the colony depended on it becoming self-sufficient.
A site at the head of the Parramatta River was chosen for its open country with light bushland. It was named Rose Hill in honour of George Rose, the English Secretary of the Treasury.
Government Farm was the first successful farm established in the colony. It was cleared and planted in 1788 by Henry Edward Dodd, one of the few experienced farmers in the colony. A barn, farm house and a granary were built too.
In December 1789, the first season produced vegetables, wheat, barley and a small quantity of flax, corn and oats. It wasn’t enough to feed the colony, which still needed supplies shipped over.
The site of what was once Government Farm is on the north side of the Parramatta River, near the O’Connell Street carpark.