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Rose Hill and Government Farm

The Settlement at Rose Hill

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 settlement farm, located in Farm Cove (which is now in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney) 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, and a settlement was established on 2nd November 1788. It was named Rose Hill in honour of George Rose, the English Secretary of the Treasury.

Government Farm

Government Farm was the first successful farm established in the colony.  Henry Edward Dodd, one of the few experienced farmers in the colony, oversaw the farm and in the spring and summer of 1788, 70 acres were cleared and planted.  A barn, a house and a granary were also established.  In December 1789, the first season produced a 'plentiful and luxuriant' vegetable crop as well as two hundred bushels of wheat, sixty bushels of barley and a small quantity of flax, Indian corn and oats. While this was a pleasing first crop, most of the crop was reserved for seed, and it was in no way sufficient to feed the colony, which was still dependent on supply vessels.


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