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Wistaria Gardens to Bloom in Parramatta Park

Bright red, pink and yellow flowers in a garden

Wistaria Gardens

Parramatta’s beautiful historic Wistaria Gardens is set to become part of Parramatta Park and will be restored to its former glory by Greater Sydney Parklands (GSP).  

The management of the two-hectare garden and heritage listed Glengarriff House is currently being transferred from NSW Health to Parramatta Park Trust, managed by GSP. 

Wistaria Gardens originally formed part of the Cumberland Hospital precinct. It holds a special place in the nation’s heritage and is one of Sydney’s most intact surviving Edwardian Gardens.

The garden is highly valued by the community for its beauty, cultural heritage and as a tranquil haven on the edge of the bustling Parramatta CBD. In spring when its colourful floral display is at its finest - the picturesque garden is a major tourist attraction for the city. It is renowned for hosting the Wistaria Festival each year in September, which has been a local tradition since 1929.

GSP is planning horticultural improvements in the short-term to improve the condition of the garden and will consult the community on future plans to protect and restore the property. It is the start of a conversation with the community about how they would like GSP to manage Wistaria Gardens for future generations to enjoy. 

Situated on the upper reaches of the Parramatta River, Wistaria Gardens and Glengarriff House are situated on land of the Burramatta clan of the Darug people.


History of Wistaria Gardens

Bright pink flowers in a garden

Wistaria Gardens

Wistaria Gardens was built as the residence for the Medical Superintendent of the Parramatta Lunatic Asylum Dr William Cotter Williamson in 1906. The original wisteria cuttings were brought back to Australia from Japan in 1907 when he was a chaperone to his two daughters, Nightingale and Nora, both accomplished musicians, who had been there on tour. Nora was regarded as one of Australia's greatest violinists in the early 20th century.

Landscape features include the former Japanese tori gates, classical urns and lych gates at the entrances. Plant species including Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), Japanese wisteria (W.floribunda) vines, flowering peach (Prunus persica cv.), almond (P.amygdalus) trees, palm trees (Washingtonia robusta), tree gardenia (Rothmannia globosa) and English elms (Ulmus procera). Annual beds line the pathways and driveways along the grass terraces as well as Parramatta River.

Glengarriff House

Glengariff House was the official residence of the Medical Superintendent from 1907 until 1963. It was then converted and used as a ward for the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions (Wistaria House) for 30 years. Glengarriff House was designed by the Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon, in the "arts and crafts" Federation style.

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