This week, The Past Present is back in Sydney, investigating an image which is not only beautiful, but also very intriguing. Picnicking has long been a very popular pastime for Sydneysiders and there were many picnic grounds which sprung up around Sydney. The image above captures a glimpse of the picnic grounds at the Parramatta River, as the caption states, but the exact location is something of a mystery.
Parramatta itself is the site of Australia’s second oldest European settlement. Settlement began in early November 1788 when it became clear that more fertile land would need to be found to support the fledgeling colony. Soon farming was established in the area, and by the 1850s various other industrial processes had also moved in. In fact, by the 1850s it was actually Parramatta, not Sydney itself which was the main metropolis of NSW! This had a significant impact on the river itself, and pollution became a problem, but the natural beauty of the river continued to attract people none-the-less. Picnicking was popular, and various picnic areas like the one shown in the image above began to be established along the shores of the river. Some even included areas for swimming, such as Little Coogee (which was located in what is now Parramatta Park).