I used to own a house in Sydney not far from the Parramatta River and would ride my bike along the many bike paths on both sides. My daughter, The Princess, now attends a TAFE College within walking distance of the Meadowbank Ferry wharf. The wharf looks as though it is dipping down:
Parramatta is derived from the Aboriginal meaning the place where eels lie down. The river begins at the confluence of Toongabbie Creek and Darling Mills Creek near the city of Parramatta and travels east until it flows into Port Jackson – which contains Sydney Harbour - there it is still about 21km from the ocean. The total catchment area of the river is approximately 130 km² and is tidal to Charles Street Weir in Parramatta, approximately 30 km from Sydney Heads!
The city of Parramatta was founded in 1788 – same year as Sydney. The British Colony arrived in January 1788 and set up at Sydney Cove but soon found that the soil was too poor to grow enough food to support the 1000 convicts, soldiers and administrators. Parramatta was the first navigable point inland on the Parramatta River where soil became viable and also the point where the river became freshwater.
The Paramatta River Railway Bridge at Meadowbank was built of cast iron in 1886. It has been converted for pedestrian and cycle use and links the Ryde District and Homebush Bay. I was glad to have a light weight bike because you do have to haul it up quite a few steps!
There are significant stands of mangroves along the river – these have actually colonised areas which were previously salt marsh. The extensive mangrove stands would once have been open water, sandy beaches and outcrops of rock.