Castle Hill House

Castle Hill

Castle Hill, a suburb in the north-west of Sydney, is the administrative centre of the local government area of The Hills Shire. 31 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district, it is the centre of major industrial and residential region of the past 20 years. Local landmarks include Castle Hill House (circa 1844) on Old Northern Road, which has a local government heritage listing; the public school (1879), Old Northern Road, also with a LG heritage listing; the former parsonage (1866), Parsonage Road; and the former church, Old Northern Road, now converted to commercial use.

Castle Hill is served by private buses such as Hillsbus which provides express services to Sydney CBD, as well as Parramatta, Pennant Hills, Macquarie Park, Baulkham Hills, Rouse Hill, Cherrybrook and Busways, which provides services to Stanhope Gardens, Kellyville, Glenwood, Bella Vista and Blacktown.

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Powerhouse Discovery Centre

The Powerhouse Discovery Centre Collection Stores at Castle Hill is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, along with the Powerhouse Museum in Darling Harbour and Sydney Observatory at the Rocks. The Powerhouse Discovery Centre is the Museum s off-site storage and collection care facility, located on the corner of Windsor and Showground roads in Castle Hill. The Museum's unique and diverse collection of 385,000 objects spans history, science, technology, design, industry, decorative arts, music, transport and space exploration. The Discovery Centre houses 40 per cent of the collection (by volume), or about 50,000 objects and is now open to the general public.

Access programs include monthly public open days (on the second Saturday of each month); themed supervised tours into stores on site; educational programs and workshops, tours for school groups and special-interest groups; school holiday programs; community engagement programs; regional partnership events; and specialist/industry and professional development programs. These provide insight not only to the Powerhouse collection but to the important preservation undertaken there.

Fred Caterson Reserve

This reserve is is a large sports facility surrounded by bushland. There are picnic tables and a junior children s playground, public toilets and extensive walking tracks. The reserve also features a BMX track, a remote control car track and a basketball stadium. Fred Caterson Reserve, at Gilbert Road, Castle Hill.

The bushland of Fred Caterson Reserve is known to visitors from far and wide as a picturesque backdrop to the popular sports fields, where they come to watch and play soccer, cricket, basketball, tennis, baseball, BMX and model car racing. Over thousands of years previously, Aboriginal people came to understand its resources and learned to live sustainably as part of it. While Castle Hill was a farming area and cars were scarce, locals visited on foot and horseback, enjoying this wild place, with its lush native grasslands, massive scribbly gums and wildflowers among sandstone outcrops. Cattai Creek was a home to Platypus and yabbies, and the perfect place to cool off in the water on a summer's day.

The land that would later become Fred Caterson Reserve, Castle Hill Pony Club, the Showground and the Cemetery was first reserved in 1861 as the site for a new village, but was never used. In 1895 the future Fred Caterson Reserve and Pony Club was given to the people of NSW for public recreation. The reserve remained undeveloped until the mid 1960s, and until the late 1980s it was part of a large natural area along the upper reaches of Cattai Creek. Most of the local bush has since been replaced by houses and Fred Caterson Reserve is the largest of a series of bush remnants that remind us how the area s ancient landscapes once looked. The remaining bushland is still full of fascinating plants and animals many of them now rare. This booklet was produced to help visitors, students, neighbours and others discover more about them, and the reserve s interesting past.

Artisan Craft Markets
Carrington Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154, Australia
Trading: 4th Saturday - 8am - 12noon except January
Type: Artisans
Phone: 02 4572 6260. A variety of arts and crafts and foods are offered for sale. Children can enjoy plaster painting, music, riding and playing in the showground.

Castle Hill Mixed Market
Carrington Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154, Australia (Showground)
Trading: 3rd Saturday of the month - 9am - 2pm
Type: Art & Craft, Artisans, Baby & Kids/Children, Organic, Fashion, Handmade, *Wheel Chair Friendly, Food, Preloved
Phone: 0434 824 513

Hawkesbury Harvest Farmers and Fine Food Market Castle Hill
Carrington Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154, Australia
Trading: 2nd & 4th Saturday - 8am - 12noon
Type: Produce, Food
Phone: 02 4572 6260

The Artisans Fair
Castle Hill Showground, Carrington Rd, Castle Hill
Trading: 3rd Sunday of the Month - 9am - 3pm
Type: Art & Craft
Phone: 0417 275 172

In late March the annual Castle Hill Agricultural Show is held at the Castle Hill Showground. This show dates back to the 1880s and reflects the heritage of the Hills District.[11] The show is mainly agricultural with many sheep, cattle and horse competitions on every year. The Castle Hill show also includes novelty games and items, showbags and educational stalls. The show runs for three days over the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

Bidjigal Reserve

A favourite bushwalking spot on the North Shore, Bidjigal Reserve is an extensive nature reserve which falls within the original Baulkham Hills Common that was set aside for grazing cattle in 1804. Incorporating Eric Mobbs Recreational Reserve, Darling Hills State Forest, Don Moore Reserve and Ted Horwood Reserve, it follows Darling Mills Creek and its tributaries through the suburbs of Castle Hill, Baulkham Hills, Carlingford, North Rocks and Northmead. A number of walking paths give access to the heart of what is the largest remnant of natural bushland in the area. Infamous 1820's bushranger Jack Donahoe, who carried out many robberies in the area, is reported to have used the gorge as a hideout.

With towering eucalypt forest, weathered sandstone cliffs, sparkling creeks cascading over rocks and sheltered rainforest gullies, Bidjigal Reserve is an island of natural habitat in the heart of the Hills area. 370 native plant species, over 140 native animals, myriads of birds, spectacular varieties of native orchids and a diverse show of fungi makes a walk through Bidjigal Reserve an interesting, relaxing and educational experience.

Platypus Walk, Bidjigal Reserve

The earliest record of Indigenous people in the Bidjigal Reserve is from a rock shelter where, starting 10,000 years ago, they left many stone artefacts along with numerous animal bones.The area was part of the territory of the Bidjigal clan of the Darug people and provided an abundance of fresh water, fish, shelter, stone for tool sharpening and a wide range of plants and animals for food, medicine, weapons, tools and containers.

Mammals such as Echidnas, Sugar Gliders and Swamp Wallabies have made Bidjigal Reserve their home. There have been reports of possible Bandicoot tracks, but no actual sightings. Bush Rat,Water Rat and Antechinus may still be there but have not been found in recent surveys. Platypus were regularly seen up till the installation of the sewer in the mid 70s, but none since. A wide range of reptiles, with 22 species recorded, can be found in Bidjigal Reserve; the Eastern Water Dragon is common.The reserve is teaming with cicadas, dragonflies, butterflies, worms and other insects which constantly help keep the reserve in good health.The freshwater habitats in the reserve still support yabbies, eels and turtles.

There are numerous entry points into the reserve: via Excelsior Avenue, Castle Hill (Excelsior Creek); Blacks Road (Bellbird Creek), Westmore Drive (Blue Gum Creek), Bron Close and Sancturary Point Road, West Pennant Hills; Annette Place (Saw Mill Creek), Cross Street (Christmas Bush Creek), Park Road and Renown Road, Baulkham Hills and Woodbury Street (Rifle Range Creek), Larra Avenue and Raine Avenue, North Rocks.

Facilities: walking trails, toilets, sports, barbecue and picnic facilities at The Eric Mobbs Recreational Reserve and Ted Horwood Reserve.
How to get there: train to Parramatta, Bus. No. 603 or 630, alight Cnr Park and Renown Rd near entrance to Ted Horwood Reserve.

Great North Road

Remnants of a convict built bridge across Pyes Creek, part of the historic Great North Road (1826-36)

Extending north from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, the 240 km Great North Road was built between 1826 and 1836 by re-offending convicts stationed at Newcastle. The road originally passed through Baulkham Hills along what is now called Old Northern Road to Wisemans Ferry. In 1829 Surveyor General Thomas Mitchell developed a shorter route which branched north from the Parramatta Road at Five Dock. A ferry crossed the Parramatta River from Abbotsford to Bedlam Point at Gladesville. The road then followed the present line of Victoria Road, Blaxland Road, continuing north to join the original line of road from Castle Hill at Dural. In a reserve in Woodlark Place, Castle Hill are the remains of small masonry abutments where Mitchell's road crossed Pyes Creek.

History of Castle Hill
The land that is now called Castle Hill was originally home to the Bidjigal people, who are believed to be a clan of the Dharuk people, who occupied all the land to the immediate west of Sydney. The best-known Aboriginal person from that time is Pemulwuy, a Bidjigal leader who led the resistance movement against the British forces, including sacking farms in Castle Hill, before his eventual capture and execution by the British militia. The Bidjigal people are today commemorated by Bidjigal Reserve which straddles the suburbs of Castle Hill, Baulkham Hills, North Rocks and West Pennant Hills.

The first European visitors to the district were Governor Phillip and an excursion from Parramatta who reached the Hills in April 1791. Their aim was to find new country for settlement and farming to feed their struggling Sydney colony. The first free settler in Castle Hill was Frenchman, Baron Verincourt de Clambe, who received a grant of 200 acres (81 ha) in 1802. It has been suggested that de Clambe's house 'The Hermitage' was commonly called 'The Castle' by locals, because of the Baron's noble status. Governor King began a government farm there in July 1801, referring to it later as Castle Hill. The majority of the convicts who worked the prison farm were Irish, many having been transported for agitation against British rule, they were deemed 'politicals' and exiled for life, never to return.

Vinegar Hill Memorial

In 1804 the convicts rebelled in the Castle Hill convict rebellion, also known as the second Battle of Vinegar Hill. Overpowering their guards and marching on towards Parramatta having torched a hut at the prison farm to signal fellow convicts at the Hawkesbury (which they either ignored or did not see). However, they were vastly outgunned and outnumbered by British troops. About fifteen to twenty were killed in the first skirmish at the western gates of the Governor's Domain. The main group headed west pursued by the Red Coats and a citizen militia under protection of Martial Law and posse comitatus. It is believed a follow-up twenty-minute skirmish in which more were killed occurred on the site of Rouse Hill Regional Town.

Martial Law was declared across the whole of the colony and was allowed to cloak the activities of the military and their militia as convicts were deemed 'to be in a state of insurrection'. Martial Law progressed for seven days, throughout which muskets were heard to fire day and night. Nine convicts were hanged, with three left hanging dead in gibbets for many months as a reminder for all.

Many decades later, the area became filled with market gardens and orchards which supplied Sydney. As Sydney expanded, the orchards disappeared and were replaced with a sprawl of suburban dwellings, retail and commercial establishments and light industry. The Hills Shire Council commemorates the shire's former status as an orange-growing area with the Orange Blossom Festival each year.

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