September is the best time to visit Parramatta’s Wistaria Gardens

Wistaria Gardens were created in 1907 by the Medical Superintendent of the then ‘Parramatta Hospital for the Insane,’ Dr William Cotter Williamson.

Wistaria Gardens — September 2020 — Photo Credit: Brenden Wood

Dr Williamson brought Wisteria cuttings to Parramatta after visiting China and Japan. He planted the items in the gardens of his official residence at the Parramatta Mental Hospital.

Every September since 1907, the wisteria blossom has created a wonderful colour at the Wistaria Gardens.

An article published in September 1927 announced that the garden was open to the public each day from 2pm to 5pm. Until recent years there was an annual fete or festival held every September in the garden.

The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate — 23 September 1927

The Wistaria Festival Millennium Tree was planted along the walkway inside the Wistaria Gardens. Parramatta City Councillor David Borger planted the Cape Chestnut Tree on the 10th September 2000.

Near the eastern section of Wistaria Gardens you’ll find a plaque located where the Millennium Time Capsule was buried by Dr G Merugesan on the 17th September 2000. The plaque says the time capsule is to be opened in 2100.

Millennium Time Capsule — Buried in Wistaria Gardens in September 2000

“The Wistaria House gardens are of historical and aesthetic significance, providing a contemporary landscaped setting for Wistaria House and for their association with Dr Williamson the hospital’s superintendent” — Statement by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

“Large extensively landscaped grounds, many of the original plants survive including Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), Japanese wisteria (W.floribunda) vines on trellises, arbors and frames following a tributory creek of the Parramatta River, flowering peach (Prunus persica cv.), almond (P.amygdalus) trees, palm trees (Washingtonia robusta), tree gardenia (Rothmannia globosa) and English elms (Ulmus procera). Annual beds are arranged around pathways and drives and along the grass terraces flanking both the Parramatta River to the east and the tributory creek to the west. Gardens contain Japanese influenced features including Tori Gates.”

Wistaria Gardens — September 2020 — Photo Credit: Brenden Wood

In 2017, the NSW Government announced that ownership of the Wistaria Gardens would be transferred to the Parramatta Park Trust says local Federal MP Julie Owens. NSW MPs are currently being lobbied by locals who say the ownership status of the garden has resulted in the garden deteriorating. Locals also want the annual festival returned to the park.

Let’s hope funding returns to Wistaria Gardens. Proper funding would also mean that the annual Wistaria Gardens Festival returns for the people.

A sign at the gate says the Wistaria Gardens are open from 6am to 6pm everyday — open till 8pm during daylight saving time.

Wistaria Gardens — September 2020 — Photo Credit: Brenden Wood

To access Wistaria Gardens, you can drive into Parramatta Park and park near the entry to Governor Phillip Walk. Or access the gardens via Bridge Road Westmead.

Wistaria Gardens are located at the very northern end of Parramatta Park.

Cherry blossom-hunters love coming to Wistaria Gardens.

Wistaria Gardens — September 2020 — Photo Credit: Brenden Wood

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