Hills District History

The Beginnings Of Settlement

Below is taken from: The Beginnings of the Hills District

The Parramatta River occupies the lowest point in a trough-like depression and immediately to the north of It the country has been subjected to an uplift which has raised the surface by steps to a height of 500 feet. The main drainage channels or creeks have dug their way through the overlying Wianamatta shales and exposed the underlying sandstone’s, particularly in the higher regions- Considerable areas have been denuded and, as a result, these patches of country are of little use for agriculture. A section of this kind in the north-west of the parish remained unoccupied for many years, and some portions of it are still unsettled.

The heavy clay Soils of the district were difficult to work and deficient in certain mineral constituents essential to plant life. When cropped continuously the land ceased to respond and the early settlers soon found it difficult to grow cereal crops successfully. Then rust attacked the wheat which formed the staple crop and farmers were forced to abandon this branch of agriculture

The history of the Hills District begins shortly after the foundation of the Colony of New South Wales An excursion left Rosehill in April 1791 under the leadership of Governor Arthur Phillip with Captain Collins and his servant, Mr. White, Lt., Dawes, Captain Tench, three game keepers, two sergeants, eight privates and our friends (aborigines) Colbee and Boladeree. These last two were volunteers on this occasion. They travelled first in a northerly direction for a couple of miles and then turned to north 34oW. This course would take them through a portion of the Hi11s District.

In the following year, David Burton, a botanist surveyor and professional gardener who arrived at port Jackson in HMAS Gorgon on September 21, 1791 as Superintendent of Convicts, was instructed to examine the country around Parramatta. During the course of his survey in April. 1792 he visited the locality now known as Castle Hill. He states in his report:

Where the four settlers at the northern farms are, and for the several miles to the northward and to the eastward, the ground is very excellent. It is fine clammy light loam from fifteen inches to two feet in depth.