Launching Storybox Online
11 May 2020
Parramatta is one of the richest places in Australia to discover the many stories that have shaped this nation.
It's also, as Felicity Castagna writes, 'an everywhere-people kind of place'.
There's something about Parramatta.
This place, the first to be named by Europeans after its original inhabitants, is a place of gathering since time began. A place where where the river meets the saltwater. A place known to the Burramattagal as one 'where eels lie down'.
This place is where the Dharug people first traded with Europeans, exchanging fish for salt beef and bread. It's a a place where traditional methods of fire-based land management by the Barramattagal created a landscape that looked almost European. Where recent British arrivals saw fit to establish the seat of colonial rule.
The thing about Parramatta, is that many of its stories are etched into the landscape. We can see relics of the colonial era, the grand and sombre buildings used to enforce British systems of governance are still there. Its ancient trees continue to grow; the many traces of different times continue to be unearthed.
But anyone stepping foot in Parramatta also knows its a place changing fast. The CBD of Sydney's 'Central City' has been a magnet for investment in recent years. They say you can visit every day and still you feel that a lot has changed since you were last here.
As put by Meihua Gong, who was Parramatta's 2015 Citizen of the Year:
“Collectively, we share a firm responsibility to shape the ever-evolving narratives of Parramatta’s unique cultural story.”
We know there is not one story about Parramatta; no one narrative really captures the many threads of transformation and experience. In fact, its the incredible diversity of stories here that led us to approach the City of Parramatta to launch our first STORYBOX project.