from Annabella Boswell’s Journal (1908)

Prolific diarist Annabella Boswell spent two years in Parramatta in the early 1840s in between stays at Port Macquarie. While there she met some of the local scientists:

Parramatta, though one of the oldest townships in the colony, was then very straggling and unformed. George Street extended from the Domain to the steamer wharf. The river was not navigable further up. The soldiers’ barracks, a huge brick building, stood near the wharf. The street consisted chiefly of dwelling houses with gardens in front. On the north side was the old-fashioned inn known as the Red Cow, and long kept by Mrs Walker. It was apparently only a cottage in a garden, but, no doubt, was commodious and comfortable. Nearer Church Street were two good shops, originally dwelling-houses with deep verandas. One of these, called Nibblock and Tapps, was a general store, and very much frequented by us. I have still three very pretty little Worcester vases bought there.

View of the town of Parramatta from May's Hill, ca. 1840 / painting attributed to G. E. Peacock. (State Library of NSW)

View of the town of Parramatta from May’s Hill, ca. 1840 / painting attributed to G. E. Peacock. (State Library of NSW)

…We used very often to walk in the Government Domain. Not long after we settled in Parramatta there was a terrific storm, and the wind was quite alarming, sweeping all before it. Fortunately the area of its devastations was not very wide. We had a most interesting day in the Domain to see the traces that it had left. Our friend, Dr Bute Stewart, had arranged to meet there the Rev. Mr Clark[e], and Mr Dunlop, the astronomer, and he kindly invited us to join them with his daughter, who was taking out luncheon for the party. They had had a busy morning measuring trees and distances, and ascertaining all particulars of the storm. We often called on Mrs Dunlop at the Observatory.  I do not remember how we became acquainted with her. She was a kindly woman; her husband, somewhat rough and coarse, but clever, and they were both very Scotch. [Governor] Sir Thomas Brisbane was the means of establishing the Observatory in Parramatta, and of appointing Mr Dunlop.

–Annabella Boswell, Australian, 1826-1914