Sydney Attractions: Fagan Park
There are a number of beautiful sprawling parks in the Sydney area, but one of the most stunning I have had the pleasure to visit is Fagan Park. This former cattle farming property is located in the northern Hornsby Shire area. The park is the location of the annual Bushland Shire festival—a colourful, cultural festival that began as a garden show and which has taken on a country theme. Fagan Park is one of those locations that has it all—it isn't difficult to spend a whole day there. And why wouldn't you? It's stunning on a sunny day, beautifully mysterious on a grey day and dusk at the park is a special sensory experience.
The park has a few distinct areas of interest: the Eco-Garden, the Netherby House and Historical Buildings, the Garden of Many Nations and Carr's Bush. Each part appeals in a different way, and all work together to make this park an attractive spot for all visitors.
The Eco Garden
The Eco-Garden is my favourite part of the park. It is a rambling garden that seems charmingly unfettered and loosely planned (although it isn't!). When pumpkins are in season there they grow as they please, finger limes hang in abundance, and sunflowers rise from the borders of the garden. There is a dingy little pool in the garden with its own water plants, but frogs live there and their croaks add another level of ambiance to the place. The garden looks out over well-tended, rolling hills and the central lake.
I have never seen so many species of mint as I have seen here; everywhere in the garden you can find plants thriving, springing up in crevices and often being accepted and tended where they stand.
There is an educational component to the garden. Not only do most of the vegetables have little signs displaying the common name, and sometimes the scientific name, but there are also often more detailed descriptions of the uses of each plant. In addition, there is information on composting and vermiculture. The garden utilizes a number of sound eco-gardening practices including the use of rainwater, crop rotation, mulching and composting.
Parts of the eco-garden are even wheelchair-friendly and there is an attractive gazebo in the centre of the garden for a bit of shade.
The Netherby House
Before the park was dedicated to its present use as an educational and recreational spot open to the public, it was farmland belonging to the Fagan family.
William Fagan was a free settler who hailed from Ireland. He arrived in Sydney in 1848, married and raised seven children while growing a successful farm business.
The homestead of the Fagan family stands in Fagan Park to this day. It is known as ‘Netherby’. The house has been restored and is on display for the public at certain times. The packing shed and milking facilities are also open for viewing and show a range of historical implements that would have been used during the time that the site was used as a citrus orchard and cattle farm. In 1980 the Fagan family donated the property to the Department of Lands and the Hornsby Shire Council was appointed as the trustee.
Historical Buildings Onsite
- Netherby, the three-bedroom former house of the Fagan family
- A Machinery Shed
- A Water Tank;
- An Old garage
- Old Fruit Packing Shed, a brick and corrugated iron building;
- Old Dairy Shed, a timber and corrugated iron structure;
- Two small sheds;
- Museum Shed, a brick and corrugated iron building;
- An old animal Hospital
The walk through the historical buildings is fascinating. The buildings are filled with a range of items, some of which are easily recognizable and others less so. These include household items from the period as well as farming tools and machinery - some of which were used by the family. As a whole the restored buildings and artifacts provide an important reference for farming and family life in the area in the 20th Century.
The information gained from the preserved historical areas is considered significant, not only within the local government area but also for the history of Sydney and New South Wales. Such pioneering farmers were responsible for so much of how the state of New South Wales developed and reached the form it is in today.
Brief Overview of The History of Farming in Australia
- Australian Farms and Farming Communities
Once Australia was settled by Europeans, farms were developed around Australia. Most of the farming concentrated on wheat crops and other livestock brought over from Europe.
Gardens of Many Nations
Some of the Gardens in the 'Gardens of Many Nations'
- North American
- South American
The 'Gardens of Many Nations' is a wonderful way of presenting a wide variety of flora in an appealing way. This area is made up of a number of distinct gardens which each represent a different part of the world. Some of them include water features or buildings to complete the theme. For example, the Japanese garden has a faux tea house and the African garden has a little mock mud hut. The buildings do not tend to be functional but help to give the gardens an authentic feel.
Fagan park also plays a role in preserving threatened and important ecological communities in the Sydney area. The presence of Carr's Bush in Fagan Park means that the site is home to some Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest among other important forest communities. It is also home to 120 species of native flora and various species of wildlife including the Australian Wood Duck, Chestnut Teal, Little Pied Cormorant, and the Black Swan.
Carr's bush also has a 30-minute loop track which is appropriate for walking and cycling.
A Short Tour of The Park
Directions, Hours, and Admission
Getting There: Take a train from Sydney's Central Station to Pennant Hills Railway Station. From there take the 638 Bus at Stand B to Fagan Park. If you are driving from Sydney's CBD, it takes just under an hour going via the A40.
Opening Hours: Eastern Standard Time: 7 am until sunset, Daylight Savings Time: 7 am - 6.30 pm. Open daily except for Christmas Day
Entry Fee: Free, parking $5/vehicle
Find Your Way To Fagan Park
Other Articles You Might Enjoy
- Sydney Attractions - The 3 Botanic Gardens of Sydney
There are 3 notable Botanic Gardens in Sydney - but only one is widely known of. Discover these 3 beautiful gardens which each represent a slightly different bit of Sydney
- History of Fagan Park
The park was a former cattle farm and citrus orchard till it was donated by the Fagan family for it's present-day use.
All photos taken by Rota unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
Questions & Answers
© 2015 Rota