Third Settlement Reserve, which adjoins Toongabbie Creek and Quarry Branch Creek at Old Toongabbie, marks the site of the 3rd settlement established by the early British colonists. Needing to find land more arable than that around Sydney Cove, the Government established farms at Rose Hill (present day Parramatta) in 1789 and a third settlement at this location in 1791. Known as the
Toongabbie Convict Farm, it used convict labour to grow crops of barley, maize and wheat. There were 2 main areas of settlement, one at Johnstons Creek, the other 3 km further north along Old Windsor Rd.
Toongabbie Convict Farm
The Johnstons Creek settlement comprised of 13 wattle and daub convict huts, stockyards and other outbuildings. A brick threshing barn was located at the northern settlement while the sites of the other documented buildings such as the church and dairy are unknown. By April 1791, the settlement s 500 convicts had cleared 259 ha. The convicts were worked so hard, it developed a reputation as a place to be avoided at all costs. Within 5 years, soil quality had declined and better land had been found in the Hawkesbury region. Government stock was then grazed here until 1807 when the farm was abandoned and the land sold off to private farmers.
No above ground evidence of the convict settlement is visible today though archeological digs have revealed many artifacts. On the opposite side of the creek are stone steps once thought to be remnants of the convict settlement, although they are now believed to be associated with a Chinese market garden. Besides its historic interest, the reserve and others in the area associated with Toongabbie Creek contain rare examples of Cumberland Plain Woodlands. Access is from Oakes Road, Old Toongabbie.
UBD Map 190 ref G 5