History of the Reserve
The reserve and surrounds were originally home to the Burramattagal clan of the Darug Aboriginal people prior to British settlement in 1788. Evidence still remains of their former occupation through the presence of shelter caves, hand-stencils, campsites, tree scars and midden deposits. The State Heritage listed dam wall was completed in 1856 and utilises a single arch design, being only the second constructed in modern times and twelfth since Roman times 100BC. Parramatta was connected to the main Sydney water supply in 1909, with the lake and surrounding bushland retained for public recreation. Lake Parramatta remained a very popular swimming venue from this time until the 1970s, when pollution from increased surrounding suburban development reduced water quality to a level that made it no longer suitable for swimming. Council has undertaken significant works in recent years to improve overall water quality and has developed a Water Safety Plan to manage aquatic based recreational activities. Swimming is permitted during throughout October-March and is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer season.