Photographers capture history of Gatehouse Tea Rooms

BENITA Maby and her sister Alexandra McCormick like to take photographs of historic buildings and promote them via social media.

The stately Gatehouse Tea Rooms in Parramatta Park is their latest project which will feature on their Facebook page, Hipster 365.

"It's a local Sydney living trust and I was really interested in seeing the old building," Ms Maby of Toongabbie said.

Like Ms Maby and Ms McCormick, many travel to the Gatehouse Tea Rooms to not only enjoy a pot of tea or eat petite cakes, but to explore the historic building which has not been open to the public in years.

James Wilkinson, opened the building to the community last October and said the idea to open a tea room was the "perfect marriage between function and the building".

"The aim is to be a tourist destination for people who want to come to Parramatta to explore the rich history," Mr Wilkinson said.

"When people come into the building there is a real sense of 'wow' and 'history'.

"They sit and look around at the ceiling and I think they might have been pondering what it might have been like for the colonials."

The world heritage-listed cottage was built in 1887 and is a significant part of the colonial history of Parramatta.

Mr Wilkinson said there is a sad story behind the building's history.

"Originally there was a smaller cottage that was built here by Lord Fitzroy after his wife tragically died in a carriage accident at the George Street gatehouse and he couldn't stand driving through the gatehouse any more so he opened up the Macquarie Street side so he didn't have to keep driving past where his wife died," he said.

"Then there was a gatehouse built to guard the entrance and then it was renovated in the 1880s to become the cottage that it is now."

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