NSWIOP’s historic premises at Cumberland Hospital, Fleet Street, North Parramatta are recognised as a major archaeological site and have Heritage and National Trust listings.
The building itself was constructed in 1884 and replaced an earlier building which was the “Factory for Women” or “Female Factory”.
The factory, which had been originally intended as a place of detention for women convicts, was also used as a place of industry, and was designed by Francis Greenway and constructed under the governorship of Lachlan Macquarie from 1818-21.
Sandstone from the earlier factory buildings was used in the construction of the existing Ward One building. The tower was built to house a clock mechanism which was one of five presented to the colony by King George IV in 1822.
The clock tower houses a bell presented to the colony by King George IV in 1822
The design of the gardens surrounding the building date from the mid-1880s, when the terraced riverbank and landscaped trees were put in place. Just below the building is a weir constructed in 1889, which threw back water to form an artificial lake as part of the landscaping of the grounds.
Below this weir and rising up the riverbank towards the building can be seen the remains of a sandstone dam which has existed since at least 1822. This dam is thought to have been part of a water-driven Flour Mill which had been built in 1799 and later removed from the site.
The back gardens of the NSWIOP look across the river to the historic Wisteria Gardens and Parramatta Park, which are within walking distance of the NSWIOP campus.