When Heritage becomes History - The Royal Oak
By Gary J Carter
Author of ‘About that Shout’ the Pub history of Parramatta
This is the story of a famous Parramatta hotel now known as the Royal Oak. It’s site-history dates to the early 1820s where the son of a ‘First Fleeter’ named William Tunks built and early inn and named it the Shamrock, Rose and Thistle. John Tunks was a very resourceful publican and he and his descendants went on to become important community members in the early days of Parramatta, the Cradle City of our Nation.
Picture the north side of the river in Parramatta in 1820, the road to Windsor was a wheel rutted dirt track surrounded in bush and subject to summer fires and seasonal floods. Life was not easy for many on this side of the river, the people of power within Parramatta during these Macquarie years, considered the area a dumping ground for Convicts, Catholics and emancipist settlers.