The word Rydalmere is thought to be derived from the word Rydal (meaning "valley where rye is grown"), a town in Westmore in the Lakes District of Cumbria, England.
The district of Rydalmere, New South Wales, now roughly bounded by The Ponds, Vineyard and Subiaco Creeks and the Parramatta River, was originally part of a much larger area.
By 1792 settlement of "The Ponds" area at the headwaters of Subiaco Creek had begun. The arable, well-drained soil of the area provided good pastoral land for early settlers, among whom were Phillip Schaeffer, the first "free settler" in Australia. Schaeffer arrived aboard the "Lady Juliana" with the Second Fleet and was granted land along Vineyard Creek by Governor Arthur Phillip. His property and later the surrounding area became known as "The Vineyard". Today Phillip Schaeffer is remembered in the name of a Rydalmere Public School Sports House.
The land on which Rydalmere Public School stands is part of an original 50-acre grant made in 1792 to John Seymour, an emancipist, who had originally been sentenced at Sherborne (Dorset) for "cutting, lopping and topping one Maiden Ash Timber Tree at Beaminster", and transported for seven years.
Rydalmere Public School opened on 12 January 1891 with a first week enrolment of 47 students, housed in a newly completed brick building. The cost of 1,480 pounds also included the construction of a residence as well as clearing and fencing part of the thickly timbered site. This original building was demolished in the 1960's to make way for the present Administration block. However, at certain times of the year, its footprint is faintly visible still as a historical reminder of our beginnings.
Rydalmere was initially part of the Municipality of Dundas, however residents of its South Ward wanted an independent identity. A separate Municipality of Rydalmere and Ermington was proclaimed in June 1891, with boundaries running along the Parramatta River from Rydalmere Road, east to a point in line with Marsden Road, north to Brush Farm and west along Kissing Point Road to the Parramatta eastern boundary (now James Ruse Drive). The area comprised 1,762 acres, with a population of less than 650, of whom 150 were rate payers. The Rydalmere Council served the community until 1948 when it was absorbed into the Greater Parramatta Council.
Like the district which it serves, Rydalmere Public School has seen many changes over the years, resulting in what is now a vibrant, progressive and forward-thinking centre of learning, producing students eager to face the challenges of the future.