Don’t Hyde from Sydney’s convict past

Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Arts & Culture, Day trips, History, Sydney City | 0 comments

Don’t Hyde from Sydney’s convict past

Hyde Park Barracks Museum sits next to Sydney’s Hyde Park in the centre of Sydney. It’s a great place to entertain the kids for a few hours or to step back in time and learn more about Sydney’s convict past.
The front of Hyde Park Barracks

The entry to Hyde Park Barracks Museum is on Macquarie St and a short walk from St James Station

It would also be a great place to take interstate visitors to before checking out the city and a bit to eat. There’s a café there too so maybe once you have a pick me up head up to the top floor of the barracks for a nap in the hammocks.

Hammocks on the top floor of Hyde Park Barracks Museum

I hadn’t been to the museum since childhood and spent nearly 3 hours checking out the general grounds and buildings and the Convict Sydney exhibition (on until May 2013). The exhibition is wonderful and includes lots of interactive things to entertain including replica convict clothes, a cat of nine tails, shackles, food of the times, touch screens, and lots of panels revealing interesting information and artifacts.
Convict cut outs next to the window

Convict cut outs loiter near the windows

My top 5
1. Standing next to the HUGE panoramic reprint of a painting depicting Sydney. I learned that there were 3 windmills – 1 at Observatory Hill and 2 at Millers Point. To read more go to –
2. Learning that convicts were awarded extra punishment by walking on a treadmill contraption that ground grain. Some repeat offenders walked for months!
3. Seeing that the fossilised rats are still in the display containing items dug up from beneath and between floor boards – ewwww.
4. Looking through the ship arrivals lists (top floor) of the barracks.
5. Checking out the tiny court house (exit the barracks and go to the rear and left side of the grounds).  I tried to imagine what a packed room would have sounded, felt and smelled like in the heat of Summer.
The Hyde Park Barracks Museum

The Hyde Park Barracks Museum

History buffs – To read more about the barracks and museum read this fantastic guide created by the Historic Houses Trust –
What – Museum website – Convict Sydney website –
Where – Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney next to Hyde Park and a few doors up from Parliament House.
Nearest train station St James.
When – Hyde Park Barracks Museum is open from 9:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Convict Sydney is on until September 2013.
How much – $10 adults, $5 kids and concession, $20 family. Don’t forget to grab your free copy of the Sydney Morning Herald including in your admission price – BARGAIN!
Sydneysiders – what’s your favourite historical facts about Sydney from the convict era?

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