Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

Nowadays a museum, the Hyde Park Barracks once housed the large convict population transported to Australia from Britain.

The barracks were designed by emancipated convict architect, Francis Greenway, and built by convict labour between 1817 and 1819 as the first permanent shelter for convicts. The latter roamed the streets and the crime was rampant as a result before that.

Located at the centre of a walled compound of 2.16 hectares, the building has three floors. Other buildings inside the walls included a cookhouse, a bakery, and quarters for soldiers.

Since its closure in 1848, the property had many uses. It served as a dormitory for emigrant women awaiting the arrival of their families, an asylum for destitute women, and was later converted to government offices and courts of law.

In 1981, the Hyde Park Barracks became a museum run by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. The first floor recreates the arrival of the first fleet of convicts and the life and times of the early convicts, including a confinement box and leg irons. The second floor recreates the history of the building after it ceased housing convicts. The top floor recreates barrack rooms with hammocks showing the dwelling place and conditions of convicts at the time.

The incredible levels of detail and unique displays throughout, mixing modern technologies with the old atmosphere and stories, enable you to understand more about Sydney's past – either on your own or with the aid of an excellent audio guide that helps bring the stories to life. The staff at the gift shop and the reception area are very friendly and informative. Set on beautiful grounds, the area is also beautiful to stroll around.

Tip:
There is a cute little restaurant right outside the museum that serves great lunch and drinks – it's fun to eat in the courtyard with ivy climbing up the walls behind.
The bathrooms are also located outside and behind the main barracks building which requires you to return your audio guide on the way out and recover it when you return.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Sydney. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Hyde Park Barracks on Map

Sight Name: Hyde Park Barracks
Sight Location: Sydney, Australia (See walking tours in Sydney)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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