The Convict Sleepover

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Hyde Park Barracks Museum Risk Assessment [March 2018]
Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands Risk Assessment

Key Information

COST (GST free)
$100 per student (minimum 40 students).

From 3pm to 7am the following morning (overnight)
Adults will be accommodated with the students in the Hammock Room and will be responsible for overnight supervision of the students from 9.30pm to 6am.

Monday and Tuesday during school term, Term 4 ONLY

60 students.


The supervision ratio is 1:10. Teachers and parents attend free of charge at these ratios, including meals and overnight accommodation in the hammock room with the students. One carer per student with special needs will be admitted free of charge.

Adults will be accommodated with the students in the Hammock Room and will be responsible for overnight supervision of the students from 9.30pm to 6am.

About the program

The Convict Sleepover is an immersive experience where children can live the life of a convict exactly where they were 200 years ago as well as discover the culture of the local Cadigal people, helping them develop their skills of empathetic understanding from a number of perspectives.

Students will begin their excursion at the Royal Botanic Garden to take part in a special program, Connecting with Cadigal & Convict Life, led by Aboriginal Education Officers. This program provides a personal perspective of how indigenous people of the Sydney area used plants for food, medicine, tools and weapons, and connects this with the convict experience at the site of the colony’s first farm.

The students then walk up to the UNESCO World-Heritage listed Hyde Park Barracks Museum for an exclusive ‘after hours’ experience where they will learn about the convicts that came through the Barracks, eat convict fare, participate in convict activities and spend the night in hammocks where convicts slept.

Please note that this program is only offered in Term 4 2018.

A partnership between:
  • Logo: SLM


3pm – Transported for your crimes

After a long journey, convicts leave their belongings at the Barracks and march down to the Governor’s domain to discover the hardships of the new colony.

3.30pm – 4pm – First Contact

Convicts connect with the local Aboriginal people from the past and play their game of survival.

4pm – 4.30pm – Remembering the Past

Convicts discover the ways in which Aboriginal people have used their knowledge & skills for thousands of years to survive and how this has been passed down through the generations.

4.30pm – 5.30pm – Cadigal and Convict

Convicts explore the Cadigal land and the site of the colony’s first farm in search for food, medicine, tools and shelter.


6pm – Under lock & key

After marching up from the Governor’s farm, convicts are mustered, issued with a convict shirt and given an identity.

6.30pm–7.15pm – Regulation rations

Convicts sit down for supper, the menu inspired by typical convict fare.

7.15pm–8.15pm – Dark deeds & misdemeanours

Work and ‘play’ like a convict on this lantern lit experience of the Barracks.

8.15pm–8.45pm – Cleanliness & order

Prepare for bed.

8.45pm–9.15pm – Thieves, tricksters & swindlers

Hear stories and songs about past convict characters.

9.15pm – Sleep, and dream of a new life

Climb into hammocks in the dormitory and then it’s ‘lights out’.


6am – Rise at dawn

Be woken by the sound of the morning bell to get dressed and be ready for the morning muster.

6.30 am – ‘You don’t starve but you’re always hungry’

Collect your convict rations and prepare for a hard day ahead.

7am -  Freedom at last!

Receive your ‘Ticket of Leave' to be released from Hyde Park Barracks and explore the colony of NSW.


You can alter your booking numbers up until 14 days prior to your visit
We will contact you to confirm final numbers and requirements 14 days prior to your booking.
You will be invoiced for the full cost of your program 2 weeks prior to your booking.
Payment can be made by Credit Card, EFTPOS or cheque (payable to Historic Houses Trust of NSW).
Cancellations made within 14 days of a booking will incur the full cost for the program.
Cancellations made within 4 weeks of your visit will be invoiced for 50% of the total booking,
Cancellations must be made in writing.

Curriculum links

Stage 2 History

First Contacts

Key inquiry questions:
  • What was the way of life for the Aboriginal people during pre and post contact periods of European arrival in Australia?
  • What effects did European colonisation have on Aboriginal people and culture?
  • What were some of the hardships experienced by convicts upon arrival in Australia?

HT2-2 Describes and explains how significant individuals, groups and events contributed to changes in the local community over time

HT2-4 Describes and explains effects of British colonisation in Australia

HT2-5 Applies skills of historical inquiry and communication

Complementary Stage 2 programs: Whose Place?; Colonial Life at Elizabeth Farm

Stage 3 History

The Australian Colonies

Key inquiry questions:
  • What do we know about the lives of people in Australia’s colonial past and how do we know?
  • What were the significant events and who were the significant people that shaped Australian colonies?

HT3-1 Describes and explains the significance of people, groups, places and events to the development of Australia

HT3-2 Describes and explains different experiences of people living in Australia over time

HT3-5 Applies a variety of skills of historical inquiry and communication

Complementary programs: Bailed Up!, Expanding the Colony, A Colonial Eye

Stage 3 Science & Technology

Living World

Key inquiry questions:
  • How did the Aboriginal people adapt to their local environment and use plants for food, medicine, tools, weapons and shelter?

ST3-10LW Other adaptations of living things help them to survive in their environment

ST3-11LW Describes some physical conditions of the environment and how these affect the growth and survival of living things

Complementary programs: Aboriginal People and Plants - Stages 2 & 3 [Royal Botanic Garden Sydney education program]

Plan Your Visit

  • Please plan to arrive at Hyde Park Barracks Museum at 3pm to store your bags, pillow, etc. All the items required for the sleepover component will be included with your confirmation.
  • You will then walk your students down to the Royal Botanic Garden Learning Centre to begin the program at 3.30pm (please refer to the map provided with your confirmation).
  • Teachers and carers will be responsible for the students at all times, especially when walking to and from the Royal Botanic Gardens.
  • Disciplining students remains the responsibility of teachers and carers accompanying the group.
  • All children must bring  a refillable water bottle and a ‘sip and crunch’ for afternoon tea whilst at the Royal Botanic Garden. Teachers will be provided with a container on wheels to transport these items.
  • Please bring suitable sunscreen and ensure all students have hats. In case of wet weather, please ensure that all children have wet weather gear that can be worn during activities (no umbrellas).
  • Dinner and breakfast will be provided and special dietary requirements (vegetarian, gluten and dairy free) can be accommodated. No food or drink is permitted in the museum.
  • Please note: Hyde Park Barracks Museum  has no showering or bathing facilities.

The Sleepover exceeded my expectations because I was thoroughly impressed with the level of engagement shown by my students. The activities and information was presented in a way that was accessible and fun for my students and made convict life real for them.


Temporary closure of Hyde Park Barracks Museum

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks will be closed during terms 1–3 in 2019 for a major renewal project. The museum will reopen in late 2019. A suite of exciting new education programs will be available from Term 1, 2020.

Contact our Bookings team for alternative excursion options and sign up to our Education eNews to stay up-to-date.


Please call 02 8239 2211 to enquire.

Fill out my online form.

Alternatively, you may wish to consider our education programs at these nearby sites, which are also located in the Sydney CBD: