In 1776, with its American colonies fighting for independence and its jails overflowing, the British government began converting old ships into floating prisons or ‘hulks’ to house convicts sentenced to transportation.

Convict hulks was the first comprehensive exhibition recalling the harsh but fascinating history of convict hulks in Britain and its colonies, including New South Wales.

The exhibition recreated what it was like on a prison ship. Stories of convicts’ lives could be heard. Audiences could experience the sights and sounds that evoked the daily lives of the hulks’ wretched human cargo . People could step inside a re-created punishment box and even try on some ankle irons.

Supported by Domain Car Park

More than 600 rare artefacts recovered from beneath the mooring site of the Dromedary hulk in Bermuda were brought to Australia just for this exhibition.
4 August 2007 - 22 August 2010