- Past Exhibition
Convicts: sites of punishment
Hyde Park Barracks was built by convict labourers and tradesmen between 1817 and 1819 under the supervision of government appointed architect and convicted forger, Francis Greenaway.
The Barracks originally built as a convict dormitory, housed both government employed convicts and convicts waiting to be assigned to private individuals. After 1830 it also contained the Court of General Sessions, where convicts were tried and sentenced for secondary crimes commited in the colony.
For almost 30 years, up to 1400 male convicts were accomodated at the Barracks at any one time.
Convict boys were lodged in a separate ward from the male adults until the Carters Barracks was built in 1820 on the site of the present day Central Railway Station.
In 1848 the remaining convicts at the Barracks were transferred tyo the penal establishment at Cockatoo Island and the building was adapted into an immigration depot.
Convicts were subjected to a range of punishments: loss of privileges, hard labour, head shaving, the treadmill, shackles, leg irons and flogging.