Groups

Organising a group tour? Enjoy a personalised guided tour at one of our historic houses and museums.

Whether it’s convict history, Sydney’s working-class heritage or tales of crime and justice, each of our museums and historic houses has its own fascinating and unique stories, waiting to be brought to life.

All tours are led by one of our dedicated and knowledgeable Sydney Living Museums guides. Choose from one of the tours below or talk to us about tailoring content to your interests when you book.  

Standard tour includes:

  • 45 min – 1 hour tour
  • Dedicated guide
  • Tailored start time between 10am and 3pm

Premium tour includes:

  • 1.5 hour – 2 hour tour
  • Dedicated specialist guide
  • More in-depth or exclusive behind-the-scenes content
  • Tailored start time between 10am and 3pm

Tours

Museum of Sydney

On the site of first Government House, cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney

For 57 years Australia’s first Government House was the centre of the social, ceremonial and political life of the colony of NSW. Located on this deeply significant and symbolic site, the Museum of Sydney protects the fragile archaeology of the building’s foundations and tells the ongoing stories of Sydney and its people. The museum’s galleries host a changing program of exhibitions exploring our diverse city.

Sydney: Convict colony to global city – standard tour (1 hour)

Sydney has a complex, curious and at times confronting past. Discover the history of the first Government House and the stories of the people and events that shaped the city we know today. Hear fascinating stories of the First Fleet ships, be surprised by what Sydneysiders could purchase in the early colony, learn about the construction of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and see Australian history through the eyes of contemporary Aboriginal artists.


Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks is one of the most significant convict sites in the world, and played a central role in the world’s largest and longest-running system of convict transportation.

Convict Sydney: Life at the barracks and beyond – standard tour (1 hour)

Tried, convicted and transported to the other side of the world: discover how convicts lived and worked in early colonial Sydney. Fascinating stories reveal how convicts toiled in work gangs and experienced harsh punishments, but could also find their way to freedom.

From convicts and immigrants to World Heritage  – standard tour (1 hour)

Discover the rich and layered history of this World Heritage Australian Convict site. From a barracks for male convicts to a female immigration depot and an asylum for destitute women, and later government offices and courts, the Hyde Park Barracks has moved with the times for the past 200 years.


The Mint

10 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Governor Macquarie’s ‘Rum Hospital’ opened in 1816. Financed with 45,000 gallons of rum, it provided 200 beds for convict patients. By the 1820s the hospital’s prime location and a shortage of public buildings meant that it was in demand for other uses. In 1855, after the discovery of gold in NSW, it became the Sydney Royal Mint, the first overseas branch of London’s Royal Mint. 

Rum Hospital to Royal Mint – standard tour (1 hour)

Learn how this site became known as the ‘Rum Hospital’, and the dark history that led to its convict patients calling it the ‘Sidney Slaughter House’. Discover how the building was converted into the Sydney Royal Mint, which produced 150 million gold sovereigns.


Justice & Police Museum

Cnr Albert and Phillip Streets, Circular Quay, Sydney

The Justice & Police Museum is a historic complex of two courts and one police station that is now dedicated to telling the story of policing, justice and crime in NSW. Groups can choose to take a walk on the wild side with our crime-focused tour or uphold the thin blue line on our police history tour.

Murder most foul – standard tour (1 hour)

Delve into Sydney’s sinister history with a tour of the historic courts at the Justice & Police Museum. Hear the stories of two murderers, bushranger Captain Moonlite and ‘the mad dentist of Wynyard Square’, Henry Louis Bertrand, in the courtroom where they once appeared.

Cops and robbers – standard tour (1 hour)

Take a tour of the 19th-century Water Police station and court to discover what it took to maintain law and order on Sydney’s waterfront. Hear the story of the 1894 Bridge Street Affray, during which officers from the Water Police station battled on the city streets with a group of ferocious thieves, forever changing the course of Sydney’s policing history.


Susannah Place Museum

58–64 Gloucester Street, The Rocks, Sydney

Located in the heart of The Rocks, Susannah Place is a terrace of four houses built in 1844. Over nearly 150 years these small houses with their tiny backyards, basement kitchens and outside washhouses were home to more than 100 different families. 

Please note: These tours can be booked on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 1pm.

Susannah Place stories – standard tour (1 hour)

Visit the authentically re-created houses and discover the stories of the people who belonged to this once tight-knit working-class neighbourhood. Meet the family who struggled through the Great Depression; the Irish and Greek immigrants who made a new home in The Rocks and the family who operated the ‘cheap cash’ grocer shop.  

A few things to know before you visit:

The museum consists of four terrace houses with small spaces and steep narrow stairs. Tours can be adapted to reduce the number of stairs for visitors with restricted mobility. The houses are not accessible for wheelchairs.

Archaeology in The Rocks – premium tour (2 hours)

Starting at Susannah Place Museum, this walking tour explores some of the fascinating archaeological sites in The Rocks and Millers Point, including a rare opportunity to view Parbury Ruins. Unearthed during the construction of an apartment block and now preserved below ground, this site features the extensive remains of an 1820s cottage once owned by ex-convicts.

A few things to know before you visit:

This tour includes a visit to one of the Susannah Place houses and a 20-minute walking tour around the neighbourhood. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring a hat/umbrella. The houses have steep narrow stairs inside and outside. Gloucester Street is a dead-end street with metered parking. Coaches are advised to drop off and pick up on the corner of Gloucester and Cumberland streets.

Elizabeth Farm

70 Alice Street, Rosehill

Elizabeth Farm tour– standard tour (45 minutes)

Elizabeth Farm – situated on the land of the Burramattagal people of the Darug nation – is a museum without barriers. Visitors can wander freely through the house and garden, draw up a chair, read historical newspapers and family letters, relax on the shady verandahs or warm up before an open fire.

Elizabeth Farm evokes and illustrates the intriguing family life of the Macarthurs. Built for the young military couple John and Elizabeth Macarthur and their growing family, the house has witnessed major events in the development of the colony, from the toppling of governors and a convict rebellion to the birth of the Australian wool industry. Even as the original cottage was transformed into a fine colonial bungalow, the family’s life was increasingly gripped with turmoil.

Speak to our bookings team if you are looking for a tour that focuses on a particular aspect of Elizabeth Farm such as the historically significant gardens or the experience of migrant workers during the colonial period.

A few things to know before your visit:

Elizabeth Farm house is a one-storey building but there are some single steps and uneven surfaces. There is wheelchair access to all areas except the kitchen and cellar. There is a drop-off point in the bus parking area for visitors with limited mobility.


Rouse Hill House & Farm

356 Annangrove Road, Rouse Hill

Rouse Hill House & Farm tour – standard tour (1 hour)

Rouse Hill House & Farm, built for Richard Rouse and his young family, is situated on the land of the Darug nation. With its grand stables and prize horses, orchards and elegant summerhouse, the property contains an assortment of belongings and treasures and chronicles the changing fortunes of six generations of one family. Today Rouse Hill House & Farm features a restored 1888 schoolhouse, a section of the original Windsor Road turnpike proclaimed by Governor Macquarie in 1813, and the site of the doomed 1804 ‘Vinegar Hill’ convict rebellion, as well as a rich Darug connection through social enterprise organisation Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural & Education Centre.

Schoolhouse experience – standard tour (45 mins)

Discover just how different school was in the 19th century. Walk along a section of the original Windsor Road past the site of the doomed 1804 ‘Vinegar Hill’ convict rebellion to the restored 1888 schoolhouse. There, you will experience school as it was in the 1800s. Participate in a variety of schoolhouse activities and games bound to encourage enthusiastic discussion and reflection.

A few things to know before your visit:

Moving about the farmstead involves walking up and down gentle slopes, over unpaved tracks and grassy paddocks for up to several hundred metres at a stretch, so visitors should wear walking shoes and clothes appropriate to the day’s weather.

Visitors with reduced mobility can tour the property in a people mover. There is wheelchair access to the ground floor of the main house and portable ramps are available. For visitors unable to access the house, the Rouse Hill House & Farm Visitor Centre has visual technological aids which offer ‘up-close’ access to the rooms, including the upstairs rooms that are usually inaccessible to the public.


Meroogal

Corner West and Worrigee Streets, Nowra

Meroogal house tour – standard tour (1 hour)

Meroogal is a house museum situated on Yuin land. Handed down through four generations of women from one local family, Meroogal tells a multitude of stories about the ‘Roogal’ women and the South Coast community in which they lived. The many layers of personal objects give an insight into the private world and daily life of this family over a century. Discover the rich collection and hear stories that will take you from goldmining, farming and floods to cooking, sewing and entertaining. Relax on the sunny verandah of this ornate timber Gothic Revival home, wander through the re-created 1920s cottage garden and step inside the lives of these resilient and resourceful women.

A few things to know before your visit:

There is level access from the street into the garden and ramp access to the ground floor of the house. For visitors who cannot manage the stairs to the upper floors, captioned photographs are provided.


Vaucluse House

Wentworth Road, Vaucluse

Vaucluse House is one of Sydney’s few 19th-century mansions still surrounded by its original gardens and wooded grounds. Purchased in 1827 by colonial explorer, barrister and politician William Charles Wentworth, the original single-storey cottage was developed over the next four decades into a large, though unfinished, family home. In 1915 Vaucluse House was opened to the public as a house museum, and today visitors are still drawn to its lush and secluded grounds and the intriguing stories of the people who lived here.

Vaucluse House tour – standard tour (1 hour)

From eccentric Irish convict Sir Henry Browne Hayes, who gave Vaucluse House its name, to William Charles and Sarah Wentworth and their ten children, who made it their home, join us for a tour through the history of this remarkable Sydney residence. Marvel at the grand formal rooms and intimate family spaces of the main house to solve the enduring mystery of the missing front door, then explore the service rooms to learn about the lives and times of the servants who worked in them.

A few things to know before your visit: 

The ground floor of Vaucluse House is accessible for wheelchairs and reduced-mobility visitors. Access to the upper floors and cellar is by staircase only, so these areas are not wheelchair accessible. Ground-floor-only tours can be accommodated on request, and visual resources supplied for visitors who are unable to access other areas.


Elizabeth Bay House

7 Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay

With commanding views over Sydney Harbour, Elizabeth Bay House gleams like a Greek temple. Once surrounded by famous landscaped gardens, it is one of the most splendid private houses ever built in Australia. Elizabeth Bay House is an iconic Sydney home, with an iconic Sydney backstory of obsession with property and position stretched beyond means.

Elizabeth Bay House tour – standard tour (1 hour)

Join us for a tour of ‘the finest house in the colony’ to learn about the grand vision of Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay, and the amazing natural history collection developed here. Follow the rise and fall of the Macleay family’s fortunes, and the impact of these on the house we see today. Then delve into the bohemian world of Kings Cross to hear stories of the wild parties, colourful characters and glamorous soirees held in the house during the turbulent 1920s and 1930s.

A few things to know before your visit: 

The ground floor of Elizabeth Bay House is accessible for wheelchairs and reduced-mobility visitors. Access to the upper floor and cellars is by staircase only, so these areas are not wheelchair accessible. Ground-floor-only tours can be accommodated on request, and visual resources supplied for visitors who are unable to access other areas.


Rose Seidler House

71 Clissold Road, Wahroonga

On its completion in 1950, Rose Seidler House was ‘the most talked about house in Sydney’. Designed by the young Harry Seidler for his parents Rose and Max, the house overturned almost every convention of suburban home design. It was in fact the promise of designing a house for his mother that brought Harry to Australia, and its success helped launch his Australian and soon after international career. Today, still surrounded by bushland and with panoramic views of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, the house is one of the finest examples of mid-20th-century domestic architecture in Australia.

Rose Seidler House tour – standard tour (1 hour)

This revolutionary house announced the arrival in Australia of a new way of living. Experience one of the country’s first modernist homes as you learn about Harry Seidler’s profound influence on Australian architecture. Hear about Seidler’s studies with the leading designers of Germany’s Bauhaus School, and decipher the significance of the colourful mural. Walk through the best-equipped kitchen of the day, and appreciate the suite of original furniture from iconic mid-century designers.

A few things to know before your visit:

Rose Seidler House is not wheelchair accessible. Access to the main floor is by staircase only, and there is no opportunity to sit down inside the house due to the fragility of the original furniture. The grounds and car park are rough and rocky terrain. You will be asked to cloak bags and remove your shoes on entry to the house.

ADVANCE BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL

Group tours should be booked at least 10 days in advance. Not all tour options are available every day of the week.

Please speak to one of our bookings team for more details and to plan your group tour now.

Contact SLM Bookings on +61 2 8239 2211 or bookings@slm.com.au 

Pricing

Standard tours
$16 per adult
$11 per concession or child

Premium tours
$30 per adult
$25 per concession or child 

Please note:
Minimum group size for standard tours is 10 adults.
Minimum group size for premium tours is 6 adults. 

Group tours on Sundays and public holidays attract a higher rate.
Member discounts do not apply as this is already a discounted offer.

Find out more about our houses and museums.