Our major renewal of the Hyde Park Barracks is well underway.

We are transforming the Hyde Park Barracks into a world-leading cultural destination, with new innovative visitor experiences, education programs and dynamic technology making it best in class for museums in Australia. Keep reading below for more details on the bold new future for the Hyde Park Barracks.

The museum will re-open in early 2020, however you can find out more about Australia’s convict history through our award-winning Convict Sydney website.

You may also like to visit our other houses and museums.


Support the Hyde Park Barracks renewal

Former politician, musician and activist Peter Garrett AM talks about the Hyde Park Barracks renewal and why it's important to support this once-in-a-generation project. Find out how you can help.


About the renewal project

Hyde Park Barracks

The Hyde Park Barracks is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the historic heart of Sydney. Built to house – and control – male convicts, the barracks had far-reaching impact as the administrative hub of the colony’s convict system. After 1848, it sheltered immigrant girls and young women, and cared for older, sick and poor women. Drawing together key threads of convict life, Aboriginal resilience and free immigration, the story of the barracks is the story of Australia’s modern beginnings.


Developed by internationally acclaimed exhibit design specialists Local Projects, the Hyde Park Barracks experience takes visitors where no history book ever could. The unique Story Guide narrative will tell the emotional stories of the convict men and later the immigrant and asylum women who slept here, and the Aboriginal people impacted by this place. Immerse yourself in the past and see and hear their stories come to life.

Many stories

The Hyde Park Barracks was meant to be a place of control and hard work. But the real story for convict men, and later immigrant and asylum women, who slept in its dormitories was different. This was a place of mischief and violence, friendship and care. Likewise, the colony’s rapid expansion fuelled by convict and immigrant labour was resisted by Aboriginal communities. This is their story too.


Our new hands-on active learning spaces are designed for visitors of all ages to get curious, get creative and get their hands dirty; to see, hear, feel and imagine the stories of the Hyde Park Barracks and the people who lived there. These purpose-built spaces will allow independent visitors, families and schools groups to delve into archaeology, handle objects, play, make and do on this remarkable heritage site.







The Collection

At the heart of the new experience is the internationally significant archaeological collection. More than 4000 original objects will be on display, many for the very first time. With its intriguing and poignant remnants of everyday life – such as scraps of fabric, pipe fragments and other personal possessions – the collection illustrates the barracks’ turbulent yet fascinating history and connects visitors to the stories of its past residents.

Project news

Hyde Park Barracks models

Hyde Park Barracks

SMH: A Sydney history lesson tiny in statureTuesday 10 December 2019

Hyde Park Barracks Museum


Museum Volunteer opportunity: Hyde Park BarracksMonday 18 November 2019

Have you got a passion for museums and a desire to help create a positive experience for visitors?

Children enjoying a convict meal

Hyde Park Barracks

Nine News: A convict meal Thursday 6 June 2019

NSW Governor Margaret Beazley with school children

Hyde Park Barracks

SMH: A king's feast of beef, pudding but no rum 200 years onWednesday 5 June 2019

NSW Governor Margaret Beazley AO, QC with school children from Fort Street Public School

Hyde Park Barracks

Re-enactment marks 200th anniversary of the BarracksTuesday 4 June 2019

Tuesday 4 June marks the 200th anniversary of the first convicts to take up residency in Hyde Park Barracks – recognising the beginning of new chapter of Australian history.