The Hyde Park Barracks is closed for a major renewal...

Over the coming months, the Hyde Park Barracks Museum will be transformed 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 Museum.

The museum will re-open in late 2019, 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.

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. It is about people, memory and living through times of immense change. The convict men and later the immigrant and asylum women who slept here, and the Aboriginal people impacted by this place, all left something of themselves in the story of the barracks. 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.

Project news

The clock at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Hyde Park Barracks

Heritage grant awarded to conserve Barracks clockMonday 13 May 2019

Sydney Living Museums is very pleased to announce that we have been awarded an Australian Heritage Grant for the conservation of the Vulliamy turret clock at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum.


Hyde Park Barracks

SMH: Innovative techniques to protect heritage buildingsThursday 2 May 2019

Three storey brick colonial era building with clock tower.

Hyde Park Barracks

Blue sky to fund Hyde Park Barracks renewal projectWednesday 1 May 2019

Read about our exciting Hyde Park Barracks project in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Jenny from our collections team is leaning into a showcase to remove an object

Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks Museum Renewal Update - March, 2019Thursday 28 March 2019

Watch this short video update exploring what we've been doing at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum.

Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks Museum renewalThursday 10 January 2019

The Hyde Park Barracks Museum will close on 29 January 2019 for a major renewal project that will transform the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site into a world-leading heritage destination.

The Collection

Almost 100,000 people – convicts, immigrants and asylum inmates – passed through the Hyde Park Barracks. Left behind were thousands of discarded items and personal possessions later discovered by archaeologists. Internationally renowned, this collection brings history to life in intimate ways, revealing previously unknown details of daily life in this 19th-century institution.