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.

Opening late 2019

Why not visit our other houses and museums.

About the 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.

Experience

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.

Learning

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

Selection of convict love tokens.

Education

Convict love token classroom art activityWednesday 21 November 2018

Inspired by our convict love tokens and the personal stories they tell, we have developed a Creative Arts classroom activity for teachers to share with their students – a perfect end-of-term project!

Boy flying kite in field.

School holidays

Spring School Holidays 2018: opening hoursMonday 17 September 2018

Girl dressed as convict carrying bricks.

Donors

Thank you to donorsFriday 24 August 2018

Group of children in school uniform looking at objects on display.

Conservation

Projects funded at Museum of Sydney and Hyde Park BarracksThursday 16 August 2018

The Hyde Park Barracks Museum and the site of the first Government House at the Museum of Sydney were successful in securing grants in this year’s Protecting National Historic Sites program.

Group of four women in period costumes in front of sandstone steps.

The Mint

NIDA students in costume at the Barracks & The MintTuesday 14 August 2018

NIDA costume design students were seen modelling the costumes that they designed at Hyde Park Barracks Museum and The Mint.

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.