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

Brown leather hand sewn and shaped object with buttons and ties.

Hyde Park Barracks

Convicts ‘making do’ at the Hyde Park BarracksTuesday 5 June 2018

Two actors dressed as convicts in doorway of guardhouse

Hyde Park Barracks

Budding actors set for Convict EscapadesWednesday 18 April 2018

We’re extremely excited to work with theatre production company Action Atelier to provide teenage actors the opportunity to develop their skills and perform to a public audience, alongside professional actors in Convict Escapades at Hyde Park Barracks Museum these holidays.

Print with three figures on beach and one in boat, getting ready to row out to distant ship.

Hyde Park Barracks

Love at last sightWednesday 7 February 2018

Two recently acquired love tokens give us a fascinating glimpse of the emotional experiences of convicts we otherwise know only through impersonal government records.The convicts banished to the Australian...

Two kids in convict costume with man in superintendent's costume outside brick building.

Hyde Park Barracks

Convict Escapades 2018 Audition NoticeTuesday 6 February 2018

Stalls in corner of sandstone-walled courtyard with visitors and city skyline in background.

Hyde Park Barracks

Celebrate an Aussie ChristmasWednesday 6 December 2017

The annual Christmas Fare at Hyde Park Barracks captures the way we celebrate the festive season.

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.