Hyde Park Barracks Museum, exterior. Photo © Doug Riley for Sydney Living Museums

Hyde Park Barracks Museum 2018

Sunday 4 November

Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney

See on map




Francis Greenway, first Civil Architect

Additional architects

1991 Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects – museum restoration

1991 Clive Lucas (now Lucas Stapleton Johnson) – heritage conservation

2012 Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners – reconstruction of gate lodge domes


1992 Francis Greenway Award Category 4 – AIA (NSW)

1992 Lachlan Macquarie Award – AIA (National)

1992 Museum of the Year Award

2013 Heritage Architecture Award (Gate Lodge Domes Reconstruction) – AIA (NSW)

One of only two World Heritage sites in central Sydney, the Hyde Park Barracks was built by convicts, for convicts. Indeed, it was designed by arguably our most famous former convict of all – Francis Greenway, who would become the first person in Australia to occupy the office of Government Architect.

Charged with forgery and sentenced to death in England, Greenway was transported to NSW, where his skill as an architect was quickly put to use by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in his ambitious public works program. Appointed the young colony’s first Civil Architect in 1816, Greenway wasted no time, completing the Hyde Park Barracks in 1819, after just two years of construction. It became the centre of convict administration and the colony’s principal convict barracks, with an estimated 50,000 prisoners passing through its gates between 1819 and 1848.

From 1848 it served as Sydney’s female Immigration Depot, and then as an asylum for aged and destitute women, providing shelter for an estimated 50,000 women and their children until 1887. It then became a legal hub, housing a bustling complex of courts and government offices.

As Sydney modernised and the barracks faced threats of demolition, artists such as Sydney Ure Smith, Lionel Lindsay and William Hardy Wilson rallied to save it by featuring it in their artworks and calling publicly for its conservation. By the 1940s, the Royal Australian Historical Society and the National Trust were demanding that the barracks become a museum.

The outstanding heritage value of the Hyde Park Barracks was finally recognised in 1981 with its protection under the NSW Heritage Act 1977, and in 1984 the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences transformed it into a museum.

After its 1990 transfer to the Historic Houses Trust of NSW (now Sydney Living Museums), and award-winning adaptation by architects Tonkin Zulaikha Harford and conservation by Clive Lucas, the Hyde Park Barracks finally became a museum about itself. It is one of the 11 Australian Convict Sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

On Sunday 4 November

What’s open?

The entire site, including the museum, gatehouse and Deputy Superintendent of Convicts’ office, historic Sydney District Court room and the Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine


Ticket pickup location

The Hyde Park Barracks Museum is open daily 10am-5pm. Wristbands that have been pre-purchased online can be picked up from the museum admissions desk every day up to and including the weekend of Sydney Open.

On Saturday 3 November and Sunday 4 November, Sydney Open Tickets can also be purchased from the admissions desk at the Museum of Sydney. Tickets can be purchased with credit card (Mastercard & Visa) and cash.

Museum opening hours on Saturday: 10am–5pm

Museum opening hours on Sunday: 9am–5pm

to know

  • Toilets available

  • Pram friendly

  • Accessible
    Please note there is no elevator to upper museum floors

  • Additional information
    Please note: All backpacks, large handbags, tote bags and umbrellas need to be cloaked

Opening hours

10am – 5pm

Last entry



Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney


The Hyde Park Barracks Museum’s involvement in Sydney Open has been made possible by Sydney Living Museums.