1858 Alexander Dawson, Colonial Architect, Water Police Station
1886 James Barnet, Colonial Architect, Police Court
One of the city’s most compelling museums, the Justice & Police Museum takes us into the grim theatre of law and order, crime and punishment in early Sydney. The museum takes in the old Water Police Court (1856), designed by NSW Colonial Architect Edmund Blacket; the Water Police Station (1858), by Alexander Dawson, Blacket’s successor; and the 1886 Police Court, designed by James Barnet, the most prolific of the colonial architects.
This three-building complex, once one of the busiest legal precincts in the colony, remained in use as a police station right up until 1985. Today its heavy sandstone blocks and spiked steel gates are restored to their 1890s character. The magistrates court, police charge room, cells and a grim collection of weapons are all open for viewing, along with the police photography exhibition City of Shadows.
See relics from notorious crimes such as the Pyjama Girl case and the Graeme Thorne kidnapping, along with artefacts from legendary bushrangers Ben Hall and Captain Moonlite.
The two courthouses, the police station
Talks, tours & more
Hear stories from the police station. Listen to true tales of courageous cops and rotten robbers.
Bushrangers Behind Bars: Join in a family-friendly mock trial of bushranger John Vane, a member of the Ben Hall gang.
Murder in the Museum (adults only tour). Come and hear salacious stories of bushranger Andrew George Scott, alias Captain Moonlite, and Henry Louis Bertrand, aka ‘the mad dentist of Wynyard Square’.
Explore this fascinating museum on your own, or you can participate in our daily tours & talks. Note the tours & talks can take only limited numbers due to the size of rooms in the museum. Ask our friendly staff what’s on.
Multi-level building with stairs, only the two courts are wheelchair accessible and pram friendly
Please note, the Justice & Police Museum is only open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day)
The Justice & Police Museum’s involvement in Sydney Open has been made possible by Sydney Living Museums.