Located close to Hyde Park the Barracks Museum Sydney displays it's own history and shows the importance the building played in the birth of the colony of Australia.
Locally known as the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, this little gem should be high on the list of things to do when visiting Sydney. It is quite a unique museum in that everything on display is part of the buildings own history.
Barracks Museum is open to the public daily between 9.30am and 5.00pm. (Except Good Friday and Christmas Day)
Find out about an important building in the history of Australia, an incredible journey into our convict past.
Barracks Museum. Queens Square. Macquarie St. Sydney
The Barracks was commissioned to be built by Governor Macquarie after people raised concerns about unruly behavior by convict labour in The Rocks area.
Construction of the Barracks began in 1817 under the watchful eye of convict architect Francis Greenway, who also designed the Barracks building.
Completed in 1819, the Barracks was used as night time quarters for between 600 and 1400 male convicts for almost 30 years.
It is important to note that it wasn't a goal, but a barracks where the men gathered and slept at night after working during the day.
Convict transportation from England to the new colony in Australia ceased in 1840. In 1848 the Barracks, on the edge of Hyde Park, was turned into a dormitory for unprotected female assisted immigrants. Young women, mostly Irish orphans, were housed and strictly supervised from the moment of their arrival until the new immigrants found work in private employment. Later, wives and children of convicts were sheltered in the barracks until they could be reunited with their family members.
In 1862 a government asylum for the infirm was established within the building, which continued until 1886. From then until 1979 the building was used as various government offices, courts and commissions. Luckily for the people of Australia, the building withstood many attempts to demolish the historic site and use the land for other purpose's as today it holds a grand reminder of the life and struggles of the early settlers to Sydney.
The exterior of the building is a beautiful sandstone monument to the convict architect Francis Greenway, who designed many of the buildings still standing in Sydney today.
Inside are relics and artifacts either retained from the original men and women who passed through the Barracks portals, or artifacts found when an archaeological investigation was conducted.
One floor is recreated showing the hammocks where the male convicts slept as you can see in this image on the right.
The Barracks Museum is a history of itself and traces the paths of thousands of men and women who made a new life in an unfamiliar land.
There are some fabulous buildings in this area of Sydney with St James Church, the oldest church in Australia, the Mint, Government House and St Marys Cathedral all close to Hyde Park.
You can spend a full day just in this area of Sydney alone, so make sure you place the Hyde Park Barracks Museum on your list of things to do and places to see in Sydney.
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