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Convict architect Francis Greenway designed this squarish, decorously Georgian structure (1819) as convict quarters. Fifty thousand men and boys sentenced to transportation passed through here in 30 years. It later became an immigration depot, a women’s asylum and a law court. These days it’s a fascinating museum, focusing on the barracks’ history and the archaeological efforts that helped reveal it. The top floor has hammocks strung out as they were back in the day. Entry includes a good audio guide.
This is one of the Australian convict sites to be inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List and gives good detail on the others. Inside you can learn about the offences for which convicts were transported to Australia, some of which seem astoundingly petty today. The intriguing dynamic between Governor Macquarie, the architect Francis Greenway and the government investigator John Bigge is covered in detail. Don't miss the resident cats round the back by the toilets.