Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Museum in City Centre & Haymarket

Image by Thorsten Rust Getty Images

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. At the time of research the barracks was closed until late 2019 as the exhibition was rejigged.

This is one of the Australian convict sites to be inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List. When it reopens, a new exhibition will focus on the convicts and others who lived here. You'll still see the hammocks strung up on the top floor as they once were and will be able to learn about the offences for which convicts were transported to Australia, some of which seem astoundingly petty today. Don't miss the resident cats round the back by the toilets.