Built on the site of Sydney’s first Government House, the MoS is a fragmented, storytelling museum, which uses installations to explore the city’s history. The area's long Indigenous past is highlighted throughout, plus there's interesting coverage of the early days of contact between the Gadigal (Cadigal) people and the colonists. Key figures in Sydney's planning and architecture are brought to life, while there's a good section on the First Fleet itself, with scale models.

Be sure to check out the new Indigenous video content and Gordon Syron's powerful Invasion paintings in the Yura Nura section. In the forecourt, check out the disarming Edge of Trees sculpture by Janet Laurence and Fiona Foley. There’s a cool cafe-bar too.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby City Centre & Haymarket attractions

1. Governors Phillip & Macquarie Towers

0.04 MILES

Clad in steel, granite and glass, Governor Phillip Tower (1993) is one of Sydney's tallest buildings (254m including antennae). Its distinctive metallic…

2. Macquarie Place

0.09 MILES

Beneath some shady Moreton Bay fig trees is this historic triangle. Look for the cannon and anchor from the First Fleet flagship (HMS Sirius), an ornate…

3. Customs House Library

0.12 MILES

The elegant 1885 Customs House houses this three-level library. There's a great selection of international newspapers and magazines, internet access and…

4. Justice & Police Museum

0.12 MILES

In a sandstone building that once headquartered the Water Police, this atmospheric museum plunges you straight into Sydney noir. An assemblage of black…

5. Customs House

0.12 MILES

This elegant harbourside edifice (1885) has a democratic feel to it. It houses tourist information, a library, bars and restaurant options, including Cafe…

6. Sydney Conservatorium of Music

0.15 MILES

The castellated ‘Con’ was designed in 1817 by convict architect Francis Greenway as the stables and servants’ quarters of Governor Macquarie’s new house…

7. State Library of NSW

0.21 MILES

Among the State Library's over five million tomes are James Cook’s and Joseph Banks’ journals and William Bligh’s log from the mutinous Bounty. It's worth…

8. Tank Stream Fountain

0.22 MILES

Designed by Stephen Walker, this four-part bronze fountain (1981) near Circular Quay incorporates dozens of sculptures of native Australian animals; play…