- Museums, Sightseeing Type
- 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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Considered one of the world's most significant convict locations, this UNESCO World Heritage site was once used to house convicted men and boys brought to Sydney from Great Britain. After Great Britain stopped transporting prisoners to Australia in 1840, convicts were moved to Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour and the former barracks were converted into the city's Female Immigration Depot. The Hyde Park Barracks Museum also served as a hostel for orphan girls fleeing the Irish Potato Famine and an asylum for elderly women before shutting its doors in 1886. After its closure, the historic building lay in shambles until an extensive restoration began in 1975. Now the property operates as a museum and archeological treasure.
According to recent visitors, the museum's interactive exhibits successfully paint a picture of what life was like as a convict in Sydney. Travelers particularly recommend climbing into one of the hammocks, which once served as the prisoners' sleeping quarters. And while some museumgoers said this attraction is better suited for adults, kid-friendly activities like a convict kids trail and a dress up area with replica shackles and clothes will entertain younger visitors.
The Hyde Park Barracks Museum is located within walking distance of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Royal Botanic Garden. Should you decide to arrive by public transit, there are two train stations – St James and Martin Place – and multiple bus stops in the immediate area. Travelers can also take a ferry to Circular Quay, which is less than a mile north of the museum. There is no public parking offered at the property, but limited street parking and garage spaces are available near Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding Christmas Day and Good Friday), the Hyde Park Barracks Museum costs AU$10 (about $7.50) for adults and AU$5 ($4) for children to enter. However, a family ticket, which saves a group with two adults and two children AU$10 on their entrance fee, is available for AU$20 ($15). Admission fees are included for those with an iVenture Card. All tickets include free 45-minute guided tours and access to all of the museum's exhibits. Restrooms, a small cafe and a gift shop are also located on the museum grounds. For more information, visit the museum's website.
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