Designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, the barracks were completed in 1819 to house 600 male convicts, who were in government employ until 1848. Subsequently used as an immigration depot and an asylum for women, they eventually metamorphosed into a museum.
On the top level are re-created convict quarters: rough hammocks hang side by side in the dormitories, while recorded snippets of conversation surround you. A computer database allows visitors to follow the official records of convicts, from conviction to flogging to rehabilitation.
The women’s section on level two is no less thought-provoking – these (mostly Irish) women were escaping an awful existence to start what must have been an equally burdensome new life in a harsh colony.
The courtyard houses a pleasant café for a moment of quiet contemplation.
|Venue name:||Hyde Park Barracks Museum||Contact:|
Queens Square, Macquarie St
|Opening hours:||Daily 10am-5pm|
|Transport:||Nearby stations: St James|