Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

Hyde Park Barracks
Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney
Type Historic Building
Location located at the southern end of Macquarie Street, Sydney, New South Wales, adjacent to the north-east corner of Hyde Park, opposite Queens Square and beside the Sydney Mint.
Coordinates [1]
Area 2.16 hectares[1]
Status Open every day MON-SUN 10.00am -5.00pm closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Website http://www.hht.net.au/museums/hyde_park_barracks_museum

The Hyde Park Barracks Museum is a brick building and compound designed by convict architect Francis Greenway between 1818–19; originally built at the head of Macquarie Street (1819) to house convict men and boys.[2]

The site is managed by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales as a museum open to the public for a modest fee. The site is listed on New South Wales' State[3] and Australian National Heritage[4] registers, and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of 11 pre-eminent Australian Convict Sites[5] as amongst "the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts."[6]


Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney during Macquarie Night Lights from 23 November to 25 December 2006

Constructed by convict labour by order of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the Barracks is one of the most familiar works of the accomplished colonial England-born, Australian architect Francis Greenway. As the principal male convict barracks in New South Wales it provided lodgings for convicts working in government employment around Sydney until its closure in mid-1848.

Hyde Park Barracks in a 1914 drawing by William Hardy Wilson

It has had many occupants since then. It was an Immigration Depot for single female immigrants seeking work as domestic servants and awaiting family reunion from 1848 to 1886 and also a female asylum from 1862 to 1886. From 1887 to 1979 law courts and government offices were based at the Barracks. Construction began in 1817.


In 1991, Hyde Park Barracks underwent conservation and adaptation work by award-winning architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and conservation architects Clive Lucas Stapleton and Partners. The completed project won the Australian Institute of Architects national Lachlan Macquarie Award in 1992. Now, the newly installed Hyde Park Barracks is a museum operated by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. Tourists who visit the building discover the daily lives of convicts and other occupants through exhibitions on Sydney’s male convict labour force, Australia’s convict system, an innovative soundscape, excavated artefacts, exposed layers of building fabric and the complex’s rooms and spaces.

World Heritage listing

In July 2010, at the 34th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the Hyde Park Barracks and ten other Australian sites with a significant association with convict transportation were inscribed as a group on the World Heritage List as the Australian Convict Sites.[7] The listing explains that the 11 sites present "the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts". Of the 11 sites the Old Great North Road, Old Government House at Parramatta and Cockatoo Island are also within the Sydney region.


  1. ^ a b Chapter 1 of Australian Government's "Australian Convict Sites" World Heritage nomination Accessed 5 August 2010
  2. ^ hht.net.au
  3. ^ http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/07_subnav_01_2.cfm?itemid=5045722>
  4. ^ http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/hyde-park/information.html>
  5. ^ http://www.hht.net.au/discover/highlights/articles/barracks_world_heritage_listing>
  6. ^ UNESCO's World Heritage "Australian Convict Sites" webpages Accessed 2 August 2010
  7. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Centre – World Heritage Committee inscribes seven cultural sites on World Heritage List". UNESCO World Heritage Centre website. United Nations. 31 July 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 

External links

  • "Hyde Park Barracks Museum". Historic Houses Trust. 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-23. 
  • A Place For The Friendless Female: Sydney's Female Immigration Depot (online version of the Hyde Park Barracks Museum exhibition by the same name)
  • Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (Website)
  • UNESCO announcement of World Heritage listing