Hyde Park Barracks

Convict Sydney

1801 - Day in the life of a convict

In the young colony, there was no prisoner’s barrack - the bush and sea were the walls of the convicts’ prison

Convict Sydney

1820 - Day in the life of a convict

By 1820 the days of relative freedom for convicts in Sydney were over

Convict Sydney

1826 - Day in the life of a convict

The hot Sydney summer of 1826 ended with almost 1,000 convicts living at the overcrowded Barracks

Reenactment of 5 convicts lying in hammocks
Convict Sydney

1836 - Day in the life of a convict

By 1836, two-thirds of the convicts in the colony were out working for private masters, and government convicts made up only a small group

Convict Sydney

1844 - Day in the life of a convict

Fraying at the edges, these were the Barracks’ darkest days with only the worst convicts remaining

Two women seated on simple bed in dormitory style display holding large book.

40,000 women and the dormitory experience

It’s well known that 2253 Irish orphan girls were some of the first occupants of Sydney’s Female Immigration Depot, but they were only just the beginning of the women’s story at Hyde Park Barracks


A lighter shade of drab

In this video, as specialist painter Adam John Christian Seur goes about his work, curator Gary Crockett explains the origin of drab

West elevation (front), Hyde Park Barracks

A long shadow: convict Sydney and the Hyde Park Barracks

Hailed for its architecture, and now World Heritage listed, the Hyde Park Barracks has much more to tell us about the changing experience of convicts and the growth of a restless colony

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A short history of the Hyde Park Barracks

In the early 19th century, the Hyde Park Barracks was the central convict institution and crossroads for tens of thousands of convicts shuffled back and forth throughout the colony. It's now on the World Heritage list, recognised among the world’s most important cultural heritage places linked to forced migration, colony building and convict culture.