A UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of contemporary Sydney, the Hyde Park Barracks is an extraordinary record of the living legacy of colonial Australia. Originally built to house convicts, the Barracks also served as a women’s immigration depot and asylum, and later law courts and government offices. Today this immersive museum tells the stories of the thousands of men, women and children held or housed there, and the Aboriginal communities profoundly impacted by the relentless push of colonial expansion.

Queens Square, Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000

Hyde Park Barracks

Gadigal Country

Queens Square, Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000
  • Wheelchair accessible
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Government Printing Office; NRS 4481, Glass negatives. NRS-4481-4-44-[AF00194836] Immigration Barracks Sydney, August 1871 [Department of Public Works]

Conservation in action: Hyde Park Barracks northern range refurbishment works

In collaboration with experienced heritage consultants and traditional tradespeople, MHNSW is undertaking conservation works to the northern range buildings


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Convict Barrack Sydney N.S. Wales

Hyde Park Barracks – the convict years

In 1788, the penal colony of New South Wales was established on the Country of the Gadigal people

Black and white image of a building

Hope 1848–1886

In 1848 the Hyde Park Barracks became an immigration depot and hiring office for unaccompanied women newly arrived in Sydney

Paiting showing boats and Aboriginal people in canoes
First Nations

The convict impact on Aboriginal people

Impacts of the convict system on Aboriginal Country and communities

Campaign photos for Cutter and Coota, featuring a performer dressed in a possum skin cloak posing within the grounds of the Hyde Park Barracks.

Cutter and Coota: a children’s play by Bruce Pascoe

Meet author and historian Bruce Pascoe and the main characters from his play Cutter and Coota as they reflect on the play’s themes and the experience of performing at the Hyde Park Barracks

Learning programs

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Education programme at Hyde Park Barracks.

Archaeology Underfoot

As they experience historical archaeology first hand, students learn to differentiate between the roles of historian and archaeologist

Children recreating a solitary confinement cell with foam bricks

Convict Life at the Barracks

What was it like to be a convict living at the Hyde Park Barracks?

Two girls dressed in costume in large dormitory style room.

Home: Convicts, Migrants and First Peoples

What was it like to be a convict living at the Hyde Park Barracks?

Annual Giving 2023–24: engaging with history

Supporting children to discover history

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