Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks - a museum about itself

Front gate to the Hyde Park Barracks
Front gate to the Hyde Park Barracks cc licensed photo by Ben Garrett

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hyde Park Barracks has a fascinating history, having served numerous roles since opening in 1819. Located at adjacent to the northeast corner of Hyde Park this historical building was ironically designed by a convict (Francis Greenway) for convicts.

They barracks were designed to house up to 600 men, but the population of convicts housed there soon grew as high as 1400 men. From 1819 to 1848, it is estimated that up to 30,000 men and boys had been housed there.

In 1848 there was a huge need for women to be brought into the Colony due to a population imbalance and the need for more workers, servants and mothers. Due to this demand, Hyde Park Barracks became the processing centre for 1000s of immigrating women and even many children. In 1862 wards were added to the top floor for women with no means to support themselves.

In 1887 the Barracks were renamed Chancery Square and converted to Government offices and courtrooms where, over the years, thousands of public service employees worked out of cramped and run down offices.

In the late 1970s the Hyde Park Barracks were cleaned up and converted to a museum about their own amazing history. In 2019 the museum was closed to facilitate an $18 million upgrade to create an more contemporary and interactive visitor experience that includes over 4000 original artefacts.

A visit to the Hyde Park Barracks is well worth the nominal cost of admission.

Nearby attractions: Hyde Park, St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney Tower, and the Australian Museum.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes

Hyde Park Barracks Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Address: Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Phone: (02) 8239 2311

Official Website: Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks Reviews

Rated 4.6 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating 100/10 !!👏 The staff are incredibly kind, patient, and welcoming. Free audio guide is amazing, they offer both English and Mandarin, and I have a really pleasant visit here. It’s not like other museums, it’s really well organized, clean, well-maintained!! Tho it’s not really eye-catching for outside, but it definitely worth a visit. they have a very detailed information about how the history of Australia, beginning of the convicts, it’s interesting, I never feel bored in any moment with the audio guide, the sound and effect are so amazing. Please come and enjoy please send visit here!
Kang Ariel - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating A very informative and thought provoking experience. Definitely a must do when visiting Sydney. A walk-through with an audio guide. It’s free and I recommend it. Gives one a good background on the way Sydney came up including the life and plight of the convict labour etc.
Rohan Pusalkar - 2 weeks ago

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5 Star Rating Sydney has a LOT of free museums and this is one of them. This historic former prison has been turned into a beautiful interactive high-tech museum that tells the good, bad and ugly sides of the history of the building of the city of Sydney and the forced labour of the convicts that did the work. You get a headset and a phone on arrival and as you go round the museum the device with gps is able to tell where you are and so tells you the story of the artefacts and presentation you are looking at. Along with voices from the past and ambiance sounds and music. Very moving. It’s quite an experience. AND IT IS ALL FREE. It is open everyday 10am till 6pm but the last tour is at 4:30pm. So make sure to get there before then.
Chim Onyebilanma - in the last week

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5 Star Rating This place is certainly an interesting and moving place to visit. I went a few years ago and was quite underwhelmed by it. Now , following a number of improvements it has much to offer. The audio guide certainly helps to make it a more absorbing visit. You need to stand at specific areas to hear it and sometimes I lost the signal but soon picked it up again. This museum is certainly an asset to Sydney and it is free to enter
Paul Hallgarth - 5 months ago

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5 Star Rating Was better than expected. Free entry for all. We did the kids guided tour with activity book included for the children. Both adult and child enjoyed the tour very much. Place was well set up and information was detailed.
Ginny Toh - 5 months ago

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Train Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Light Rail L2QVB8 minutes
T2, T3, or T8St. James 2 minutes

How to get to Hyde Park Barracks by Train

By Light Rail L2: Exit at the QVB Stop, proceed north on George Street, and right (east) on Market Street to Hyde Park. Follow the path northeast to the Macquarie Street Entrance and cross Prince Albert Road.

By Train: Take T2, T3, or T8 to James Station and proceed northeast through Hyde Park as above.

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