To get a good understanding of Australia’s convict history, visit Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks Museum. An UNESCO World Heritage site, the Hyde Park Barracks Museum shows how the convicts lived in the 19th century.
A Short History
Until the U.S. won the American Revolution, England sent convicts to the American colonies. After the U.S. became independent, England had to find a new place to get rid of its convicts and with the recent exploration of Australia, that became the place.
At first convicts could live wherever they liked, but in the early 19th century the governor of Australia figured it would be better to put them in barracks. In 1819 the Hyde Park Barracks was completed and opened.
Over the years it was used to house convicts, Irish orphans, and poor women before becoming a court house. (For more history see: http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/hyde-park-barracks-museum)
The Hyde Park Barracks museum is a bright, well curated museum offering well designed exhibits that provide facts and narratives so that visitors get a good grounding in the history from a wide and personal perspective. You’ll learn about Bennelong, an aboriginal man who was friends with Australia’s first governor, Arthur Phillip and about a woman who managed the women’s dormitory while raising 14 children.
When you pay for your ticket, the clerk will offer you a free audio guide in the language of your choice, this guide enhanced the experience giving still more interesting insights into the history.
Admission: Adults $12, Families $30, Concession (not sure what that means) $8