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Hyde Park Barracks

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Australia began as a nation based around crime, designed to house British convicts from the over-crowded gaols in England. In the city first developed in the new colony, Sydney's Hyde Park Barracks showcase the early history that was riddled with crime, convicts and captivating stories.

Hyde Park Barracks
flickr image by uli harder

Hyde Park Barracks were actually built by the convicts themselves; here they were housed and provided with work. The barracks had everything they needed, including a bakery, workshops and eating and sleeping areas. Over eight hundred convicts could be housed at one time, and this development was designed to keep them contained in one location, rather than allowing them free access to Sydney's brand new streets.

The convict life was hard and demanding. After the long and arduous voyage from England to an unknown country, they were required to work long days through cruel conditions. The human rights expectations for criminals today did not apply back then and the stories of their experiences are shocking and dramatic.

This lifestyle is foreign to current residents and visitors of Sydney, especially as Hyde Park Barracks is located right in the current office and retail district. This hugely popular building offers a contrasting glimpse into Australia's early years. Hyde Park Barracks now house a museum dedicated to teaching the history seen within and around its walls. School groups and visitors from around the world attend the Hyde Park Barracks for a journey of discovery. Address: Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000.


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