CBD001-HydeParkBarracksDrawingHardyWilson1914.jpg (83711 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Hyde Park Barracks Historic Houses Trust


Francis Greenway 


Macquarie Street (opposite Queens Square) Sydney


1990-92 Tonkin Zulaikha Harford (conversion to museum) and Clive Lucas (restoration)


Old Colonial Georgian




Government barracks
  Click images for larger versions
  Image from the book "Sydney in 1848"
  Nineteenth Century images- State Library of New South Wales
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One of Sydney’s earliest examples of refined architecture, Hyde Park Barracks was built to house transported convicts in a self-contained walled compound in a bid to solve night-time crime. It was miraculously saved from demolition after it had been left to decay for a century.

The three storey main building is the centrepiece of the walled compound, which included a cookhouse, bakery, cells and soldiers’ quarters. Its primary purpose was to house the large working convict population, which, until this project, roamed the streets at night causing street crime.

Each floor has four large rooms divided by staircases, with rows of hammocks attached to wooden rails and upright posts fixed to the floor and roof. Seventy convicts were crammed into each large room and thirty five into the smaller rooms, to bring the total to more than 800 inmates. In 1887, the interior was rebuilt to house the District Law Courts of NSW. Later, it became a project of the Historic Houses Trust, being carefully restored, conserved and converted into a museum in the early 1990s.

The modern interpretation of the museum, which demonstrates a sensitive approach, is well regarded in architectural circles. Modern materials such as glass and steel are used in ways which clearly distinguish the new work from the original fabric. In summer, during the Sydney festival, the grounds are crowded with people who come to the night-time jazz concerts.

Information appearing in this section is reproduced from Sydney Architecture, with the kind permission of the author, Graham Jahn, a well-known Sydney architect and former City of Sydney Councillor. Sydney Architecture, rrp $35.00, is available from all good book stores or from the publisher, Watermark Press, Telephone: 02 9818 5677.





The Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine
The Great North Road Convict Trail
  Hyde Park Barracks Museum
Queens Square, Macquarie Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
t. 02 8239 2311
f. 02 8239 2322

Opening Hours
Open Daily 9.30am – 5.00pm
Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday

Admission Prices
Adult $7
Child/Concession $3
Family $17
Members free