Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney
The Hyde Park Barracks is an internationally significant, impressive brick building and compound designed by convict architect Francis Greenway between 1818–19; originally built at the head of Macquarie Street (1819) to house convict men and boys.
The site is managed by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales as a museum open to the public for a modest fee. The site is listed on New South Wales' State and Australian National Heritage registers, and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of 11 preeminent Australian Convict Sites as amongst:
" .. the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts."
Constructed by convict labour by order of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the Barracks is one of the most familiar works of the accomplished colonial England-born, Australian architect Francis Greenway. As the principal male convict barracks in New South Wales it provided lodgings for convicts working in government employment around Sydney until its closure in mid 1848.
It has had many occupants since then. It was an Immigration Depot for single female immigrants seeking work as domestic servants and awaiting family reunion from 1848 to 1886 and also a female asylum from 1862 to 1886. From 1887 to 1979 law courts and government offices were based at the Barracks.
In 1981, Hyde Park Barracks underwent conservation and adaptation work by award-winning architects Tonkin Greer and conservation architects Clive Lucas Stapleton and Partners. Now, the newly installed Hyde Park Barracks is a museum operated by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. Tourists who visit the building discover the daily lives of convicts and other occupants through exhibitions on Sydney’s male convict labour force, Australia’s convict system, an innovative soundscape, excavated artefacts, exposed layers of building fabric and the complex’s rooms and spaces.
World Heritage Listing
In July 2010, at the 34th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the Hyde Park Barracks and ten other Australian sites with a significant association with convict transportation were inscribed as a group on the World Heritage List as the Australian Convict Sites. The listing explains that the 11 sites present "the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts". Of the 11 sites the Old Great North Road, Old Government House at Parramatta and Cockatoo Island are also within the Sydney region.
- A Place For The Friendless Female: Sydney's Female Immigration Depot (online version of the Hyde Park Barracks Museum exhibition by the same name)
- Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (Website)
- UNESCO announcement of World Heritage listing