Hyde Park Barracks
The refined architectural edifice of Hyde Park Barracks was built in 1819 to house male convicts assigned to the government. Its early inmates laboured in gangs and specialist workshops under a strict, though productive, system ruled by the clock. In the 1830s the Barracks became a brutal and feared administrative hub with convict courts and accommodation for those awaiting reassignment. During the 1840s it grew increasingly derelict and its population dwindled. After 1848 it was converted into lodgings for free immigrant women.
Hyde Park Barracks was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway during Governor Macquarie’s era. Intended to accommodate up to 600 convicts, at certain times it housed around 1,400. The site includes the main barracks building and seven associated buildings within a stone perimeter wall. The three-storey brick Georgian style barracks building has a timber-shingled gabled roof and a pediment commemorating Governor Macquarie’s role in its construction. The Barrack’s large central clock is an important feature of the site, symbolising the rigid regime that managed and controlled the convicts’ lives.
Each floor of the Barracks has a central corridor and a cross corridor that lead to six large dormitories and six smaller rooms where convicts were housed. One of the rooms has been restored showing the layout of canvas hammocks strung from wooden rails.
Hyde Park Barracks is an example of the use of the transportation to rehabilitate and integrate convicts into the penal colony, particularly during the era of Governor Macquarie. The site illustrates the success of the New South Wales penal colony and is associated with the large scale introduction of transportation by the major European powers in the modern era.
Hyde Park Barracks
Address: Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000
Telephone: (02) 8239 2311