Showcasing Museums in Sydney

Author:  Tamsin Martin, student majoring in Modern History at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. This piece was written on Darug Land.

This blog post aims to showcase some of the museums that can be found in the city of Sydney, Australia. I would like to note that all of the museums featured in this post are located on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. I pay my respects to Elders past and present of the Gadigal Nation. Was, is and always will be Aboriginal Land.

Justice and Police Museum Sign, Photography by Tamsin Martin

Justice and Police Museum
Corner of Albert St and Phillip St, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open weekends, 10am to 5pm

On the site of two 19th century courts and a police station, this museum displays sections of the criminal history of New South Wales. It is made of three connected buildings: a courthouse dating from 1856, a police station built in 1858, and another courthouse, which was built in 1886. The buildings were designed by Edmund Blackett and James Barnet. The museum features stories of crime and policing in the territory, including bushrangers, razor gangs, forensics and policing, right near the waterfront of Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour.

Front view of Museum of Sydney, Photography by Tamsin Martin

Museum of Sydney:
Corner of Bridge St and Phillip St, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open daily, 10am to 5pm

The Museum of Sydney is built on top of the archaeological remains of First Government House. This site presents aspects of the history of Sydney including pre-European arrival Aboriginal culture to the modern day. Because of the site’s history as a colonial governmental epicentre, the museum is undergoing a process of becoming a First Nations cultural space dedicated to truth-telling in history and holding conversations centred around First Nations voices.

Currently Showing: Just Not Australian

Front view of Hyde Park Barracks, Photography by Tamsin Martin

Hyde Park Barracks:
Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open daily, 10am to 6pm

Hyde Park Barracks is a UNESCO World Heritage listed Convict Site. Built in 1819, it was designed by Francis Greenway in order to house convicts in the colony of Sydney. In 1848, it became an immigration depot and hiring office for women arriving in the colony. Later, the building was also used to house the “Hyde Park Asylum,” a home for infirm and destitute women until 1886. The museum is now dedicated to presenting the stories of the people housed in the building over its years of operation. 

Currently Showing: Murmurations

The Mint sign, Photography by Tamsin Martin

The Mint:
10 Macquarie St, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open weekdays, 9am to 5pm

The Mint building was originally built as the Southern Wing of the Sydney “Rum” Hospital in 1816. In 1854, it became the first branch of the Royal Mint working outside of England following the influx of gold throughout New South Wales in the Gold Rush. The building is now home to the history of the building, the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection and the Museums of History NSW head offices.

Front view of Susannah Place, Photography by Tamsin Martin

Susannah Place:
58-64 Gloucester St, The Rocks, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm 
(Bookings required)

Susannah Place is a museum made up of four terrace houses. These houses were built in 1844 by Irish immigrants, and remain largely unchanged from this period through slum clearings and redevelopment over 150 years. It has been home to over 100 families over this 150 year period, and the museum is set up to display the lives and stories of the working class families who lived on the site.

Front view of State Library of NSW, Photography by Tamsin Martin

State Library of NSW:
1 Shakespeare Place, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open daily, varied opening hours

The State Library of NSW is the oldest library in Australia. It began as the Australian Subscription Library in 1826. The State Library is dedicated to collecting and preserving materials relating to our place in the world, and making them accessible to everyone in New South Wales and beyond. The building includes study rooms, reading rooms and exhibition spaces. It also has an extensive online library collection and on-site research collections.

Currently Showing: Pride (R)evolution

View of archaeological site and Big Dig Archaeological Education Centre, Photography by Tamsin Martin

The Big Dig:
106-128 Cumberland St, The Rocks, Sydney
Gadigal Land

The Big Dig (or Cumberland Street Archaeological Site) is one of the largest urban excavation sites in Australia. It contains evidence of early European settlement in the Rocks area of Sydney, dating back to approximately 1795. Excavations began in 1994, and the site includes over 30 homes and shops. The Big Dig is part of the Sydney Harbour YHA, a hostel.

Front view of Sydney Jewish Museum, Photography by Tamsin Martin

Sydney Jewish Museum:
148 Darlinghurst Rd, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open Sunday to Friday, varied opening hours

The Sydney Jewish Museum was founded in 1992 by the Jewish community in Sydney. The tagline of the museum is: “Where history has a voice.” It is a place intended to share heritage, community and to educate about Jewish history. The museum collection includes objects relating to The Holocaust, Judaica and Australian Jewish history for display and research.

Currently Showing: Reverberations: A Future for Memory

Front view of Powerhouse Museum, Photography by Tamsin Martin

The Powerhouse Museum:
500 Harris St, Ultimo, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open daily, 10am-5pm
Powerhouse Lates: Thursday 10am-9pm

The Powerhouse is the main branch of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). It is dedicated to presenting applied arts and sciences, as well as art and culture from around the world and within Australia. It contains exhibitions relating to transportation technology, fashion and culture. The museum collection is on display on site as well as online.

Currently Showing: Unpopular, Zampatti Powerhouse, Arcadia and more.

Front view of Australian National Maritime Museum, Photography by Tamsin Martin

Australian National Maritime Museum:
2 Murray St, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open daily, 10am-5pm

The Australian National Maritime Museum is dedicated to presenting Australia’s connection to water. It considers the stories of those who have worked with water through oceans, lakes and rivers and speaks of stories of migration, commerce, archaeology, marine science and culture. 

Currently Showing: Brickwrecks

View of The Rocks Discovery Museum from front and looking down the building, Photography by Tamsin Martin

Rocks Discovery Museum:
2-8 Kendall Lane, The Rocks, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open daily, 10am to 5pm

The Rocks Discovery Museum presents the story of the Rocks area of Sydney from pre-European settlement days to the present. It is housed in three buildings dating back to 1844. The museum displays stories and archaeological artefacts relating to the area.

View of front entrance and shark statue of the Australian Museum, Photography by Tamsin Martin

Australian Museum: 
1 William St, Sydney
Gadigal Land
Open daily, 9am to 5pm
Open late Wednesday, 9am to 9pm

The Australian Museum is the oldest museum in Australia, established in 1827, and aiming to collect rare natural history specimens with a focus on Indigenous Australian and Pasifika cultures, prehistoric Australian megafauna, dinosaurs, minerals, animals and more.

Tamsin Martin is in her final year of Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Modern History at Macquarie University. Her plan after graduation is to continue onto higher level study, focusing on researching the gay rights movement of the 1970s, and to enter museum and research work.

Cite this blog post
Bridging Editor (2023, June 4). Showcasing Museums in Sydney. IFPH-FIHP. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search