Sydney boasts “living museums” and a visit to any one of them is a fascinating.
I found myself being transported back in time and got good insight on how the people occupying those buildings lived. I think the main reason for this is the enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides available. Their enlightening stories of each building had me spellbound . By the end of the tour I felt like I knew the families who had lived there. Added to that, many times we were invited to touch, feel, smell the displayed items. We were even invited to sit on the chairs. I felt like I was reliving history.
The first Museum I visited was Hyde Park Barracks. I have always been intrigued with the history of the convicts banished to Australia when it was a penal colony. One of my favourite TV series is “Against the Wind” which is the story of convicts Johathan and Mary Garratt.
Take an audio guide and discover the inside story of convict life in this fascinating museum.
Going through the barracks just brought this sad and unjust history back to life. The museum is presented beautifully that if you had time, you could spend hours browsing. One of the exhibitions displays a room with rows and rows of hammocks. This portrayed how the convicts spent their nights after a long day of hard labour. There were openings in the wall from which guards could keep an eye on these poor men confined from sunset to sunrise. I took the opportunity of lying on one of the hammocks and letting my imagination take me back some 200 years.
What I did learn was that Hyde Park Barracks also served as a Female Immigration Depot between 1848 and 1886. There is an excellent exhibition that tells us the story of these woman who braved moving over to an unknown country. The main reason for this was to fleeing from poverty.
During the day these woman would work in the city and then return to the Barracks where they were housed in dormitory style rooms. The exhibition is a dormitory of small iron beds which each tell the story of some of the woman known to have lived there. Trunks used by some of these woman, along with their personal items that have been recovered are also displayed. I would have loved to have read each and every woman’s story but time did not allow it.
Next time I visit I will definitely allow more time to browse, there is so much to