Historic Buildings

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Historic Buildings and Sites

La Perouse Museum

Documents the French voyages of exploration along the Australian coastline in the 18th and 19th centuries. Maritime history. Old Cable Station, Anzac Parade, La Perouse. Open daily 9.30 am - 4.00 pm. Phone (02) 9311 3379.

Old Government House

This building is a remodelled version of the original house built by Governor Phillip in 1790 at a time when he was seriously considering moving permanently from Sydney to Rose Hill (Parramatta). Old Government House is Australia's oldest public building. It was the country residence for the first ten governors of the colony. Ph (02) 9635 8149. Parramatta Park, George Street, Parramatta.

Garrison Church

The church operates a small museum, dedicated to the military, located in the Garrison Church grounds. The Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm and from 12 noon to 4.00 pm on Sundays. 60 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point. Phone: (02) 9241 1390.

Government House

Somewhat less lavish than first planned, Government House was designed by Edward Blore, a special architect to King William IV, and later to Queen Victoria. Royal Botanical Gardens, Macquarie Street, Sydney. Phone (02) 9931 5222.

Middle Head Fortifications

Due to its strategic position opposite Sydney Heads, Middle Head was the ideal place from which to defend 19th century colonial Sydney. Consequently, the point of Middle Head is riddled with a network of lookouts, gun placements, and ammunition stores, all interlinked by tunnels and passages. The nine guns mounted at Middle head were never fired in anger, but four men were killed in April 1891 in the accidental detonation of a mine. Free entry.

Georges Head Fortifications

Not far from Middle Head is Georges Head, which also was set aside in the early days of colonial Sydney for defence purposes. It has remained a resctricted-access military reserve until recent times, when it was returned to the people of Sydney for recreational use as part of Sydney Harbour National Park. Free entry.

Fort Denison

Once a rocky outcrop in the middle of Sydney Harbour, seven decades saw it change into the island fortress we see today. Used by the early colonial governors as a place of solitary confinement for particularly unruly convicts, it became part of Sydney's defences when in 1855 it was razed to sea level and its gun batteries, and a barracks and a Martello tower were built.

Bare Island, La Perouse

The small island just inside the heads was described by Captain James Cook as a small bare island. In 1877 it was decided that a fort was to be built on the island. Botany Bay was considered the back door into Sydney, thus making the city vulnerable to a seaborne attack. Though bristling with guns, the fort was soon made redundant by advancing technology. National Parks & Wildlife Service conduct guided tours of the fort.

Goat Island

Located just north of Darling Harbour, Goat Island the largest island in Sydney Harbour. Over the years, Goat Island has served as a home for Aboriginal people, a quarry, convict stockade, explosives store, police station, fire station, boatyard and film set. Today the island forms part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. Access to the island is only by ferry on tours organised by National Parks & Wildlife Service. Tours depart from Circular Quay.


Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island is Australia's most unusual urban park - a heritage-listed island in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Where else can you pitch a tent and camp so close to the city, or get such a magnificent view of the harbour bridge, the city skyline and the wonderful juxtaposition of headlands, suburbs and water? Access by ferry; free entry.

St Johns Cemetery, Parramatta

Australia's oldest surviving cemetery and the most intact Georgian cemetery in NSW. In use between 1789 and 1824, it contains the oldest known undisturbed grave in Australia, marked by a slab of river sandstone which bears the inscription: H.E. Dodd 1791.  Henry Edward Dodd was Gov. Phillip's butler. He was buried there on 29th January 1791, a year after the opening of the cemetery. The gravestones of a number of other first fleeters are to be found in the cemetery including NSW's first Surveyor-General, German born Baron Augustus Alt; Surgeon John Harris; John Palmer (Purser of HMS Sirius). Also buried here are pioneer churchman Rev. Samuel Marsden; merchant Robert Campbell after whom Sydney s Campbells Cove is named; bridge builder David Lennox (no headstone remains); explorer and schoolmaster of the Government school, John Eyre; pioneer local settler Rowland Hassall; colonial doctor D Arcy Wentworth, the founder of Melbourne, William Batman.

Hyde Park Barracks

this Georgian style building was designed by Colonial Architect Francis Greenway. It was constructed in 1818 to house the 800 convicts who built it. Historical displays tell the story of the building and its convict occupants. Queen's Square, Sydney. Open daily 10.00 am - 5.00 pm


Susannah Place Museum

A visit to Susannah Place is like opening a family album - the stories inside could belong to anyone, in any part of the world. They are ordinary lives, yet lives that have left an extraordinary legacy in modern Sydney's oldest neighbourhood. Location: The Rocks, Sydney.

Quarantine Station

The Quarantine Station was opened in 1832, however its main period of use was between 1870 and the 1920s. In 1881, a smallpox epidemic swept Sydney after the release of a man from the Station who had been wrongly diagnosed as having a mild case of chickenpox. Today, the complex, known as Q Station, offers hotel accommodation, ghost tours tours, group activities, restaurants and a function centre.

James Cook's Landing Place

Celebrates the discovery of the east coast of Australia by Captain Cook and the exploits of Cook and Sir Joseph Banks at Botany Bay in 1770, as well as focusing on the natural history of Botany Bay's wetlands area. Nearby is the beach where Captain James Cook and botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander and the crew of HMS Endeavour landed on 29 April 1770. Location: Captain Cook Drive, Kurnell. The Informatiobn Centre is open Mon - Fri 11.00 am - 3.00 pm; Sat & Sun 10.00 am - 4.00 pm.

Australiana Pioneer Village

Step back in time to a bygone area. Back to a time when the village main street comprised the barber shop, blacksmith and Inn and the highlight of the social week was going to church on Sunday. Where kids played with hoola hoops & marbles in the street and the only traffic was the horse & cart. Location: 10 Ross Street, Wilberforce, Hawkesbury River. Ph 0438 751 775.

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