Museums by Category: Social History | Science & Technology | Transport | Historic Buildings | Sport

Social History Museums

Museum of Sydney

Situated on the site of the colony of New South Wales' first government house, this fascinating museum brings alive the history of the city of Sydney and the steps it went through to become the world city it is today. Bridge Street, Sydney.

The Mint

Financed with 45,000 gallons of rum, Governor Macquarie's 'Rum Hospital' provided 200 beds for convict patients. Today the Mint houses Sydney Living Museums' head office, venue hire spaces, a restaurant and cafe, and is also home to the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection.

The Army Museum

The Army Museum of New South Wales is housed in the original 25-cell District Military Prison which was constructed in 1847. The construction of Victoria Barracks as a home for the 11th Regiment was the catalyst that opened up Paddington as a residential area. Victoria Barracks, Oxford Street, Paddington. Open Thurs. and alternate Sun 10.00 am - 3.00 pm.

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.

Macleay Museum

A natural history collection, mainly covering the Sydney region, which includes stuffed animals, insects and lice from James Cook's Endeavour. Natural history. University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW 2006. Phone (02) 9351 2274.

Manly Art Gallery and Museum

Permanent collection of paintings and a display on local history. Social history. West Esplanade, Manly. Open Tues - Fri 10.00 am - 4.00 pm; Sat & Sun 12.00 noon - 5.00 pm.

May Gibbs' Nutcote

The home of renowned children's author and painter May Gibbs lived for many years at Nutcote, a home in Wallaringa Avenue. Gibbs was the creator, illustrator and author of the famous Snugglepot and Cuddlepie classics of Australian children's literature.

Elizabeth Farm

Built for the young military couple John and Elizabeth Macarthur and their growing family in 1793, Elizabeth Farm is one of the oldest homes in Australia. Today, set within a re-created 1830s garden, Elizabeth Farm is an access all areas  museum. Location: Parramatta

Elizabeth Bay House

Built at 'very considerable expense', Elizabeth Bay House was once the finest house in the colony, set within a garden of the most remarkable extravagance and fancy. Yet it tells a familiar Sydney story: of ambition and passion over-stretched, of riches to ruin.

Balmain Watch House

This museum comprises of a photographic collection telling the history of the development of the Balmain peninsula, housed in Sydney's oldest extant lock-up. 179 Darling Street, Balmain. Open Sat. 12.00 - 3.00 pm or by appointment.

Brett Whiteley Studio Museum

Located in his former studio, the museum and art gallery celebrates the life and work of Sydney artist Brett Whiteley (1939 92). Since 1995 it has been managed as a museum by the Art Gallery of NSW.. 2 Raper Street, Surry Hills.. Phone (02) 9225 1881. Open Sat & Sun 10.00 am - 4.00 pm.

Kurnell Discovery Centre

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 the crew of HMS Endeavour landed on 29 April 1770.

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.

Mary MacKillop Place

Interactive museum devoted to telling the story of Australia's first saint. Social history. 7 Mount Street, North Sydney NSW 2060. Phone (02) 9954 9900. Open daily 10.00 - 4.00 pm, except sat. 12.00 noon - 4.00 pm

Museum of Contemporary Art

Australia's only museum dedicated to collecting and presenting contemporary art from across Australia and around the world. The Museum has a continually changing exhibition program. 140 George Street, The Rocks.

Sydney Jewish Museum

The story of Jewish settlement in Sydney, as well as a memorial to the survivors of the Holocaust. 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW 2010. Phone (02) 9360 7999. Open Mon - Thurs 10.00 am - 4.00 pm; Fri 10.00 am - 2.00 pm; Sun 11.00 am - 5.00 pm.


Rose Seidler House

When completed in 1950, Rose Seidler House was 'the most talked about house in Sydney'. Today, still surrounded by bushland with panoramic views of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, the house is one of the finest examples of mid 20th-century modern domestic architecture in Australia.

Rouse Hill House & Farm

Filled with an assortment of belongings and treasures, this house and farm chronicles the changing fortunes of six generations of the one family. Rouse Hill House and Farm also features the restored 1888 Rouse Hill schoolhouse, a section of the original Windsor Road turnpike proclaimed by Governor Macquarie in 1813, and the site of the doomed 1804 Vinegar Hill convict rebellion.

Garrison Church Museum

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.

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

Justice and Police Museum

The museum is housed in a collection of historic buildings associated with justice and the police. The complex of buildings housed the people put in charge of maintaining law and order quayside. Sections dating from 1856. Documents the history of policing in New South Wales. Cnr Albert and Phillip Sts., Sydney. Phone (02) 9252 1144. Open Sun - Thurs 10.00 - 5.00 pm


SH Ervin Gallery

Located at the National Trust Centre on Observatory Hill, The S.H. Ervin Gallery presents an engaging program of exhibitions of the work of Australian artists, both historical and contemporary. Observatory Hill, Sydney. Phone (02) 9258 0173.

NSW School House Museum

A special school room prepared by Dept of Education where students re-enact parts of the school day from 120 years ago. They use primary source material to investigate what it was like. Cox Road, North Ryde.

Nicholson Museum

Displays the University's collection of antiques, which includes Egyptian artefacts such as a mummy, amulets and jewellery, Classical Greek and Mediterranean artefacts. Southern Wing, Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney. Open Tues - Fri 10.00 am - 4.30 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.

Vaucluse House

Vaucluse House is one of Sydney's few 19th-century mansions still surrounded by its original gardens and wooded grounds. When the towering colonial explorer, barrister and politician William Charles Wentworth bought the house in 1827, it was a single-storey cottage in a secluded valley of partly cleared coastal scrub.

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