Tradition meets tech as barracks reopen

20 February 2020

Visitors to the historic Hyde Park Barracks will be able to experience NSW’s convict past in vivid new detail as it reopens to the public this week.

A year-long renewal has transformed the Barracks with immersive activities across three floors and innovative audio technology allowing visitors to stand where convicts stood and hear their stories. 

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin says the UNESCO World Heritage listed site tells a major part of Australia’s convict story and the upgrades offer a new way to view Sydney’s complex and fascinating past.

“This is an historic day with the reopening of such an important heritage landmark – a building that has been central to many chapters of Sydney’s emergence as a rich, multicultural city,” said Mr Harwin.

“It’s brilliant to see how technology is enhancing the visitor experience for our cultural institutions. This is going to be a dynamic learning experience for school children and adults alike.

“Importantly, the impact of the site on Aboriginal land, culture and communities is also documented in this fascinating immersive experience.

Commissioned in 1817 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, Hyde Park Barracks saw almost 100,000 people passed through its gates.

Sydney Living Museums has delivered the upgrades predominantly self-funded through revenue raised by a heritage conservation scheme managed by the City of Sydney.

A 20% discount will be offered to NSW residents in the opening months of the new experience to assist locals in being reacquainted with the history of their State.

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