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Justice and Police Museum

Home > Sydney > Museums
Published December 6th 2010
Walking around the gentrified streets of Sydney, it is easy to forget the legacy of crime and explosion that conspired to create a penal colony, half a world away from England. But, if you are someone with an interest in the past and a thirst for the darker spaces, it is possible to delve into the spotted history of Sydney's underbelly.

The Justice and Police Museum was once the police and court building of Sydney. Between 1856 and 1888, the sandstone building was the home of the long arm of the law.

Today, the Museum is a site of only historical - and morbid - interest.

The building itself has been restored to its former grandeur. There is a magistrates court, a recreated police charge room and remand cells. But, it is the gruesome artefacts that lie inside the building that draw the tourists.

The macabre ambiance of the building is well-established with the collection of 130,000 mug shots and crime scenes that are housed in the archives. The Museum also makes a spectacle out of evidence from infamous murders, including a zinc-lined bath where the so-called "Pyjama Girl" was submerged for ten years.

The more traditional aspects of the Justice and Police Museum are also worth exploring. The courtroom was designed in 1886, and after a quick trial, you can remand yourself to the confines of the Crime and Punishment Room, housing the artefacts of corporeal and capital punishment: nooses, gags, manacles, and cuffs are just some of the toys you may uncover.

Of course, one of the major focuses of the Museum is the role of the police force in Sydney's history. As a result, there are various exhibits displaying the weaponry, equipment and uniforms of the police force.

With various language guides, and in close proximity to the Harbour, the Justice and Police Museum is a fascinating insight into the Sydney of the past.
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Why? See Australia's dark criminal past
When: 10am - 5pm, daily
Where: Cnr Albert and Phillip Streets, Circular Quay
Cost: Adult: $8, Child/Concession: $4, Family: $17
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