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Museum of Sydney

Home > Sydney > Historic Houses | Museums
by Vanessa M (subscribe)
I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published August 4th 2012
The Museum of Sydney is part of the Historic Houses Trust, which conserves and manages historic places in Australia. It is a perfect fit for such an organisation - not only does it have cultural significance as a museum, it also sits on the ruins of Australia's First Government House, which was built for Governor Arthur Phillip in 1788 and is currently on Australia's National Heritage List.

Visiting the site, you can see where the preserved foundations of Government House exist beneath the museum's forecourt, as the patterns of the pavement have been designed to mark out the ruins below. Inside the museum you will find archaeological remains of first Government House visible through glass in the floor, along with objects uncovered during digs on the site. But this was just one past use of the site, it has also been a carter's yard, a 'tin shed' and a car park.

The museum entrance.


The paler squares mark the original foundations.


Another significant attraction you can enjoy before even entering the museum is the Edge of the Trees sculpture. This installation, created in 1995 by Fiona Foley and Janet Laurence, marks the first contact between British colonisers and the local indigenous people - the Gadigal people.

The piece is made up of a series of poles and I strongly recommend you walk among them as some involve an audio element, such as Aboriginal voices calling out their clan and place names. Walking among the sculpture will also allow you to see the embedded shells, fish bones and ochre of the poles. More contemporary Aboriginal perspectives can be found inside the museum itself.

The Edge of the Trees Sculpture


Upon entering the building, designed by noted Sydney architect Richard Johnson, you will find areas dedicated to stages of Australia's history, from pre-contact to contemporary times. While exhibits change, some of the things you may encounter are sections dedicated to the city's Indigenous people, models of First Fleet ships, a room focusing on Sydney's transport, a display of the changing faces of Sydney Harbour and another on the states governors. Currently the museum is featuring the Home Front: Wartime Sydney 1939-45 exhibition. These exhibitions are not just about displaying artefacts and information either - incorporating technology is important for this museum.

The Museum of Sydney is a very easy walk from Circular Quay Station and the ferries. All you need to do is follow Young Street, which is the first street on your right once you've left the station. The Museum of Sydney sits across the road, on the corner, where the road meets Bridge Street.
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Why? Learn all about Sydney's history.
When: Open Daily 9.30am - 5pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Phone: 02 9251 5988
Where: Corner Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney, NSW 2000
Cost: Adult $10, Child/Concession $5, Family $20
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