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The Rocks Discovery Museum

Home > Sydney > Family | Free | Kids | Museums | Places of Interest
by Vanessa M (subscribe)
I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published September 27th 2013
If it weren't for all the signs around the area, you might never know about The Rocks Discovery Museum. The attraction is located on a very out-of-the-way cobbled laneway in The Rocks (Kendall Lane, to be specific) and it's not somewhere you would typically go down.

Fortunately, the signs are there to guide you, ensuring you don't miss out on the chance to add some context to all the other references in the area to the heritage of The Rocks, like the First Impressions Sculpture. Because this museum is all about The Rocks, and shedding a light on its past.

There are four distinct periods covered by the museum. These are Warrane (pre-1788), Colony (1788–1820), Port (1820–1900) and Transformations (1900–present). Each has its own dedicated room on one of the two levels, filled with information and artefacts.

the rocks, discovery museum, indigenous, aboriginal
This room focuses on Australia's Indigenous history


In each of these rooms, there is an interesting juxtaposition between the older building, with its wooden rafters and staircases, and the sleek, almost minimalist design of the displays. On these, you will find both general information, as well as some very specific stories, such as how the clothes in one display cabinet were discovered in a sealed attic room in a local cottage in 1989.

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This cabinet holds personal items discovered at various sites throughout The Rocks, including clothes found in a sealed attic room


The entire museum has been designed to be very interactive. You you can pull out draws to discover more artefacts and interact with the displays through media screens, which is great for getting young people engaged in the history (school students were on an excursion while I was visiting, and the museum also operates school holiday programs.

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Pull out the draw and you discover even more


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Get ready to completely engage with the past


In addition to the two that host the displays, there is also a third floor to the museum, which during my visit housed an exhibition titled 'People We Know, Places We've Been'. The exhibition was put on to celebrate NAIDOC and was an exhibition of work by Aboriginal inmates at Goulburn Correctional Centre. I scraped in just before the it ended though, which means you'll be left to discover for yourself what this space is used for next when you visit.

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The 'People We Know - Places We Go' Exhibition
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Why? Learn the story behind this historic area of Sydney
When: 10am – 5pm daily (closed Good Friday and Christmas Day)
Phone: (02) 9240 8680
Where: Kendall Lane, The Rocks
Cost: Free, but a gold coin donation is appreciated
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