When you think of history Sydney is not really the city that comes to mind, at all. The city is a teenager on the scale of global cities, but it’s had some interesting teenage years. If you step back from the glamour of the Opera House and cafe’s of Darling Harbour you’ll find some fascinating historical spots in Sydney. Here are three that you shouldn’t miss if you’re interested in the short, sharp and sometimes gruesome history of Sydney.
Hyde Park Barracks
Situated on the edge of the beautiful Hyde Park the Barracks were home for the transiting convict masses sent from England to the new Australian colony. Between the years of 1819 and 1848 50,000 convicts ranging from petty thieves to murderers passed through the barracks. Dating back a couple hundred years it is definitely one of the interesting historical spots in Sydney.
Stop by to step back in time and see what life was like for those who were transported to the very edge of the world. You’ll get a feel for the hardships they endured establishing the city we now know. Find out more information here.
The Rocks was an area established shortly after the Sydney’s colony began. It’s early years were as a slum for the arriving convicts who lived here. Later it was frequented by gangs and prostitutes. The most famous gang being the Rocks Push gang.
Over the early 20th century the area slowly decayed and was partially destroyed to make way for the construction of the Harbour Bridge. Fast forward to the 1970’s when the Rocks began a period of gentrification.
Its dark history gives it a place on the list of historical spots in Sydney.
These days the Rocks are a high end precinct with boutique stores, restaurants, bars and weekend markets. It’s a great place to relax and take in the city atmosphere. But walk down the right alleyway and you’ll find ghost and convict stories still lurk.
Sitting in the very middle of Sydney Harbour is the tiny Fort Denison. Dating back to 1788 the tiny island was used as a prison. The first recorder prisoner being Thomas Hill who was sentenced to a week in chains with only bread and water.
The visit of two American war ships in 1839 prompted a re-purposing of the island as a fort to protect the colony from attack from foreigners. It was actively used as a fort until recently.
It now serves its purpose as a museum and restaurant. Stop by to soak in some history, preferable with more than bread and water.