Monday, July 4, 2011

Members visit Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks
Our Genealogy and Digital Photography Special Interest Groups decided to join forces for a field trip last Friday.  We set off by train from Parramatta to visit the historic Hyde Park Barracks.  Twenty four of us turned up for the guided tour at 1pm, after most of us had lunch, either take away, home made sandwiches or dining in style at Hyde Park.
Our guide Margot was very friendly and enthusiastic, and showed us the many different layers of building over the nearly 200 year life of the building.
Governor Macquarie commissioned convict architect Francis Greenway to build many of the colonial structures that remain today in Sydney.

The Hyde Park barracks was built to house the many convicts working on government projects - roads, buildings, brickworks and other infrastructure in old Sydney Town.  Prior to its opening in 1818, most convicts slept rough, and it was considered better to house them in the Barracks so that they could be better supervised.
On the top floor, we were able to see how the convicts slept.  It would not have been very comfortable.

Stonemasonry tools from Colonial Sydney
There is a very good exhibition showing at the moment, with lots of artifacts from the convict days, including tools, kitchen items and even rat remains!

The painting to the right shows Parramatta in its early days.  Parramatta of course was the second settlement in New South Wales, where the soil was so much better than at Sydney Cove.  It was a thriving settlement from its very beginning.

Thanks Deborah for organising this day out - we had a great time, and the only costs apart from lunch were $5 admission and $2.50 for transport.  What a deal!

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