Modern Sydney is built on convict foundations – on convict labour, convict skills and convict stories. In June 1819 the Hyde Park Barracks opened to house convict men and boys working in government gangs, and over the next three decades as many as 50,000 convicts passed through its gates. With the end of transportation, the building was converted to a hostel for orphan girls escaping the Irish famine, female immigration depot and later asylum for aged and destitute women. Today, as a museum about itself, the barracks tells stories of convict Sydney, and of those since then who have had the misfortune to spend time there.
The Hyde Park Barracks is one of 11 Australian convict sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine (1845-1852)
The monument was inspired by the arrival in Australia of over 4,000 single young women, most of whom were teenagers. They arrived under a special emigration scheme designed to resettle destitute girls from the workhouses of Ireland during the Great Famine.