Syd­ney’s Best Mu­se­ums and Gal­leries


Where Sydney - - Contents -

AS THE WEATHER cools out­side, head in­doors to dis­cover a whole new way of look­ing at the world through art, sci­ence, cul­ture and his­tory. Here’s our guide to some of Syd­ney’s best mu­se­ums and gal­leries.


The Art Gallery of NSW was es­tab­lished in 1871, and fea­tures a great mix of Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional art, with ever-chang­ing world-class ex­hi­bi­tions on dis­play. It is a beau­ti­ful spot to spend a few hours wan­der­ing around as the gal­leries are free (ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tions are tick­eted). You can make like a lo­cal and head to the gallery on a Wed­nes­day night for Art Af­ter Hours, a fun-filled evening event with talks, tours, mu­si­cal per­for­mances, films, drinks and more.

Art Gallery Road, The Do­main, Syd­ney. 1800 679 278. art­


This free mu­seum in the heart of The Rocks is great for the whole fam­ily. The four per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tions cover the pe­ri­ods of War­rane (pre-1788), Colony (1788–1820), Port (1820–1900), and Trans­for­ma­tions (1900–present). With in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ments, au­dio, video and touch screens, these ex­hi­bi­tions bring his­tory to life for all to see.

Ken­dall Lane, The Rocks (en­ter via Ar­gyle Street). 9240 8680. the­­cov­ery-mu­seum/


The Mu­seum of Ap­plied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) is home to the Pow­er­house Mu­seum. With a fo­cus span­ning his­tory, sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, de­sign, in­dus­try, dec­o­ra­tive arts, mu­sic, trans­port and space ex­plo­ration, there’s some­thing to cap­ture ev­ery­one’s imag­i­na­tion here. The trans­port gal­leries show how ve­hi­cles have shaped our way of life, while chil­dren will love the per­ma­nent Wig­gles ex­hi­bi­tion.

500 Har­ris Street, Ul­timo. 9217 0111.­seum


Whilst you are in the his­toric Rocks precinct, a visit to Su­san­nah Place Mu­seum is a must. This ter­race of four houses was built by Ir­ish im­mi­grants in 1884. The house has changed lit­tle since it was first built, and is a glimpse into our his­tory as you walk through the recre­ated rooms, and learn of the real sto­ries of res­i­dents who used to call it home.

58–64 Glouces­ter Street, The Rocks. 9241 1893. syd­neyliv­ing­mu­se­­san­nah-place-mu­seum


Push­ing ar­chi­tec­tural bound­aries out­side, the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Aus­tralia pushes them in­side too, with an out­stand­ing ar­ray of Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional artists. The works are con­tem­po­rary and thought-pro­vok­ing, with both ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tions on dis­play and free gal­leries to ex­plore and roam at your leisure, sit­u­ated by the har­bour at Cir­cu­lar Quay. 140 Ge­orge Street, The Rocks. 9245 2400.


The Aus­tralian Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum, lo­cated right on the wa­ter at Dar­ling Har­bour, is our na­tional cen­tre for mar­itime col­lec­tions, ex­hi­bi­tions, re­search and ar­chae­ol­ogy. Ex­pe­ri­ence the his­tory of the Royal Aus­tralian Navy in the “Ac­tions Sta­tions” ex­hi­bi­tion or ex­plore life at sea and hop aboard the the renowned replica of Cap­tain Cook’s HMB or the former Navy de­stroyer HMAS En­deav­our Vam­pire. 2 Mur­ray Street, Dar­ling Har­bour. 9298 3777.


The Mu­seum of Syd­ney tells the sto­ries of our city from the past to the present. It is built over and around the re­mains of Aus­tralia’s first Govern­ment House. Be sure to stop, lis­ten and walk among the 29 pil­lars at the en­trance to the mu­seum. The sculp­ture, “Edge of the Trees” by Janet Lau­rence and Fiona Fo­ley, evokes the first encounters be­tween the Gadi­gal peo­ple and the peo­ple of the First Fleet as they came ashore in 1788—a piv­otal mo­ment in our na­tion’s his­tory. Cor­ner Phillip and Bridge Streets, Syd­ney. 9251 5988. syd­neyliv­ing­mu­se­­seum-of-syd­ney


The Aus­tralian Mu­seum, a world-class re­search in­sti­tute and mu­seum, was Aus­tralia’s first mu­seum and turns 190 in 2017. Kids will love the “Wild Planet” ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tur­ing over 400 an­i­mals, while the First Aus­tralians gal­leries fea­ture the Mu­seum’s Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­land col­lec­tion. The “Sur­viv­ing Aus­tralia” ex­hi­bi­tion un­cov­ers the key to the sur­vival of Aus­tralian an­i­mals with tales of adap­ta­tion and sur­vival over mil­lions of years in a chang­ing cli­mate and land­scape. 1 Wil­liam Street, Syd­ney. 9320 6000. aus­tralian­mu­


Lo­cated in the heart of the city on Mac­quarie Street, Hyde Park Bar­racks Mu­seum is World Her­itage listed and one of the most im­por­tant con­vict sites in the world. It housed con­victs from 1819 to 1848, and you can learn all about what life was like back then. It then be­came a fe­male im­mi­gra­tion de­pot, was taken over by the courts from 1887, be­fore in 1979 be­com­ing the mu­seum it is to­day. Queens Square, Mac­quarie Street, Syd­ney. 8239 2311. syd­neyliv­ing­mu­se­­racks-mu­seum

Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art. Photo: Dan Gosse/des­ti­na­tion NSW.

Hyde Park Bar­racks. Photo: PMG. The Aus­tralian Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum. The Art Gallery of NSW. Photo: PMG.

Mu­seum of Syd­ney.

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