Museums in Sydney

Highlights

Step into the past

Uncover the past at Sydney's amazing museums. You'll discover everything from dinosaurs and giant marsupials at the Australian Museum to colonial history at World Heritage-listed sites Old Government House, in Parramatta, and Hyde Park Barracks in the city centre. Climb aboard a tall ship at Darling Harbour and discover Australia's maritime history.

  • Australian Museum
  • Fort Denison, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo David Finnegan

Discover Sydney's fascinating museums

A passion for the past? Then head for Sydney's fascinating museums, which are among the city's most popular attractions, showcasing everything from dinosaur skeletons and colonial history to tall ships and one of Don Bradman's cricket bats.

The Australian Museum, which was established in 1827, is the nation's oldest and has more than 10 million items in its collection. The museum, near Hyde Park and the city's main shopping area, has 10 complete dinosaur skeletons and interactive displays to delight youngsters.

Nearby is the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, one of Australia's 11 World Heritage-listed convict sites. Near Circular Quay is the Museum of Sydney, which is built on the site of the first Government House. You'll see remains of Governor Arthur Phillip's official residence in the forecourt and foyer. And The Rocks Discovery Museum tells the story of The Rocks from pre-European days to today.

Museum of Sydney during Vivid Sydney 2015

The Powerhouse Museum, near Darling Harbour, focuses on applied arts and sciences, with plenty of interactive experiences. Always popular is the Australian National Maritime Museum, also at Darling Harbour, where you can explore a tall ship or submarine and browse galleries of maritime memorabilia.

Board the Watsons Bay-bound ferry or Captain Cook Cruises' hop-on hop-off service at Circular Quay and alight at Garden Island for the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, housed in two heritage-listed buildings. You'll discover more than 100 years of naval history.

Top destinations for sports fans are the Sydney Cricket Ground Museum and the Heroes and Legends Rugby League Museum, both in Moore Park. The SCG Museum is part of the SCG Experience Tour that includes the Members Pavilion and a walk on the legendary oval. For railway buffs, make your way to Trainworks Railway Museum in Thirlmere, an 80 minute-drive from the city centre.

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  1. Justice and Police Museum

    Step into the dark side of Sydney’s past with a visit to the Water Police station and courts that once made up one of the city’s busiest legal hubs. Crooks and cops, thugs and judges, locals and drifters, the guilty...

  2. Kurrajong Radio Museum

    Kurrajong Radio Museum takes visitors on a nostalgic trip through The Golden Years of Radio. There are hundreds of radios on display covering the domestic, armed services, professional, commercial...

  3. Sydney Heritage Fleet

    Sydney Heritage Fleet's (SHF) treasure trove of unique historical vessels is a hidden jewel in the heart of Sydney Harbour.Take a square-rig sailing adventure and head out to sea on an 1874 square...

  4. Sydney Tramway Museum

    Sydney Tramway Museum provides a nostalgic and educational insight into the lifestyle of Sydneysiders during the 100 year period of tramway operation from 1861 to 1961, with trams running, plus restoration works-in...

  5. Macleay Museum

    Experience a true museum at the Macleay with its exhibits of cultural and scientific history dating from the 1750s. A perfect introduction to Australia from colonisation, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander...

  6. Rouse Hill House and Farm

    Rouse Hill House and Farm is one of Australia's most culturally important historic properties, not only for its artefacts, furnishings, buildings and gardens, but also because it is the most complete document of...

  7. Vaucluse House

    Vaucluse House survives as one of Sydney's only nineteenth century harbourside estates with house, kitchen wing, stables and outbuildings and is still surrounded by ten hectares of formal gardens and grounds....

  8. Elizabeth Farm

    Commenced in 1793, Elizabeth Farm contains the oldest surviving European building in Australia. Once home to Elizabeth and John Macarthur, pioneers of the Australian wool industry, it is a rare example of an early...

  9. Hyde Park Barracks Museum

    The World Heritage listed Hyde Park Barracks is one of the most significant convict sites in the world. A crossroads for tens of thousands of people, it played a central role in the world’s largest and longest-running...

  10. Brett Whiteley Studio

    Explore one of Sydney's best kept secrets: the Brett Whiteley Studio, where one of Australia's most celebrated artists of the 20th century lived and worked from 1988 to 1992.The Studio exhibits a...

  11. Nicholson Museum

    Australia's first University Museum, and the largest public collection of archaeological artefacts in the country, featuring objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, the Middle East and northern Europe;...

  12. Camden Museum

    Located inside Camden Library, Camden Museum contains a rich collection of Camden's historical artefacts including photos, maps, clothing, uniforms, furniture, musical instruments and badges.Formed...

  13. Museum of Fire

    There is nothing boring about the Museum of Fire!With engines dating back to the early 1800's the Museum of Fire stands as a fitting monument to our heroic firefighters and guards the heritage and history of...

  14. Carss Cottage Museum

    Carss Cottage is a sandstone cottage built in 1865 for William Carss and family. It is the oldest building still standing in the Kogarah area and houses a Museum focusing on local history, run by Kogarah Historical...

  15. The Rocks Discovery Museum

    The Rocks Discovery Museum, housed in a restored 1850s sandstone warehouse, tells the story of The Rocks from pre-European days to the present. Home to a unique collection of images and...

  16. Customs House

    Customs House is built on the land of the traditional Indigenous owners, the Eora people, and is the site of the First Fleet landing. It is one of the most significant buildings in the history of European settlement...

  17. NSW Lancers Memorial Museum

    The museum of Australia's oldest, most decorated Regiment in the mainland's oldest (1820), heritage listed barracks. Trace the evolution of the weaponry, uniforms and equipment of the NSW Cavalry and famed Light Horse...

  18. Rose Seidler House

    Rose Seidler House, built between 1948 and 1950, is one of the most uncompromising modernist houses in Australia. Nestled in natural bushland, the house has panoramic views of Ku-ring-gai National Park from its glass...

  19. Powerhouse Museum

    Located in the old Ultimo Power Station building adjacent to Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum is the flagship venue of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). Its unique and diverse collection spans science,...

  20. Museum of Sydney

    A modern museum built over and around the remains of Australia’s first Government House, the Museum of Sydney celebrates the people and events that have shaped the character and soul of this city. In 1788...

  21. Dredges Cottage

    Come and visit Dredges Cottage. A Veterans Recreation Centre, and the only one of its kind in Australia, Dredges Cottage features and displays memorabilia covering all theatres of conflict from the Boer War in 1902 to...

  22. Elizabeth Bay House

    Built between 1835 and 1839, Elizabeth Bay House was known as 'the finest house in the colony'. Designed by the most fashionable and accomplished architect of the day, John Verge, for the Colonial Secretary,...

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