Thursday, 24 June 2010

Hyde Park Barracks and Vaucluse House

While my parents were in Australia we visited the excellent Elizabeth Bay House and quirky Susannah Place Museum, both run by the Historic Houses Trust. Rather than buy individual tickets, I decided to purchase their Ticket Through Time which gives me unlimited access to their properties for three months. And an excuse to visit a few places in Sydney I haven't been to before.

Last weekend I visited Hyde Park Barracks which has originally built to house convicts arriving in the colonies. Over the years it has had a number of uses and the surrounding barracks were heavily developed with additional buildings. Approximately thirty years ago it was  decided to turn the Barracks into a museum. Many of the modern buildings were demolished giving the building more space to sit in.

The museum is spread across three levels with exhibitions covering the various uses of the house over the years; experiences of early convicts and artefacts discovered during excavations of the Barracks. My favourite was the top floor which has been put back to its original state and simply hung with row of hammocks where the early inhabitants would have slept.

This weekend I visited Vaucluse House on a beautifully sunny afternoon. A bit like Elizabeth Bay House, Vaucluse House is a grand early colonial property that was occupied by a slightly troubled family. The house has been a museum since 1912 and much of the original furniture has been retained.

The house was pretty quiet and one of the guides (a slighly zanny girl) decided to take a under her wing and show me around. It was actually quite good fun to be walked through barriers and past ropes into rooms that are normally off limits to the public.

While I was there some 'guerilla knitting' was taking place. A group of ladies were knitting and crocheting away to create items that they were adorning on pieces of furniture and statues. It brought a bit of fun and humour to the house.

1 comment:

  1. Hyde Park Barracks is so cool! Ryan and I stumbled in on Australia day as they were doing 50% off entry price. I'm ashamed to say in my 26 years of existence in this city I'd never been before. Must visit those other places too.