History, but not as you know it

History, but not as you know it

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Where tradition meets cutting-edge innovation

This self-guided experience immerses you in the real lives of people touched by the Barracks.

The convict impact on Aboriginal people

People of the Barracks

Convict, immigrant, inmate, matron – meet some of the people whose lives were touched by the Barracks.

Faded sepia-toned man's head and shoulders, wearing high-necked collar.

Francis Greenway

Architect

Architect

From convict to colonial architect to destitute, Greenway's short career left its mark on Sydney.

Francis Greenway, the colony’s civil architect from 1816 to 1822, was critical to realising Macquarie’s vision for New South Wales. A talented architect from Bristol, Greenway arrived in Sydney in 1814 with a 14-year sentence for forgery. A month later he received a ticket of leave, allowing him to work for himself and support his wife and children, who had followed him to Sydney. When the Hyde Park Barracks was completed, Macquarie granted Greenway an absolute pardon. Greenway’s career was marked by a prolific output but plagued by clashes with colonial officials, chief engineers, influential settlers and military officers. As a result, he was dismissed as civil architect in late 1822. In debt, socially and professionally shunned, and resentful of his perceived mistreatment, Greenway died in 1837 at the age of 59 in a simple cottage in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney. He was buried in East Maitland, far from the elegant buildings that sprang from his talents.

Cameo portrait of woman wearing lace shawl.

Margaret Hurley

Immigrant

Immigrant

Margaret Hurley’s trunk, as supplied to the Irish orphans fleeing the Great Famine, is the only one known to have survived

Like many of the Irish ‘orphans’ selected for the scheme, 17-year old Margaret Hurley from County Galway was not an orphan, but her widowed mother was too poor to care for her. After staying briefly at the Immigration Depot in 1850, Margaret was apprenticed as a house servant in the town of Yass, south-west of Sydney. In 1852, she married Irish shepherd Joseph Patterson, and the couple had seven children. She died in 1922, aged 90. Margaret’s is the only trunk supplied to the Irish orphans known to have survived.

Severe looking woman in white blouse and dark high waisted long skirt, leaning on low brick wall on balcony.

Kate Stein

Immigrant

Immigrant

Kate Stein spent less than a week in the depot in 1886 before finding employment

Kate Stein, a 30-year-old domestic servant from Perth in Scotland, spent less than a week in the depot in 1886 before finding employment in a household in Liverpool, southwest of Sydney. Two years later, she married fellow Scotsman Robert Bremmer Scott, and shortly afterwards gave birth to the first of their three children. Kate died aged 80 at her family home in Balmain in 1936, not long after Robert’s death the previous year.

Front and back of same coin, stacked.

Joseph Smith (Smyth)

Convict

Convict

With a sentence reduced from 'cast for death' to transportation, Joe found work as a brickmaker on the building of the barracks

Locked up in the ‘salt-boxes’ or condemned cells in London’s overcrowded, squalid Newgate Prison in July 1817, prisoner Joseph Smith expected that he would soon be hanged. Following a Newgate tradition, Smyth had an engraver mark a smoothed George III halfpenny with the words ‘JOSEPH SMYTH/CAST FOR DEATH/4th July 1817/AGED 33’, and the name ‘Mary Ann Smyth/Aged 27’ engraved on the reverse, which he would give to his wife as his final token of love for her. But Smith was saved from the gallows, his death sentence reduced to transportation for life. Smith arrived in New South Wales in April 1818, while Hyde Park Barracks was under construction. As a master brickmaker, Smith was most likely put to making bricks that were built into the Barracks walls. Not long after Joseph sailed away to the colony, his wife Mary Ann was herself convicted and arrived in Sydney in 1820, probably bringing this love token with her.