You’ve visited the Australian Museum, seen the ships at the Maritime Museum, ridden a train at the Powerhouse Museum and you think you’ve finished the museum circuit. You haven’t! Sydney has a number of lesser-known historical gems that are well worth a visit and are perfect for a day out with the kids.
Created by Sir Charles Nicholson, one of the founders of the University of Sydney, the Nicholson Museum is home to the largest collection of antiquities in the southern hemisphere. Visit a real mummy, examine tomb carvings and circumnavigate the globe, from Egypt to the Near East and everywhere in between.
Where: The University of Sydney, Manning Road, Camperdown
When: Mon to Fri: 10am – 4:30pm. First Sat of the month: 12 – 4pm
Justice and Police Museum
The beautiful sandstone building that houses the Justice and Police Museum holds the death masks of some of Australia’s most infamous criminals, in addition to mug shots, weapons and police reports. You can also walk through a recreated 1890s police charge room, a remand cell and a restored court room. The museum is interactive and enthralling. Take an afternoon to acquaint yourself with some of Australia’s most notorious.
Where: 4–8 Phillip Street, Sydney
When: Sat to Sun: 10am – 5pm
Price: $5 – $10
Susannah Place Museum
Rich in Sydney’s working class history, Susannah Place is a terrace of four houses which, over the course of nearly 150 years, played host to over 100 families. The stories of these families are represented in the largely unchanged houses, along with the history of The Rocks and Sydney.
Where: 58–64 Gloucester Street, The Rocks
When: Daily: 2pm – 5pm. Tours: 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Closed: Christmas Day, Good Friday
Price: $4 – $8
The Macleay Museum holds the oldest natural history exhibition in Australia and exhibits specimens sourced from Cuba to Wagga Wagga. The museum also houses a collection of historic scientific instruments, the Historic Photographic Collection, which documents life in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region from the 1840s to the 1860s, and a billion-year-old meteorite.
Where: The University of Sydney, Gosper Lane, Camperdown
When: Mon to Fri: 10am – 4:30pm. First Sat of the month: 12pm – 4pm
Sydney Jewish Museum
Rich in history and filled with stories, Sydney’s Jewish Museum is an exploration of Jewish history, culture and the genocide, as well as a powerful statement against racism. Walking through the museum you are able to read individual stories, see historic artefacts and learn about the plight of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Guided tours are available four days a week, and are often conducted by a Holocaust survivor, making this museum a wonderful, immersive experience.
Where:148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst
When: Sun to Thu: 10am – 2pm. Fri: 10am – 2pm. Closed: Sat, Jewish Holy Days, some public holidays
Price: $7 – $10