Hyde Park Barracks
Category : Conservation
Client : Historic Houses Trust
Location : Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie St, Sydney
Description : Hyde Park Barracks is Australia's first government-built convict barracks, and the only remaining barracks building and complex from the Macquarie era of convict administration. It was designed by Australia's first architect Francis Greenway between 1818 and 1819 and originally served as a convict barracks for males. Its function then changed to 

an immigration depot for single female immigrants and also to a female asylum between 1862 and 1886. From 1887 to 1979 law courts and government offices were based at the Barracks and then in the early 1980s a team of specialist professionals was engaged to come up with a conservation and re-adaptation plan for the building – the result, the completed Hyde Park Barracks Museum and cafe, open for public enjoyment. 

Key challenges : The project involved a complete reconversion of the building to its original state when it first operated as a convict barracks. The majority of our work took place on the upper floor. Cement render was delicately removed from the walls to reveal the sandstock bricks beneath. 

We also did paint scratch backs which revealed a sign that had pointed to the old lunatic asylum, it read 'to the master of lunacy'! We discovered the original peep-holes which had allowed the guards to observe the convicts in their sleeping quarters. We produced original style door-jambs from recycled Sydney blue gum and reopened original doorways and architraves which had been closed off, as well as correcting doorways that had been left in position but had been modified in some way. Windows and floors were repaired and to the exterior, we made tuck-pointing repairs and carried out restoration works to the clock surround at the top of the building high above the main entrance. At a later date we also reproduced the missing original entry doors. 

Completed : 1990