Life in Sydney isn’t all about the beach and surfing, but about culture as well. Located inside the walls of a majestic building from 1788, the former residence of Gov. Arthur Phillip, the Museum of Sydney informs visitors about the history of New South Wales’ capital in an entertaining way. The collection displays archaeological finds, utensils from the everyday life of the Aborigines and the first settlers, as well as documents and pictures about the development of Sydney to Australia’s largest city.
Multimedia presentations and computer animations bring the history of the former penal colony to life, and although the museum mostly informs guests about the city’s history, it also takes a critical look at the clash of cultures that happened between the Aborigines and European immigrants.
The museum's location in itself is deeply symbolic. It was here that in 1788, the Cadigal, a group of Aborigines inhabiting the area, and the English first encountered each other. The sculptures in front of the museum, called the “Edge of Trees,” accordingly symbolize the Cadigal looking on from the edge of the trees as Arthur Philip’s fleet anchored in the Bay of Sydney and hoisted the Union Jack to formally found the first British colony on Australian ground.
The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and only closes on Good Friday and Christmas. It sits only one block away from Circular Quay, which is serviced by trains, buses and ferries. There is no parking available at the museum, and using public transportation is recommended.