Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Hyde Park Barracks
It is the first building on a run of historic building along Macquarie Street. It was completed in 1819 and provided accommodation for 600 male convicts. It was designed by Australia's first architect Francis Greenway. After its closure as a convict barracks in 1848, Hyde Park Barracks was used as a female asylum until 1887. It is now a colonial period museum. This wall contains a memorial to the Irish Orphan girls. According to the excellent Historic Houses Trust: 'Between 1848 and 1850 several thousand young women, some no more than 14 years old, sailed from Ireland on an ill-fated emigration plan to hiring-out depots in Sydney, Adelaide, Moreton Bay and Port Phillip. Many were illiterate. Most spoke English. Few had domestic training. Known as the ‘Irish orphans’, they had been handpicked by government officials and removed from county workhouses grown horribly overcrowded as, year after year, the Irish countryside sank deeper into poverty, misery and disease.'