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“Dont miss this free attraction”

The Rocks Discovery Museum
Ranked #63 of 566 things to do in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Rocks Discovery Museum is a free, family friendly museum which tells the story of The Rocks area of Sydney from pre-European days to the present. Housed in a restored 1850s sandstone warehouse, The Rocks Discovery Museum is home to a unique collection of images and archaeological artefacts found in The Rocks. The exhibits are filled with interactive fun, using touch screens, audio and visual elements to bring the history of the area alive.Learn about the area's traditional custodians, the establishment of the English colony and the time when sailors, whalers and traders made The Rocks their home; through to the 1970s union-led protests which preserved this unique part of Sydney for future generations to explore and enjoy.
Reviewed 6 April 2018

This is the best way to learn about the early days of Sydney.
They have a combination of exhibits and video presentations to assit your insight.

Thank Bill D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"free entry"
in 20 reviews
"gold coin donation"
in 7 reviews
"european settlers"
in 6 reviews
"interactive screens"
in 4 reviews
"early sydney"
in 10 reviews
"information boards"
in 4 reviews
"local history"
in 6 reviews
"great insight"
in 6 reviews
"early settlers"
in 5 reviews
"set aside"
in 4 reviews
"interesting information"
in 6 reviews
"interesting place"
in 5 reviews
"great for kids"
in 4 reviews
"on display"
in 9 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 14 reviews
"two hours"
in 6 reviews
"sydney area"
in 4 reviews
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14 - 18 of 436 reviews

Reviewed 23 March 2018

I actually had trouble finding the entrance to this little museum as it is tucked away a bit, but it was just a simple task of asking a nearby shop owner to direct me. I had the morning to kill before my flight and this museum was a perfect fill in. I stayed for 2 hours. I liked how you were not overwhelmed by too many artefacts. There were just enough items to provide interest. In contrast, there are lots of information boards and videos. This museum doesn't just focus on convicts but rather the whole story of the Rocks from pre-settlement through to the early 1900's. There is a small viewing area where you can sit and watch videos about the Rocks which were all very interesting. It broadened my understanding beyond just the convict era. There are 2 floors to the building so navigating a narrow staircase is required. I didn't access the Resource Centre but I am sure it would provide even more information if required. Another plus is that it is free.

Thank HelenB59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2018

It's easy to find narrow Kendall Lane where this museum was located. At George and Argyle Street, walk 1 block on Argyle street and turn right on the first lane. Signage for Kendall Lane appears high up the brick building on Argyle Street. The Rocks Museum is located mid way along this dark lane in what used to be a warehouse. Inside, the connecting walls had been removed to make room for a variety of displays about the aboriginals and Europeans who had lived in this harbor area called The Rocks. The time period covered is from pre-1788 to present times. The bare rafters, wooden floors, and dim lighting emphasized the rustic atmosphere of this building.

On the ground floor, the information about the aboriginals who lived in the harbor area - the Cadigals and the Maoris - depended heavily on information boards with pictorial depictions. Topics addressed included their religion, societal roles, tools for fishing, stone tools for digging, spears and shields, rock and body art, and their gradual marginalization. I enjoyed this display.

In another room, the displays continued to show how Europeans developed the land where the aboriginals had lived. Information boards combined with a minimal number of artifacts explained how the harbor area expanded from a port with an emphasis on imports from Britain and India to a small harbor town that grew with merchant stores, warehouses, and housing. Artifacts from those times included a display of dishes. Additional information boards described the gradual changes that occurred in The Rocks from a thriving small town with middle class citizens to a slum area.

Upstairs, five videos, each lasting just under 10 minutes, were on a loop with different current documentaries about the Rocks being shown one after the area. One was about the protests that citizens led to conserve the few original buildings remaining in the Rocks. There was only limited seating in that section.

We limited our visit to this free museum to 30 minutes in order to catch the guided tour at Susannah Place Museum. Modern washrooms were outside in the basement. I much preferred the museum about the convict history in the Hyde Park Barracks Museum.

Thank retireeVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2018

The Discovery Museum is located pretty much in the heart of the popular Rocks area of Sydney. Virtually in the shadow of the iconic bridge and a stone's throw from the busy Circular Quay this free facility tells of the evolution of Sydney from the pre-Colonial days when it was known as Warrane to the present day. There are four galleries each devoted to a specific time period - The pre-1788 Warrane period and Colony from 1788 to 1820 galleries are located on the ground floor, and the Port (1820 to 1900) and Transformations (1900 to the present) are located on the first floor. The displays are of very high quality and the interpretation informative without being overbearing. The logical progression makes for a comprehensive and enjoyable experience. There are plenty interactive features and interpretive movies with timings indicated. There was an interesting display one floor further up of photo media interpretations of some of the artifacts in the museum. We were only able to afford an hour for our visit but you could easily spend up to half a day going round everything and doing it justice.

Thank Jim F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 March 2018

Found this museum while wandering the alleys of the Rocks. What a great collection of stuff in a well restored building. The girl at the desk was very informative and helpful. Great to walk around and look at the history very well presented. The building is a treasure in itself. Well worth it and free!

Thank sandra w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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