Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Convict heritage

A convict landscape lies just beneath our cities, towns, and countryside. Sydney was established and fortified using convict labour, and the colonial frontier was expanded by convicts working for free settlers.

Often following Aboriginal paths, roads were laid out across NSW by convict workers, who were housed in stockades along the routes.

National parks contain some of the finest convict sites in NSW, including the following:


Hartley Historic Site
Hartley's courthouse
was constructed with the help of convict labour. Find out more.

Sydney Harbour National Park - fortifications
Much of the harbour's legendary defence heritage was constructed by convicts, including Fort Denison and the powder magazines on Goat Island.

Sydney Harbour National Park - other convict sites
Other convict buildings and sites are protected by this park - visit the park's history and culture section to find out more.

The Old Great North Road
This trail in Dharug and Yengo national parks features great examples of convict stonework, including buttresses, culverts, bridges and 12-m retaining walls.
Page last updated: 06 November 2012