Culture and heritage


Events, archaeological sites, links

Find out more: sites, events

There are a range of opportunities for those who want to find out more about archaeology or to become more involved, from viewing sites as they are being excavated, learning about discoveries and artefacts, to volunteering to work with archaeologists on a dig. Below you'll find information and links on significant archaeology in NSW.


When highly significant sites are excavated, open days are often held for the general public so everyone has the opportunity to visit our special sites and learn how archaeology helps us to understand the past. The Heritage Branch works with developers to encourage these interpretation activities through the excavation permit process.

Children's Court, Parramatta

Parramatta Children's Court Site 2004

George Street, Parramatta

George Street, Parramatta 2002

Kens site, Sydney

KENS site open day, Sydney 2004

Over the last couple of years open days have been held at 25 important sites around NSW. A diverse range of sites have been inspected by the public, including the Orphan Male School in Fairfield, Hawkesbury Hospital in Windsor, Lord Howe Island, Parramatta Children's Court and Justice Precinct on the former Parramatta Hospital Site, Luna Park in North Sydney, the Quadrant site in Sydney, the Tank Stream, the KENs site and the Old Sydney Burial Ground in Sydney. Open Days have also been held for important sites outside Sydney in places like Port Macquarie (itself a convict-era town) and in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands (Fitz Roy Ironworks).

Hands-on Heritage Workshop

Hands-on Heritage Workshop

Fairfield City Museum and Gallery 2005

Fairfield City Museum and Gallery 2005

Hands-on Heritage Workshop

Hands-on Heritage Workshop

Archaeological sites with interpretation for the public

Not all of NSW's archaeology remains hidden from view. As part of its commitment to public access and participation, the Heritage Branch encourages the interpretation of archaeological remains. The best way to understand what archaeology is all about is to visit these special places and see how they can help us to understand our past. The Heritage Council has published Guidelines for the Interpretation of important heritage places and approvals for permits under the Heritage Act will often require interpretation, especially for State-significant sites. In recent years the Heritage Branch has been working on building a network of such sites in places like Parramatta and Port Macquarie.

The following are sites with interpretation of archaeological remains:


  • Cadia Village, Garden of Remembrance and Engine House (Limited access. Cadia Hill Mining Company run occasional tours. Contact the Orange Visitors Centre for information on the next public tour.)


  • Goodlet and Smith Brickworks, Brickworks Drive, Holroyd

North Sydney

  • Bradfield Park, North Sydney


  • Orange Court House, Lord's Place, Orange


  • 101 George Street, Parramatta
  • 180 George Street, Parramatta (Meriton Apartments)
  • Convict drain, behind Ferguson Centre entry plaza (between Phillip and George Streets, Parramatta)
  • Convict drain at 18 Smith Street, Parramatta
  • Convict drain at 25 Smith Street corner Macquarie Street, Parramatta
  • Well from the Babes in the Wood Hotel site, corner Smith and George Streets, Parramatta
  • Parramatta Justice Precinct (includes an archaeology & heritage courtyard) George Street, Parramatta
  • 'Bakers Mews' 52 O'Connell Street, North Parramatta
  • Corner of Church Street and James Ruse Drive, North Parramatta, entry of the Bunnings Warehouse
  • The Dairy, Parramatta Park
  • Elizabeth Farm House, Alice Street, Parramatta
To coincide with National Archaeology Week 2010 the Heritage Branch has prepared an Archaeology Walking Tour Brochure (ParramattaArchaeologyTour.pdf, 1.1MB). This brochure provides information about a number of the Parramatta Sites listed above.

Port Macquarie-Hastings

  • The Glasshouse, Clarence Street corner Hay Street, Port Macquarie NEW
  • Government House Site (Focus Apartments) Clarence Street corner School Street, Port Macquarie
  • The Observatory, William Street, Port Macquarie


  • The Belgian Beer Cafe, 135 Harrington St, The Rocks (located in the old St Patrick School Hall)
  • Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Conservatorium Road, Sydney
  • The Quadrant site, 46-52 Mountain Street, Ultimo, Sydney
  • The First Government House, Museum of Sydney, Bridge Street, Sydney
  • Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street, Sydney
  • Cadman Cottage, Circular Quay, Sydney
  • The Parbury, Walsh Bay, Sydney (access by appointment, contact Waterways Authorities)
  • Foundation Park, Gloucester Walk, The Rocks, Sydney
  • The Paddock Park, Dawes Point, The Rocks, Sydney
  • Dawes Point Park, Millers Point, Sydney
  • Cumberland/Gloucester Streets, The Rocks, Sydney
  • Tank Stream, Former GPO, now the Westin Hotel 1 Martin Place, Sydney
  • GPO/Westin Hotel, Martin Place, Sydney
  • The Mint Museum (new Historic Houses Trust headquarters), Macquarie Street, Sydney
  • Sydney Harbour YHA and The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre Cumberland and Gloucester Streets,The Rocks NEW


  • Fitz Roy Ironworks (basement of the Highlands Marketplace) Hume Highway, Mittagong

Archaeological sites online

You can go to the websites below to find out about some major archaeological investigations which have recently been undertaken in Sydney. The websites include information and photographs of excavations and discoveries:

Page last updated: 01 September 2012