Justice and Police Museum
Once one of Sydney’s busiest policing complexes, the sandstone buildings of the Justice and Police Museum saw thousands of criminals and unfortunates pass through its doors from the 1850s to 1985. Today, it welcomes visitors wanting to uncover Sydney’s 19th-century criminal past. Visitors can choose to look around independently or on themed in-house tours to discover the holding cells, courts, and charge rooms, as well as the collections of mug shots, weapons, and crime-scene photos.
While most visitors explore on their own, the museum features on some of Sydney’s quirky themed tours, such as scavenger hunt excursions. All the city’s hop-on hop-off bus tours and harbor cruises stop at Circular Quay, a short stroll from the entrance, making it easy to incorporate the museum into a city sightseeing schedule.
Things to know before you go
- There’s an entry fee to the Justice and Police Museum.
- Most of the museum is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
- Restrooms and a gift shop are available on site.
How to get there
The museum stands on the corner of Phillips and Albert Street, just back from the Circular Quay ferry terminal, and is best accessed by foot or public transit, especially as nearby parking is scarce. Trains, buses, and ferries run to Circular Quay; from Wharf 3, take the underpass to Alfred Street, turn left, and turn left again onto Albert Street to find the museum on your right.
When to get there
The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays only, excluding Christmas Day. Themed tours operate on both days at fixed times on a first-come, first-served basis: arrive in good time to secure a place. The attraction is busiest during Sydney’s main tourist season of December to February, especially from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
Must-Sees at the Justice and Police Museum
A top drawcard at the museum is its forensic archives. Alongside hundreds of authentic mug shots, these include often-grisly evidence and photos linked to infamous cases such as the 1934 “Pyjama Girl” murder and artifacts belonging to bushrangers, including the notorious Kelly Gang. Other must-sees include the death mask of executed bushranger Captain Moonlite, and intricate animal-bone pieces carved by Sydney’s “mad” and murderous 19th-century dentist, Henry Louis Bertrand.
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