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Unlocking Heritage for school children

School children from Yagoona Public School try out hammocks at the Hyde Park Barracks. Source: SLM Photo: James Horan.

Sydney Living Museums, Government to Provide $1m for Unlocking Heritage

Heritage Minister Mark Speakman launched Unlocking Heritage a new two-year program today aimed at allowing primary school children to experience the State’s historic and cultural heritage.

The Unlocking Heritage program is available to more than 1,700 schools throughout the State enabling students to connect with Australia’s heritage and experience first-hand some of the most significant historical sites in NSW.

The program is open to primary school students from low socio-economic backgrounds and regional and rural primary schools across NSW.

Speaking at Hyde Park Barracks Museum in Sydney, Mr Speakman said the NSW Government was committed to improving education and learning outcomes for all students. One of the most powerful moments for a child is experiencing our history and stories through our unique heritage places.

“The Government is providing more than $1 million for Unlocking Heritage, a significant investment to assist participation by schools in curriculum-linked education programs and experiential learning opportunities,” Mr Speakman said.

“From Mungo National Park to Elizabeth Farm to Goat Island and many more places in between, a school visit to one of these heritage sites is an opportunity to extend classroom learning,” he said.

The program comprises two streams:

  • The Unlocking Heritage: Travel Subsidy commits $20 per head for primary school students from low socio-economic backgrounds to attend one of more than 30 heritage, environment or history curriculum-linked education programs at eight Sydney Living Museums’ (SLM) properties and nine National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) sites across NSW.
  • The Unlocking Heritage: Convict Sleepover, presented by SLM, will provide a fully subsidised immersive convict-themed sleepover at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks Museum and a $20 per head travel subsidy for primary schools in regional and rural NSW.

SLM Executive Director Mark Goggin said Hyde Park Barracks Museum was one of the most significant convict sites in the world. Students would be able to experience convict life and discover the stories of the tens of thousands of convicts who passed through its gates.

Mr Goggin said the Unlocking Heritage program would open access to some of the most important historic houses, gardens and museums in NSW.

“Our properties and their stories are at the heart of every education program we offer.”

“Students will discover the histories of our sites and the many people connected to them, from convicts and free settlers, Aboriginal clans and colonists, to troopers and bushrangers,” Mr Goggin said.

Bookings open today for Terms 3 & 4, further program information is available at