20 Historical Places in Australia for a Peek into History!
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Historic Sites in Australia

Sydney Opera House, Mungo National Park, Port Arthur, Elizabeth Farm, Ubirr, Wiebbe Hayes Stone Fort, The Rocks, Sovereign Hill, Fremantle Prison, Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building and National Museum of Australia.

Mostly famous for the pristine sea bodies, the Great Barrier Reef and sandy beaches, Australia has always been a paradise for tourists. Along with its rich natural landscape and countless regions potent enough to pump adrenaline in the adventures seekers, Down Under has endless options for history buffs too.

There are various historical places in Australia that hold rich legacy and deep rooted history within their folds, that can only be experienced standing amidst the ancient alcoves, historic ruins and structures. Australia is often said to be the oldest, flattest and driest inhabited continent, with a population of 26 million.

Australia's indigenous tribe inhabited the island for 65,000 years before the Dutch explorers arrived in the 17th century. All of Australia's historical places hold the cultural and traditional significance of those times until date. From ancient rock art in Kakadu National Park, to Cook’s Landing place, Australia has a rich history that encompasses both the history of the country’s indigenous people and modern settlement.

With breathtaking natural wonders, large coastal cities, diverse wildlife, and deep rooted history, this place can make tourists fall in love with the country the first moment they step their foot on it. Some of the major historical sites of Australia are listed.

Here is the list of the best historical places in Australia:

01

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House
The first image that comes to mind, when we hear Australia is the enormous and outstandingly distinctive form of architecture – the Sydney Opera House. It is a multi-venue for performing arts; the building shaped and changed the image of the whole country.

Combining the elegance of ancient influence with that of modernists, Sydney Opera House remains one of the top historical places in Australia. The sculpture was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon but was completed by an architectural team headed by Peter Hall.

Today Sydney Opera House stands tall in pride as it has committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal with different community action plans for Accessibility, Environmental, and Reconciliation.

Location: Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Timing:
- For tours:
From Monday to Saturday – 9 a.m to 8:30 p.m; Sunday: 10a.m to 6 p.m.
- Visiting hours:
9 a.m to 5 p.m

Pricing:
- For adults: AU$42, 
- Children: AU$22,
- Family (2 parents + 2 children): AU$105.
02

Mungo National Park

Mungo National Park
Spread over 274 acres of land, situated 875 kilometers west of Sydney, Mungo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is rich in the history of Aboriginals culture of Australia. The remains of oldest human in Australia, the Mungo Man, was discovered in this very park.

It is also famous for the remains found of the Mungo Lady, the oldest person to be ritually cremated. Scientists have discovered artefacts that date back to over 50,000 years. It is a highly protected national park, with landscape unlike any other, resembling the surface of Mars, moulded by the climatic change since last ice age.

Of all the Australia historical places, Mungo Park attracts thousands of visitors for its strikingly majestic sights.

Location: South-western New South Wales, in eastern Australia

Timing: The park is open 24 hours. However, if there are poor weather conditions or fire danger, the authorities might close it at times.

Pricing: AU$8 per vehicle per day. However, it might differ for commercial vehicles with 8 seats or more.
03

Port Arthur

Port Arthur
Port Arthur, an open-air museum, is Australia’s one of the most important heritage destinations. It was used to be a convict settlement, in the small town of Port Arthur, that received thousands of convicts from Britain and Ireland between 1788 and 1868.

It was one of the eleven remnant penal sites, now recognised as a part of World Heritage property. With stories of hardships and punishment written in every piece of stone and brick, Port Arthur remains one of the most significant historical sites of Australia.

Today, the panoramic view of the Tasman peninsula from Port Arthur attracts tourists from all over the world. While some visits just to enjoy the scenic beauty and others visit for the stories that the walls of the museum hold.

Location: It is located in the Tasman Peninsula, 97 km southeast of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Timing:
- Grounds and Gardens: 9 a.m until dusk
- Houses and buildings: 10 a.m to 5 p.m
- Christmas Day: 9 a.m to 3p.m

Pricing:
- Adult: AU$40
- Child: AU$18
- Family: AU$102 (2 adults and a maximum of 6 children)
- Concession: AU$32
04

Elizabeth Farm

Elizabeth Farm
Of all the prominent Australia historical places, Elizabeth Farm remains one of the top favourites of the visitors. Owned by wool pioneer and young military couple, Elizabeth Farm was the family home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur.

It is one of the oldest homes in Australia, surrounded by orchards, 1,000 acres of semi-cleared land. This historical site is considered to be a museum and features a colonial bungalow with a veranda and a garden that resembles those of the 1830s.

While Elizabeth farm witnessed various events as the British colony grew in Australia, the owners also played an important role in the birth of the wool industry in the country.

Location: 70 Alice Street, Rosehill, NSW 2142, Australia

Timing: Wednesday to Sunday: 10 a.m to 4 p.m

Pricing:
- Adult – AU$15
- Family – AU$38
- Concession – AU$12
05

Ubirr

Ubirr
Widely popular for its rock art and collection of thousand years old Aboriginal rock painting, the Ubirr rock formation at Kakadu National Park remains one of the top historical places in Australia. Unlike other historical sites, Ubirr, in reality, is a rock formation, consisting of a group of rock outcrops.

The rock art galleries at Ubirr lie along the easy circular walking trail that stretches only up to 1 km. Witnessing tropical sunset over the woodlands, floodplains and dark ribbons of rainforest will give you an unforgettable memory for a lifetime. Most of the paintings at rock faces at Ubirr were created about 2000 years ago and have been painted and repainted ever since.

Location: Kakadu Northern Territory 0822, Australia

Timing: Monday through Saturday 8:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Closed on Sundays.

Pricing: Entry is free
06

The Rocks

The Rocks
If old cities and ancient places entice you, then the cobbled laneways, pubs that are probably a century old, cosy cafés of The Rocks could be your utopia. One of the most popular historical sites of Australia, this ancient city stands tall and proud overlooking the humongous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

What used to be an unruly and raucous settlement of European colonizers, that received ships full of convicts, sailors, and soldiers from England has now turned into a thriving, lively place. It is the oldest city in Australia, a cultural and art destination and home to the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. 

Location: Southern shore of Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia.

Timing: 24 hours 

Pricing: Free Entry.
07

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill
What could be a better way to live a day in life in the 1850s if not in one of the historical places in Australia, that offers the opportunity? That’s right, Sovereign hill offers its visitors to discover and experience the action of the later parts of the 1800s.

Sovereign Hill is an open-air museum, an acclaimed tourist attraction. Span over 61 acres of land, the site has over 60 historically recreated buildings. Once you enter the site, it would take you back in time, with every staff member you meet on-site dressed as if it is the 19th Century. All of the items that are present in Sovereign hill are recreated to resemble the said century. 

Location: Bradshaw St, Golden Point VIC 3350, Australia

Timing: Monday through Sunday - 10 a.m to 5 p.m 

Pricing:
- Adult: AU$58.50, 
- Child (5-15 years): AU$26.20, 
- Family (2 adults and up to 4 children): AU$148, 
- Concession: AU$46.80.
08

Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison
Spanning over 15 acres of land, Freemantle is one of the prominent historical places in Australia and one of the 11 convict sites world heritage property. The prison was used for convicts from Britain transferred there to serve their terms.

If you are akin to immerse yourself in the history of what prison life was like then, the Fremantle Prison gives you various tours. The tunnel tours will take you on an adventurous trip through the tunnels built by the prisoners.

The torchlight tour will make your hair at the back of your neck rise, as you walk past the prison walls echoing the stories of pain and suffering and many times executions gone wrong.

Location: 1 The Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Timing: Saturday through Tuesday and Thursday: 9 a.m to 5 p.m, Wednesday and Friday: 9 a.m to 9 p.m

Pricing:
Depending upon the tour you decide to take, the packages may vary anywhere from 

- Adult: AU$22 to AU$75, 
- Children: AU$12 to AU$55 and 
- Family pass: AU$62 to AU$235 for the family pass.
09

Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol
Another one of the major historical sites of Australia is a jail-turned-museum Old Melbourne Gaol. The jail was built in the 1800s to keep dangerous criminals, the homeless, mentally ill people and petty offenders. The building was a symbol of authority, with its domineering size bestriding the skyline of Melbourne.

The Gaol is famous for the execution of Australia’s many infamous criminals like serial killer Frederick Bailey Deeming and bushranger Ned Kelly. The museum now displays information and memorabilia of prisoners and staff members, death masks of executed criminals. The gaol has also seen the first judicial executions in Victoria as a consequence of the conflict between Aboriginal People and European settlers.

Location: 377 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Timing: Monday through Sunday: 9:30 a.m to 5 p.m

Pricing: 
- Adult: AU$28 
- Child (5-15 years): AU$15 
- Family (2 adults + 2 children): AU$65 
- $5 extra child on family tickets
- Concession: AU$23.
10

Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building

Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building
Surrounded by four city streets, spread across an area of whopping 64 acres, is the Royal Exhibition Building. It is a major historical place in Australia and was the first building in the country to receive the World Heritage status by UNESCO.

The building represents the pride and money of Victoria, and remains to be one of the oldest exhibition pavilions. Not only is it a museum that preserves the memory and culture, but it also hosts major gala dinners, top fashion shows, and other star-studded events. Designed by architect Joseph Reed, the building’s architecture displays heavy influences from Byzantine, Romanesque, Lombardic and Italian Renaissance styles. 

Location: 9 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia

Timing: If there are no special events scheduled in the museum, the opening hours are from 9 a.m to 5 p.m

Pricing: 
- Adult: AU$10
- Child (5-15 years): AU$7 
- Concession: AU$8
11

National Museum of Australia

National Museum of Australia
Preserving the history, culture, and tradition that shaped modern Australia, the mammoth building of awe-strikingly beautiful building of the National Museum of Australia stands tall. The building is home to profiles of 50,000 years of indigenous heritage, key events such as Federation and Sydney Olympics 2000, the museum has books, catalogues, and journals published by the museum press.

It also is home to the world's largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools. It is situated with a picturesque view of Canberra, stunning architecture by Howard Raggatt represents the theme of knotted ropes. Every collection of the museum tells a story of moments that shaped Australia to be what it is today. 

Location: Lawson Cres, Acton ACT 2601, Australia

Timing: Monday through Sunday: 9 a.m to 5 p.m

Pricing: General admission is free. However, an amount of AU$5 may be applied to special exhibitions and events.
12

Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks
Another one of must-visit, famous Australia Historical places is Hyde Park Barracks, a former barrack-now-turned into a cutting-edge museum. The European authority used it as a hospital, convict accommodation, and courthouse during the early 1800s.

Another one of the 11 pre-eminent convicts sites that UNESCO has listed in World Heritage sites. Along with a few other oldest buildings that survived, this barrack has seen the changing face of Sydney, from convict beginnings to various landmark decisions.

To transform the barrack into a world-class museum, the site was closed in January 2019 for restoration work. It is scheduled to reopen on 21st February 2020 for visitors to immerse themselves in the experience, so rich and new, like no other. 

Location: Queens Square, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Timing: Monday through Sunday: 10 a.m to 5 p.m

Pricing: General admission is free.
13

Bennelong Point

Bennelong Point
The place where now the Sydney Opera House stands, used to be a small tidal island named Bennelong Point. The original name of the island was Cattle Point. It was renamed to Bennelong after one of two Aborigines, who used to serve as a liaison between the local population and Australia’s first British settlers.

During the early 1790s, Bennelong approached Governor Philip to build a brick hut on the point and give it his name. As time passed, people forgot about the tidal island and its rubble fill, until the excavation for the construction of the Sydney Opera house began in the 1950s. That is when the island was rediscovered and now has become one of many top Australia historical places.

Location: Port Jackson, City of Sydney, Australia
14

Darwin Military Museum

Darwin Military Museum
The museum was originally built as an artillery museum to showcase photographs and artefacts from Darwin, the capital city of Northern Territory in Australia, during World War II. The museum is managed by Royal Australian Artillery Association (RAAA), started in a small fenced area around a command post.

However, RAAA gradually added more guns, vehicles, weapons, and uniforms to the collection so did the area covered by the museum. From 2009, RAAA solely operates the museum, for the visitors who are interested in learning history and about the role of Australia in the war that reshaped the world. The museum video footage shows Japanese raiding Darwin for almost 2 years, 64 times during WW2. 

Location: LOT 5434 Alec Fong Lim Dr, East Point North Territory 0820, Australia

Timing: 9:30 a.m to 5 p.m during the dry season, 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m during wet seasons.

Pricing: 
- Adults: AU$20
- Children: AU$10
- Family (2 adults and 3 children): AU$45
15

Fort Scratchley

Fort Scratchley
For the visitors who are looking to learn more about the history of Australia and its military installation, Fort Scratchley is the best way to start. The fort was built to defend the city of Newcastle against a Russian attack. The former defence installation has now been turned into a museum.

However, the guns in the installation were never fired until 1942, when the shelling of Newcastle happened. The fort was closed for reconstruction in 2004, to attract more tourists. The fort has a special place in the military history of Australia. The museum was reopened in 2009.

Location: 1-3 Nobbys Rd, Newcastle East NSW 2300, Australia.

Timing: Wednesday through Monday: 10 a.m to 4 p.m, closed on Tuesdays.
16

Maitland Gaol

Maitland Gaol
It is a former prison and correctional facility, constructed in 1844. It is the longest run goal in Australia, that has opened its gates for prisoners in 1848 until January 1998. Since then, it has been recognised as a popular tourist destination and turned into a museum.

The museum is now open for visitors to visit and experience the history of the longest run prison, as they walk through the hallways while witnessing the prison cells that once held notorious assassins, an underworld figure, serial killers and bank robbers. The various tours included in the Gaol packages are Psychic experiences, Escapes Torchlight tours, Ghost Hunting, and many others.

Location: 6/18 John St, East Maitland NSW 2323, Australia.

Timing: Monday through Friday : 9 a.m to 4 p.m, Sunday & Saturday: 10 a.m to 4 p.m.

Pricing: Depending upon the tour package, the pricing may vary from AU$19 to AU$45
17

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park
Established in 1979, Kakadu National Park is the largest national park in Australia. It is an enormous, biodiverse reserve covering an area of 19,804 sq km. The park surrounds one of the most productive Uranium mines in the world, the Ranger Uranium mine.

The park offers some of the most beautiful picturesque walking trails, waterfalls, rock art, and bird watching opportunities. For people who want to spend a leisurely weekend away, the fishing spots at the park allows you to relax. With rock art that dates back to 20,000 years ago, art lovers can witness art galleries carved at the rock depicting aboriginal life, expressing their cultural identity. 

Location: Kakadu Hwy, Jabiru NT 0886, Australia.

Timing: Open 24 hours.

Pricing: AU$25 per person, who is over 16 years old.
18

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
To experience one of the breath-taking views that nature has to provide, diverse plant and animal life and the exquisite rock formation, nature lovers are rushing to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. One of the UNESCO world heritage sites, the park is home to both Uluru (large sandstone rock formation) and Kata Tjuta (large domed shaped rock formation).

The Uluru sandstone monolith stands tall at 348 metres high and has become a focal point of the indigenous culture of the country in the world's eyes. Kata Tjuta is considered sacred by the residents' ancestral being ages ago. The formation of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta dates back to some 350 million years ago.

Location: Southwest of Alice Springs along the Stuart and Lasseter Highways.

Timing: 5 a.m to 9 p.m

Pricing: AU$25 per person.
19

Glenrowan

Glenrowan
This may not be as prominent as other historical places, but Glenrowan has its own stories and history. It is a small town, with a population of over 900 people. However, this is the town where the notorious bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang members were captured in 1880.

You can explore the town on foot, walking down the heritage siege precinct and visit local breweries, the Warby-Ovens National Park. There is not much to do in this town, apart from visiting occasional festivals and events. However, if you are looking forward to having a relaxing weekend away, this is the perfect place to go.

Location: Glenrowan, Victoria 3675, Australia

Timing: 24 hours
20

Wiebbe Hayes Stone Fort

In 1629, a group of marooned soldiers commanded by Wiebbe Hayes, survived the Batavia shipwreck and were put ashore on West Wallabi Island, searching for water. After a group of mutineers left the survivors of Hayes' group to die of thirst or starving, the group of soldiers found freshwater spring at East Wallabi Island.

Later when the mutineers launched a series of attacks on the soldiers, they fought back. They built defensive walls and stone shelters under the command of Wiebbe Hayes. The remnants of those structures are now known as Wiebbe Hayes Stone Fort. It is one of the oldest European buildings in Australia.

Location: Houtman Abrolhos WA 6530, Australia

Timing: 24 hours

Pricing: Not available.
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People Also Ask About Australia

  1. What is Australia famous for?

    Australia is famous for the Sydney Opera House, the sandy beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, the deserts, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Aboriginal people. The national parks that are home to thousands of local and endangered species, the Outback - a vast area of land in the heart of Australia, and one of the world's premium surfing destinations is Australia. Along with many other famous regions and structures, these could sum up the landscape of the country.
  2. What is the famous building in Australia?

    Some of the most famous buildings in Australia are Sydney Opera House, the Q1, Eureka Tower, Infinity Tower, Zaha Hadid Mayfair Residence Tower, Parliament House.
  3. What are the top 5 travel destinations in Australia?

    Even though almost all of the heritage sites and national parks are a must visit to know about everything Australia offers, if we have to name 5 must-visit destinations of the country it would be: Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, Uluru, Hamilton Island.
  4. What is the best month to go to Australia?

    The best time to visit Australia in September, November, and March to May.