37 Phillip St
2000 Sydney, Australia
tel: 9251 5988
fax: +61 2 8239 2299
This is a historic site. It marks the location of the colony's first Government House and the scene of some of the first contact between the Cadigal people and white settlers. The latter encounter is marked on the forecourt by the Edge of Trees, an outdoor sculpture representing the trees behind which Cadigal people hid and observed these strange 'boat people' come ashore. In fact, a theme of 'contact' is evident throughout much of the museum.
Inside the very post-modern building - opened in 1995 - footings of the original Government House (unearthed during excavations in 1983) are displayed beneath glass panels. Various multimedia installations, colonial plus aboriginal artefacts, social memorabilia (including the front-end of a long extinct Sydney tram) as well as temporary exhibitions attempt to document the fabric and history of the city.
Some of it works, and some things don't, but it's still very much a worthwhile outing. The video wall spanning the entire height of the museum that documents the city's development is certainly one of the highlights.