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Journey Walks

Convicts & crime stories — The Rocks by Journey Walks

Where
Customs House
Customs House
31 Alfred Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Tour meeting point: in front of Customs House on the right hand side if facing the building. Circular Quay
When

Wednesday 20 April from 10:30am to 1pm Saturday 23 April from 10:30am to 1pm Wednesday 27 April from 10:30am to 1pm Saturday 30 April from 10:30am to 1pm Friday 6 May from 10:30am to 1pm Saturday 7 May from 10:30am to 1pm Wednesday 11 May from 10:30am to 1pm Friday 13 May from 10:30am to 1pm Wednesday 18 May from 10:30am to 1pm Wednesday 25 May from 10:30am to 1pm Thursday 26 May from 10:30am to 1pm Friday 27 May from 10:30am to 1pm Saturday 28 May from 10:30am to 1pm Friday 3 June from 10:30am to 1pm Thursday 9 June from 10:30am to 1pm

Cost

Adult: $36Concession: $34

Ignite your passion for the past and rediscover real storytelling as we uncover the true tales behind Sydney's notorious history of convicts, colonists, soldiers, warriors, whalers, sailors, merchants, craftsmen, gangs, Governors, larrikins, legends, rum and rebellions!

Once upon a time (not so long ago) a bizarre colonial experiment took place on the rocky shores of Sydney’s ancient Indigenous harbour. Thousands of miles from home, England’s banished thieves were locked in a prison with ocean walls: forced to find food and cut through stone.

Defying the odds, their shanty camp survived and grew—clutching to life on the banks of a freshwater stream. Gardens were grown, goods were traded & rum soon ranked as both currency & cure.

As centuries changed, The Rocks was carved into cottages and corridors. Scallywags sailed into shore. Larrikins lurked in the laneways & many a clever convict swapped their chains for riches.

As Sydney's prison settlement was reforged into a busy port-side city, The Rocks retained the relics of its rascally beginnings and safe-guarded its secrets for our curious contemporary minds.

Come and share a part in this remarkable story on an experience that will keep your ears pricked, your eyes open and your passion for the past brought to life.

Your journey will start at Customs House before visiting Macquarie Place and the Old Tank Stream before roaming through The Rocks district.

We will cover:

  • Indigenous Sydney: The harbour and its ancient clans

  • Why were the convicts sent here? A clear context to transportation

  • The voyage, landing and mishaps of the First Fleet

  • Early Interaction with local Aboriginal people

  • Sydney’s hidden fresh water stream and its secrets

  • Surviving relics and monuments from the penal years

  • The birth of ‘The Rocks’ as a convict settlement

  • Starvation, sickness and struggles at the first hospital

  • Hidden corridors & cobblestone laneways for larrikins

  • The notorious rum trade and the rebellion of 1808

  • Sydney’s oldest cottage & surviving Georgian architecture

  • Secret sandstone ruins and hidden gold-rush history

  • The rise & fall of the infamous convict-architect

  • Street gangs, their schemes & their hide outs in The Rocks

  • What happened when the black plague came to town

  • A visit inside Customs House and the Argyle Stores

  • Models, maps and murals of old & new Sydney town

  • Historic Pubs & underground Doss Houses

  • Any question you have answered on the spot

"Absolutely fantastic tour

Max our guide has such a wealth if knowledge that he brought Sydney alive for me. He completely mesmerised me with tales from convicts arriving, how the people, officers and the prisoners coped with their meagre existence working hard to make the heart and bones if this beautiful city. If it's the only thing you do book this tour with Max, he is an amazing historian who takes you back to the past. Definitely not to be missed" — Recent reviewer from Manchester

"Not just fascinating history tour, this is a time-travelling experience" —recent reviewer from Sydney.

Covid-safe information

  • This is a Small group (max 12) Covid-conscious experience

  • Operating 90% outdoors in a fresh air environment

  • Open air meeting place with hand-washing facilities close by

  • Handshake free meeting with guide and group

  • Masks optional throughout

  • Social Distancing maintained throughout walks and stops

  • Restroom stops available throughout

Contact event organiser

Journey Walks

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