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School excursion

Special Offer

Convict kids on Goat Island

Stage 2 (Years 3-4), History, Sydney Harbour National Park


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'Guilty of petty theft – your punishment is penal transportation to Australia for the term of your natural life.' Discover what life was like for the first convicts of Australia in this unique Stage 2 (Years 3-4) History excursion on historic Goat Island.

Read more about Convict kids on Goat Island

Around 164,000 convicts arrived in Australia between 1788 and 1868. Life was tough in the new colony. The weather was unfamiliar and harsh, the bush intimidating and full of deadly wildlife. If convicts misbehaved, they could expect floggings, solitary confinement, and bread and water rations.

In this one-of-a-kind, interactive excursion, students role-play the life of a convict at trial. From sentencing at the Old Bailey, deportation to the colony and their timely pardon, students become convicts for the day. 

Live theatre, song and colourful stories of times past make this excursion unforgettable. Students come away with an invaluable insight into Aboriginal knowledge of Country. They'll have a rich appreciation of the challenging, early days of British settlement in Australia.

For program outline, safety and practical information about this excursion, see info for teachers

Stage Stage 2 (Years 3-4)
Learning area History
Student outcomes

HT2-2. Describes and explains how significant individuals, groups and events contributed to changes in the local community over time

HT2-3. Describes people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects

HT2-4. Describes and explains effects of British colonisation in Australia


Students will:

  • Board a ferry and travel to Goat Island, referred to as Me-mel by the local Cadigal People. 
  • Dress as convicts and be tried for a criminal activity
  • Learn about bush survival using Australian plants and animals
  • Learn about first contact and the historical relationships between Aboriginal people, colonists, soldiers and convicts.
  • Listen to rich stories of the past from Australia's convict era. 

Excursion details


Weekdays during the school term, 10am to 1pm, meal breaks not included.

Medium. Requires travel via ferry to Goat Island.

$30 per student and $16 per teacher. Minimum of 70 students. Groups less than 70 will incur additional charges, please enquire. GST included.

Meeting point
Wharf 6 Circular Quay, near the Captain Cook ticket booth. Meet at 10am.
If you would like to organise a NPWS school excursion please get in touch with local staff or use the 'Enquire' link for the online form.
Enquire now
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Park info

  • in Sydney Harbour National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
  • Sydney Harbour National Park is open sunrise to sunset but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Park entry fees:

    Bradleys Head: $8 per vehicle per day. North Head: $5 per vehicle per day. Tap and pay card or phone payments accepted at pay machines. Coin payment available at Fairfax carpark machines only. Chowder Bay: Monday-Friday: $3 per hour, to a maximum of $16 per day. Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: $4 per hour, to a maximum of $20 per day. If you hold an NPWS All Parks or Multi Parks Pass, you can park free for up to four hours per day - additional time can be purchased. Car parks operated by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust or Mosman Council are not covered by your pass. Please check signs carefully. Park’nPay: You can also pay for your visit to any area via the Park’nPay app.

    Other fees:

    Landing fees or tour fees apply to visit Sydney Harbour islands. All public visitors to Shark, Clark or Rodd Island, need to pay a $7 per person landing fee. To arrange, please contact 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS). Annual NSW Parks Passes do not cover landing fees.

    Buy annual pass
See more visitor info