Convict kids on Goat Island
Stage 2 (Years 3-4), History, Sydney Harbour National Park
'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) 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)|
HT2-1. Identifies celebrations and commemorations of significance in Australia and the world
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
HT2-5. Applies skills of historical inquiry and communication
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.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/education/stage-2-history-convict-kids-goat-island-sydney-harbour-national-park/local-alerts
- School excursion inquiries - Sydney Harbour
- 02 9668 2006
- 02 9337 7012
- 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 carpark: $8 per vehicle per day. North Head carpark: $5 per vehicle per day. There are pay and display machines that accept cards and coins - no change given. Chowder Bay Road parking: 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. You can also pay for your visit via the Park’nPay app.
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.
Info for teachers
All the practical information you need to know about Convict kids on Goat Island.
- Meet NPWS guide at Wharf 6 Circular Quay
- Depart on a chartered ferry to Goat Island. On board welcome, acknowledgement of Country and safety talk.
- Arrive at Goat Island wharf and disembark
- Undergo trial and sentencing. Experience life as a convict settler.
- Listen to stories of hardship and survival in the bush
- Share in the wisdom of Aboriginal bush survival strategies
- Pending good behaviour, receive a formal pardon from the Governor, allowing a ticket of leave.
- Board the ferry, depart Goat Island and return to Wharf 6 Circular Quay
- Same as the standard excursion, plus enjoy a self-catered picnic lunch on the lawns overlooking the city, Harbour Bridge and Darling Harbour.
- Return to Wharf 6 Circular Quay on a later ferry
Getting there and parking
Goat Island is located off Balmain and is accessible by ferry from Circular Quay.
Private vessels are not permitted to moor at Goat Island.
What to bring
Please wear fully enclosed shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, wet weather gear, and lunch which should be low waste with a refillable water bottle. Students should bring gear in a backpack or similar (not plastic bags).
Maps and downloads
Risk assessment and risk benefits
Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.
We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.
Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.
Disability access level - hard
Some areas are wheelchair accessible. Please let us know in advance if you are bringing someone with accessibility requirements so that we can plan accordingly. There are wheelchair-accessible public toilets adjacent to Wharf 6, Circular Quay, and on Goat Island.