Historical Attractions in Australia
If you’re looking to explore Historic Sites in Australia and the history of the country then you can use our interactive map above or navigate further by using the links below. We’ll be continually adding to this list over time so make sure you check back later to find more historical sites in Australia.
From aboriginal history to early European settlement and beyond, Australia has historical attractions that reflect the story of this nation’s journey.
There’s an initial selection of Historic Sites in Australia below and you can plan some great things to see on your trips by browsing our selection. Once you’ve explored the Historic Sites in Australia, along with other historical places that interest you, you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan out your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook.
Our database of historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other Historic Sites in Australia, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.
Fort Scratchley in Newcastle is a 19th century coastal defence battery which now operates as a museum.
Fremantle Prison in Western Australia is Australia’s largest and best-preserved convict-built prison. Built between 1852 and 1859, you’ll hear stories of inhumane conditions, escapes, floggings and hangings, solitary confinement and the famous (and infamous) men and women who resided here.
DID YOU KNOW?
Just south of Perth, Fremantle Prison on Western Australia’s Indian Ocean coast is Australia’s (and one of the world’s) largest and best-preserved convict-built prison. It is also the state’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built by convicts between 1852 and 1859 from limestone quarried from the hill on which it is built, the prison was originally intended for imperial convicts but by 1886, only about 60 were left in a jail built to house a thousand. When Perth Gaol closed in 1888 and the local population grew with the gold rush of the 1890s, Fremantle Prison got busy again.
Prison life was highly regulated with meals being eaten in cells and up until about 1911 prisoner labour was used for much of the city of Fremantle’s infrastructure. Punishment ranged from flogging, time spent in irons, lengthening of sentences, deprivation of visits or what passed for entertainment all the way up to hanging. Forty-four (43 men, one woman) were put to death at Fremantle between 1888 and 1964 – Western Australia’s only lawful place of execution. The last man led to the noose was serial killer Eric Edgar ‘Night Caller’ Cooke, convicted of eight murders and 14 attempted murders.
The decision to decommission the prison was reached in 1983 but it remained in operation until 30th November 1991 when all remaining inmates were transferred to a maximum-security prison at Casuarina, 30km south of Fremantle.
Today, Fremantle Prison is one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions and while entry to the gatehouse is free and includes the Convict Café, gift shop, prison gallery and an interactive visitor centre, there are a number of fascinating, interactive tours.
The Tunnel Tour which takes you on a subterranean boat ride through convict-built tunnels; the Doing Time Tour includes the solitary confinement cells, men’s cell block and kitchens; the Great Escape Tour includes fascinating tales of famous inmates, stories of escape, intrigue and the 1988 riot designed to highlight the inhumane conditions in which the prisoners were kept which led to the prison’s closure and the Torchlight Tour which focuses on the more macabre elements of prison life at Fremantle.
Hyde Park Barracks was Australia’s first official home for convicts and is now a museum. It is one of the most significant of the historic sites of Australia.