Remember being packed onto a sweaty school bus, like sardines in a tin, and heading to Old Sydney Town for a school excursion? Trips to the open-air museum were always cause for excitement: the chance to experience what life was like for the early Sydney settlers; watching convicts getting flogged by the “redcoats”; and being schooled by brutal mock teachers – it’s firmly etched in our memory.
Now, after 15 years of lying dormant – the last school bus left the site in 2003 – the 120-hectare property on the outskirts of Sydney is up for sale. The sale, via Western Sydney real estate agency CBRE, extends to the adjacent Australian Reptile Park (which spans 5.4 hectares), as well as an additional 89 hectares, which includes farmland. Happily, while the enormous property may eventually be rezoned, and redeveloped, the park is on a long lease, so will remain as is for now.
Eight kilometres from Gosford and 77 kilometres north of Sydney, Gough Whitlam first opened the iconic “museum” or “theme park” of sorts on Australia Day in 1975 – giving Sydney a chance to step back in time and see what it was like to live in convict times.