EN language selector search
EN arrow Contact search

Primary school programs

arrow Check out our online resources (NEW)
arrow Request a program
  • $12 per student
  • Teachers and supervisors are FREE
  • Bookings accepted for groups of at least ten students.
  • Note: Price excludes cost of ferry travel.
  • Available Monday to Friday by appointment
  • Programs run for 2½ hours with lunch break
  • Ferry
  • Water taxi
  • Private boat
meeting point.svg
Meeting point

Visitor Centre, Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour NSW

Google Maps

Escape the classroom and head to Cockatoo Island with your students for an interactive learning experience.

Our two primary school programs – Convict Times and Then, Now and Tomorrow – each support several key syllabus areas of the NSW Curriculum and have been designed to foster enquiry-based learning. Critically, students will have fun as they interact with historical artefacts from different eras and explore one of the most extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour.

Convict Times

Students (Kindergarten to Year 4) will journey to a bygone era with ‘Convict Times’. Through dress up and role-play, they will learn about the First fleet, the impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and the island’s convict penal establishment, which operated from 1839 to 1869.


Then, Now and Tomorrow

Students (Year 1 to Year 4) will be delve into Cockatoo Island’s complex and layered history with ‘Then, Now & Tomorrow’. Through dress up and role-play, they will gain insights into the major historical developments, including community actions, that saw the island evolve from a convict penal establishment into a vibrant cultural destination.

Single-column_Primary-School_05.jpg (1)

Plan ahead

Ferries arrow

The easiest way to get to Cockatoo Island is by Public ferry. The F3 and F8 services operate to Cockatoo Island daily, departing from Circular Quay and Barangaroo as well as from wharves along Parramatta River. For further information, including timetables, visit the Transport NSW website.

Opal cards arrow

If your group is travelling to Cockatoo Island by ferry, each person will need to be in possession of an Opal Card with sufficient funds. Alternatively, you can pre-purchase Opal One Day Travel Passes for their entire group. To arrange Opal One Day Travel Passes for your group, visit opaldaypass.transport.nsw.gov.au.

Parking facilities arrow

On-street parking is available for cars near the ferry wharves at Woolwich, Greenwich, Chiswick, Huntleys Point, Drummoyne, Birchgrove and Balmain. The Clarkes Point Reserve Carpark (access via Clarke Road, Woolwich) offers parking for coaches and is a short walk from the Woolwich ferry wharf.

Request a booking
To request Convict Times or Then, Now and Tomorrow for your class, complete our school programs enquiry form
arrowEnquiry form

Guided tours

In addition to offering two primary school Programs, we also accept private bookings from schools for our Haunted History, Convict Precinct and Group History Tours. To arrange one of these tours for your class, please complete our school program form. 



Additional info

Warning to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Our primary school programs contain stories (and may contain images and/or visuals) of deceased people.

Island conditions: Most areas of the island are wheelchair accessible; however, there is a steep incline from the lower island to the upper plateau, and – owing to the island’s industrial heritage – there are uneven surfaces as well as some buildings not accessible by wheelchair

What to bring: Suitable walking shoes, sun protection, wet weather gear (if needed) and packed lunches.

Weather: Bookings for our primary school programs will proceed regardless of weather conditions except in the event that ferry services advise against travelling to Cockatoo Island due to extreme weather conditions

Cancellations: If you decide to cancel a booking, please provide 48 hours’ notice to avoid being charged a fee to cover casual staff costs.

Helpful links


School resources

Learn about history, geography, biodiversity and First Nations cultures with our selection of resources for primary school students...

You may also like