About us Venue hire Contact us EN arrow search arrow Subscribe
School group walking through Cockatoo Island's Convict Precinct.

Schools and groups

Want your school-aged children to experience authentic primary sources and deepen their historical learning? We encourage school, scout and youth groups to escape to Cockatoo Island for an outdoors learning experience.

Known to Sydney’s First Nations Peoples as Wareamah, Cockatoo Island is a great place for primary and high school classes to extend their understanding of Australian history. As your students explore historical buildings and spaces with a specialist education guide, they will have opportunities to consider how the past has influenced the present.

Critically, our 90-minute education programs for Stages 1 to 5 meet NSW Syllabus and Australian Curriculum Outcomes. Plus, our campground is available for bookings by school, scout and youth groups. 

Looking for a program during the school holidays? Experience the sights and sounds of Cockatoo Island with our engaging and educational vacation care program, suitable for children in years 3 to 6.

Planning a self-guided excursion? Please register your scheduled visit with us so staff, including rangers, can ensure your group has a safe and enjoyable experience.  


Primary schools

We have 3 primary school programs – Making History (Stage 1), Convict Times (Stage 2) and Then, Now and Tomorrow (Stage 3). Each is bookended by teacher-led pre- and post-visit lesson plans, forming an entire lesson sequence. Lessons include direct teaching and activities and resources are supplied at the time of booking.

High schools

The History Site Study is our high school program. It can be catered for students from Stages 4, 5 and 6. This program uses storytelling and on-site resources to extend and consolidate historical learning. Critically, students will consider what it was like to be a convict, the role dock workers played during the Second World War and the community-led actions to protect Cockatoo Island.

Homeschool programs

Our primary school (stages 1 to 3) and high school (stage 4 and 5) programs are an opportunity for your students to engage in enquiry-based learning, interact with historical artefacts and explore a former convict gaol and dockyard with a specialist education guide. Critically, or programs meet NSW Syllabus and Australian Curriculum Outcomes.

Vacation care program

Escape to Cockatoo Island with your vacation care group for an engaging excursion that combines fun activities, outdoor exploration and history. Available during the NSW school holidays, our vacation care program is suited for children in years 3 to 6.

Camping trips

Extend your excursion with a stay in a waterfront setting bordered by landmarks from the island’s convict and shipyard eras.

Owing to its layered history, Cockatoo Island is the perfect camping spot for school, scout and youth groups. The island’s waterfront campground is situated alongside landmarks from the turbulent convict era (1839-69) and celebrated dockyard years (1857-1991), making it a great launching pad for exploration and adventure.

Helpful links

Looking to visit, stay at or tour Cockatoo Island? Here are some useful links.