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School holiday tours and activities

arrow LIMITED TIME: Tours available on select dates
These school holidays, escape to Cockatoo Island with friends and family for a guided tour of the former convict prison and naval dockyard...

Between Saturday, 26 September and Sunday, 11 October, we're offering three immersive tours of Cockatoo Island. From Sandstone to Steel is a crash-course in the island's layered history. Meanwhile, Haunted History is a journey into the island's dark past and Convict Escape Attempts is an opportunity to learn about the prisoners who dared escaped the convict penal establishment. Be quick – tickets are limited!

Plus, kids can enhance their visit to Cockatoo Island with our free activity books: Convict Clues and Ship Shape. Can't make it to Cockatoo Island during the holidays? Don't worry – you can still tune into our free DigiTalks webinar on 30 September

Convict Escape Attempts Tour

Get to know the brave, foolhardy and desperate convicts who dared to escape Cockatoo Island...

Cost: $16 per adult, $12 per child (12 & under) | When: 11:30am and 1pm, select Saturdays (26 Sept, 3 Oct, 10 Oct) | Online bookings are essential

From 1839 to 1869, Cockatoo Island was a notorious convict penal establishment, where inmates suffered through grim living conditions and backbreaking work. During this fun 60-minute tour, our guide will share stories about successful and ill-fated convict escape attempts involving disguises, sewers, shark-infested waters, stolen boats and a volley of bullets.

Convict Precinct Rusty Bars Cockatoo Island 650X550

From Sandstone to Steel Tour

This all-ages tour is a crash course in Cockatoo Island's storied history...

Cost: $16 per adult, $12 per child (12 & under) | When: 11:30am and 1:30pm, select Sundays (27 Sept, 4 Oct, 11 Oct) | Online bookings are essential

During this 90-minute tour, you will visit Cockatoo Island's iconic landmarks and our knowledgeable guide will reveal how they fit into the island’s layered historical narrative. You will also hear anecdotes about a colourful cast of real-life characters. 

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Haunted History

Secrets. Scandals. Skeletons. Cockatoo Island has its fair share of all three. Discover for yourself with this all-ages tour!

Cost: $25 per adult, $15 per child (12 & under) | When: 6:30pm, select Saturdays (26 Sept, 3 Oct, 10 Oct) | Online bookings are essential

As you explore atmospheric landmarks, including the convict workshops and gaol, Dog Leg Tunnel and Biloela House, our guide will blend history with mystery to captivate your imagination!

Haunted History Tour Cockatoo Island 650X550

Kids activity books (FREE)

Kids will time travel to the island's convict and maritime eras with our FREE activity books....

Our free kids activity books, 'Convict Clues' and 'Ship Shape', are an opportunity for kids to have fun as they engage in historical exploration and learn about Cockatoo Island’s storied convict (1839 to 1869) and maritime (1857 to 1991) eras. Simply download and print these books ahead of your trip and bring along a pencil. PLUS: If your kids enjoyed Ship Shape, check out our Shipyard Stories exhibition, located at Biloela House on the Upper Island.

Ship Shape Challenge Cockatoo Island Kids Activity 650X550

Tune in: Convicts & traditional hats

Can't make it to Cockatoo Island during the holidays? Don't worry – you can still tune into our free DigiTalks webinar on 30 September.

The manufacture of cabbage tree hats, commonly undertaken by convicts, was a thriving cottage craft from the 1790s until the 1930s. On Wednesday 30 September, singer and historian Don Brian will present a DigiTalk on the historical significance of this former staple of Australian fashion. In addition to demonstrating how the iconic hat was made, he will share archival photos and traditional songs.

[Image credit: Australian Bullock driver, 1851, William Strutt, National library of Australia]

Cabbage Tree Hat NLA 650X550

Kids Corner

Want to have fun AND learn about Cockatoo Island? You've come to the right place.

Kids Corner features fun activity sheets and project ideas that will keep you engaged and happy, whether you're at home, in the backyard or stretching your legs outside.

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Helpful links

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