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Learn at Cockatoo Island

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Featuring heritage buildings and landmarks from different eras, Cockatoo Island is a great place for children and teenagers alike to deepen their knowledge of Australia’s historical narrative.

Our school and vacation care programs are an opportunity for the next generation to develop their historical enquiry skills, exercise their imagination, participate in outdoor activities and form lasting friendships.

360° virtual tour

Are you looking for an interactive, syllabus-rich learning experience that meets key learning areas AND engages stage 2 students? Book 'Convicts, Crimes & Cockatoo Island'!

Convicts, Crimes & Cockatoo Island – 360° virtual tour

Cost: $65 per class | Available: On demand | Audience: Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4)

Crimes & Cockatoo Island enables Stage 2 students to virtually explore our former convict prison (1839-69) using interactive 360° images and features. Your class will learn about the world events that led to the British colonisation of Australia and what life was like for Cockatoo Island's convicts.

Critically, students will develop historical enquiry skills as they examine buildings, listen to diary entries, and engage with other historical sources. The tour follows a linear format so it is easy to navigate and students are prompted to complete a worksheet as they progress.

Convict Times Virtual Excursion Cockatoo Island 650X550

Worksheets and art competition

The Harbour Trust has released worksheets to keep Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 students engaged during lockdown and give them an easy way to tap into their creativity.

Drawing on the history of Sub Base Platypus in North Sydney, our worksheets combine Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 English and Science & Technology Outcomes with a light colouring-in activity.

The release of the worksheets coincides with a colouring-in competition, with students invited to enter either a coloured-in platypus or submarine. The competition closes on Friday 8 October. 

Like Cockatoo Island, Sub Base Platypus is a heritage destination managed by the Harbour Trust.

Submarine Colouring In 650X550

School programs

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

Primary school

Our interactive primary school programs – Convict Times and Then, Now and Tomorrow – are an opportunity for students to learn about the historical significance of Cockatoo Island as they engage in dress up and role-play, and interact with artefacts from different eras.

High school

Our interactive high school programs – Social and Maritime Case Study and History Site Study – are an opportunity for students, including those studying for the HSC, to consider the history of Cockatoo Island from multiple viewpoints and hone their historical enquiry and writing skills.

Camping trips

Owing to its layered history, Cockatoo Island is the perfect camping spot for school, scout and youth groups.

Enrich your next school excursion with an overnight stay in our waterfront campground, situated alongside Cockatoo Island’s historic Industrial, Docks and Convict Precincts.

Camping Tents Cockatoo Island Sydney 650X550

Vacation care

Available during the NSW school holidays, our vacation care program combines outdoor exploration, historical learning and fun activities.

Children will learn about the Island's storied past, including the golden maritime era, as they engage in fun games such as historical roleplay. They will also get to tap into their creativity as they construct ships using LEGO and recyclable materials.

Vacation Care Cockatoo Island 650X550

Unguided visits

We welcome school groups wishing to embark on a self-guided tour of Cockatoo Island... 

Ahead of your excursion, please register your scheduled visit using the form on this page. The information you share with us will be communicated to our rangers and visitor service staff so they can, in turn, ensure your visit is safe and enjoyable. 

School Group Cockatoo Island Entrance Sydney 650X550

Kids Corner

Looking for ways to bust boredom outside the classroom? Check out the Harbour Trust's Kids Corner – a one-stop-shop for FREE activity sheets including DIY projects!

Kids (and kids at heart) can channel their creativity into a selection of activity sheets, including colouring in sheets, crosswords, construction sheets, science experiments. Activities include a First Nations card game and a nature scavenger hunt as well as instructions for creating a paper cup phone and a toothpick torpedo. Check out all 30 sheets!

Two Kids Colouring In Sheet Cockatoo Island 650X550