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History tours

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Experience our program of guided tours, catering for all ages, interests and personalities – from history buffs and thrill seekers through to families and seniors clubs.

Whether you want to see remnants from a bygone era, journey into the supernatural or explore distinctive heritage buildings, our tours are an opportunity to discover what makes our historic island so unique.

On-demand tour

Although our weekly tours are currently on hold, we are accepting on-demand tour bookings for groups of up to 15 people...

Group History Tour

Cost: $12-16 per person (min. 10 people) | Duration: 60 to 90 mins

Embark on a a guided journey through the complex and layered history of Cockatoo Island, formerly a prison, navy dockyard and major ship-building site. As you visit iconic landmarks, including the UNESCO World Heritage listed Convict Precinct, our knowledgeable guide will share stories and anecdotes that paint a vivid picture of the island throughout the ages. This is a great sightseeing activity for Probus and other groups, including families, seniors, tourists and historical societies.

Group History Tour Cockatoo Island 650X550

School holidays

To celebrate the school holidays, we're relaunching three of our tours for a limited season (26 September to 11 October)...

Convict Escape Attempts Tour (all ages)

Cost: $16 per adult, $12 per child (12 & under) | Duration: 60 mins | When: 11:30am and 1pm, select Saturdays (26 Sept, 3 Oct, 10 Oct) | Online bookings are essential

This tour will introduce you to the brave, foolhardy and desperate convicts who dared to escape Cockatoo Island’s penal establishment between 1839 and 1869. As you explore the island, you’ll hear about successful and ill-fated escape attempts involving disguises, sewers, shark-infested waters, stolen boats and a volley of bullets.

Haunted History Tour (all ages)

Cost: $25 per adult, $15 per child (12 & under) | Duration: 90 mins | When: 6:30pm, select Saturdays (26 Sept, 3 Oct, 10 Oct) | Online bookings are essential

This tour will introduce you to the brave, foolhardy and desperate convicts who dared to escape Cockatoo Island’s penal establishment between 1839 and 1869. As you explore the island, you’ll hear about successful and ill-fated escape attempts involving disguises, sewers, shark-infested waters, stolen boats and a volley of bullets.

From Sandstone to Steel Tour (all ages)

Cost: $16 per adult, $12 per child (12 & under) | Duration: 90 mins | When: 11:30am and 1:30pm, select Sundays (27 Sept, 4 Oct, 11 Oct) | Online bookings are essential

Step back in time with our all-ages history tour! From Sandstone to Steel charts the changing face of our extraordinary island. As you visit key landmarks, including the Convict Precinct, Biloela House, the Convict silos, the Fitzroy Dock and the Turbine Hall, our guide will share historical stories, including anecdotes about a colourful cast of real-life characters.

Convict Precinct Tour (all ages)

Cost: $16 per adult, $12 per child, $12 per senior | Duration: 45 mins | Group tour available on demand [Note: minimum charge of $120 applies] 

Discover Cockatoo Island’s UNESCO World Heritage listed Convict Precinct with this tour of the upper island. Our guide will lead you through the turbulent history of the former penal establishment, stopping at iconic landmarks.

Important update

Our tour program has changed to ensure compliance with the NSW Government’s COVID-19 public health orders. Although our weekly tours have been put on hold until further notice, we are accepting on-demand tour bookings for groups of up to 15 people.

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