If you are interested in natural and cultural history, the University of Sydney's historic collections at the Macleay Museum is a must see.

You can see the oldest natural history collection in Australia, which originated in the cabinets of Alexander Macleay, and was expanded through the collecting networks of the Macleay family from around the world. Some zoological specimens are significant, and the collection includes type specimens of many species. More locally, specimens collected from the family estate at Elizabeth Bay House provide an insight in Sydney's biodiversity in the 19th century. 

The Macleay Museum also cares for the historically rich collections of Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific islanders' cultural material; including objects collected on the early scientific expedition, the Chevert (1875), and those collected in the early years of anthropological research at the University of Sydney. The collection continues to hold relevance to peoples across our region. 

The work of University scientists meanwhile is reflected in the collection of scientific instruments and apparatus used in research and teaching, and is part of the story of scientific practice in Australia.

The historic photograph collection records life in Australia and the Pacific region, from the late 1840s to the 1960s, as captured by both commercial and amateur photographers. It includes a wide range of photographic formats, reflecting the changing technology of photography.

You can explore these rich collections and their connections with the development of scientific ideas in Australia. 


(02) 9036 5253
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Entry Fees

Free entry.

Getting There

Macleay Building A12 Gosper Lane
Camperdown Campus
University of Sydney, NSW 2006

Opening Hours

Monday- Friday

10:00 to 16:30 (Except public holidays and university holidays)


10:00 to 16:00 (First Saturday of every month only, 12-4pm.)

School Education Programs

A range of school (K-12) and adult education programs are available for the Macleay Museum collection.


University Challenge

You won't get a degree at the end of this trail ...

Museums & Galleries of NSW helps small-medium museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres create exciting experiences for visitors and, through this, thriving local NSW communities. We don't run museums, galleries and cultural centres but we care about those who do. We develop their skills, connect them with others in the industry, provide funding, point visitors their way, and give them access to ground-breaking exhibitions.

Museums & Galleries of NSW is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

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