Shadows of history, Hyde Park Barracks Museum

It’s a magical place, especially if you come on a quiet Tuesday afternoon. You could hear nothing but your footsteps echoing along the empty corridors, the corridors that once saw the influx of convicts or single Irish women or court administratives? They were long gone, but if you stop for a moment in absolute silence, you can almost still hear them … murmuring from behind the wall, and perhaps see a shadow or two, when you peak through the holes into the hammocks-filled dormitories. To me, it was obvious the stories of Hyde Park Barracks lives on, with the magnificent Georgian style building, as part of this essential colonial history of this amazing city. The reason I decided to visit Hyde Park Barracks was simply because it was a cloudy day this Tuesday. I thought “well, at least it feels like barracks”, so I went. But by the time I stepped into this complex, the sun came out shining. One can hardly ignore the shadows when the immense day light piercing through those big windows. The light gives everything a contour, sort of illusionary in a way. Through the misty window screens, one can see the extraordinary city high-rise lurking in the background, quietly announcing the change of time. One might start to wonder, “What did the convicts or the poor boarding girls see from here? Was there a day like today that one young Irish girl pondered at the window, her thoughts carried away?” So I thought I wanted to record the light, well, it was in fact about the shadow, because shadow was born out of light. And just like the Hyde Park Barracks museum, it carries the proof of Sydney’s past, or perhaps the shadows of the history itself.

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