"IN the busy heart of the city lies a must-see attraction for all convict aficionados: Hyde Park Barracks, whose harmonious design was the work of a reformed felon, Francis Greenway. (He’s the only convicted forger ever to be honored on a bank note, Australia’s old $10 bill.) Built in 1819 to house male convicts, the structure later became an orphanage and courthouse, and each phase of its existence left a layer of debris that has been a gold mine for archaeologists. Today, the orange-brick edifice contains a museum with a permanent collection of cat-o’-nine-tails and leg irons, plus (of course) an elegant cafe across the courtyard. When I visited, a curator, Jenny White, retrieved from the archival vault the only mint-condition convict uniform ever found in Sydney. It was a rough calico tunic with thin blue stripes, and one familiar “broad arrow” stenciled at hip level. It had been found beneath the floorboards by a plumber during 1979 renovations when he was installing an air-conditioning duct. Apparently he was so excited that he put on the uniform and ran around the construction site pretending to be an inmate."
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