More than one angle on Hyde Park Barracks

One of the unusual things about the Dictionary of Sydney is that entries are only one of several kinds of historical resources we include. You can find maps, video, audio, timelines, images and combinations of these.

We can also include more than one entry on any given topic, allowing us to look at different historical facets, or enable debate on controversial subjects.

Each entity within the Dictionary has a page where everything we know about it is aggregated, which may include an entry, or more than one entry. This is where to start, but you never know where you will end up.

Let me show you an example.

Hyde Park Barracks is one of Sydney’s iconic sites, a survivor from early convict days, right in the centre of the city. It is now a museum, part of the Historic Houses Trust, and World Heritage listed.

Designed by Francis Greenway and built on the orders of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the building was used in many different ways over the centuries as the city changed around it.

Here is the top half of its Dictionary page: Hyde Park Barracks.

Hyde Park Barracks page, top half
The entity page aggregates all the information in the Dictionary on this topic

But this is just the portal to the range of resources we have gathered about it.

The map shows an accurate polygon of the site and you can zoom out to get a sense of the building’s place in the modern city, or look at a satellite image.

The timeline provides a visual rendering of the facts we have gathered about the site, some of which will connect elsewhere in the Dictionary. Drag to see it in more detail.

Down the right hand side you can find both the entries about this place, one of which focuses on archaeology.

Underneath that is a list of the images we hold. Roll over them to get thumbnails.

But there’s more!

Scrolling to the lower half of the page means you can see the other connections of the building.
Hyde Park Barracks page, lower half

Entries and mentions in other articles are gathered here

On the right is a list of all the entries in which this building is mentioned, throughout the Dictionary. Each one has a preview that pops up on rollover.

In the centre are the facts gathered about the building, many of which link directly to other entities in the Dictionary. These are all structured data in the Dictionary’s working database. You can roll over any links to get an idea of where they might take you.

Below these are the introductions to both of the articles we currently have about the Barracks — a building history by Laila Ellmoos, now with the City of Sydney history program, and a piece on the archaeology of the Barracks site by Peter Davies, of LaTrobe University.

Detail of illustration of Hyde Park Barracks archaeology
Detail of illustration of Hyde Park Barracks archaeology

These articles are substantial illustrated pieces that take very different approaches, and are filled with links that will take you further into the colonial history of Sydney. Enjoy!


About Emma Grahame

Emma Grahame has been Editorial Coordinator of the Dictionary of Sydney since May 2007.
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