Convict Escape Attempts
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Today, Cockatoo Island is a popular escape for Sydneysiders and tourists alike. Rewind to the mid-1800s, however, and people were singing a very different tune. That’s because – from 1839 to 1869 – the island was a notorious convict penal establishment, where inmates suffered through grim living conditions and backbreaking work.

This brand new, all-ages tour will introduce a line-up of brave, foolhardy and desperate convicts who dared to escape, including fabled bushranger Captain Thunderbolt. 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.

Cost: $16 adults & $5 child 

Hours & times: Tours run on Saturdays during the School Holidays at 10:30am & 3:00pm

Meeting point: The tour starting location is outside the Visitors Centre

Planning your trip: Access to Cockatoo Island is by ferry. Please visit for ferry timetables.

Subject to guide availability, we accept private bookings for groups of at least ten people. To request a private group tour, complete our enquiry form

Terms & Conditions:

  • The tour is 60 minutes in duration and involves a steep incline, some uneven surfaces and is not suitable for mobility scooters.
  • A moderate level of fitness and mobility are required on this tour. 
  • Please wear suitable and sensible walking shoes. The Harbour Trust advises that high heels, thongs and loose sandals are not recommended to wear during tours
  • Tours will proceed regardless of weather conditions except in cases of extreme weather. Please being wet weather gear if required. 
  • Participants will be notified via SMS if the tour is cancelled and a full refund of the ticket price (less booking fees) will be made.
  • Tours are family friendly, however children must be accompanied by an adult.
  • You must comply with all directions of the Guides, Rangers and Security.
  • For safety reasons, maximum tour numbers cannot be exceeded.
  • Dogs, bicycles and smoking are not allowed on the tour.
  • Tickets are non-refundable, transfers can be made up to seven (7) days prior to the tour date.
  • The Harbour Trust reserves the right to terminate any tour at any time.
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