Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Convict Made Bricks

Convict Made Bricks - Joy of Museums

Convict Made Bricks

These Bricks were convict made, as the first brick makers in Australia were convicts. Within months of the arrival of the First Fleet, bricks were being produced by convicts to start the effort to build permanent structures. The first bricks were made at a site in Darling Harbour, and as the colony grew, for buildings on the outskirts of Sydney, it was cheaper to use convicts to hand make bricks and dry them in the sun, rather than paying for bricks to be transported from the factories in the centre of Sydney. Convict bricks are easily identifiable as they often have a distinctive mark on them such as broad arrows, hearts, diamonds and frogs as patterns.

The special making on the brick is called a “frog”. It was used to identify the brick maker, and it allowed the mortar to bind the brick more effectively. From 1819 onwards all government-made bricks were marked with a broad arrow and later in the 1830’s the shapes of playing cards such as hearts, diamonds and spades were used to “frog” bricks.

These bricks are part of the thousands of bricks that were moulded, fired and delivered to build Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney.

Australian Convict Made Bricks

  • Title:               Australian Convict Made Bricks
  • Date:               1819
  • Medium:        Sand, Clay, Shell
  • Dimensions:  230mm long x 110mm wide x 60mm high.
  • Museum:        Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

Explore Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney


“Those who lose dreaming are lost.”
– Australian Proverb


Photo Credit: JOM