Chau Chak Wing Museum - review by Rusty Compass
Sydney | see and do guide

Independent reviews and recommendations by Rusty Compass. No advertorial, no paid placements and no sponsored content.

Chau Chak Wing Museum

| 07 Feb 2021
Chau Chak Wing Museum
Sydney University, Parramatta Rd, Camperdown
7 days
07 Feb 2021

The Chau Chak Wing Museum opened in late 2020. It's Sydney's newest museum and one of its best. Located on the campus of Sydney University, it brings together the university's three old museums in a single gleaming new complex. Admission is free.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

If the measure of a good museum is how many little impulses of curiosity it induces, the Chau Chak Wing Museum is on the right track.

It's a brain twisting experience across 4 floors of everything from Australian 19th and 20th century art to Indigenous Australian cultural objects, Egypt and the Mediterranean, to Australian natural history and a China gallery.

Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney
Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer Thylacine aka. Tasmanian Devil - Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney
Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney

Like me, you'll probably find yourself needing a few visits to feel like you've digested things. After 3 visits I'm sure I'd still find things of interest on a return.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum is a superbly curated and presented monument to Sydney University's 19th century quest to be a prestigious place of learning with international standing. The university was building collections that would impress the 19th century mind. That's when many of the artefacts on display were collected - or stolen. I'm guessing quite a bit of the 19th century taxidermy followed the needless slaughter of animals too.

It would have been good to see a more self-aware appraisal of the values that created these collections in the 19th century.

The China exhibition is a highlight but from memory, South East Asia and the Pacific - our neighbourhood - are largely missing. 19th century prejudices die hard.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum is the result of the philanthropy of the Chinese Australian property developer of the same name. Chau has been a prolific donor to Australian universities and political parties. His alleged associations with the Chinese Communist Party have resulted in controversy and he has been in the press in 2021 following a high-profile defamation case.

Rusty Compass listings are always independent. We tell you the stuff we think you should know. That's it. No inducement of any kind was received for this listing. We'll always disclose any commercial arrangements. If you'd like to help us continue our work, head over to the About Us page and make a contribution.


Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
Support Rusty Compass
Rusty Compass is an independent travel guide. We’re focused on providing you with quality, unbiased, travel information. That means we don't receive payments in exchange for listings and mostly pay our own way. We’d like tourism to be a positive economic, environmental and cultural force and we believe travellers deserve disclosure from publishers. Spread the word about Rusty Compass, and if you're in Saigon, pop in to The Old Compass Cafe and say hi. It’s our home right downtown on Pasteur St. You can also check out our unique tours of Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney at Make a financial contribution using the link below. Even small amounts make a difference. Thanks and travel well!

There are no comments yet.