Main Entrance to the Historical Adelaide Goal
The historical prison of Adelaide, or Goal as it was called, is number 5 on the map (link above). In fact, it served as the longest continuously operating prison from the years 1841 to 1988. It accommodated some 300,000 prisoners over the years and also served as the main execution site when capital punishment was used till 1976. Fourty-four men and a women were not only hung there, but are still buried there.
Located on a site along the river that flows through the city, this prison was not planned when settlers arrived, as they were free men, unlike the convicts that began other parts of Australia, such as Hobart and Sydney. They were “purer”, so why would a prison be needed?
Prior to it being built, prisoners were kept on the HMS Buffalo till it left a year later, in 1837. By then, the government realised they did need a lock-up, first building a wooden stockade till they built this prison.
Complete with a radial plan for the main cell buildings, four towers and five exercise yards. Prisoners were first moved there in 1841. There were few alterations to the original design except cost-cutting ones, by the 1950s it suffered as virtually all prisons eventually do with over-crowding.
Prisoners kept here were convicted of all sorts of crimes, from the serious to what would not be considered crimes today, such as indebtedness. Even some children were kept here, women, people with mental health issues and drunks were also included.
Other people held here included Vietnam War protesters and draft resisters.
Forty five prisoners were hung here after being convicted of serious crimes such as murder. There are Ghost Tours available by torchlight or lamplight- will you too see the ghostly figures and movements around the gaol that have been reported through the years? Address:
18 Gaol Road
Phone +061 (08) 8231 4062
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