Beechworth Gaol

Operated as a gaol from 1860s to about 1920, and then various related purposes until 2004. There's more history on the Wikipedia page and there's a website for the redevelopment project.

I've had to split this over multiple posts, but there's a link at the end of each post that goes to the next one so just continue on.

Right wing.
Left wing and outside.
On the way out.

Somewhere between its closure and now, the site was open for self-guided tours, which is what these photos are from. While I have a lot of photos, I don't many words to go with them. So we'll see how it goes.

The main building is a Y-shape. You can see it in the main photon the About page. The cell-blocks form the arms of the Y and this building straight ahead is the leg.

Entrance into gift shop/ticket counter.

Leaving the gift shop, there's this room and then a hall and corridor that the camera found too dark and I can't remember what they were for, so we'll skip them and head outside to the exercise yard.

The bright yellow line is the guide line for the tour. So that's where it starts.

The door back inside is to the right there (white with blue surround). It goes into the main (Y-shaped) building.

Heading inside.

Beechworth Gaol – Left wing and outside

Now the left. The first part of this is much the same as the right wing (really!) so I'll we can mostly skip that bit.

Now back down stairs and then to the end of the wing

I vaguely remember this might have been a suicide-watch cell.

Now I really can't remember what the point of this screen was. I think it had to do something with special treatment.

These are the two doors on other side of the screen. One has a "window" to watch the occupants. The second door leads to the cell pictured below.

With a door to outside.

Outside. A quick pause to through that doorway there.

The doors on the right, at the top of the stairs, are where we came out.

The gate out!


Not quite, a few more things to look at first, including a tower.

Beechworth Gaol – Inside

It's a panoptican, except it's not. It's a central hub with two radiating wings.

Before checking out the wings, some photos of the "control room" and the rooms behind, or skip them and go straight to the right wing.

Through the bottom door

There's a information panel on the wall talking about the "Reception Process". I presume that took place in here

Follow the yellow line out.

Now up the stairs.

The other side of the gate.

Now along the right wing.

Beechworth Gaol – Right wing

There's not much to say along there. It's a two-storey corridor with doors along it

That's the gallows from below. You can see the black figure above it in the first photo.

Inside a cell.

That's a door

More doors. The wings were extended in later years, so different building materials.

Heading upstairs.

There's not a lot of originality in Victorian prison architecture (that's Melbourne).

Another cell.

The newer extension on the end.

The condemned cell.

Doomed silhouette.

Back down the stairs.


Now back to the centre and then to the left wing and outside.

George Town Watch House

George Town Watch House, built 1840s.  (Better photo of front.)

Numbers are a guide to the location/direction of the corresponding mimages (the number are to the right of the thumb nails). Room marked as "watch house" on the plan is now the entry & gift shop. The two rooms on the right have been combined into one. The two cells on the right have been combined into one.


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Melbourne Gaol

Originally posted


This is the Old Melbourne Gaol Crime & Justice Experience. Russell Street used to be the location of the gaol, the magistrate's court, the city watch house and police headquarters, all of which have moved on.


The first part of the gaol was built in 1841, but quickly became overcrowded so a new cell block was built in 1852, and extended a few years later. This is the building that currently exists & I think the left wing on the model. It's based on the Pentonville system of silence and separation. I've read comments that by the time the Port Arthur separate prison was built, those responsible should have known that this approach didn't work, and that was a couple of years before this block was constructed. Did they think the theory behind it was sound, it was just the way it had previously been put into practice that was flawed?

The next wing, at the front of the model, with the chapel and entrance was added about 1860. The west wing, right side of the model, was added a couple of years later to house women. Now demolished, it was apparently a replica of the existing men's cell block.

Later in the century, operations at the gaol were wound down and the place closed in 1924 or 1929 (depending on whether you want to believe their brochure or their website). In WWII it saw use as a military prison for Australian soldiers who were Absent Without Leave. The National Trust took over it in 1972.


So what we have here is three levels of cells, with walkways and connecting staircases at each end.

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Penitentiary Chapel, Hobart: Part 2

This is a continuation of Penitentiary Chapel, Hobart: Part 1
In the second part, we look at the other side of the building. Note the building on the left that looks like a two-storey house, the very enclosed yard and the cut-off wall on the right.


First though, a wonky plan 🙂 It helped me make sense of what was where. It also shows how the two underground passages and the security tunnel (in blue) all go to the central little room. At least they would if I'd put the doors in.

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Courthouse, Beechworth

Originally published


From the information leaflet provided:

Built in 1858 of local honey coloured granite at a cost of £3730. It was the central Court of the "Northern Bailiwick" during the gold rush era and closed as a Court House in 1989 after 131 years of continual service. The Court had many roles. It served as a Magistrates Court, Court of Petty Sessions, County Court, Court of Assize (Supreme Court), Insolvency Court, Mining Wardens Court and Court of General Sessions. The Court sat every 12 weeks when the appointed Judge would arrive from Melbourne in his horse drawn vehicle. The lesser Courts were held at more regular intervals.


The benches form the Public Gallery (men only), the table and chairs are for the bar lawyers and prosecutors. On the right is the Jury Box. On the other wall, beside the fireplace, is the Dock (which figures in this image, which is reproduced on the wall there) and beside that the Reporters Bench. At the front of the room, are two Witnesses Boxes (only one visible here), the Clerk of Courts (table?) and the Judges Bench.

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Richmond Gaol

Richmond Gaol was built in Tasmania in the 1820s as part of Governor Arthur's reform of the convict system.

In one of the rooms is a model of the buildings as they are now, so I'm borrowing that to show everything in relation to everything else.

1 Entrance
2 Courtyard
3 Original gaol building
4 Men's solitary
5 Smaller courtyard
6 Cookhouse
7 Women's solitary
8 Women's room
9 Gaoler's house

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