Original Entry

Richmond Gaol was built in the 1820s as part of Governor Arthur's reform of the convict system. Have I gone over that before? I think not, so I might have to pencil that in for another day.

I cut the photos I included down to a minimum of 1 or 2 per room, with some of the contents of the display cases. I also took photos of the larger information panels, but I'm leaving them out too :)

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

Entrance: through here is short hall with the turnkey's room and receiving room on either side (now a giftshop and another locked room). The door at the other end of the passage opens onto the central courtyard


Which is here. The white building in front is the original gaol building. The gaoler's house (behind me) was built about 1833. In 1835, these two buildings were connected by wings on either side.

Entrance to original building (lightened to show inside)

There's a central hall, with two rooms on either side and a punishment cell at the end (visible here). From the Parks & Wildlife site:
The first wing, designed by David Lambe, consisted of four men's cells, one women's sleeping cell, a javelin's room, lobby, prisoners' room, keeper's room with cellar beneath, passages and entrance hall. It was enclosed by a high paling fence.

Later, the prisoners slept in the front two rooms of this building, and the back two were the day rooms.

On the wall there is a list of 19 regulations.

One of the front rooms (looking across the hall to the other), this one was originally where the gaoler lived.

There are lights under part of this floor, which makes them feel more fragile than they really are (because you can see the nothing that is underneath).

The lights are to highlight these boots, which are believed to have been hidden under the floor to ward of evil spirits.

There's a door in the back corner of this room that leads into another smaller room.

Nothing I saw said what its purpose was.

Contents of the display case.

The other front room -- a sleeping room.

The contents of the horizontal display case. The reflections were bad in this room so the labels are out of focus, but it's the usual stuff -- locks, leg irons and the things at the top are handcuffs/manacles.

(I'd admit there that the leg irons woke Mat up, but as none of you have met him, that doesn't mean much. I tried telling him these were 300 years before his time but he didn't believe me. Wandering around an old gaol with a rather bitter outlaw in your head is... interesting.)

One of back rooms, that used by the javelin men (gaol guards). The information panel in here is about Ikey Solomon.

The other back room has a display case with personal items in it. The information panel is about escape attempts.

An interesting feature of this room is the draught boards carved into the floor. Very hard to make up though, despite the frames put around them. (I seem to remember them being clearer from earlier visits, but that's something like 15 years ago.) I tried various tricks with the camera -- different angles, flash from the side and this was the only one that shows up anything.

I sharpened it a little to try and exaggerate the lines.

This is the punishment cell between the two back rooms. A bit out of focus: it's rather dark at this end of the hall, and there's nothing to rest camera on.


Going back to the courtyard. That's the gaoler's house to the front. A hard right here takes us to the men's solitary cells.

From inside one, looking out.

There are two existing rows of these (8 left from 12). The "inner cells", through that door you can just see, are darker.

From inside one, looking out.

Lightened a tad.

Back in the courtyard: there are smaller yards on both northern corners. The gate on the western side is locked. The eastern gate (in the corner there) leads to the flogging yard & a privy.

The east wing, with cookhouse on the left and women's rooms on the right.

A bit rushed now. There's the model I used earlier.

Bread oven in the far wall. One of the information panels there has a list of gaol regulations relating to day to day life, the other is about cleaning the gaol. I missed the third one.

Inside the bread oven.

"Bread trough from Old Richmond Bakery"

Just in case you ever wondered what a bread trough was.

Women's solitary cells. This section is interesting because for all the leftovers about the state from the convict area, there is very little related to women -- the bit at Ross, the walls at Cascades and a single cottage from the Brickfields, in North Hobart is it, I think it.

The women's room is actually two rooms, this being the smaller one. Some of the women here were being held as punishment for various offences (drunk & disorderly or disorderly conduct were common), or passing through on their way to Cascades female factory for reassignment. I seem to recall from an earlier visit it also doubled as a laying-in room for pregnant women.

These were found during an archaeological dig in the courtyard.

The other room is the larger room, but as I entered, a huge group of tourists come out of the entrance hallway and ALL headed for this room. I had 25 minutes before I had to be back at the bus, so I had a choice: wait for them to move on, or go and have a quick look at the rest of the town. I did want to get some photos of the bridge, so I left.

But one last building -- the gaoler's house.

The bottom floor has the javelin men's room (on the right), a large storeroom and three what I think are cells at the back. Upstairs are two rooms and a closet. Photo of front of house.

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