Your chance to see Adelaide Gaol’s brand-new Story Cells

Your chance to see Adelaide Gaol’s brand-new Story Cells

You might have glimpsed the impos­ing walls of the his­toric Ade­laide Gaol from North Ter­race, but have you ever stopped in for a look around?

The gaol is one of the old­est remain­ing colo­nial pub­lic build­ings in Ade­laide. Open for busi­ness from 1841 to 1988, it was one of Aus­trali­a’s longest con­tin­u­ous­ly oper­a­tional prison facilities.

The site is open to vis­i­tors to explore, but in a spe­cial one-off event you can now get an even bet­ter glimpse into the Gaol’s gris­ly past by scour­ing the record books to learn about the very first pris­on­ers that were locked away.

And you can check it all out on His­to­ry Day to be held on Sun­day 15 May.

Here’s what’s in store

The Gaol’s brand-new Sto­ry Cells will be opened to the pub­lic for the first time. Each cell fea­tures sto­ries and arti­facts from famous pris­on­ers – includ­ing Thomas Hor­ton who was exe­cut­ed for mur­der in 1904. Thanks to the gen­eros­i­ty of Horton’s fam­i­ly, the cell con­tains sev­er­al donat­ed arte­facts nev­er before seen in public. 

Or vis­it the oth­er cells for sto­ries of Australia’s first saint Mary MacKillop’s ser­vice at the Gaol, crime, prison life, and even escape attempts!

Would you like the oppor­tu­ni­ty to own a unique and mem­o­rable part of South Aus­tralian his­to­ry? You can pur­chase a lim­it­ed-edi­tion hand engraved rooftop slate from the orig­i­nal 1841 build. 

There is also a new exhi­bi­tion – the Orig­i­nal Cell Block Dis­play – which show­cas­es arte­facts from the Gaol’s chapel, as well as a minia­ture mod­el of Ade­laide Gaol and a pris­on­er-made mod­el of the Cut­ty Sark sail­ing ship.

Gaol Road Markets 

The Gaol Road Mar­kets will once again return to Ade­laide Gaol and will fea­ture hand­made crafts, local design­ers, food, cof­fee and live music.

Here’s the details

What: His­to­ry Day at Ade­laide Gaol

When: Sun­day 15 May from 10am to 4pm

Cost: $5.50 entry fee. Chil­dren under four are free.

Book: Online book­ings are encour­aged, how­ev­er entry tick­ets can be pur­chased on arrival.

There’s even more to see and do

After you’ve checked out the records, explore fur­ther afield to learn more about this icon­ic site and the pris­on­ers that were kept there.

Find out what land­ed them behind bars, the real­i­ties of prison life, and the ways they tried to escape.

Walk through the cells, around the exer­cise yard and into the hang­ing tow­er, or look at the offi­cial doc­u­ments and arte­facts of the pris­on­ers and guards, such as mug shots and uniforms.

About the Ade­laide Gaol

Built in 1841, Ade­laide Gaol is one of the state’s two old­est pub­lic build­ings, a title it shares with Gov­ern­ment House (1839) on North Terrace.

The gaol final­ly closed its doors in 1988 when the last inmates were trans­ferred to oth­er institutions.

It had oper­at­ed for 147 years, host­ing more than 300,000 pris­on­ers – and exe­cut­ing 45 of them.

Now the gaol is one of Adelaide’s most pop­u­lar her­itage attrac­tions, with self-guid­ed tours avail­able sev­en days a week, as well as guid­ed his­tor­i­cal tours for groups and schools, and ghost tours.

If you’re inter­est­ed in South Australia’s rich his­to­ry, check out our blogs on naval his­to­ry, Riv­er Mur­ray ship­wrecks, and built her­itage cap­tured in pic­tures.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living