Murders,hangings,daring escapes and ghostly stories……
Why not come and visit the Old Geelong Gaol, it’s a Hell-hole” as referred to by the late Chopper Reid or was it like”a Seaside Resort” as mentioned by the Geelong Advertiser back in 1902.
Which ever way you look at it,this joint is steeped with history and worth a wander through.
Rug up though if you take a visit in the cooler months,the gaol isn’t just old and creepy….. but also pretty cold once you get in there.
Inside the walls of this building is almost 160 years worth of history,and during those years it has served a variety of roles.Part of the building was once used as an industrial school for Girls (street kids) .
Past inmates have reported hearing female cries of a night,and tour guides have reported witnessing odd occurrences.
At one stage it was also used as a hospital gaol,then an Army detention barracks,but in later years a training prison where inmates were taught various trades.
Without going into every little detail on the history side of things with this gaol,here are a few quick facts………
*It was the first prison in Australia to have its own radio station
*Also the first prison in Victoria to have electric lighting.
But can you believe it……..Buckets were still used as dunnys right up until 1991 ,when the last prisoners left,now imagine the putrid smell? or better still just imagine being a prison warden and having a bucket thrown at you! and yes it did happen quite often.
*Old Geelong Gaol actually operated for 100 years longer than Port Arthur.
*This is one pretty large building,each bluestone brick that this building is built out of ,took one man a whole day to produce.
*Capital punishment was abolished from Victoria in 1975,ending anymore hangings.
Despite the somewhat grim history of this place,we really enjoyed our visit.
We were only charged a Family price for the entry fee ($25.00) and apart from a handful of people at the start of our walk through the gaol, we ended up having the whole place to ourselves ,giving us the chance to learn a thing or two about the penal history and to explore the three levels of the building.
Upon entry you’ll be given a simple map set out in numerical sequence showing the various features of the old geelong gaol,then go for it at your own leisure!
More Artwork from another inmate
“Window of Freedom” The painting by an anonymous artist depicts a scene looking through a window to a garden with a road leading into the distance,a dream of the “Outside”
Our kids spot the most unusual things,this time it was a gap in a floor board in one of the communal rooms of the gaol, they sent in the troops and voted Maddison this time to investigate while the younger ones looked on!
Up came the loose floorboard ………to expose what at first glance looked like a rat ,but on closer inspection we realised it was just a stuffed rat! it was enough though to send Elouera wanting to find the exit and quickly!
Not really impressed about the fake rat hidden under a floorboard.
A dark and gloomy corridor that leads to the kitchen and cold room etc…
That uncontrollable urge to want to go and investigate the opening in the ceiling,and climb the ladder to see where the trap door at the top led too!
Really sweet smiles after scaring the crap out of all us! They hid in a dark cold room and then jumped out as we walked in, accompanied by their new partner in crime… a skeleton.
The medical room stunk! It had a real chemical smell to it. Can only imagine the horrid scenarios that went on in this room.
No one was leaving without being finger printed,the younger and more gullible ones in our family now think their finger prints are on the National Police data base
The Gaol is located on the Cnr of Myers & Swanston Sts
Its opened Saturday and Sunday from 1pm-4pm
Charges are $10 an adult $5 a child or $25 a Family
The day visits are run by the Rotary Club ,but there are also nightly Ghost tours you can take by a separate company.