Boggo Road Gaol

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Boggo Road Gaol
StateLibQld 1 111256 Entrance to Boggo Road Gaol, ca. 1936.jpg
Entrance to Boggo Road Gaol, Brisbane, ca. 1936
Location Dutton Park, Queensland, Australia
Security class Maximum Security
Opened July 1883
Closed November 1989
Managed by At first prisons fell under the control of the Sheriff until the 1890s. The Prisons Department (later the Department of Correctional Services), ran the site until closure. As a historical site the prison was run by different government departments, including State Development and Public Works.

Boggo Road Gaol (alt. and older spelling "Bogga") was a notorious and heritage-listed Australian prison located on Annerley Road in Dutton Park, an inner southern suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The site is the only surviving intact gaol in Queensland that reflects penological principles of the 19th century.[1] For many years it was Queensland's main prison.[2] Today, the prison is open for the public to visit through guided historical tours run by Boggo Road Gaol Pty[3]

It was officially known as "Brisbane Jail" but was commonly known as "Boggo Road Jail" because Annerley Road became known as "Boggo Road" due to its poor condition, after originally being named "Bolgo Road".[4] Boggo Road was originally an unofficial and unmaintained short-cut between Ipswich Road and Stanley Street that became very boggy after rain.[5]


In 1863, land off Boggo Road was surveyed and set aside as a government reserve before being proclaimed a gaol reserve in 1880.[6] The first cellblock opened on 2 July 1883,[2] and over the years many other buildings came and went on the site. The first buildings were built by Robert Porter, contained 57 cells and were constructed using materials from the demolished Petrie Terrace Jail.[2][7] In 1903 a prison was built to hold female prisoners.[1] This later became known as the No.2 Division, and is now the only prison building still standing. It is heritage-listed. The 'No.1 Division' built in 1883 was the scene of 42 hangings, including the hanging of Ernest Austin in 1913—the last execution in Queensland. A new prison was built around the perimeter of No.1 prison during the 1960s and No.1 prison was demolished leaving area for an oval and recreational facilities for the newly built prison and this prison had running cold water and toilet facilities in all cells. Under the oval was the facility that became known as the "black hole" where prisoners were subjected to "punishment". The "black hole" continued in use until the late '80s.

Protests at the gaol during the 1970s saw inmates undertake hunger strikes, roof top protests, and rioting over the poor conditions and treatment. The prison was constantly in the headlines and became notorious around Australia. Cells did not have any form of sanitation and facilities for washing were lacking.[7] Prisoners were required to use a bucket through the evening for toilet breaks and empty it, or 'slop out', in the morning. A Queensland Government inquiry into the living conditions of State prisons found Boggo Road to be outdated and inadequate for prisoners' needs. No.2 Division was closed in 1989. No.1 division was closed in 1992 and was demolished in 1996 (a small section of what was "C5" and guard tower still remain).[1] A modern (by 1960's standards) prison for women operated adjacent to this site until 2000 and was demolished in 2006.[citation needed]

Since 1992 the No.2 Division was home to the Boggo Road Gaol Museum, which featured displays of prison-related artefacts. Throughout the 1990s ex-officers conducted guided tours of the site, and from 2003 the museum and tours were operated by the Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, a non-profit incorporated association of volunteers.[8] Since December 2012, Boggo Road Gaol became a tourist attraction for Queensland, with guided tours being conducted by Boggo Road Gaol Pty, who are now officially licensed to run tours and events at the gaol.[9][10] Like many other similar places around the country, the site also hosts guided ghost tours, run by Boggo Road Gaol Pty[11]

Redevelopment of the surrounding site began in 2006, leading to the temporary closure of the Boggo Road Gaol historical site. The No.2 Division prison buildings will be preserved according to its heritage listing.[4] Since 2012 the gaol has been re-opened to the public.[9] Boggo Road has since been turned into an urban village called Boggo Road Urban Village and was completed in 2010.[12][13]

The gaol was originally designed to cater for 40 male prisoners serving as a holding place for prisoners heading to St Helena Island in Moreton Bay.[14] However by 1989 there were 187 male prisoners and the women's facility had around 200 additional prisoners.

Heritage listing[edit]

The No 2 Division and the remnants of No 1 Division were listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1993.[15]

Notable prisoners[edit]


42 prisoners were hanged at the Gaol.[19]

Plaque on gallows beam used at Boggo Road Gaol
Name Year of birth Year of death Place of origin Victims
James Gardiner 1864 1883 Scotland Murder of Ada Gardiner at Rockhampton
Jango c.1866 1883 Australia (Aboriginal) Murder of Mrs Eliza Mills at Dingo
George 1858 1883 Australia (Aboriginal) Rape of young girl at Rockhampton
Walter Edward Gordon 1857 1885 England Murder of Walter Bunning on Darr River Downs station.
Tim Tie 1856 1886 China Murder of a man near Dulbydilla
Wong Tong 1857 1886 China
Christopher Pickford 1856 1887 England
Ellen Thompson 1846 1887 Ireland Murder of her husband William Thompson at Port Douglas
John Harrison 1860 1887 England Murder of William Thompson at Port Douglas
Edmond Duhamel 1851 1888 France
Sedin 1864 1888 Java
Donald c.1863 1892 Australia (Aboriginal)
Francis Charles Horrocks 1875 1892 Queensland
George Gleeson 1865 1892 India
Leonard William Moncado 1850 1892 Chile
George Thomas Blantern 1858 1893 England
Hatsuro Abe 1863 1894 Japan
Mi Orie 1866 1895 Malaita Island murder of old white man near Bundaberg
Narasemai 1862 1895 Malaita Island murder of old white man near Bundaberg
Sayer (Safhour) 1870 1895 Malaita Island
Jacky 1864 1895 Australia (Aboriginal)
Frank Tinyana 1858 1895 Filipino
Willie Broom 1870 1900 Australia (Aboriginal)
Charles Beckman 1859 1901 Germany murder of Alfred Anderson at McCarneys Creek.
Wandee 1881 1901 South Sea Islands
John Rheuben 1846 1901 Portugal
Arafau 1879 1901 South Sea Islands
David Alexander Brown 1846 1901 USA murder of Graham Haygrath at Charters Towers
Patrick Kenniff 1865 1903 NSW Murder of a police constable George Doyle
Sow Too Low 1875 1903 Malaita Island Murders of David Johnson, John Martin and Alice Gunning
Gosano 1870 1905 South Sea Islands Murder of John Parsons at Ingham
James Warton 1845 1905 Ireland Murder of William Munday at Toowong
Johannes 1867 1906 Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Murder of police officer A. G. Price at Mackay
Twadiga 1876 1906 Solomon Islands Murder of young boy Charles Baulch at Mackay
Look Kow 1844 1906 China murder of Lee Choy Yuen at Townsville
August Millewski 1855 1907 Germany murder of Wallum Nabby at Nanango
Bismarck 1886 1909 Australia (Aboriginal) murder of Mrs Janet Evitts at Nundah
Arthur Ross 1888 1909 England murder of James Muir (Bank Clerk) at Gayndah
Alexander Bradshaw 1882 1910 Queensland murders of George Sutherland and his wife of Normanton
George David Silva 1884 1912 Queensland/Ceylon murdered six members of the Ching family near Mackay
Charles Deen 1865 1913 Ceylon murdered his friend Peter Dina at Innisfail
Ernest Austin 1890 1913 Victoria raping and murdering 12-year-old Ivy Mitchell at Cedar Creek rd near Samford.

Popular culture[edit]

Boggo Road is mentioned in the Australian soap opera Prisoner as the prison where Joan Ferguson worked at prior to coming to Melbourne. It was also visited in the season final of The Amazing Race Australia 2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Boggo Road Gaol: No 2 Division and Remnant No 1 Division (entry 15808)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  2. ^ a b c Hogan, Janet (1982). Living History of Brisbane. Spring Hill, Queensland: Boolarang Publications. p. 53. ISBN 0-908175-41-8. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Boggo Road Urban Village". Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  5. ^ Vera Raymond (nee Sanders), 1900-1982, resident of Annerley
  6. ^ "Boggo Road timeline". Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  7. ^ a b "History of Brisbane's Dutton Park". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  8. ^ 'Boggo Road Gaol Museum'
  9. ^ a b "Brisbane's Historic Boggo Road Gaol to Reopen As Tourist Attraction After Seven Years". Courier Mail. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Boggo Road Gaol Tours". Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Boggo Road Gaol Tours". Boggo Road Gaol. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Boggo Jail to become urban village". Brisbane Times. 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  13. ^ Department of Housing and Public Works |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Denise Cullen (2007-09-15). "Dark Secrets". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 2009-07-15. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Boggo Road Gaol: No 2 Division and Remnant No 1 Division (entry 15808)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  16. ^ My Descent from Soapbox to Senate. Co-operative Press, Brisbane, 1953
  17. ^ "Boggo Jail". George Negus Tonight: Transcript. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2004-09-13. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  18. ^ "Memorial to victims of bushrangers". ABC Local Radio. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2002-04-03. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  19. ^ 'Boggo Road hangings'

External links[edit]

Media related to Boggo Road Gaol at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 27°29′42″S 153°01′42″E / 27.49512°S 153.02842°E / -27.49512; 153.02842