Ballarat Gaol

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Ballarat Gaol
Ballarat Gaol wide.jpg
Façade of the Ballarat Gaol
Location Ballarat, Victoria
Coordinates 37°33′56.37″S 143°51′26.23″E / 37.5656583°S 143.8572861°E / -37.5656583; 143.8572861Coordinates: 37°33′56.37″S 143°51′26.23″E / 37.5656583°S 143.8572861°E / -37.5656583; 143.8572861
Status Closed
Capacity 74[1]
Opened 1862
Closed 1965
Managed by University of Ballarat and the National Trust of Australia

The Ballarat Gaol, a former maximum security prison for males, females and children, is located in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Replacing temporary structures including prison hulks in the Bay of Port Phillip and holding yards in Ballarat, the gaol operated between 1862 and 1965.

History and structure[edit]

Remaining guard tower at the old Ballarat Gaol

The report of the Select Committee on Prison Discipline of September 1857 recommended gaol buildings replace the Port Phillip Bay prison hulks. The inquiry recommended adopting London's Pentonvillle design of 1842 to build the gaols. This prison design carried on a revolution begun in 1829 by Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The complex was based on a central hall from which radiated wings of cells. The principle of the design being that one guard would stand in the centre of the hall and at one glance survey all cells.[1][2][dead link]

The construction of the gaol began in 1856 and the first cell blocks were completed by 1857. It was completed in 1862 with 58 cells designed to hold a mixture of 74 male and female prisoners. In 1862 a tunnel was constructed to join the gaol to the adjacent Ballarat Courthouse, allowing for the safe transfer of prisoners.[1]

In 1872 Captain Moonlite, a bushranger and Anglican clergyman, escaped from the gaol.[1]

The prison was closed in 1965.[2]

Current use[edit]

Most of the gaol was demolished to allow the School of Mines Ballarat to expand onto the site. The remaining structures at the site include the main gate, warden's residence and governor's residence. These buildings are now used by Federation University. The old warden's residence is now home to the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sports and its Prevention (ACRISP).

The site is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.[3]

Executions[edit]

During its time in use as a gaol, the following individuals were executed by public hanging at Ballarat Gaol:

Name Date of execution Crime Notes
Alexander Davis 1 March 1864 for the murder of George Sims near Smythesdale [4]
James Jones 19 March 1866 for the murder of Dr Saenger [5]
Denis Murphy 16 April 1867 for the murder of Patrick Mara [6]
George Searle 7 August 1867 for the murder of Thomas Burke [7]
Joseph Ballam
John Wilson 11 May 1891 [8]
James Johnston 18 May 1891 for the murder of his wife and four children [5]
Oscar Wallace 11 August 1873 [9]
James Ashe 21 August 1875 [10]
Charles Baker 3 September 1885 attempted murder of policeman [11]
Cornelius Bourke 21 November 1891 for the murder of his cellmate in Hamilton Gaol [12]
Elijah Cockroft 12 November 1894 for the murder of his sweetheart, Fanny Mott, at Noradjuha, (near Natimuk) [13]
Charles Henry Deutschmann 28 June 1908 for the murder of his wife at Dobie (near Ararat) [14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Patterson, Monique (12 January 2005). "Our place for punishment". The Courier. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Gaol information from the University of Ballarat". [dead link]
  3. ^ "Gaol (former)". National Trust database. National Trust of Australia. 3 August 1998. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Confession and execution of Alexander Davis". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (National Library of Australia). 1 March 1864. p. 5. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "The Ballarat murder: execution of Johnston". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (National Library of Australia). 19 May 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Execution of Denis Murphy". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (National Library of Australia). 17 April 1867. p. 6. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Execution of Searle and Ballam". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (National Library of Australia). 8 August 1867. p. 7. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Execution of Wilson". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (National Library of Australia). 12 May 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Execution of Oscar Wallace". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (National Library of Australia). 12 August 1873. p. 6. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Execution of James Ashe". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (National Library of Australia). 22 August 1876. p. 7. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Execution at Ballarat". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (National Library of Australia). 4 September 1885. p. 6. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Execution of Bourke". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (National Library of Australia). 24 April 1891. p. 7. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "Execution at Ballarat: a jockey on the scaffold". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (National Library of Australia). 13 November 1894. p. 4. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "The Ararat murder: Deutschmann hanged". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) (National Library of Australia). 30 June 1908. p. 7. Retrieved 22 April 2012.