HM Prison Barwon

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Barwon Prison
LocationLara, Victoria
Coordinates37°59′5″S 144°21′9″E / 37.98472°S 144.35250°E / -37.98472; 144.35250Coordinates: 37°59′5″S 144°21′9″E / 37.98472°S 144.35250°E / -37.98472; 144.35250
Security classMaximum to Supermax
OpenedJanuary, 1990
Managed byCorrections Victoria

HM Prison Barwon or informally Barwon Prison, an Australian high risk and maximum security prison for males, is located 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the township of Lara, near Geelong, Victoria, Australia. The facility is operated by Corrections Victoria, part of the Department of Justice & Regulation of the Government of Victoria. The prison provides accommodation and services for remand and sentenced prisoners detained under Victorian and Commonwealth legislation.

Barwon Prison is located adjacent to the 300-bed medium security Marngoneet Correctional Centre, opened in 2006.


Barwon was built to cater for demand due to the recent closures of HM Prison Geelong in 1991 and HM Prison Pentridge in 1997.

Construction of the prison commenced in 1986. It was completed in October 1989 and the first prisoners were received in January 1990. Barwon is the only Victorian maximum security prison located outside the Melbourne metropolitan area.

Accommodation units[edit]

Barwon provides accommodation and services for maximum security mainstream prisoners including a 20-bed facility for high security prisoners and a 60-bed facility for maximum security protection prisoners. A campus of the Box Hill Institute of TAFE operates at the prison providing a corrections education program.

The prison is split into many separate units including:

  • Acacia – a high security management unit that is used to accommodate high risk prisoners. This unit can hold up to 24 prisoners in 4 separate areas, and is the oldest management unit within the prison.
  • Banksia – a management unit for prisoners requiring close supervision or protection. All cells in this unit are single cells.
  • Hoya – a protection unit which houses prisoners who, due to the nature of their crimes, are considered as at risk being housed alongside mainstream prisoners. Initially built as a demountable structure, this unit has remained as a permanent structure and is separated from all the other units.
  • Cassia – a mainstream unit which is classed as the reception unit for mainstream prisoners. This unit features both single and double cells and can house up to 80 prisoners.
  • Diosma – a mainstream unit which is seen as a first stop after Cassia, and houses prisoners who don't have lengthy sentences.
  • Eucalypt – a mainstream unit used to house older, more settled long term prisoners.
  • Grevillea – opened in April 2003, housing segregation prisoners. This unit housed protection prisoners until mid 2015, when its prisoners were transferred to make way for the incoming prisoners involved in the Metropolitan Remand Centre Riots. In early 2016 it was classified as a restricted regime unit, a stepping stone for prisoners transitioning out of high security units into mainstream units. In late 2016 it was again reclassified as a youth justice centre, to house 16 and 17 year olds after the loss of half of the Melbourne Youth Justice Precinct at Parkville.
  • Illawarra – was initially a mainstream unit for prisoners classified as Medium Security. Since 2016 has been used as a remand unit, housing prisoners yet to be convicted or sentenced, and as such offering more incentives such as longer let out hours and facilities. This unit is also a demountable building that has remained permanent and has the ability to be separated from the mainstream units because it is internally fences and gated.
  • Melaleuca – a high security unit that is used to accommodate high risk prisoners. This unit was opened in 2007 and can accommodate 24 prisoners in single cells, separated into 4 different areas.
  • Olearia – the newest unit at the prison, officially opened on August 10, 2016 and accepting prisoners from August 22nd 2016. The 36 million dollar expansion is officially a prison within a prison, separated from the rest of Barwon and housing its own visits centre and medical wing. The maximum security unit can hold up to 40 prisoners in single cells, including 20 that have their own small exercise yards for prisoners who cannot mix with others.


In April 2010, convicted Melbourne gangland murderer and drug dealer Carl Williams was bashed to death inside the Acacia Unit by fellow prisoner Matthew Johnson.

A 2012 art exhibition called The Barwon Interviews, comprising video footage of twelve inmates, was part of a Monash University PhD project that was focused on examining prisoners adjusting to life inside Barwon Prison, their family struggles, and guilty consciences.[1]

In February 2012, visiting Barwon Prison to speak to indigenous inmates as part of a mentoring program, former AFL player Wayne Carey was found to have traces of cocaine on his clothing following a routine drug scan. Carey was informed that he could enter the prison if he submitted to a strip search. He declined and left the correctional facility.[2]

In November 2014 a prisoner strapped a homemade explosive device to his body. The device was made partly from ground up matchheads and triggered a lockdown in the facility. Victoria Police specialist teams including the Critical Incident Response Team and the Bomb Squad were brought in to deal with the prisoner, who was subsequently charged and received extra time on his sentence.

In October 2015, several prison officers were injured in an unprovoked attack in the Grevillea unit of the prison. Two Pacific Islander prisoners assaulted the officers as they were being led back to their cells from exercise.[3][4]

Notable prisoners[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hore, Monique (20 April 2012). "Prisoners tell of life on the inside in The Barwon Interviews". Herald Sun. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  2. ^ Dowsley, Anthony (2 February 2012). "Wayne Carey 'shatttered' by relevation [sic] of jail drug bust". Herald Sun. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Prison guards hospitalised after being attacked by inmates". ABC News. 1 October 2015.
  4. ^ Jacks, Timna; Houston, Cameron (1 October 2015). "Brawl in Barwon Prison leaves four prison officers in hospital". The Age.
  5. ^ Iaria, Melissa (13 May 2010). "Pasquale Barbaro makes fresh bail bid citing tough jail conditions prompted by Carl Williams' death". Herald Sun. Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  6. ^ Bucci, Nino; Bachelard, Michael (3 May 2015). "Terror plotters linked to IS released after minimum sentences, despite fears". The Age. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Chris Binse's profile". iExpress. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Court grants Brazel access to prison documents". ABC News. Australia. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  9. ^ Farnsworth, Sarah (27 May 2013). "Bega killer pleads guilty to schoolgirl's murder". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  10. ^ Moynihan, Stephen (5 March 2005). "Condello wins fourth application for bail". The Age. AAP. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Murderer hoards violent TV images". The Age. Australian Associated Press. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Probe under way into killer's violent computer pics". ABC News. Australia. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Stop pandering to 'sicko', says Doyle". The Age. Australia. AAP. 28 June 2004. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Serial killer Paul Denyer quizzed on four jail rapes in just six weeks". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  15. ^ Petrie, Andrea (2 September 2005). "Dupas interviewed over cemetery stabbing". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  16. ^ Moynihan, Stephen (10 December 2004). "Gangland heavy names mate over Moran killing". The Age. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  17. ^ Bowles, Robin (25 October 2014). "Professional hardman Mick Gatto's gangland style". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  18. ^ Tippet, Gary (13 July 2008). "The hard fall of Goussis the contender". The Age. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  19. ^ Butcher, Steve (30 September 2011). "Meet the man who murdered Carl Williams". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  20. ^ Knight v CORE, 731 VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal 12 July 2002).
  21. ^ a b Ansley, Greg (24 April 2010). "Aussie gang boss' death points to inside job". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  22. ^ "PhD prisoner won't leave maximum security". The Age. Australia. AAP. 8 November 2004. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  23. ^ Davey, Melissa (11 April 2017). "Russell Street bomber challenges legal change that denies him parole". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  24. ^ Butcher, Steve (20 April 2011). "Kingpin does one last deal for hope of freedom". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  25. ^ Rich, Hugo Alistair v Ryan, Brett (Acting in his capacity as General Manager of HM Prison Barwon and for Corrections Victoria) [2017] VSC 607 (11 October 2017), Supreme Court of Victoria
  26. ^ "Sharpe pleads guilty to speargun murders". The Age. Australia. AAP; NZPA. 1 February 2005. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  27. ^ Anderson, Paul (28 April 2007). "Wales-King blot hard to erase". Herald Sun. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  28. ^ Millar, Paul (20 April 2010). "Carl Williams murder accused appears in court". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 8 May 2012.

External links[edit]