HM Prison Geelong

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HM Prison Geelong
From Myers Street in 2007
Location Geelong, Victoria
Coordinates 38°9′14″S 144°21′56″E / 38.15389°S 144.36556°E / -38.15389; 144.36556Coordinates: 38°9′14″S 144°21′56″E / 38.15389°S 144.36556°E / -38.15389; 144.36556
Status Closed
Security class Maximum (male)
Capacity 86
Opened 1864
Closed 1991
Managed by Corrections Victoria

HM Prison Geelong was a maximum security Australia prison located on the corner of Myers Street and Swanston Street in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. The prison was built in stages from 1849 to 1864. Its panopticon design is based on Pentonville Prison in England. The prison was officially closed in 1991 and prisoners were moved to the newly built HM Prison Barwon in Lara.


The gaol was built by prisoners who slept on high security barges on Corio Bay during construction. The three-storey central block is cruciform with east and west wings serving as cells, the north wing as an administration block, and the southern wing as a kitchen, hospital and a tailoring workshop. The Australian Army used the prison as a detention barracks during, and for a few years after, World War II.

The government closed the gaol in 1991 and the Rotary Club of Geelong now operates it as a public service project. It is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and daily during public and school holidays. The gaol remains mostly unchanged. A gallows exhibit recreates the 1863 hanging of James Murphy, who battered Constable Daniel O'Boyle to death at the Warrnambool court house. He was the last person hanged at the gaol. Cell 47 is of special interest as it contains a mural painted on a wall by a prisoner, titled Window of Freedom.

The Gaol is now referred to as the "Old Geelong Gaol". Some believe the gaol may be haunted and several paranormal research groups have visited the site.[1]


  • 1853 - 1865 Gaol for convicts and prisoners
  • 1865 - 1872 Industrial school for girls (street kids)
  • 1877 - 1940 Hospital gaol
  • 1940 - 1947 Army detention barracks during World War II
  • 1947 - 1958 Hospital gaol
  • 1958 - 1991 Training prison

Notable prisoners[edit]

  • Frank McCallum (alias Captain Melville) – Australian bushranger
  • James Murphy – killed police officer at Warnambool Court House
  • Mark "Chopper" Read
  • Angus Murray  – an associate of gangster Squizzy Taylor who escaped in 1923 only to be executed for his role in a murder in Melbourne shortly after. He was in cell 74 and the hole in the floor that was caused when he dropped a brick upon leaving still remains.


Name Year of birth Date of Execution Comments
George Roberts 16 December 1854 Poisoned George Scott
John Gunn 9 November 1854 Murder
James Ross 22 April 1856 Murder
Owen McQueeny 20 October 1858 Murder of Elizabeth Lowe "Green Tent Murder"
James Murphy 6 November 1863 Murder of policeman at Warrnambool Court House
Thomas Menard 28 October 1865 Murdered Irishman named Sweeney


See also[edit]