Old Gladstone Gaol

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Gladstone Gaol
Gladstone Gaol 35.JPG
Location Gladstone, South Australia
Status Closed
Capacity 86[1]
Opened 1881
Closed 1975
Managed by Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

The Old Gladstone Gaol is a historic former prison in Gladstone, South Australia. It is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.[2]

The prison was built between 1879 and 1881.[1] It was built to address chronic overcrowding in regional prisons in South Australia, and was built to a model prison plan by the then governor of Bristol Prison in England. It was designed to house both male and female prisoners from the beginning. The prison was built by Messrs. Sara and Dunstan, from local Gladstone stone. It was the first prison in South Australia to restrict prisoner contact with visitors, separating them "by iron gratings nine feet apart, with a warder between" so conversations could be overheard and contraband restricted.[3] The first prisoner arrived on 8 June 1881.[4] It was reported to be lightly used in its early decades; one report stated that "the only ‘lifer’ was a cat called Lady Jane Grey".[1][5]

The prison saw a significant industrial dispute regarding sacked warders in 1921, which saw the involvement of future MP Frank Nieass as the secretary of their union.[6][7] Issues had further arisen regarding the treatment of prisoners at Gladstone by the 1920s. In 1924, a released prisoner told The News that "any man who has served six months in Gladstone Gaol has been through hell".[8] In 1925, Chief Secretary James Jelley inspected the jail to investigate issues around the "harshness of confinement".[9] In 1939, it was taken over by the military for use as an internment camp, with all its prisoners transferred to Adelaide.[10] Its use as an internment camp was not long lived; it was used as a military detention barracks for a period, but spent much of the next fifteen years in a state of disuse.[5]

The prison was reopened in September 1952, after repairs and renovations, as a result of difficulties regarding the imprisonment of young offenders at Yatala Prison; it was to house mostly males under 25 years away from "hardened criminals" and teach them skilled trades, while decreasing overcrowding at Yatala.[11][12][13][14] The prison closed permanently in 1975 due to its facilities having become outdated.[15][4]

The prison was opened to visitors in 1978, and now forms a significant local tourist attraction. Casual, guided and ghost tours of the site are available, while accommodation is offered in the former cells; it is also available for functions.[1][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Gladstone Gaol". Southern Flinders Discovery Centre. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Former Gladstone Gaol". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  3. ^ "GLADSTONE GAOL". The South Australian Advertiser. Adelaide. 6 September 1879. p. 11. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ a b c "Gladstone Gaol". Weekend Notes. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b "8 August 1881 Gladstone Gaol". SA Historians. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  6. ^ "THE GLADSTONE GAOL TROUBLE". Daily Herald. Adelaide. 8 February 1921. p. 2. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "GLADSTONE GAOL DISPUTE". The Register. Adelaide. 26 January 1921. p. 9. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "GLADSTONE GAOL". The News. Adelaide. 28 June 1924. p. 4 Edition: Sporting Edition. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "THE GLADSTONE GAOL". The Observer. Adelaide. 4 July 1925. p. 36. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "GLADSTONE GAOL". Laura Standard and Crystal Brook Courier. SA. 15 September 1939. p. 358. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "Gladstone Gaol Re-opening". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 12 June 1952. p. 3. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "Gladstone Gaol Plans". The Chronicle. Adelaide. 4 September 1952. p. 8. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "Gladstone Gaol Reopening". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 16 April 1952. p. 5. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "Gladstone Gaol Re-opened". The Chronicle. Adelaide. 18 September 1952. p. 6. Retrieved 17 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ "Spooky stories, ghost hunters and the Gladstone gaol". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2016.