Parramatta Correctional Centre
|Location||North Parramatta, New South Wales|
|Security class||Medium (male)|
|Opened||1 January 1798|
|Managed by||Corrective Services NSW|
Parramatta Correctional Centre, a former Australian medium security prison for males, was in operation between 1798 and 2011. Located in North Parramatta, New South Wales, the centre was initially called Parramatta Gaol until its name was changed to Parramatta Correctional Centre in 1992. When in operation, the centre was managed by Corrective Services NSW, an agency of the Department of Attorney General and Justice of the Government of New South Wales. Immediately prior to its closure, the centre detained short term sentenced and remand inmates, operated as a transient centre, and was the periodic detention centre for metropolitan Sydney.
Correctional facilities were first established in Parramatta in 1798, being "a strong logged gaol of 100 feet in length, with separate cells for the prisoners ... and paled around with very high fence", housing eight prisoners. In 1799, a fire destroyed this facility and it was rebuilt in 1802 on the same site (now occupied by Riverside Theatres). A more substantial stone structure was built between 1837 and 1843 by James Houison and Nathaniel Payten on the North Parramatta site. Parramatta Gaol was formally proclaimed on 2 January 1842 with progressive opening of wings up until approximately 1910. It was closed in 1918 and was used as a mental hospital. Re–established in 1922, the centre became a major industrial prison with inmates working in the fields of tailoring, bookmaking and carpentry, tin smithing and bakery. The centre closed briefly between 3 September 1997 and 1998.
In 2004, there were calls for the centre to be closed after two inmates escaped by scaling the prison wall using ladders without being seen by guards.
Prior to its closure on 9 October 2011, Parramatta Correctional Centre was home to Jason Bennett, also known as Big Bad Benno. Mr Bennett took swift control of the complex and was revered by inmates and staff alike. Corrective Services NSW have not determined the future use of the property.
- Darcy Dugan (1920_1991) – bank robber and a notorious prison escape artist.
- William Henry Eyes (1819_1907) – English-born Australian sexual assault of a young girl; later a successful politician in New Zealand.
- George Freeman(1935-1990) – an organised crime figure and illegal casino operator.
- Kevin John Gallagher – convicted murderer and armed robber, who stabbed a fellow prisoner to death in Parramatta Gaol in 1981.
- John Frederick "Chow" Hayes – underworld figure, standover man and convicted murderer.
- Len Lawson (Leonard Keith Lawson 1927-2003) – rapist and murderer.
- Neddy Smith – Armed Robbery , Murderer and heroin dealer, accused of being a hitman, served life
- Jim McNeil(deceased) (1935-1982) – (born as James Thomas McNeil), Playwright, turned hand at armed robbery,arrested, tried, and convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison
In Popular Culture
The song "Tomorrow", recorded by Australian rock band Cold Chisel on their 1980 album East (album), portrays the desperation of a Parramatta Gaol inmate on a life sentence who escaped three days earlier, and is facing imminent recapture.
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