Old Gaol Museum

Old Gaol MuseumNeil McKnight
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Old Gaol Museum

Albany Old Gaol Museum offers a fascinat­ing look at the era of con­victs in the 1800s.

Built in 1852 by con­victs trans­port­ed from England as artisans and skill­ed labourers, the Old Gaol was origin­ally a con­vict hiring depot for ticket-of-leave men who work­ed for Albany's free settlers. Con­vict labour was essenti­al to the early colony, build­ing Albany's main streets and the road to Perth.

The womens cells, the Great Hall and Warders' Quarters were added in 1875 allo­w­ing the com­plex to be used as a coloni­al prison and home to the Warder and his family.

Aborig­inal prisoners in the 1870s were hous­ed in a speci­al timber-lin­ed cell, their carv­ings, still visible, believ­ed to be Australias oldest Aborig­inal cell art.

In 1892, the mass murderer Frederick Bailey Deem­ing spent time in the Old Gaol during his trans­porta­tion from South­ern Cross to the East­ern States.

Now fully restor­ed, the Old Gaol con­tain ex­tens­ive dis­plays of the times and usage of these stark quarters, home to artifacts from the orig­inal settlers of Albany and the region's Aborig­inal people, and relics from the first and second World Wars.

Wander through the cell blocks and warders quarters, see the Hangman's Yard, hear ghostly tales, view aborig­inal cell art, see the death mask of mass murderer Frederick Deem­ing and ex­peri­­ence the ex­treme dark­ness of the Black Hole.

Aborig­inal prisoners in the 1870s were hous­ed in a speci­al timber-lin­ed cell, their carv­ings believ­ed to be Australias oldest Aborig­inal cell art.

Tours are self­-guid­ed, un­­less by prior arrange­ment. For the courag­eous, book yourself into the speci­al night tour and keep an eye out for ghosts said to haunt the gaol. Parti­al wheelchair access to most areas. Post­cards, souvenirs and books of histori­cal inter­est are for sale.

The Old Gaol is locat­ed on the corner of Stirl­ing Terrace and Parade Streets, next to the West­ern Australia Museum and Brig Amity Replica.

Article updated 07/05/2017.