Old Castlemaine Gaol, Castlemaine

3.9
Historic Site · Landmark
The Old Castlemaine Gaol is a prison located in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. The prison was modelled on Pentonville; the present building replaced the original, designed by Inspector General John Price which was never occupied. Built in 1861 to house offenders from the goldfields and nearby towns, it served various functions in the penal system before it was closed down and its prisoners transferred to HM Prison Loddon in 1990.

From 1861 to 1908 (the colonial era), the gaol housed all manner of criminals, including lunatics, debtors and ten men that were hanged within the walls. In the later of these years however, the gaol housed mostly short term sentenced prisoners and first time offenders.

Between 1909 and 1951, the gaol was transformed into a reformatory school for boys aged between 16 and 25 (but most were under 21).

The gaol then closed for a number of years, before reopening in 1954 to accommodate medium security prisoners from across the state once again. It remained open until August 1990.

After it ceased prison operations, it was used as a hotel and tourist attraction. It served as the studio for local community radio station WMA FM/Main FM 94.9 as well as various small businesses.

In 2018 the old gaol was sold to artist David Bromley (artist).

The grounds were originally landscaped by renowned landscape gardener Hugh Linaker.
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Old Castlemaine Gaol reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
148 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • I have word from a very reliable source that the gaol will open again soon in the near future as an art gallery and entertainment venue for events such as weddings and so on so forth, so just hold...  more »
  • The gaol is closed for renovations atm!! Sign in the door .. doesn’t state when it reopens.. So please don’t head there as we did .. as you can see it!! Thanks  more »
Google
  • Was an interesting building to visit, very rustic and still retains alot of its historic character, you can tell that the building needs a lot of TLC and funding though. Upstairs is closed off to the public due to non-compliant balustrades, as was one whole wing on the ground floor. Some cells and rooms were just being used for storage for stuff they must use when it's booked for functions. The cafe has also closed down. I found out the gaol will have new owners take over in October, with the intention of turning it into an art museum. Was worth $10 per person to look around in its current state.
  • Story teller keeps it interesting and interactive, she had kids and adults in characters. Gaol is very very cold, even if with a snow jacket on! Mind you, we did go in the middle of winter. Layer up to stay warm. Would of given more stars if there wasn't the companies or who ever owns Gaol supplies/junk stored in the cells. And was looking forward to getting something to eat only to find out after the Gaol Cafe' has closed down 😞
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