Nestled in the city of Geelong, Victoria, lies a historic landmark that has stood the test of time. The Geelong Gaol, also known as the Old Geelong Gaol, is a place where history, mystery, and (for the believers) even a touch of the supernatural converge.
What was once a correctional facility (1853-1991), The Old Geelong Gaol Museum now offers captivating jail tours, allowing visitors to step back in time and discover the secrets held within its eerie confines.
I visited the Old Geelong Gaol in July 2023 to explore the gaol's intriguing history, and discover for myself why it has become a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. In addition to enjoying the museum, I joined an "Escape Tour" which told tales of the men, women and children who escaped the prison in a number of creative ways.
A Glimpse into the History of the Old Geelong Gaol
Originally built in 1849, the Geelong Gaol played a significant role in Victoria's history as a place of punishment, rehabilitation, and reflection for convicts. Over the years, the gaol underwent expansions and renovations, evolving into a formidable structure designed to instill fear and enforce discipline. The imposing bluestone walls and the harsh architectural features serve as a reminder of the hardships endured by its inmates.
The gaol not only served as a prison, but also as an industrial school for young girls aged 3-16, and boys aged up to 6 years of age during its time. It was also military detention centre (referred to as the 8th Australian Detention Barracks or Geelong Detention Barracks), a hospital, and a training prison throughout the years.
Tantalising Tours of the Old Geelong Gaol
Today, the Geelong Gaol Museum offers guided tours that provide a fascinating insight into the dark and intriguing world of the incarcerated. These tours, led by knowledgeable guides, take visitors through the gaol's various sections, revealing stories of the inmates, wardens, and the daily life within the prison walls. As you wander through the cramped cells, and gloomy corridors, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the harsh conditions endured by the prisoners.
If guided tours aren't your thing, the gaol also serves as a museum with displays to be enjoyed at your own pace, with lots of displays containing detailed information.
The Geelong Gaol Museum not only holds historic information about the Geelong Gaol, but also other gaols within Victoria. Visitors can also read about the arrival of convicts in Australia, Prison Hulks, the infamous Kelly Gang, Mark "Chopper" Read (who spent time at the gaol), take a look at prison uniforms through the years, see the site of executions, and enter the cells.
Timeline of executions at Geelong Gaol, and trapdoor floor.
The Geelong Gaol has several displays dedicated to Mark "Chopper" Read, who spent time as an inmate at Geelong Gaol.
Find Out Why Geelong Gaol is Considered One of Australia's Most Haunted Places
It is said that the spirits of the past still linger within the confines of the Geelong Gaol, creating an eerie atmosphere that has captivated paranormal enthusiasts. Numerous reports of supernatural occurrences, ghostly apparitions, and unexplained phenomena have contributed to the gaol's reputation as one of Australia's most haunted places.
For those who dare, specialised ghost tours can provide you with a spine-tingling experience. Be prepared to hear about reported encounters with restless spirits that reside within the stone walls. The gaol also offers paranormal investigation tours where visitors can explore the gaol with paranormal investigators.
Final Thoughts on Visiting the Geelong Gaol Museum
The Geelong Gaol stands as a testament to Victoria's rich history and serves as a captivating reminder of a bygone era. Whether you're a history buff, an avid ghost hunter, or simply seeking an offbeat adventure, a visit to the Geelong Gaol promises an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the stories of the past, witness the eerie ambiance firsthand, and explore the hidden mysteries within its daunting walls.
There is plenty to see at the gaol with the regular museum ticket, however, those who are interested in finding out more may enjoy taking part in a pre-booked tour.
Other Attractions in Geelong
While the Geelong Gaol is undoubtedly a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and thrill-seekers, why not check out some of Geelong's other attractions? After exploring the Geelong Gaol Museum, take a stroll along the vibrant waterfront precinct, enjoy a coffee on the vibrant Pakington Street, or visit the Geelong Art Gallery to admire an impressive collection of artwork.
Take a look at some other great things to do in/around Geelong!
Name: Geelong Gaol Museum
Address: 202 Myers Street, Geelong VIC, Australia 3220
Website (including tickets and opening times): https://geelonggaol.com.au/