Albany Old Gaol

Albany Old Gaol

Ah… It seems ages since we last visited a place of  justice, punishment and rehabilitation – even torture for some poor souls. So, here we are to put that right, with a visit to Albany Gaol.

This gaol is close to the old harbour front in an area containing several old heritage buildings and places of interest. Also a great steak restaurant by the way…

The gaol was built in 1852 for imperial convicts transported to Albany as skilled labourers. This is a common theme eh? The number of skilled convicts was surprisingly high all over Australia. It must have been very risky being a carpenter or stone-mason back in old England in those days. One little misdemeanour when out for a drink and BAM!! You suddenly find yourself being shipped off to the other side of the world where your skills got exploited to build a colony. I still think it was a clever idea by the authorities though. Many convicts worked on building the town jetty, manning the pilot boat and building the road to Perth.

The gaol was extended in 1873 and became a public prison including housing Aboriginal prisoners. The gaol was last used in the 1930s as a police lock-up and was put up for sale in 1941 as it was declared unfit for habitation. It remained derelict for years but was restored between 1989 and 1996 to become the museum we see today.

Warning: Readers may find some of the following photos disturbing…

The old cells seemed narrower than others we had seen
Gaol wash room

The site of a hanging at the gaol in 1872

New Prison

Nowadays Albany has a modern prison which opened in 1966. It is set just off the road leading to the coastal beauty spots of Sandpatch beach and Albany wind farm. A dramatic stretch of coastline with very picturesque views of the ocean.

It is said that inmates in the new Albany prison can hear the ocean but never get to see it. Food for thought for those serving time…and even more so for those willing to commit a crime.

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