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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Maitland Jail - tour with an ex-inmate

I spent last weekend on a mini-break to the Hunter Valley with a busload of friends. In charge of the itinerary, I leapt at the chance to include a visit to Maitland Gaol, the longest continuously running correctional facility in Australia when it closed in 1998.

Dating back to the 1840s, Maitland Gaol is now a heritage site that has become a popular tourist attraction. We joined the 1.5 hour tour led by an ex-inmate, a fascinating if sobering journey that included plenty of prison anecdotes, horror stories, violence and a few too many gory and grisly details for some.

I found it fascinating though. If anything, it makes you appreciate natural light, space and personal freedom. And as I walked into each tiny, stark and dimly lit cell, I knew there were many more stories, if only those walls could talk.

Razor wire

View looking up from the ground floor of B-wing
- prison cells line each side of the building;
the grille floor between each level was put in to prevent falls and "accidents"

Prison cells in B-wing
- each door weighs between 80-100kg

Shower cells in the shower block

Rear entrance to the administration block

Segregation cells
- these outdoor exercise yards included showers and toilet and were
used by inmates who required protection from other inmates

Crown seal

Information for inmates

Confiscated weapons made by inmates

Maitland Gaol
6-18 John Street, East Maitland, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 4936 6482

Ex-inmate day tours operate on Saturday and Sunday 11am
Adults $15, Concession $12
Must be pre-booked and pre-paid
Restricted to over 14-year-olds due to explicit tour content

Self-guided audio tours operate daily 10am-4pm
Adults $12, Concession $10

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Hunter Valley 2008/1: Maitland Gaol tour

Hunter Valley 2008/2: Morpeth Pie Man and Morpeth Sourdough
Hunter Valley 2008/3: Dinner at the Newcastle Travelodge Hotel
Hunter Valley 2008/4: Vineyards and cheese tasting

Hunter Valley 2007/1: Cessnock
Hunter Valley 2007/2: Vineyards, cheeseshops and an olive centre
Hunter Valley 2007/3: Lunch at Harrigan's Irish Pub
Hunter Valley 2007/4: A vineyard, cheeseshop and beer brewery
Hunter Valley 2007/5: Dinner at Chez Pok
3 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/23/2008 11:33:00 pm


  • At 9/24/2008 6:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was wondering where you were. The sudden change of photos from wine to rather suspicious looking objects was really abrupt.

  • At 9/24/2008 8:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wahhh that is an intense place and great photos btw :) The prison is interesting but I'm looking forward to the more cheery and lighthearted food-related posts form Hunter Valley haha.

  • At 9/29/2008 12:09 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi mirvettium - lol. It's not always about food. The gaol tour was really interesting :)

    Hi ffichiban - Enjoy :)


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