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4 Interesting Facts About The Old Geelong Gaol

24 Jul 2015

Old Geelong Gaol


The Old Geelong Gaol took 16 years to build, and although it isn’t much of a luxury building today, it was considered one when it opened in 1865. The Gaol was based on the English Pentonville Prison profile, with its own hanging quarters and enough space to occupy 150 prisoners. The main focus of Geelong Gaol was punishment, with four hangings taking place between 1854 and 1858, and a final hanging in 1865. Up until it closed in 1991, the Geelong Gaol was used for multiple purposes, with links to prominent characters throughout history.

Geelong Gaol is conveniently located close by to Discovery Parks - Geelong.

Here are 4 reasons you will want to see this important historical building before it becomes something else:

Chopper Read was a resident. So was Squizzy Taylor.

Mark “Chopper” Read lived a life of crime until his death in 2013. Part of his imprisonment time was spent in the Geelong Gaol, from March to December 1984. He was transferred to Geelong Gaol after another inmate in Pentridge Prison cut Chopper’s ears off (under Chopper’s advisement) and was transferred back after guards at the Geelong Gaol suspected him of intimidating other prisoners. Squizzy Taylor’s time at Geelong Gaol was not without event either. He suffered from dysentery, according to medial reports, and later harboured another prisoner in his home.

It served as an industrial school for girls.

Between 1865 and 1871 the Geelong Gaol served as a home for a number of girls who were found to have no home at the time of the gold rush. For 6 years, the children lived in the East Wing, just metres away from serial killers and robbers. After a report given by the Royal Commission, the school was closed in 1871. The report outlined several reasons and was described as “many degrees worse than that of any other (school)”. The children were transferred to another school to be taken care of.

It’s haunted. Supposedly.

The Old Geelong Gaol has it’s own small morgue for inmates who died from disease and other mishaps. There are said to be a few lingering ghosts from the Gaol’s long history, including an apparition at cell number 45 that makes itself known to females who tour the building. The Old Geelong Gaol holds ghost tours every night of the week, detailing the lives of the lunatics, convicts, bushrangers and murderers. A 2007 report by Ghost Research International group outlines the gaol as having “indications of possible activity”, and has recommended further investigation. So, time to investigate?

It was a film set.

The Gaol was also the set for an Australian film, “Everynight, Everynight” (1994) which is about the early life of the contract killer Christopher Flannery. This iconic Australian film won the 1994 First Fiction Film Prize at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Today the Old Geelong Gaol is open to the public for tours...including spooky ghost tours. Check into Discovery Parks - Geelong and explore the best things to see and do in the Gateway City. 

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