Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne

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    OLD MELBOURNE GAOL

    by aussiejen Updated Oct 17, 2005

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    GALLOWS
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    The Old Melbourne Gaol is best known as the place where Ned Kelly (Australia's infamous bushranger) was hanged in 1880. Consequently there is a lot of interest in his life.
    If you visit on a Saturday you can watch a live performance of "Such A Life" which tells the Ned Kelly story at 12.30pm and 2.00pm. This is included in the entry price of $13.50 per adult.
    "Hangman's Night Tours" are generally held 4 nights a week. Bookings are essential, phone Ticketek on 13 28 49, or go to www.ticketek.com.au
    This 3 story bluestone building is one of Melbourne's oldest surviving buildings. Construction began in 1841, the 1st cell block opened in 1845.
    On the ground floor, outside the cells, you will find storyboards about early Melbourne and the building of the gaol. Inside the cells, there are stories about executed prisoners.
    The story about Ned Kelly and his gang is told at the far end of the gaol. Here you can also see his death mask.
    Open 7 days a week. Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.

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    Where Ned Kelly was hanged!

    by aussiedoug Updated Oct 30, 2005

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    Juxtaposition with the new office skyscraper in ba
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    I came away from this place with mixed feelings.

    Firstly it was absolutely fascinating, a really interesting place to visit to get the historic background information on Melbourne in its early days & the way criminals, petty or otherwise were treated & dealt with.

    However, it would be really easy to come out of here really depressed, for a number of reasons. Just the feel of the place inside gave palpable evidence to the horrid repression of the human spirit that took place in here.

    It is famous in Australian history as the place where Ned Kelly said his famous last words, "Such is life!" before he was hanged by the neck until dead. Even today we still don't know if he was a hero or a villain. I guess it all depends of your perspective. Ned's death mask can also be seen at the Gaol. Please note the English spelling Gaol as it was used then & not "jail".

    The Old Melbourne Gaol is a National Trust administered property & if you are a member you will have reduced admission fees.

    Also, you may be lucky enough to catch one of the
    "Night Performances - a blend of theatre and history:
    Experience the gaol by candlelight with hangman 'Michael Gately' as he recounts stories of the gaol, its inmates and his infamous art. Not for the faint hearted or children under 12 years old. Tickets available from Ticketek 13 28 49 or www.ticketek.com.au" info taken from the National Truest website

    If you're in Melbourne & you have the time I really recommend a visit here.

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    Go Straight To Jail; Do Not Pass "Go"

    by xuessium Written Apr 19, 2008

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    OldMelbourneGoal

    Ever wanted to visit a jail? This was my 3rd, after Port Arthur and Fremantle. Thought I will do it just for the heck of it. This iconic landmark, with its imposing sandstone and bluestone walls, dominated the Melbourne skyline as a symbol of authority when it was built in the mid 1800s. Between 1842 and its closure in 1929, the gaol was the scene of 136 hangings including Australia's most infamous outlaw, Ned Kelly. The prison was also a focus during some of Australia’s most significant historical moments, including the Gold Rush and World War II. The goal went through a number of facelifts and was extended periodically to cater to new needs till its eventual closure.

    Your ticket allows you to visit 3 sections. The main cell block did come with a sense of foreboding as you enter. You can do your own exploration or join the guided yours at fixed hours to understand the history better. Many of the cells contains "death masks" (In Western cultures a death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a person's face following death. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits), something quite eerie for Asians but they do give you an idea of the face of some of Melbourne's most hardened criminals. The highlight of the display was of course the aforementioned Ned Kelly.

    The 2nd section allows you to enter the City Watch House where you will be locked away and the key thrown into the pits. Kidding. But you can playact through what it would be like to be arrested and shown your rights and what it meant to spend some time in lockup. The Sergeant who guided us through did it with much aplomb and humour and I truly enjoyed it.

    You need a lot more spark to do the last section, which is The Old Magistrate's Court where you can put yourself on trial. A mock trial that it, where you can grab the chance to put on a stuffy wig and be judge, or be the sly hand behind the crime as renactments of the trials of the days played out from the docks. Go with a big group of friends. You'll enjoy it more. I have in my group several old farts who refused to participate and sat sullen in their seats throughout the mock trial. Gosh, folks, have some humour!

    Open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm (closed Christmas Day and Good Friday)
    Admission Fees (circa 2008):
    * Adult - $18.00
    * Child - $9.50
    * Concession - $14.00
    * Family - $44.00 (2 Adults and up to 4 children)

    GHOST TOURS (Disclaimer: Did not try this yet)
    Hangman’s Night Tours
    Experience Australia’s most haunted building by candlelight. Generally held 4 times a week at 8.30pm (7.30pm in winter). Bookings Essential – contact Ticketek on 13 28 49 (local) or go to: TICKETEK

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    An eerie afternoon at Melbournes Old Gaol

    by allikat Updated Oct 3, 2006

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    Death masks
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    I would recommend you put a visit to Melbournes Old Gaol on your 'Must Do' list. This remarkable old building is in the care of the National Trust of Australia and they do a superb job of letting you experience the sad history and heavy atmosphere of the Old Gaol.
    Built to accommodate prisoners in the 1840's, the Gaol quickly became overcrowded, not only with male prisoners, but with women and children also, many of them poverty-stricken and desperate. As you tour the cells, you get to read the history of the individual prisoners held. What really strikes home, however, are the actual death masks taken from the faces of those that were hanged here. Staring at the plaster-cast face, complete with eyelashes, of a hanged prisoner is a sobering experience to say the least.
    The Gaol was also the prison where the notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly was held and ultimately hanged. You get to see his death mask too, and the 'drop' where he met his end. Ned Kellys story is far too long to be recounted here, but is told at the Gaol in detail.

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    Old Melbourne Gaol

    by ATXtraveler Written Feb 10, 2006

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    The Flintstones must have been well ahead of their time, and must have come to Melbourne at some point. This is obvious because their theme song makes reference to "You'll have a Ga-ol time!"

    One of the most referenced locations in Melbourne is the Old Melbourne Gaol, which became famous internationally as the location in which Ned Kelly was hanged. Ned was an infamous bushranger who was responsible for many Victorian Police Officers death, while alledgedly avenging his mother's honour.

    The National Trust of Australia - Victoria has been in charge of the restoration of this location, which was originally erected in the mid 1800's.

    Today there has been much debate about whether the location is actually haunted, with some believing that it is actually Ned Kelly's mother that is hanging about waiting for her sons to come back and avenge their death.

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    Old Melbourne Gaol - An 'Arresting' Destination

    by leffe3 Written Jun 28, 2006

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    Melbourne Old Gaol was Victoria's first prison, built in 1841 and which remained in use until its official closure in 1924 (although it was used as a military prison during WWII, mainly for short stay periods for those who went AWOL during leave or were arrested for being drunk and disorderly). During this period, it saw 136 hangings, with its most famous victim, Ned Kelly, being hanged in 1880.
    (Dates of opening and closure of the prison vary from source to source).

    It's a fascinating, if gruesome, place to visit. Only one wing of the prison is open to the public. During its heyday, the prison covered the whole block - nowadays its bluestone buildings have either been demolished or incorporated into the city campus of RMIT (although the Prison Chapel is still open to the public but is accessed through an entrance which is part of the University in Franklin St). Virtually all the cells are open to viewing (except those that have been incorporated into offices!!), although many are empty of any furnishings. Throughout the 3 floors of cells there are, however, a number of displays and, more interestingly, boards providing information about life in the prison - ranging from military use through to life as a hangman as well as the stories of many of those imprisoned or hanged in the prison. There's also a collection of Death Masks, including that of Ned Kelly himself as well as the weird hologram of the hangman's noose.

    Opening Times:
    Monday - Sunday 9.30am - 5pm (closed Christmas Day and Good Friday)

    Entrance Fees:
    Adults: AUD$12.50
    Concessions: AUD$9.50
    Children: AUD$7.50
    Family: AUD$33.50 (2 adults, 4 kids)

    There's also Old Melbourne Gaol By Night (usually Wed/Fri & Sunday) - a tour by candlelight and which involves history and re-enactments. AUD$25/AUD$16.50 for the privilege.

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  • Old Melbourne Gaol

    by grkboiler Written Nov 29, 2003

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    I passed by the gaol every day on the way to class, and didn't stop in until my last week in Melbourne. It was very gloomy and morbid, but it was worth it.

    The Old Melbourne Gaol gives a visitor a perspective of what life was like in a prison in the 1800's. It is a great historical site in Melbourne. The museum is in an actual cell block (the only one remaining) and contains artifacts from some of its most notorious criminals, including the infamous Ned Kelly. The life stories of some of the 135 prisoners who were executed are featured in a few cells, complete with plaster death masks of some of their heads. There are also some displays about the prison's time as an army detention barracks during WW2.

    Exhibits are great and reading the displays takes you back in time. The museum is open 7 days a week.

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    Old Melbourne Gaol

    by Maryimelda Updated Feb 13, 2010

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    Long view to the Scaffold
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    This is a definite "must see" attraction in Melbourne. It has won a number of awards for being a first class tourist site. The Gaol was built between 1841 and 1845 and closed in 1924. It was opened again temporarily in the Second World War to house military detainees.
    There were 135 hangings in Old Melbourne Gaol during its years of operation and of course, the most famous of these was the hanging of Ned Kelly in 1880. Many of the cells feature the death masks of men who were hanged there.
    The entrance fee of $AUD21.00 covers the whole day and includes the Watchhouse experience as well (see my next tip). Allow several hours if you want to see it all thoroughly.

    Open daily 9.30am -5.30pm. It is best to get there early so you can look around with plenty of room to move.

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    THE RESIDENTS

    by BerniShand Written Jan 8, 2005

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    some of the death masks

    there is an amazing collection of death masks here all of which look far too life like
    [ or should that be death like ?]
    several eminent doctors during Victorian times believed that the shape of the skull was indicative of the personality, this study [ phrenology ] was said to be able to identify the "criminal type", death masks of hanged criminals were often made, and their skulls studied after death, these death masks are on display at the gaol, with the history of the person and the catalogue of their crimes

    l found them very interesting, but very spooky

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    NED KELLY

    by BerniShand Updated Jan 9, 2005

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    Australias most famous outlaw Ned Kelly was hanged here in 1880, his last words were "such is life"...... acceptance of the fact that in those days execution was an employment hazard for a bank robber,

    he was injured in the siege at Glenrowan, when he was captured, so as soon as he was well enough they executed him

    you can see the beam he was hung from and his death mask...........we were suprised to see that he had a strong resemblance to the character Nick Cotton from the BBC soap `Eastenders` ......... perhaps there is something going for the phrenology theory after all

    also on show is some of the armour made and worn by the Kelly gang, and a child size version if any younger visitors would like to dress up for a photo opportunity

    the scaffold here is still in working order, using it on husbands and wayward offspring is of course forbidden, and there is an display entitled "Art of Hanging" which is either educational or macarbe depending on your viewpoint

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    All this and Ned Kelly too

    by Rambling_Rover Updated Nov 23, 2009

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    As you enter the cell block
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    I learned about Ned Kelly long ago through the old Mick Jagger movie of the outlaw. Since he was hanged here, I wanted to visit the place. We visited it during the day when a lot of school tours were going through, but it was still a pretty chilling place. The building that you tour is only about half of the complex. The womens wing was demolished some time ago but there are still three stories of cells left to poke into. Of special interest are the many exhibits of condemed prisoners. You can see the flogging frame, death masks of executed prisoners, and some exhibits of gross injustice done to innocent men and women imprisoned there. They even have some plastic getups of Ned Kelly's armor you could put on and take a picture of. A very sad place all in all but worth your time if you are into crime and punishment.

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    GO TO JAIL

    by BerniShand Written Jan 8, 2005

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    the cell block

    Melbourne Gaol was the place we enjoyed most in Melbourne, its very spooky and l wouldnt recommend it if you are prone to nightmares, the death masks of hanged convicts are rather gruesome

    the building is built of bluestone, and was built in stages from 1841 to 1864, a population boom during the goldrush and the ensuing growth of crime meant the gaol had to be expanded very quickly

    the gaol was closed in 1923 and much of it was demolished, but there is enough remaining to give you a good idea of prison life

    entrance costs $12.50 and the gaol is open from 9.39 to 4.30, we spent 2 hours here looking around
    there are guided Night Tours which cost $20 advance booking is necessary call 13 28 40
    it was scarey enough for me on a wet afternoon, l dont think ld sleep too well after a night time tour

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    Old Melbourne Gaol

    by MLW20 Written Jun 27, 2006

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    Ned Kelly's armor suit
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    Gaol prounounced Jail. This was a prison used many years ago. The famous outlaw Ned Kelly was imprisoned here. This was a fun and interesting place to check out. It's not your typical museum visit!

    The jail was dark and not so great for taking pictures.

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    Lock Me Up

    by Mr.Sparkle Updated Jan 17, 2010

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    No trip to Melbourne would complete without your Ned Kelly fix. No better way to get it than at the old jail.

    FYI, do the free tour for some real fun and a chance to see part of the old jail that you normal can't see... including the chance to take some mug shots of yourself. there are only a few tours each day though, you might want to call ahead for times and reservations.

    http://www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au/

    http://www.nattrust.com.au/

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    Old Melbourne Gaol

    by Linng Written Dec 13, 2007

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    We decided to pay a visit to the Old Gaol on whim and ended having an amazingly fun and spooky experience! The Old Gaol itself is chilling reminder of what prisons used to be. Dark, cramp and miserable for criminals. The cells on the first and second level have been converted into a gallery providing information on notorious outlaws and the hangman's scaffold is still on display.
    I highly recommend that a tour of the Watch House be included. Its a role-play tour that brings a whole new definition to guided tour! By the end of the tour, we decided that its was tremendous fun and that people should think twice before doing anything naughty!
    Don't miss it!

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