Maitland Gaol is one of New South Wales premier heritage listed sites and attracts visitors from all over the world. The site as it remains today is how it was left when the doors where finally shut on this architectural beauty on 29 January 1998.
Maitland Gaol's official opening and reception of the first prisoners occurred in December 1848. It is the longest continuously operating correctional institution in New South Wales and held some of Australia's most hardened criminals throughout its period of operation.
Inside the massive sandstone façade, the walls and cells tell the stories of inmates. The graffiti and illustrations are records of time, of life and in some instances death. With 150 years of history the site saw discipline including whippings of convicts right up to the lighter treatment of the white collar criminals in the later years. As you walk around the gaol there is a strong notion of history, you can see that the pain and struggle to survive, the frustration and determination is all evident within the walls.
Today the gaol is open for visitors to explore via tours that provide experiences for families, kids, groups and schools. You could be led around by an ex-warder, join a historic tour to learn more about the Gaol's past or simply take the time to do it yourself with a self guided audio tour.
Council has adopted the Maitland Gaol Development Plan and Site Master Plan to ensure the Gaol's long term sustainability and reaffirm its position as one of the most iconic and unique tourist attractions in regional New South Wales.
Head to Maitland Gaol's website for more information about tours and activities.
Want to explore some of the Maitland Gaol historical collection online? Visit the Collections.Maitland website.