New tour at Maitland Gaol takes you all along the watchtower
For the first time in 175 years, visitors to Maitland Gaol will be allowed access to the metal catwalks once patrolled by armed officers.
From Thursday 7 December, the new Tower Tour will give both newcomers and returning visitors a brand new view of the former maximum security prison, after walking up a spiral staircase built inside the thick sandstone walls.
‘The Tower Tour is an exciting opportunity for us,’ says Maitland Gaol’s Heritage Interpretation Specialist Zoe Whiting.
‘Not only is it a new way to interpret the Gaol’s heritage, but visitors will also have a unique perspective of its position near key parts of East Maitland like the railway station and former courthouse.’
These armed posts provided a bird’s eye view to the day to day life below, and ‘were responsible for the safety of fellow officers and security of the site’, Ms Whiting said.
‘As you move along the catwalk, your guide will explore how the towers were operated as a security measure, when they were used in a crisis and the working conditions for staff that occupied them.
‘We want to identify changes in how the towers were used and examine the impact of the towers on staff and prisoners.
‘There’s so much history and heritage at Maitland Gaol we’re confident the Tower Tour will attract both new and returning visitors.’
The Tower Tour is proudly supported by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, through the 2020-21 Experience Enhancement Fund.
More than $11.7 million worth of additional works at Maitland Gaol will be funded by over $10 million in State and Federal funding announced in January 2022.
Tickets for the Tower Tour are on sale from today and can be purchased individually or as an add on for other guided tours. For more information and to book, visit www.maitlandgaol.com.au.