Exploring the Darker Side of City Life at the Old Melbourne Gaol

Exploring the Darker Side of City Life at the Old Melbourne Gaol

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/13/2015

Reading time: 3 mins

The Old Melbourne Gaol is one of the region’s most recognisable landmarks around, but its popularity is all due to its darker history.

Take a look at a different side of Melbourne by exploring the old Melbourne Gaol. Built halfway through the 19th Century, it was the city’s bastion of authority, rising high above Melbourne’s skyline and warning residents of their fate if they stepped out of line.

These days, prisoners tend to be split up depending on the severity of their crimes, but back in the day all criminals were thrown together in one place. Petty offenders sat shoulder to shoulder with dangerous criminals and homeless residents shared cells with the mentally ill. Throughout its time as a working gaol, it punished and sentenced a whole spectrum of crimes, including those committed by the infamous Ned Kelly.

If you want to discover the darker side of city life in Melbourne, you can visit the Old Gaol and learn about life old melbourne jail night tours(and death) in prison for felons over the past 200 years. It’s an insightful look into the past of Australian crime, though it’s definitely not always savoury.

  • Come Face to Face with Ned Kelly

    Ned Kelly is a well-known name throughout Australia, and beyond, famed for being one of the last Australian bushrangers, an outlaw, gang leader, and even police murderer. He is best known for his iconic look of a suit of bulletproof armor, with a large square helmet that only had a small sliver for the eyes. The famous criminal was imprisoned at the Old Gaol and served his sentence behind bars, and was eventually hanged for his crimes. If you want to, you can come face to face with the bushranger’s death mask – a chilling but fascinating experience, to say the least.

  • Get Spooky on a Night Tour

    In true ghost story style, the Old Melbourne Goal puts on a good show after dark, offering a range of tours and activities bathed in the light of the moon.

    Spend an hour in the Old Watch House and participate in an eerily real role play set against the backdrop of an old cell block, or get your supernatural on as part of a ghost tour that weaves through the history of the gaol, touching on the unsavoury lives of some of the prison’s most famous inmates. Or, if you’re brave enough, let the local Hangman take you around, divulging stories about the dark side of city life in Melbourne.

  • ‘You’re Under Arrest!’

    Ever wondered what it feels like to be arrested and locked up? Well, now you can safely experience it in the confines of the Watch House. As part of a role play you’ll encounter what it’s like to be told those fateful words and hear the clang of a cell door shut behind you. After you’re released, you can explore the rest of the rooms through a series of multi-media, interactive displays.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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