Old Melbourne Gaol
A historical prison-turned-tourist attraction in Australia
's second secret capital city, Melbourne (the first being Sydney, and the real one Canberra).
Built in stages during the 19th century, the prison housed especially notorious criminals, including the infamous Ned Kelly, whose death mask and revolver are on display in Old Melbourne Gaol as star exhibits. The prison was phased down in the early 20th century and finally closed in 1929. In total, 135 convicts were executed here too.
, however, Old Melbourne Gaol was briefly revived, namely as a military prison for the detainment of soldiers who had gone AWOL. In the 1970s it was eventually converted into a tourist site.
Apart from letting visitors see the exhibits and the gloomy old cell blocks, Old Melbourne Gaol aims at providing an "immersive experience". This means re-enactments and interactive stuff, etc. – which may be a bit too much on the show-y side (for my taste at least), but there's no obligation to include these aspects. You can just as well do the self-guided tour only.
As so often at sites like this (cf. for instance West Virginia Penitentiary
), "ghost seeker" tours are also on offer, as well as somewhat less superstition-driven "hangman's night tours" (both must be pre-booked; tel.: 13 28 49).
Opening times: daily (except Christmas Day and Good Friday) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $22 (students/seniors $18, children $12), free with the Melbourne SmartVisit Card.
on Russell St (between Victoria and La Trobe St) in downtown Melbourne, Australia