Richmond Gaol is the oldest intact gaol in Australia, located just a 20-minute drive north-east of Hobart.
The Gaol was built in 1825 and is one of the best preserved convict structures still existing in Tasmania. You can step inside a solitary confinement cell measuring just one by two metres (6x3 feet).
One of the Gaol's most infamous inmates was English convict, Ikey Solomon, said to be the model for Charles Dicken's character Fagin in Oliver Twist.
Below and included in photos are chain-gang sleeping rooms, the flogging yards, the cook house and holding rooms, all with historical relics and documents to bring the convict past to life.
Your Mattress and Pillow
Richmond Gaol is the oldest, still intact, gaol in Australia. It predates the penal colony at Port Arthur by five years. A cornerstone of the convict system devised by Governor Arthur, the gaol was erected by convicts in 1825-27 in several stages. The 1835 wing built to accommodate women prisoners are the best preserved female convict structures still existing in Tasmania. Specific regulations drafted for the Richmond Gaol in the 1830s aimed to maintain a constant vigil on the prisoners. Floggings - usually carried out by convicts or ex-convicts themselves - were frequent. The colonial hangman, Solomon Bleay, was also imprisoned at Richmond Gaol, being escorted to and from Hobart and Launceston (the only places of execution), when necessary, to carry out his duties. Many of the gaol’s prisoners remained unbowed by the system imposed upon them and escapes were frequent throughout its history. Convicts resorted to all manner of means to break out, including removing roof shingles, digging under the foundations and removing lintels over windows. In 1945 the gaol was ceded to the State Government as a State Reserve under the Scenery Preservation Board and subsequently gazetted as an Historic Site under the National Parks and Wildlife Act in 1970.
Hold Hands and Smile
Our visit was filled with history at each turn here the place has a strange feel, and as you walk into the tiny cells you van feel the pain that some must have felt and the PA system from which sounds of people in pain are heard and chains being rattled by ghostly figures. Just to walk in the for steps of those poor people is a strange feeling, its a place you would not wish to be in at anytime while it was a working goal, the guards would have been a cruel bunch, Well worth the $10 dollars each to have a look