The times they are a-changing

In 1942, the Gaol's New Building was taken over by military authorities as a detention barrack. This did not stop the continued use of the gallows for civilian hangings and on 26 April 1944, Harold James Box, found guilty of murder, was executed there.

A riot at Yatala Labour Prison in 1952 drew public attention to the unsanitary conditions at both Yatala and Adelaide Gaol, and extensive renovations were carried out between 1954 and 1955. The visitor building was upgraded with a new circular section to allow better privacy during visits. The downside to this was an increase in illegal goods being smuggled in due to the difficulty of close supervision.

Other improvements at the Gaol included a shower block and a bakery established in 1961. The bakery supplied bread to prisoners at Yatala and Adelaide Gaol and prisoners who worked there learned work skills to help them after their release. Throughout the 1960s, maintenance on salt damp affected walls also employed many prisoners.

By 1963, the Governor's residence was needed for administrative offices, which meant a new brick dwelling was built in the forecourt. In 1965 it was announced that Adelaide Gaol was to be demolished, and all but essential maintenance work ceased. In 1969 this decision was reversed, with many of the older buildings included on heritage registers.