What to See

There are plenty of things to see at the Adelaide Gaol!

  • Get a unique glimpse of nearly 150 years of South Australian prison life.
  • Drop in to the interactive exhibition and touch the artefacts that were once used during the Gaol's operational life. Try on handcuffs and leg irons and get a feel for what it was like to wear them. Have a go at unpicking the locks and discover just how hard it was for prisoners to escape!
  • Marvel at the magnificent 19th century architecture of the Gaol's outer walls, its two towers and the New Building and gallows, where 21 prisoners were hanged between 1894 and 1950.
  • Admire the front administration building, part of the original Gaol, which is in Georgian Palladian style. The grotesques were an expensive extravagance with eight figures on each tower at a cost of £300 each. The towers are incorporated into the outer wall structure and contain the most detailed stonework in the Gaol. The castellated design on top of the towers was one of the most criticised parts of construction because of the expense. The original design called for three watchtowers, however, due to high costs only two were ever built, and only one completed.
  • Visit the prisoner graves within the grounds of the Gaol.
  • Check out the archaeological dig by the South Australian Museum in the grounds of the gaol. The dig revealed that the Gaol site was once a temporary site for the earliest white settlement of Adelaide. The dig uncovered finds reflecting the changing nature of prisoners' activities at the Gaol, their personal life and hidden secrets.
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