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A visit to the Old Melbourne Gaol 👮🏽‍♀️

Saturday afternoon, onesocial visited the Old Melbourne Gaol to find out what life was like for the men and women who lived and died there all those years ago. Built in the mid-1800s, the Old Melbourne Gaol dominated the Melbourne skyline as a symbol of authority. Inside the Gaol, they held petty offenders, the homeless, the mentally ill and even dangerous criminals. Between 1842 and its closure in 1929, the Gaol was the scene of 133 hangings, including Australia’s most infamous citizen, the bushranger Ned Kelly.

When we first arrived, we undertook an interactive experience of the Former City Watch House on the prison complex, which operated as Melbourne's central custody centre or 'holding place' for people arrested and awaiting trial. With a Charge Sergeant as our guide, we were all 'arrested' and encountered what it would have been like to be locked up. As we were all lining up along the wall, Grace, one of our newest members of the onesocial team, had to step forward where the guard read out all her 'alleged charges'. Don't worry; Grace wasn't locked up in a holding cell for the night; the guard let her go for good behaviour!

After the role-play, we could look around the Watch House, where we saw holding cells, separate men's and women's exercise yards and an identification room.

The main hallway of the City Watch House.

A standard holding cell inside the Watch House.

The exercise yard for the men.

Everything in the watch house was the same after the police and inmates left in the 1990s, so there was lots of graffiti and vulgar language throughout the building.

We then walked through the Melbourne Gaol, where we all learnt about the history of separating the male and female prisoners, Ned Kelly becoming the 101st person hanged at the goal and much more. Did you know the bodies of executed prisoners were dug up and removed from the gaol's cemetery by public onlookers? One of these bodies was Ned Kelly's, and the location of his skull remains a mystery!

We all had a great day and couldn't wait to get home to tell our loved ones about it!

- Brooke & the team at onesocial :)

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