Entertaining and informative self-guided audio tours of this heritage site are available daily between the times of 9:00am – 3:30pm. Hire a player, headphones and pick up the key from the Visitor Information Centre (open 7 days 9am – 4.30pm).
The Old Gundagai Gaol stands at the corner of First Avenue and Byron St, surrounded by a high wall of local slate with sandstone capping.
Following the devastating 1852 flood, the town lock-up needed to be rebuilt as a watch-house or gaol. Alexander Dawson, the colonial architect, designed the building and Charles Hardy won the tender for it’s construction in 1859. Hardy and Hodson builders completed further additions in 1861, and in 1863 a kitchen was built for the gaol, designed by James Barner, the Government Architect. The magnificent stone boundary wall which still stands today was constructed in 1866.
The gaol consists of a cluster of structures including, The Gaolers residence, the external kitchen block, the hospital (original gaol), the gaol including exercise yard, an outhouse, outbuilding, a well and archaeological remains.
Prisoners with short-term sentences who had been sentenced at Gundagai or at courts in the surrounding district were incarcerated in the Gundagai Gaol. Prisoners, including bushrangers, who were in transit to other gaols were also accommodated there. Although no longer in use, Gundagai Gaol is one of the few remaining gaol compounds dating from 1859 and a rare and largely intact example of its type.
In 1870 the Gundagai Gaol was classed as a ‘lock-up’ or ‘proclaimed gaol’ and could accommodate from four to twenty prisoners. During this year the actual number of prisoners received included 4 debtors; 19 males and 2 females awaiting trial; 55 males and 3 females ‘in transit’; 11 males under sentence to labour; 7 males and 3 females sentenced to imprisonment; with none in solitary confinement. The greatest number received at one time totalled 9.
Gundagai Gaol was closed in the 1970’s and a holding cell was constructed at the Gundagai Police Station in Byron Street.
Please note: Because of the way the Old Gaol was constructed and the slope of the land, it is difficult to access for those with limited mobility. We are sorry for the inconvenience. If you require specific information about the gaol so you can consider your access requirements, please contact the Visitors Centre on (02)69440250