A huge tourist attraction of the Hunter, Maitland Gaol has a vibrant history spanning more than 150 years. After housing some of Australia's most hardened and notorious criminals, Maitland Gaol closed as a Correctional Institution in 1998.
The cell doors are now open, with visitors invited to serve a small amount of time learning about the facility, past prisoners and daring escapes.
Points of Interest:
16 men were executed at Maitland Gaol between 1843 and 1897 - all for rape or murder. Executions were open to the public until 1861. The last man executed was Charles Hines in May 1897 for raping his stepdaughter. Hangings are believed to have taken place at the main gates and the back corner of the Gaol.
There were many escape attempts but most failed. Everyone who did get over the walls was caught within days. In 1977 "Maddog" Raymond Denning and 6 others escaped through an exhaust vent in the shower block. They were all back inside within 2 hours after a massive police swoop on the area. In 1980, a 5.5m long tunnel was discovered in Cell 7 in C Wing. It was hidden with a sheet of plastic painted the same colour as the floor. The tunnel was filled in with 2 truckloads of concrete.
Open 7 days, Maitland Gaol offers visitors the opportunity to indulge in self-guided tours, however the best way to interpret this unique attraction is to take a themed-guided tour or torchlight tour by night. Only the brave can battle a group sleepover night.