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Adelaide Gaol: More Than Just a Spooky Place

Adelaide Gaol: More Than Just a Spooky Place

The Adelaide Gaol isn't just a spot for ghost tours (although those can be fun!). This grand sandstone building in Adelaide's parklands holds a fascinating, and sometimes dark, history. For over 140 years, it was the main prison in South Australia, housing over 300,000 people! Let's take a step back in time and see what life was like inside these walls.

Built for Reform (Kind Of):

Imagine a prison designed so one guard could see everyone at once! That was the idea behind the Adelaide Gaol. Based on a fancy prison model from England, it aimed to make prisoners better through isolation and, well, constant watching. Things didn't quite go according to plan though. The prison quickly got overcrowded, and a new building had to be built using prison labor (talk about work for the punishment!).

Life Inside Wasn't Easy:

Being locked up in the Gaol wasn't exactly a walk in the park. Cells were tiny and stuffy, with barely any light or fresh air. Prisoners spent their days doing hard labor, anything from breaking rocks to sewing clothes. Sadly, executions were also a part of life back then, with the last one happening in 1950.

More Than Just Criminals:

The Gaol wasn't just for bad guys. Women and children were also locked up here. Some women were criminals, but others were labelled as "lunatics" because people back then didn't quite understand mental health. Even children, sometimes orphans or those whose parents were prisoners, ended up within the Gaol walls. It paints a picture of a tough time in history.

A Look Back, and Maybe a Spook?

Today, the Adelaide Gaol is a museum where you can explore the history of prisons in South Australia. Walk through the cellblocks, see the lonely solitary confinement areas, and even stand where the gallows once stood. It's a sobering experience, but one that helps us understand the past.

If you're feeling brave, there are even Adelaide ghost hunting tours to see if any spirits still linger!

So, next time you're in Adelaide, check out the Gaol. It's a reminder of our history, both good and bad, and a chance to see how far we've come.

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