The Old Melbourne Gaol

The Melbourne Jail was an operational jail form 1845 until 1924. It is now a tourist attraction for those who come and visit Melbourne or are simply interested in our city’s history, yet not that long ago, this was one of the last places where people wanted to end up.

The Melbourne Gaol, held captive some of the most dangerous criminals that ever set foot in this Australian state.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit this history-rich landmark with a group of girls from my year-level a few months back. When I visited the place with my school, I found that I needed more time to really understand and discover everything about the touristic attraction, so I went back a few weeks ago to be able to capture the set.

The second time I visited the Melbourne Gaol, my heart stopped for a second. I was honestly overwhelmed with feelings. It was so crazy to think about the conditions that the criminals were under, the conditions that the guards worked in and overall how the unique en extreme way in which entire jail worked. It is honesty a place worth visiting…

IMG_0890Photo of the main building. The individual cells and small group cells were in this building. The most dangerous criminals were kept in the bottom floor, where the more extreme conditions were and as the floors ascended, the conditions were less harsh and the criminals, less dangerous.

IMG_0816IMG_0819Close ups of items from the excerpting and outdoor area for the criminal women. Harsh brick walls and thick wooden doors enclosed the women in the area in “protected them fro hurting themselves”.

IMG_0827IMG_0829IMG_0830IMG_0831I never quite understood what this wooden box was used for during the 1800s-1900s, but what I do know, is that it felt like I was reading letters that were written by the convicts to anyone who would be willing to read their thoughts and ideas. So many powerful messages were written on this piece of wood. “FREEDOM” was definitely one that stayed with me.

IMG_0840IMG_0842Hallway of the main building

IMG_0852IMG_0854IMG_0856This was the only way in which light actually entered the building in which the individual and small group cells were. It was at the very end of the corridor, as the photos suggest, but what was most interesting about them is the stairs in front of it.

As the light came in through the big windows, only the silhouettes of the people walking in front of them could be seen. It made me think about the way convicts must have looked at that windows thinking of freedom and the out isde world, but having the guard silhouettes in front of their freedom…

IMG_0858IMG_0861Looking at the corridor from the opposite side was also something quite unique. The slightly opaque glass at the top of the structure let in a very unique light, but what was most interesting about the top windows is how repetitive and symmetrical they are.  The last thing you could see past the closed cell and before the brick wall was the area in which they would hung those criminals who had been convicted to death.

IMG_0871IMG_0874The cells were rooms are that could make anyone feel a certain amount of claustrophobia is they stayed inside for long enough. They had plain, thick and strong door with a tiny opening from which you could look into the cell if needed. They were such an inhuman  way of captivating human being that completely shocked in so many levels.

And the last long-expo shot shows the feeling of the ghosts and paranormal activity that the setting gave.

IMG_0903IMG_0918

To get more information about this place, you can click the following links:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/old-melbourne-gaol/  http://www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au/

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