Australia · photography · remembering · respect

Trial Bay Gaol.


You may recall a post I wrote in September of last year. It’s an easy story to remember if you visited around that time, as I showed you photos of a pair of adult kangaroos, hopping around behind the bars of the entry to the disused Trial Bay Gaol, along with their joey.

It might be an idea to take a moment to look back at these beautiful animals, to either jog your memory, or take a first look, so here’s the link ~

Can you spot the kangaroos?
Can you spot the kangaroos?

If you look very carefully at the photo above, up towards the building on the right hand side patch of grass, you will see how I first saw this adorable family. They eyed me for a moment or two before approaching, although little joey wasn’t too keen on coming face to face with a fur-less, two-legged creature holding a black box that made clicking sounds, and quickly scurried into its mama’s pouch! I did manage to take a few photos of him though, before he disappeared into her pouch, head first!

Way back, in the days of the open gaol.
Way back, in the days of the open gaol.

Work began on the building of the gaol in 1876, although it wasn’t completed until 1886, due to “difficulties in working the hard stone, inconsistent funding and contractual problems”. A southern wing was added to the gaol in 1900, yet three years later the building was closed.

Barred, yet beautiful.
Barred, yet beautiful.

I prefer to see the gaol as a lovely, historic building. Even though I realise there is a need for prisons, as not all folk in society deserve to be integrated in our day to day life due to their own bad judgement in their actions, it bothers me to think of the way men were treated in the early days of Australia. Many men, and women as well, were judged as criminals for the slightest misdemeanor. I can imagine the number of tormented souls who continue to walk the halls of this ruin. It’s not a part of history that Australia should be proud of. But I suppose all countries have parts of their history that they wish to be not spoken of.

What a view!
What a view!

In an article I read, Trial Bay Gaol is described as “an experiment with humane prison reform”, so I would take that as a positive sign that the powers that be of the time were questioning the old ways of treating prisoners. On the other hand though, the gaol only remained in use for twenty-six years ~ perhaps the experiment wasn’t a success!

The view from the building is amazing though, looking out across the ocean from the top of a hill, from what is now regarded as a “Heritage Listed Building”.

Trial Bay Gaol is located at South West Rocks, and while I was visiting the area with my son Adam last year, he guided the way to a lighthouse there that he knew of, telling me that I would love taking photos of the area. He wasn’t wrong. And I will show you those photos next time. 🙂


10 thoughts on “Trial Bay Gaol.

    1. They certainly did, and I think they may spend a lot of time there too! I hope there is a way for them to get out of the yard enclosure though as I saw so many wild kangaroos in this area. It was a beautiful sight. 🙂


  1. What an interesting place, a beautiful building. I love to visit historic places and imagine the stories behind it. (Guess that’s why I am a writer. 😉 .) ❤


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