The Adelaide Goal is a must-see if you revel in history and museums. It was established way back in 1841 making it one of the two oldest buildings still standing in South Australia – the other being Government House. It is really an extraordinary building to see in person and we had a wonderful experience here.
We decided to go with the self-guided tour for our first visit, which at a very generous entry fee of $14 per adult, allowed us to wander through the many different rooms and areas of the gaol at our own pace, spending a little extra time at areas which interested us more. This was the perfect option for us, but if you prefer a guided tour, there are a few different options you can choose from, including the ghost tour, which I am super-keen to revisit for! You can view the tour options here on the Adelaide Gaol website.
A map is issued before you’re set off to explore. I suggest sticking to the route on the map to ensure you don’t miss any parts. Once you begin making your way around, it’s fascinating to imagine a life actually lived by the prisoners here.
The Gaol housed approximately 300 000 prisoners during its 147 years of operation. 21 of these prisoners were executed here. Step inside the “condemned cell” where these prisoners would sit on their final night, being closely watched by a warder and try not to get goosebumps as you observe the setup used to hang the condemned, right where you are standing!
Nearby, you can walk along the wall where the executed prisons’ bodies are still buried behind. As you stroll through the cemetery, you will see recorded along the brick wall, a hand-scripted number signifying the order of death, the prisoner’s initials and date of execution for each of the 21 prisoners whose lives were taken in the Adelaide Gaol. Our map read information about each execution with corresponding numbers, so you can learn about each of the condemned as you are passing by. I found this part to be a little chilling but also extremely compelling. It was one of my favourite parts of the museum.
There are many more light-hearted things to see in the Gaol, like the visiting screens, canteen and activities room. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Adelaide Gaol, a great piece of South Australian history, preserved between the original structure of the heritage site. Cannot recommend this one enough! Just watch out for Slamantha – she likes to slam doors when you’re least expecting it!
18 Gaol Road, Thebarton, SA
Monday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm