Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Wild West




It appears that Dubbo was not only considered "out west" but in its early days was something of "The Wild West". The first two public buildings constructed in Dubbo were a police residence and a combined courthouse and lockup in 1847. Keep in mind that the first white settlement (convicts) in Australia was less than 60 years prior to this (1788).

Old Dubbo Gaol continued to grow and remained in use until 1966 with conditions largely unchanged. It is located along what is now Dubbo's main shopping street, slightly set back from the shop fronts. A volunteer group restored the Gaol for public access in 1974. I remember visiting it shortly after its opening. In recent years extra information, displays and theatrical performances have been added.




In the old Infirmary we listened to and watched a rather sobering holographic exhibit introducing us to the history of the Gaol. One of the children discovered a set of locked iron bars at the top of the fire place, preventing any attempted chimney escapes.




At its busiest, these cells housed up to six prisoners each.


Vegetable and food store 




Several escapes were attempted, notice the recessed water down pipe to help prevent  climbing.







 As time went on a separate women's section was built.







Not all who entered as prisoner left alive. Here a condemned murderer tells his story on the eve of his execution in 1897. The Condemned Cell afforded extra "luxuries" for that last night.




The gallows were erected for each execution. Eight men were hanged for murder in Dubbo Gaol between 1877 and 1904. When not in use the gallows were stored under the courthouse. There is also a  hangman's kit on display and a holographic exhibition which tells the story of one state executioner.

There is much more to see including a padded cell and a solitary confinement Dark Cell (very eerie). Well worth a visit but the sombre feel about the place is not something which makes you want to linger too long.







In one sense we were pleased to walk out through the original wooden gates, over the wooden pavers, returning to today's outside world of freedom and light.


Sharing at Macro Monday.

16 comments:

Deanne Langford said...

I remember visiting the gaol in 2001, it was very interesting, looks pretty much the same from then.

Nikki said...

Thanks for the tour Karen. I haven't visited Dubbo yet, maybe one day I will. Love the picture of the wooden pavers. I have never seen those before.

tinajo said...

I love places like this, thanks for sharing! :-)

✿ chica said...

Incrível isso,Lindo!beijos,chica

Cinzia said...

Very interesting!
Cinzia

s.c said...

Thats different than normal. Looks grim but also a part of history. Thanks for showing. By the way I love the wooden floor bricks. Here you sometimes found them in old workplaces.

flowersandhome said...

It must leave a very sombre feel. I would want to leave a place like this as soon as possible and be very happy to get to the free world outside again. But it is a good thing it's restored and people can visit and get the feel of it. Makes it more tangible than just reading or learning about it of course. Quite a difference from the wide space you showed us in a previous post.
Bye,
Marian

Giga said...

Niestety i takie miejsca musiały być i dobrze, że dzieci je widziały. Pozdrawiam.
Unfortunately, these places have to be, well, the kids saw it. Yours.

Tricia said...

What a nice tour...it was so interesting. I love that last photo of the wooden pavers.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

What a neat place! The life-size figures sure helped you see what life was really like back then.

In Wonder said...

thanks for sharing these pics! it is fun to see new places.

hawknitr13 said...

very interesting post! certainly not a place to linger...thanks for sharing your visit.
^)^ linda

Andrea said...

This is informative and the photos are great espcially that last one for its textures. However, it is always a bit depressing going to places like this, and i just felt it even looking at the pictures. Maybe the energies are really great that imprints deep on the area, energies are not destroyed, they are just transformed!

Linda Makiej said...

Terrific work here.... just great!!

Nicola Carpenter said...

Such an interesting post and fantastic pictures.

Herding Cats

Pat said...

What an interesting exhibit! I love the photos you shared.

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