History Day

Sunday 2 May 2021, 10:00am - 4:00pm

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There’s something to keep the whole family entertained this History Day at Adelaide Gaol. Operating until 1988 when the last prisoner was transferred out, its empty shell holds the secrets of its past, ready for you to uncover.

Get to know the stories of this iconic site and the prisoners that were kept there, including what landed them behind bars, the realities of prison life, and the ways they tried to escape.

Walk through the cells, around the exercise yard and up the hanging tower, or look at the official documents and artefacts of the prisoners and guards, such as mug shots and uniforms.

This year History Day will showcase a one-day special exhibition of Adelaide Gaol Registers A & B, recently recovered by State Records.

Along with other original gaol records, the first registers include prisoner details written by the first Governor of the gaol, William Ashton, and date from 1848 to 1857.We now have the complete set of Registers A-P (27 volumes) from 1839 to 1955 but are missing the final registers covering 1955 to 1988.

This special exhibition is to both celebrate the recovered early volumes previously unseen by the public, but also to encourage the public to help us recover the last two remaining registers, covering 1955 to 1988 which are still missing, in an effort to preserve the complete set of these unique and important historical documents.

Please note: This special exhibition allows exclusive preview access to Registers A and B. For family history research, you can view the registers at the State Records Research Centre in Gepps Cross every Tuesday and Thursday (bookings essential).

Online bookings are encouraged, however entry tickets can be purchased on arrival. 

Parking: Limited parking will be available on site. We encourage the use of public transport to and from History Day. Bus stop 1 on Port Road is a short walk from the Adelaide Gaol. Nearby tram stops are located on the corner of West Terrace and North Terrace or adjacent to George Street, Thebarton. Please note there is no right turn into Gaol Road from the city.