History

Maitland Gaol is one of New South Wales premier heritage listed sites and attracts visitors from all over the world. Therefore the preservation and interpretation of Maitland Gaol is of great importance, given the site’s significant heritage and cultural value not only within Maitland but also the region. 
 
The foundation stone was laid in 1844 before opening officially in 1848. Maitland Gaol closed it’s gates as an operating facility for the last time in January 1998 giving the Gaol a history that spanned 150 years. Throughout that time many buildings where modified or removed and the last of the new buildings was completed in 1993. The site as it remains today is how it was left when the doors where finally shut on this architectural beauty. 
 
Inside the massive sandstone façade, the walls and cells tell the stories of inmates. The graffiti and illustrations are records of time, of life and in some instances death. With 150 years of history the site saw discipline including whippings of convicts right up to the lighter treatment of the white collar criminals in the later years. As you walk around the gaol there is a strong notion of history, you can see that the pain and struggle to survive, the frustration and determination is all evident within the walls. 
 
Within these pages of the website, information on unique parts of the gaol’s history are highlighted. If you have a particular question, send us an email to info@maitlandgaol.com.au and we will try and answer the particular query.