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Maitland Gaol is a former maximum security prison with history spanning over 150 years. The heritage listed site is home to a variety of buildings and unique spaces tucked away within its walls. 
Since its closure in 1998, the 2.5 hectare site, has transformed into a premier tourist attraction. Maitland Gaol now offers a genuine glimpse into the history of one of the state’s most prominant prisons. 

View the site map to provide context to the building locations or contact us for further information.

A Wing is the oldest building inside the Gaol walls. It housed the first 40 prisoners to move into the Gaol in 1848 and would be in continuous use up until the Gaol’s closure in 1998. A Wing is available to view on the self guided audio and guided tours during the day and night. 

Original tenders called for the buildings construction in 1893 and it was eventually completed by a Sydney firm Brodie and Craig for the Gaol’s opening in 1848. At its completion the building was 33 metres long and 12 metres wide. Buildt of solid sandstone, it housed 28 cells, the original roof was slate shingles and light was permitted to the building by two large windows at either end.

The first prisoners to moved into the building on 30 December 1848.

A Wing can be booked for small private function on a limited basis, find more information here.

Constructed as part of the second phase of construction in Maitland Gaol, B Wing is the largest wing on the site. 
In 1861 prisoners were put to work building the ground floor of B Wing. In 1862 a significant stockpile of quality sandstone has been acquired from the quarry ‘Ravensfield’. The buidling was designed by the Government Architect, William Mortimer Lewis Jnr, it was to be three levels and contain 84 individual cells. It was eventually completed by private tender, awarded to Thomas Alston, and prisoners began being housed sometime after November 1867.

The building was designed for the purpose of single accommodation of prisoners as part of the Seperate System, which was legislated in 1867. This new classifcation system required prisoners to be housed individually and B Wing was used for this purpose until the beginning of the systems abandonment in 1898.

After this time major alterations were made to B Wing. The building was modified to enlarge the cells, with the second entrance door to the cell sealed shut. 

B Wing can be booked for private functions on a limited basis. More information can be found here

Built as part of an extension to the original site, C Wing was the first building constructed to house female prisoners. C Wing, also known as as the women’s wing, started construction in 1894. The building was to include 12 cells, a women’s workroom, women’s hospital, attendants room, laundy and warders cottage. The building was completed in 1897 with 12 cells downstairs and the workroom and hospital upstairs.

The attached female warders cottage was finished some months later. Following the completion of this wing Maitland Gaol became a principle gaol for women. However low internment rates for women combined with generally short sentences meant that this classification was not sustained.

Even so two lunacy cells were installed (cell #11 and #12) and are still visable today marked by the observation windows cut into the sandstone. These cells were originally padded which consisted of a timber board attached to the wall, covered in leather and filled with horse hair.

C Wing is available to view on the self guided audio tour and guided day and night tours.

Built in 1993 5 Wing is the newest building in the site and was contructed in an area that had been home to many previous buildings. The ones we know about include the Matrons residence from the late 1890s and a more modern work place for prisoners in the 1960s and 1970s. 

The construction of the new maximum security wing was constructed a huge cost to the New South Wales State Government, all up the development costing nearly 4 million dollars. During construction security was of the upmost importance, with the area completely locked down so prisoners had no access. Sandstone was removed to create a truck sized hole in the external wall to allow for ease of access. It officially opened at the end of 1993 and contains 22 individual cells with attached exercise yards.

C Wing was carefully incorporated into the design of 5 Wing. The placement of the polyplex booth (or wing office) meant that staff could monitor both the old and new sections of the building. 

5 Wing is available to view on the self guided audio tours and selected day and night guided tours.

 Built during the second phase of construction and completed in 1868 the two storey building was constructed on the site of the original Governor’s and Warder’s accommodation, inside the walls directly opposite the main entrance. The upper storey was immediately given over to use as a chapel and school room, as in the original design by architect James Barnet. Part of this design was the two distinct entrances for male and female prisoners and a partition that ran down the middle of the large room to control contact between the two groups. 

The Chapel contains it original cedar beams and cedar lined roof, as well as red mahogany flooring. The sanctuary is raised and the original design had pews angled towards this raised area, where the clergymen would have conducted services.

This upper floor was used as a Chapel and space for education of prisoners for about 100 years. With records in the 1960s indicating the area was used by Catholic, Methodist, Anglican and The Salvation Army for religion teachings. Importantly the room was also used for the congregating of prisoners on mass for entertainment purposes, including films, music events, the debating club, performances by prisoners and external parties and other social activities such as poetry readings.

The Chapel is available to view during guided and self guided audio tours. It can also be booked for a private function on a limited basis, find more information here.

There are a number of buildings on site that were not used to ‘house’ prisoners. These include the visitors centre, hospital, administration area, shower block and towers.

Some of these areas area available to view on the self guided audio and guided tours of the site.

More information is available about these areas by contacting Maitland Gaol staff.

A Wing has an attached yard, that was available to prisoners during operation for outside time. In the earliest period of the Gaol’s history this included a bathing area. 

B Wing housed the largest number of prisoners and eventually had two adjoining exercise yards. The larger of the two now houses a marquee but would have previously been used for sports including tennis, handball, basketball and board games. 

The large exercise field at the back of the Gaol originally housed two buildings, D Wing and the original Cookhouse. These buildings were demolished in the 1980s and the area converted to an active exercise field. This area is now used to host festivals and events including Bitter and Twisted.

These spaces are available to view on the self guided audio and guided tours. They are also available for limited hire, find more information here.

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