5 Wing is available to view during self guided audio tour as well as day and night guided tours. It is one of the few spaces available to sleep in as part of a public or private sleepover event, if this is something you are interested in then get in touch with the team at Maitland Gaol.
Built in 1993 the area that 5 Wing sits in has 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 70s. This work shop building became the epicentre of the riot in Maitland Gaol in 1975 where it was completely gutted by fire. Whilst this building was semi repaired and made safe after that period it highlighted the sites potential for a new, very secure building to house some of the states worst prisoners.
This new maximum security wing was constructed at huge cost to the State Government, all up the development costing nearly 4 million dollars. Security was of the upmost importance throughout this construction. The area was completely locked down so prisoners have no access and sandstone was removed to create a truck sized hole in the external wall to allow ease of access. It officially opened towards the end of 1993 and contains 22 individual cells with attached exercise yards. The yards include a shower for the prisoner housed in the cell.
C Wing was carefully incorporated into the design for 5 Wing. Whilst the new building attached to the original sandstone structure the placement of the polyplex booth (or wing office) meant that staff could monitor both the old and new sections of the building. This modern addition allowed for constant CCTV monitoring of the maximum security cells and safe cells. 5 Wing cells also contained an intercom system meaning that staff could communicate with prisoners without physically entering the cell. The building also contained a small clinic, drying out cell and a room for police and legal visits.
Very few modifications were made to this wing, mainly due to the short period of time in which it was used. In 1995 it was announced that the closure of Maitland Gaol was a possibility, 5 Wing officially closed in June 1997. As the building was so modern many of the fittings were removed to be re-purposed in other facilities around New South Wales. Today when you visit the wing you may notice that many of the cells don't contain beds or wall fittings, these were taken as part of the closure of the site.
The site was officially entrusted to Maitland City Council in the year 2000, as which point 5 Wing was only seven years old. As such the building hasn't required any major restorations. Even so standard maintenance has been undertaken, including the repainting of the area to maintain the paint as it was left at the sites closure in 1998. As part of an interpretation project two cells have been slightly modified to allow visitors the opportunity to learn about the last death in custody at Maitland Gaol. George Savvas died in a cell in 5 Wing at Maitland Gaol in May 1997 and visitors can explore the story and artefacts that relate to this incident on guided and self guided audio tours.