Constructed as part of the second phase of construction in Maitland Gaol B Wing is the largest wing on site.
B Wing is available to view on self guided audio tours, day and night guided tours. It is our most popular and unique building for private functions and events, get in touch with us for further information.
In 1861 prisoners were put to work building the ground floor of B Wing, in 1862 a significant stockpile of excellent quality sandstone had been acquired from the quarry 'Ravensfield'. All prisoners sentenced to hard labour would now stay in Maitland Gaol, rather than be sent to Sydney, to work as labourers and stone masons on the building. The building was designed by the Government Architect, William Mortimer Lewis Jnr, it was to be three storeys and contain 84 individual cells. It took the prisoners five years to complete the ground floor and by 1866 the New South Wales Government was being petitioned to get the building completed. The prisoners ceased work and a tender was called for the completion of the remaining two storeys, Thomas Alston was awarded the tender and completed the building using free labour. The building was completed in November 1867 and the prisoner began to be housed within a short time after.
The building was designed for a specific purpose and that was the single accommodation of prisoners as part of the Separate System which was legislated in 1867. This new system of separation required prisoners to be housed individually (where possible) under a classification system. B Wing would be used as part of this system until the beginning of its abandonment in 1898. Prisoners would while away the hours in their cells, alone, under strict work orders without the ability to communicate or interact with each other. Small periods of time outdoors was permitted for certain prisoners and this time was also strictly controlled again limiting human contact and interaction. Thankfully by 1905 this system had been completely abolished.
Major alterations were made to B Wing during it's occupation. The building received electricity in 1898, however prisoners didn't have access to it. After the abolishment of the Separate System the building was modified to enlarge the size of the cells. This saw the removal of the internal wall between two cells, opening it to double the size. The second entrance door to the cell was then sealed shut, maintaining the one entry and exit point for prisoners.
The sewer and water connection was made to the cells in the early 1970s. At this time the electric panels were added to the cells making power outlets and alert system available to prisoners for the first time.
B Wing is the largest building in the site and despite having recently celebrated it's 150th birthday it is in fairly good shape. However restoration and maintenance project have been important to maintain the heritage fabric left in the site at the time of its closure. The following work has been carried out since the site was handed to Maitland City Council in 2000.
- Conservation and repair of timber windows on front of building.
- Rust prevention works and repainting of metal bars surrounding exercise yards.
- Repair and maintenance of paintwork in main foyer area and exercise yard.
- Assessment of sandstone and make safe removal of degraded stone.
- Replacement of iron roof on front of building and guttering and downpipes throughout building to make watertight.