Built of sandstone from Morpeth and Farley, it is considered to be the most intact country gaols in New South Wales with many of the original structures including cell blocks, toilets, awnings and artworks still in the original condition. Maitland Gaol is the longest continuously operating correctional institution in Australia. After holding some of Australia’s most hardened criminals, it closed on the 29 January 1998 and any remaining inmates were transferred to other prisons. The closure of the complex was announced in 1996 as part of an upgrade to the state’s prison system. It closed because security did not meet community expectations, conditions were considered unsuitable and the cost of operating the antiquated facility was excessive.