The executions carried out were public hangings until 1861. After this time it was thought improper that women and children should be witness to such events and the remaining executions that took place at the Gaol happened privately inside the walls. The executions were carried out at a number of locations around the gaol including, it is believed, the main gates and the back corner behind the original kitchen building.
The first executions took place on the site in 1843 with the execution of two aboriginal men named Melville and Harry. After partitioning the NSW Government to have the Gaol erected in East Maitland progress had been very slow, so as an appeasement to the people the two men sentenced to hang in Newcastle were brought to this site by steamer and kept in wooden cells until their execution date. The Maitland Mercury reported that a crowd turned out to witness the execution, after which the bodies were left hanging for one hour before being removed from the temporary scaffold.
The last man executed was Charles Hines in May 1897 for raping his step daughter.Hines maintained his innocence until he took his last breath.
There is a booklet on executions available from the Gaol reception. Click here to download a list of the 16 executions that took place at the Gaol.