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Conservation Works

unlock the past

Maitland Gaol regularly undertakes large scale projects in order to preserve the site and enhance the visitor experience. Maitland Gaol is recognised as significant by the State Heritage Inventory, their statement as below.

Maitland Gaol is of considerable significance because it is a rare vestige from the first system of state prisons in the Colony and is the oldest intact country gaol in NSW. ‘A Wing’ is the only surviving example from the ‘Inspectors Gaols’ designed by Mortimer Lewis and built in the 1830’s and 1840’s.

The Maitland Gaol Maintenance Strategy was written by the Government Architect’s Office in 2015. Works undertaken at the site aim to overcome the backlog of maintenance as reported in the strategy and to perform preventative maintenance that maintains the buildings in a reasonable condition. 

If you’d like more information on any of these projects please contact us, or for heritage trades view Maitland City Council’s heritage trades directory. 

The Maitland Gaol Maintenance Strategy outlines the importance of the stone currently covered in cement render (a large portion of the walls) and the need to understand its condition. A section of cement render was identified as being severely deteriorated and it was decided that it was an opportunity to remove the render and explore and investigate the stone underneath. In March 2020 heritage stonemasons were engaged to remove a fifteen sqm section of the cement render and examine the stone to determine it’s quality and stability.

The stone was in suprisingly good condition, with only a small selection of the stone requiring repair by stone indent. Following this work, the complete section of wall was repointed using lime mortar. This resulting section of the wall has provided an excellent, large scale experimental site for the assessment of using this approach to rehabilitate further sections of the rendered wall.

Between April and October 2019 the front entrance area of Maitland Gaol was upgraded through a Work for the Dole program supported by The Salvation Army. The project was paramount to the survival of in situ heritage aspects of the site, including the metal bars and surrounding stonework. Significant rust removal and treatment was undertaken as required, before the bars were repainted in the heritage approved colour.

Local stonemasons where alsoengaged to undertake the removal of paint from the sandstone gate pillars, this painstaking process was carried out layer by layer and will ensure the stones health for many years into the future.

Commencing in March 2018, 5 Wing was refurbished as part of a Work for the Dole activity supported by The Salvation Army. Prior to the commencement of this activity, the Maitland Gaol team undertook painstaking research regarding the graffiti in each cell to determine its authenticity, those found to be genuine were preserved. 

During this work the interior of the cell block was then repaired and repainted, returning it to a standard that you would expect at the time of the sites closure in 1998.

Between September 2017 and March 2018 A Wing was the focus of a Work for the Dole Activity supported by The Salvation Army. This selection of work saw the internal areas of the ground floor, including the floors, walls and doors repainted. The re-painting project was undertaken within heritage guidelines, using the same colours as the site was left in 1998 and was supervised by a master painter.

This was the first time the building had been a focus of work since the site closed as a correctional institution in 1998. 

In late 2017, Maitland Gaol accepted a grant offer from the Crown Reserves Improvement Fund Program, for a series of repair and restoration works at Maitland Gaol. A large componenant of this work was roof repairs across the site. These repairs commencted in the latter half of 2018 and have seen roofing and guttering on serveral buildings replaces and/or repaired.

This program has ensured that the entry ways for both A & B Wings are watertight with new iron replacing significantly deteriated sections. Individually crafted guttering and downpipes were designed to match the previously installed systems and were constructed of copper in accordance with heritage best practice. 

Roofs were also replaced on the Front Gate Sentry Box and the Mounted Police Barracks along with its associated outbuildings. New guttering and downpipes were installed on several other buildings in the site.


In 2017 B Wing commemorated 150 years since its completion. In recognition of this a program was developed, through the support of The Salvation Army and it’s Work for the Dole program, that focused on the repair and repainting of the interla areas of the ground floor. This linked with the Gaol’s intention to showcase the building as part of a larger commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the site closure in 2018.

The downstairs area was refreshed in the same colour scheme as was left when the site closed in 1998, and was done under the guidance of a master painter adhereing to heritage standards. As part of the program one of the cell doors was sanded back to highlight its original form.


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