|Darlinghurst Gaol was an Australian prison located in Darlinghurst, New South Wales. Construction on Darlinghurst Gaol wall began in 1822, with completion of some of the cellblocks in 1840. The gaol was ready for occupation in a year later, with the first prisoners occupying the gaol on 7 June 1841.
The gaol was finally completed in 1885. The site is bordered by Victoria, Burton and Forbes streets, with entrances on Forbes and Burton Sts. The main material used for construction of the gaol is Sydney sandstone, cut into large blocks by convicts. Convict markings on the blocks are visible along the upper half of the wall on Darlinghurst Road. A tall circular watchtower stands in the middle of the site, around which are sited the six rectangular cellblocks in a radial fashion.
Australian poet Henry Lawson spent time incarcerated here during some of the turbulent years of his life and described the gaol as Starvinghurst Gaol due to meagre rations given to the inmates. The site is now open to the public as The National Art School. The last hanging at the gaol was in 1907 (Jahn, 1997).
Hangings were open to public viewing throughout several decades. People would gather on the nearby common, Green Park as it was known, and the condemned would be brought out on a platform built inside the Gaol but visible above the high walls. The public executioner who lived in a grace and favour house in nearby Burton Street would then leave his house to the jeers and catcalls of the gathering crowd, enter the prison and do his job.
Location: Sydney, Australia
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