The average tourist doesn’t even know there is an old jail in Adelaide. However, if you’re in Adelaide for a longer time, it is a place worth visiting. The Adelaide Gaol was in use until 1988. Since 1841, around the time Adelaide was founded, round about 300.000 inmates have lived between its walls en 45 people were hanged. Besides showing Adelaide’s history, the jail appears to be haunted. People who visited at night tell stories of unexplainable bruises, wounds and some ladies even claim they were pinched in the bum.
Adelaide was a free settlement, unlike Sydney. The jail was not built for the convicts coming from England, but for the settlers that misbehaved. The whole complex is surrounded by a wall with loose bricks on it to make escaping just that bit harder. The steel doors and fences look old and old-fashioned. When you enter the jail the first thing you see is a bell, used to inform the prisoners that something was happening. There is still an odd smell present in the buildings.
The cells are small and only have a bed. In the old days prisoners had a bucket for a toilet. Once a day it was emptied in a big toilet outside. It wasn’t until the 80s that some cells got a portable toilet! Talk about old-fashioned. Some inmates were allowed radios as entertainment but the only TV was outside in the courtyard. Looking around it is hard to imagine that this place was still inhabited about 25 years ago.
In 1964 the last man was hanged. Among a number of men, one woman was hanged here. . Elizabeth Lilian Woolcock was sentenced to death for poisening her husband. She was only 26 when she was declared guilty in court. She spent the rest of her life in isolation under strict supervision. Imagine she would decide to create her own death! After a last confession she was hanged and buried on the cemetery of the jail. The only thing that’s left of the hangings are some numbers on the wall.