The Old Melbourne Gaol is a former prison, situated in Russell Street in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. During its operation as a prison, the building housed – and executed – some of Australia’s most famous criminals, including Ned Kelly and Frederick Bailey Deeming.
After the prison closed in 1924, parts of the building were incorporated into RMIT University, and the rest became one of Melbourne’s most fascinating museums. Today, the gaol is listed on the National Trust of Australia’s heritage register and attracts around 140,000 visitors each year.
During nearly 80 years of operation, the Old Melbourne Gaol was the scene of an astounding 135 hangings; not surprisingly, the “Art of Hanging” display is one of the museum’s most popular attractions.
Other favourite exhibitions include The Watch House (an interactive experience in which visitors are “arrested” and jailed), the Old Magistrate’s Court (where the tension and drama of historical hearings are played out in front of a live audience).
The Old Melbourne Gaol is also a site of great interest to paranormal enthusiasts. During a night spent at the gaol in 2003, British parapsychologist Darren Done claims to have heard unexplained voices and seen a ghostly figure. Today, GhostSeekers Australia conducts monthly tours to gather data on paranormal activity.
If you’re looking for a thrill during your stay in Melbourne, the Old Melbourne Gaol might be the place for you. And there’s no better hotel in the city from which to experience the Old Melbourne Gaol and other top Melbourne attractions than Clarion Suites Gateway!