Fremantle Prison, WA, Australia
With its foreboding 5m-high walls, the old convict-era prison still dominates Fremantle. Daytime tour options include the Doing Time Tour taking in the kitchens, men’s cells and solitary-confinement cells. The Great Escapes Tour recounts famous inmates and takes in the women’s prison. Book ahead for the Torchlight Tour focusing on macabre aspects of the prison’s history, and the 2½-hour Tunnels Tour which includes an underground boat ride and subterranean tunnels built by prisoners. Entry to the gatehouse, including the Prison Gallery, gift shop and Convict Cafe is free. In 2010 its cultural status was recognised as part of the Australian Convict Sites entry on the Unesco World Heritage list.
Fremantle Prison, sometimes referred to as Fremantle Gaol or Fremantle Jail, is a former Australian prison in Fremantle, Western Australia. The six-hectare (15-acre) site includes the prison cellblocks, gatehouse, perimeter walls, cottages, and tunnels. Initially known as the Convict Establishment or The Establishment, it was constructed as a prison for convicts, using convict labour, between 1851 and 1859. The prison was transferred to the colonial government in 1886 for use for locally-sentenced prisoners. Royal Commissions were held in 1898 and 1911, and instigated some reform to the prison system, but significant changes did not begin until the 1960s. The government department in charge of the prison underwent several reorganisations in the 1970s and 1980s, but the culture of Fremantle Prison was resistant to change. Growing prisoner discontent culminated in a 1988 riot with guards taken hostage, and a fire that caused $1.8 million worth of damage. The prison closed in 1991, replaced by the new maximum-security Casuarina Prison.