Yesterday, Dan and I went to the Old Melbourne Gaol for date day. For those like me, I didn’t know “gaol” was an alternative spelling to “jail” and pronounced it as “gah-ol” until Dan corrected me, lol.
Honestly, I’ve never seen jail spelled like that before!
Prior to visiting the jail, we stopped by the Queen Victoria Market because we wanted to see a Christmas market… unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a Christmas market and just a regular vendor market selling fresh produce, meats and seafood… and knock off clothing.
There was a big Christmas shop on the corner of the market, BUT, the moment we walked in, we had one of the sales associates follow us throughout the ENTIRE store. I’ve never been profiled at a store before so that was a new experience for me and made me feel very uncomfortable. I was about to tell the associate off when Dan said let’s go because he didn’t like the vibes they were giving us as well. I’m really happy we didn’t end up grabbing anything from that store.
Anyways, enough of that nonsense and let’s talk about the jail experience!
This is the second jail tour I’ve been in. The first one was back in Alcatraz when I visited San Francisco.
When we arrived to purchase our tickets, we were lucky to arrive just in time for the Watch Tower experience where we get arrested and booked. It was a fun little experience to sort of see what the detainees went through. Our tour guide was very fun and entertaining. Near the end of the Watch Tower tour, we overheard another tour where a female was giving the tour and she was more of the strict cop – she was literally yelling at the other tour group!
These were the cells that they locked us in. We thought it was just sitting around for a few seconds until the guard yelled “LIGHTS OUT!” and actually turned the lights off! We sat there in darkness for about 30 seconds before the guard came back and said “Good morning!” and let us out to the courtyard. We were also divided up by gender to make it a bit more realistic too.
The Watch Tower experience was about a 30ish minute tour. After the lock-up experience, the guard/staff told us a little bit of the history of the jail and also led us to the new exhibit on the Russell Street bombing.
After that, we ventured into the actual jail and toured the three levels. We learned a lot about the Kelly gang and Colin Campbell Ross. Not to mention, this jail hung 133 convicts so it’s a bit eerie to stand in the courtyard where the hanging would happen and see the gallows, and also the torture and punishment tools used on these inmates.
I think out of everyone that passed through the Melbourne Jail, two inmates stood out to me: Colin Ross and Alexander Ross (next picture). These two inmates were not related.
I don’t know why but I felt so sorry to see this adorable little boy be punished! I didn’t take any pictures but part of the museum displayed how inmates would be whipped so I think that’s another reason why he stuck with me because he survived being strapped down and whipped, and died in 1954 in a suburb next to where I’m currently living.
After the jail, we headed down to Federation Square to see the Christmas tree. We originally wanted to see it a night time but it was still bright AF at 5pm and we really didn’t want to kill 3-4 hours roaming around.
At the time, there was also an African Celebration going on so we saw a few cool performances.
And, to end date day, Dan took me out to a sushi dinner and Starbucks dessert.
PS: It’s actually pretty cheap to have a wedding in the jail, LOL. I did check the wedding hire brochure.