To get this first point out of the way for my American friends, it is pronounced Jail. This spelling came into English in two forms, jaiole from Old French and gayole from Anglo-Norman French and that is where gaol comes from. At least according to my computers dictionary.
Ever see the TV show on HBO called Oz? I don't think life in this gaol was as bad as they portray it on that show, but it was pretty bad. The Fannie Bay Gaol was also a labour camp and operated for almost one hundred years, ending its operation in 1979.
These cell blocks were used for the maximum security prisoners. You can still see some of the rings that were used for shackling prisoners inside the cells.
Not a bad life. At least it comes with en suite bathrooms. Keep in mind, cells always contained a minimum of three prisoners. That's right, minimum. The thought here was that this would reduce the likelihood of sexual behavior. In other terms, the only entertainment these blokes had just turned from an evening cuddle into an all night bear and cub party. Did they play the village people over the loud speakers too? It was the 70's.
These beds are for the less dangerous criminals. Looks like your bog standard youth hostel bed, also with ensuite bathroom.
At Fannie Bay, the prisoners needed a place to go to the bathroom and this bathroom had a view like none other. Thankfully the managers of Fannie Bay thought to put concrete in the toilet bowls so that us silly foreigners would know not to use them.
This creepy building housed the prisoners thought to be a danger to themselves or others. It also housed Darwins mentally disturbed people as if being treated like a caged dog would help someone with a mental illness.
Fannie Bay put to death two people in 1952 for the murder of a taxi cab driver. There is quite a bit to the story and it is displayed in detail on various boards around the gallows. These were actually built for the sole purpose of putting these two guys to death and it has never been used since. To think, this has only been out of operation for just over 30 years.
The Fannie Bay Gaol in Darwin is free of charge to get into and provides an interesting look into the history of Australia and it's old school prison system.
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