When one pictures the city of Melbourne, the first thing that comes to mind is the picturesque Great Ocean Road, plastered on the Instagram pages of all those who have gone to the city down under. However, filled with museums and tours of historical landmarks, the city has more to offer when one looks beyond The Great Ocean Road. Today, we will take a look into one of Melbourne’s most unique but underrated experiences, the Old Melbourne Gaol.
Opened in January of 1845, the infamous prison housed and executed some of the most notorious criminals in the history of the city. Its most famous criminal was Ned Kelly. After the prison shut down in 1924, it was remodelled into a museum. This was opened to the public who had a morbid curiosity about the lives and deaths of criminals they could only access through the news once before.
As you take a walk through the museum, look closely into the cells and immerse yourself into the history of the place by reading about the men and women who once crowded the halls. Some of the more curious memorabilia include the death mask of Ned Kelly, the calico hood and the gallows. You will be guaranteed chills down your spine when you picture yourself walking down the same trodden path as one of the 135 criminals whose lives ended on the very same gallows you face.
If you are still unfazed by what the museum has to offer, you could join in on A Night in the Watch House. You will be taken on a walk through the old cell block by a Sergeant who may or may not lock you up while telling you stories of the gruesome crimes committed by the previous occupants of the cellblock. The entire experience is captivating and will leave you with a longing to find out more about the lives of criminals who are no more than names on the museum walls.
However there are some things you would need to know before going!
- The Old Melbourne Gaol is pretty accessible by tram and is located on the RMIT campus.
- Because of the nature of the museum and its tours, one needs to be wary of the confined and dark spaces that will be encountered.
- Bookings should be done in advance as the tours are quite popular and easily sold out!
- Lastly, due to the adult themes and morbid nature of the tours, anyone under the age of 16 will not be allowed to enter.