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Fannie Bay Gaol

Home > Darwin > Museums | Historic Houses | Cheap | Outdoor
Published March 27th 2018
From histories to spooky stories
Fannie Bay Gaol is located at 82 East Point Road Fannie Bay Darwin. For just a gold coin donations you can explore this historic gaol. It was operated as Her Majesty's Gaol and Labour Prison from 20 September 1883 until 1 September 1979. Since 1982, the gaol has become a museum open to the public.

Fannie Bay Gaol, Darwin, gaol, history
Fannie Bay Gaol, Darwin, gaol, history
Local visitors


As you enter this complex, you can see well-maintained lawn around the buildings that were used as Darwin's main prison for almost 100 years. The original buildings of this gaol were comprised two blocks with 16 cells, a wash house and a kitchen. The facilities and buildings around the gaol complex are well maintained and the signs very informative and interesting.



Fannie Bay Gaol, Darwin, gaol, history
Communal showers


A stone infirmary was constructed in 1887 and remains on site. In 1920 cells were constructed for women prisoners and male and female prisoners were held in separate buildings from 1928. The female prison block included a small garden designed to keep the prisoners busy. By late 1950s a remand section, watch tower, "native section" for Aboriginal prisoners, kitchen mess building and 2 maximum security wings had been constructed. Maximum security cells included hooks mounted into the walls for the restraint of inmates and very narrow doorways to prevent inmates escaping when guards entered. The gaol contains rare gallows constructed for the last two hangings in the Northern Territory in 1952. A pit was dug into the floor at one end of the building, with brick walls either side to support the beam. A small trapdoor and flight of stairs led down into the pit for the doctor to examine the bodies after the drop. The prisoners were held in wire cages at the other end of the infirmary prior to execution. The gallows remain on public view, and visitors can push the lever that operated the trap. There was also a block for children, which in the early 1970s was also used for refugees who had arrived by boat.



Fannie Bay Gaol, Darwin, gaol, history
The gallow


The prison was damaged by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. During WWII, prisoners were released and the gaol used by the Army and Air Force.

Fannie Bay Gaol, Darwin, gaol, history
Some schedules for prisoners


You can find out how the prisoners were treated back then from the informative signs placed around the gaol. The living quarters were not even up to basic standards nowadays. Prisoners with mental problems were locked in a wire cage, a bit like an aviary. Children were locked in cells with wire walls so they could be watched. You can also find out an amusing story of this gaol and the prisoners living inside. Apparently, one night the prisoners had to be gathered at the muster point as they found extra person in the gaol. Some stories passed around at time that the gaol provided good meal, so this extra person decided to go inside the prison.

Fannie Bay Gaol, Darwin, gaol, history
Muster point had to be numbered to avoid extra person in the gaol


There are also spooky stories that surround this gaol after the executions of Jerry Coci and Jonus Novotny, who had murdered a taxi driver and were executed in 1952. The prisoners and officials did not like to be in the building after dark and some ghost stories were also experienced by some visitors of this place.



The Goal is open from 10am until 3.00pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This gaol complex is quite a bit out in the sun, so be prepared with hat, drinking water and apply some sunscreen. You can find more information about Fannie Bay Gaol by ringing telephone number (08) 8941 2260 or visit this website. Fannie Bay Gaol is highly valued for its penal, legal, medical and social history.

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Why? Find out the history and spooky stories of Fanny Bay Gaol
When: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am until 3pm
Phone: (08) 8941 2260
Where: 82 East Point Road Fannie Bay Darwin
Cost: Gold coin donation
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