Imagine sweltering in Darwin’s heat inside of small, brick rooms, crammed with dozens of other prisoners as you wait to hang at the gallows. That was the scene for many prisoners at Darwin’s Fannie Bay Gaol, which served as the city’s principal jail for nearly 100 years. Opened in 1883, the Fannie Bay Gaol held everything from murderers to lepers, refugees, and “natives,” and the last hanging took place on the gallows in 1952.
When visiting Fannie Bay Gaol today, peek inside the macabre building where hundreds of prisoners were held, and see the gallows inside the infirmary where the last two hangings took place. Run your hand on the wooden handle that dropped the floor of the gallows, and hear the stories of ghosts and ghouls that haunt the building today. While the gaol is open to public visitation, it’s also a popular stop on tours that visit the city highlights.
There are interpretive signs throughout the museum, and be sure to bring water when visiting in summer since the building can get very hot.
Did You Know? When Fannie Bay Gaol was originally constructed it was the most expensive building in the city.