Adelaide Gaol History Day | Thebarton | 15 May 2022

adelaide gaol history day

Your chance to see Adelaide Gaol’s brand new Story Cells!

New exhibitions, untold stories, never-before-seen artefacts, markets and your chance to own a limited-edition hand engraved rooftop slate from the original 1841 build – you’ll find it all at Adelaide Gaol this History Day.

You might have glimpsed the imposing walls of the historic Adelaide Gaol from North Terrace, but have you ever stopped in for a look around?

The Gaol is one of the oldest remaining colonial public buildings in Adelaide. Open for business from 1841 to 1988, it was one of Australia’s longest continuously operational prison facilities.

The site is open to visitors to explore, but in a special one-off event, you can now get an even better glimpse into the Gaol’s grisly past by scouring the record books to learn about the very first prisoners that were locked away.

Entry is only $5.50pp and children under 4 are FREE.


Here’s what’s in store:

The Gaol’s brand new Story Cells will be opened to the public for the first time. Each cell features stories and artefacts from famous prisoners – including Thomas Horton who was executed for murder in 1904. Thanks to the generosity of Horton’s family, the cell contains a number of donated artefacts never before seen in public. Or visit the other cells for stories of Australia’s first saint Mary MacKillop’s service at the Gaol, crime, prison life, and even escape attempts!

Would you like the opportunity to own a unique and memorable part of South Australian history? Purchase a limited-edition hand engraved rooftop slate from the original 1841 build this History Day. Take home a piece of Adelaide Gaol and hold in your hands a part of South Australian heritage forever.

There is also a new exhibition – the Original Cell Block Display – which showcases artefacts from the Gaol’s chapel, as well as a miniature model of Adelaide Gaol and a prisoner made model of the Cutty Sark sailing ship.

Gaol Road Markets

The Gaol Road Markets will once again return to Adelaide Gaol and will feature bespoke, handmade crafts, local designers, food, coffee and live music.

What else to see and do:

After you’ve checked out the records, explore further afield to learn more about this iconic site and the prisoners that were kept there.

Find out what landed them behind bars, the realities of prison life, and the ways they tried to escape.

Walk through the cells, around the exercise yard and into the hanging tower, or look at the official documents and artefacts of the prisoners and guards, such as mug shots and uniforms.

About the Adelaide Gaol

Built in 1841, Adelaide Gaol is one of the state’s two oldest public buildings, a title it shares with Government House (1839) on North Terrace.

The gaol finally closed its doors in 1988 when the last inmates were transferred to other institutions.

It had operated for 147 years, hosting more than 300,000 prisoners – and executing 45 of them.

Now the gaol is one of Adelaide’s most popular heritage attractions, with self-guided tours available seven days a week, as well as guided historical tours for groups and schools, and ghost tours.

Interested in South Australia’s rich history? Read our stories to learn about our naval history, River Murray shipwrecks, and built heritage captured in pictures.


$5.50 per person. Children under four are free.

Online bookings are encouraged, however, entry tickets can be purchased on arrival.



Limited free parking will be available on site. The use of public transport to and from History Day is encouraged. Bus stop 1 on Port Road is a short walk from the Adelaide Gaol. Nearby tram stops are located on the corner of West Terrace and North Terrace or adjacent to George Street, Thebarton. Please note there is no right turn into Gaol Road from the city.

Discover more SA History Festival 2022 events 

things to do in Adelaide for families

For more information and all enquiries please visit the SA History Festival website.

What:  History Day at Adelaide Gaol

When:   Sunday 15 May 2022 | 10am – 4pm

Where:  Adelaide Gaol | 18 Gaol Road, Thebarton

Who:  Everyone

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: Supplied


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