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Old Gaol, Albany


City of Albany

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


2-4 Parade St Albany

Location Details

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1873, Constructed from 1852

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
State Register Permanent 27 Feb 1996 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A+

Category A+

• Already recognised at the highest level – the WA State Register of Heritage Places. Redevelopment requires consultation with the Heritage Council of WA and the City of Albany. • Provide maximum encouragement to the owner under the City of Albany Town Planning Scheme to conserve the significance of the place. • Incentives to promote heritage conservation should be considered.

Register of the National Estate Indicative Place

Heritage Council
Classified by the National Trust Classified 04 Apr 1977

Heritage Council
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Mar 1978

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

Old Gaol, Albany, a complex of rough cut granite and colonial brick buildings, arranged around a central court yard and surrounded by a random rubble wall, has aesthetic, historic, social and rarity cultural heritage significance for the following reasons;
The place has a close association with the convict establishment in WA.
It is an important component in a group of places which reflect the mid nineteenth century settlement of Albany and
The place has an association with the exploration of the coast of Western Australia by Matthew Flinders in
1801, and Edmund Lockyer's settlement in 1826.

Physical Description

The Old Gaol comprises a series of buildings arranged around a central courtyard with the hiring depot in the centre.
The 1852 building, constructed form rough cut granite, is single storey with a steeply pitched roof, simple in finish.
The 1873 buildings are of handmade bricks laid in Flemish bond, sometimes with a pleasing diapered effect created by the variation in tone in the bricks. There is a two-storey brick observation tower overlooking the complex. A random rubble wall, interspersed by brick reinforcing and infill, surrounds the whole.
Electricity was installed in the 1960s when the buildings were renovated for use by the Albany Historical Society. In 1990, a conservation and restoration programme began which included the restorative work to halt the deterioration of the fabric of the buildings. Further work in 1991 and 1993 completed this restoration project and added new features such as new timber floors, an external stair and the provision of more appropriate lighting.
Additional conservation works funded by the National Estates Grant Programme were undertaken in 1995.


The Old Gaol was constructed in two stages; in the early 1850s a lock-up and quarters and in the early 1870s substantial additions were made to the lock-up.
The site chosen was a logical one as fresh water flowed into the harbour at that point. It was the same location at which Matthew Flinders had camped during his circumnavigation of Australia. In 1826, Major Edmund Lockyer also chose the site for the military outpost which was the first white settlement in Western Australia.
Lieutenant Crossman selected the site for the permanent depot in 1852 and construction began soon after. The permanent facilities include a lock-up and quarters, warders quarters, a large depot building, workshops, hospital, kitchens, offices, commissariat store and quarters and garden and parade ground. Construction was carried out by ticket-of-leave men supervised by the Royal Sappers and Miners who served as instructor warders.
Quarries at Mount Melville and town lots 63, 64 and 65 supplied the granite stone. Timber was cut by ticket-of-leave at sites nearby and bricks were made locally under contract.
The original intention for the lock-up was as a place of punishment for ticket-of-leave men however the facilities were soon used for colonial prisoners as well. In 1864, the convict depot was proclaimed a public gaol therefore placing it under control of the local police rather than the military. As the convict system wound down plans were made for a new gaol attached to the old gaol. Work proceeded in the first half of 1873 and the new gaol was officially proclaimed in June 1873. The new accommodation include Gaoler's Quarters, a new depot building, a timber lined cell for Aborigines, female cells and a day room, a kitchen and wash house and two separate walled exercise yards for male and female prisoners.
The 1873 buildings were built of solid brick walls on stone foundations, brick chimneys and timber joinery, roof framing, floors and roof shingles. The boundary walls of brickwork were constructed at this time. The existing offices and workshops were demolished during the building of the new gaol. The functions of several buildings also changed at this time, including the conversion of the commissariat stores and quarters to become the Resident magistrate's home. Further minor alterations additions were made in 1878 and in the early 1880's.
The Western Australian Land Development Company acquired the property in the late 1880s as part of its Perth to Albany railway construction project. It is assumed that the remaining original buildings, apart from the Residency, were demolished at this time. The gaol continued to operate during the time of the WA Land Development Co. were constructing the railway. The state government resumed control of the property and despite requests for improvements the buildings remained relatively unchanged until 1940 when it was decided to close the gaol and demolish the buildings. No tenders were received for the demolition work so the property passed to the Public Works Department who used the buildings as a store, workshop and garage. They occupied the buildings until 1959 when, after much discussion about the future use of the buildings, the site was vested in the Albany Historical Society in 1968.
The Society uses the buildings as a Museum, library and as a repository for historical records and artefacts. Major conservation and restoration work was commenced in 1990 with funds from the National Estates Grants Programme.


Integrity: High




Name Type Year From Year To
Matthew Flinders Architect - -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Heritage TODAY Site visit and Assessment 1999
Heritage Council of Western Australia assessment for entry on interim basis 1995

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
1932 Old Gaol Albany Schedule for restoration work for Stage One (Preliminary) Report 1990
1973 Old Gaol Albany Conservation and restoration report Completed work Stage 2 Report 1991
1926 Old Albany Gaol historical study and report Report 1989
9830 Old Gaol - Albany. Conservation works report 1993
328 Albany, Western Australia : the first hundred years, 1791-1891. Book 1992
11358 Cast iron pillar boxes of Western Australia: An early history of the J & E Ledger foundry Book 2015
8851 Albany waterfront structure plan. Heritage report, heritage impact study. Heritage Study {Other} 2007
1151 Old gaol Albany : A report on the Old Gaol's use as a museum Report 1989
6426 A preliminary study of convict sites in Western Australia (draft). Heritage Study {Other} 1997
1316 Old gaol Albany : conservation and restoration - completed work stage four Report 1996
171 Old Gaol Albany conservation and restoration report completed work stage three Report 1993

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Other Use EDUCATIONAL Museum
Original Use GOVERNMENTAL Gaol
Present Use GOVERNMENTAL Police Station or Quarters

Architectural Styles

Victorian Georgian

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Wall STONE Granite

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


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