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Blog post from Friday, 6 June, 2014

Darlinghurst Gaol, 1891 / watercolour by H. L. Bertrand

Plan of the New Gaol for Sydney, ca. 1840

On this day, 7th June 1841, Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney began taking prisoners.

Darlinghurst Gaol represented some of the most progressive ideas of incarceration of the time. It incorporated the view of the British Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline that optimal prison conditions were necessary to ensure reform rather than punishment, and it used the concept of radial buildings, which allowed for the central surveillance of the prison population.

The poet, Henry Lawson was imprisoned there at times between 1905 and 1910.

See the State Library of New South Wales Discover Collections feature on Henry Lawson’s Hard Times.

Read more about the history of Darlinghurst Gaol in the Dictionary of Sydney

The State Library of New South Wales has many photographs and pictures relating to Darlinghurst Gaol.