Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Darlinghurst, gaol

The site of the old Darlinghurst Gaol is now occupied by the The National Art School. The walls of the prison were built by convicts between 1822 and 1824. Work began on the prison buildings in 1835 in the Victorian Regency style and took 50 years to complete. By 1840 the Governor's residence, one men's cell block and the women's cell block were finished and prisoners were marched here from the old gaol at The Rocks in 1841. Darlinghurst Gaol was also the site for many executions at the gallows just inside the walls near the intersection of Darlinghurst Road and Burton Street or numerous public executions on a makeshift gallows outside the main gate in Forbes Street. The gaol was the main Sydney penitentiary up until 1914, when inmates were transferred to Long Bay, a new 'model prison' at Malabar. This site was transferred to the New South Wales Department of Education in 1921, who adapted the buildings for use as the East Sydney Technical College and by 2005 was solely occupied by the The National Art School. I've used the old British and Australian spelling for gaol in this post here since that's the way it was spelt back then, even though the American spelling for jail seems to be more commonly used in Australia these days.

46 comments:

  1. Very cool place for an art school! I'm sure the students never run out of ideas for their artwork.

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  2. Amazing. I have walked many of streets near the gaol, but never actually walked past it. On the list for the next visit.

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  3. Wow, it looks too pretty to be a prison!

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  4. Pretty fancy for a gaol or jail! Of course, inside might not look so nice.

    Gaol has become jail here in Canada too. :)

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  5. I love the word gaol. It sounds so much more severe than jail. What a place for an art school.

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  6. Fantastic building and very interesting information!

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  7. cool! I have never been that near to a prison.

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  8. I'd like to go back in time for a quick look at this gaol at the time it was being built by the convicts, without any cranes, power drills and saws.

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  9. Really impressive for a jail! I love how they have turned it into a school. How very innovative.

    Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comment. Have a great week!

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  10. What an interesting building and in such perfect order. I love that it's been given a new purpose and lives on.

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  11. I'm with Yogi, I love the word gaol! And what a unique place for an art school! Wonderful that it's been maintained. Terrific post/photos as always! Have a great week!

    Sylvia

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  12. Makes one wonder how many circles there were walked inside and whether its traces are still left.
    What a wonderful development though, to become a place for the freedom of art.
    Please have a nice Tuesday.

    daily athens

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  13. J Bar: Love that building and it is perfect for an art school, it has great lines.

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  14. From prison to art school...and 50 years in the making back in the day. These details have me thinking. Thanks.

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  15. aloha,

    very beautiful photos, i love this unique building

    thanks for sharing this...my world tuesday is on my plant fanatic blog

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  16. How wonderful is that we can preserve history without turning it into a museum.

    I bet those bricks could tell a tale or two.

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  17. very interesting architecture..i can't imagine this building as a prison.

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  18. Beautiful Art School. Thank you for sharing.

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  19. That round building must be a great place to do some art. Great photos - love the blue blue sky too.

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  20. It is great to be able to just walk inside it, a great story too jim

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  21. beautiful blue skies and a great post! thanks for sharing!

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  22. Thank goodness no more public hangings - gruesome. Who would want to see such a thing?

    Good place for an art school.

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  23. I like rotund buildings. Fancy getting prisoners to build the prisons, they might deliberately have weaken parts so they can escape. Just put more sand in the concrete mixing.

    You read about our first prison officer who was killed on the job? was from USA and had the funeral service yesterday.

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  24. Jim, typo ... the prisoners were marched from the old gaol in The Rocks in 1841 not 1941. The old gaol in the Rocks was just down from the juncture of George St (aka Sgt Majors Row & High St) and Bridge St, on the eastern side.

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  25. There seems to be a theme for circular buildings in Darlinghurst, but they're certainly interesting buildings. That's definitely one of the more interesting building conversions, gaol to art school.

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  26. Julie, thanks for picking up that typo for me. I've corrected it now. :)

    Ann, I haven't seen anything about that news from New Zealand here in Australia.

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  27. It's nice to know such a cool looking building being used for art rather than a jail!

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  28. How interesting! I read several of the preceding posts, also. These buildings are beautiful, one would never expect them to have been built for a prison and police station!

    Thanks for dropping in!

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  29. Hi J Bar
    le foto nel tuo blog sono tutte molto belle.
    L'australia è veramente una terra meravigliosa :-)
    Grazie della visita.
    Happy day.

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  30. I must say that this is a beautiful prison. thanks for the info.

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  31. That´s an interesting shape of the building.

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  32. I'll have to print-out your blog entries for next time I go to Sydney. They're as good as a tourist guide!

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  33. Thanks for the positive feedback, Rinly Rimes.

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  34. No matter how you spell it, that building seems better suited for an art school than a jail/gaol. It's a beautiful building. We once visited a convict-built jail in Yuma Arizona -- but they didn't do nearly such a creative job.

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  35. hey guys. the place is beautiful. How can I get there? What bus or train station should I alight? I am going there from King Cross station. Any helpers?

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  36. Jaclyn, it's actually not that far from Kings Cross railway station. Travelling south on Darlinghurst Road, it's about six blocks away to the Burton Street corner of the old gaol. You could easily walk there otherewise there most likely would be a bus route down Darlinghurst Road.

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  37. That's in good order.I am pleased the old sites are being preserved.
    That was a real run down area when I lived in Sydney.....many years ago.
    Keep up the good photographs,very interesting.

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  38. This is a great blog and the photo's are fantastic. Can you tell me about the sculpture in Darlinghurst that looks like balls on sticks (at the overpass between Kings Cross and Darlinghurst). I have been looking for info about it and haven't found anything...thanks

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  39. street photography tips, that would be Ken Unsworth's sculpture "Stones Against the Sky".

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Thanks for visiting my blog. Please leave me a message. Jim.

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