History Of The Gladstone Gaol
Written and Researched by
A famous and historic heritage listed building, The Gladstone Gaol was built between 1879 - 1881 at the cost of £21,640.
It was constructed from slate sourced from the Mintaro Quarry and transported to the Gladstone site by bullock drays.
While originally housing "inebriates" and "debtors", the Gladstone Gaol never housed its intended capacity. Reaching never more than approximately 86 prisoners between 1881 until the 1920s.
Although always intended as a Gaol for both Men and Women, the prisoners always remained totally separated, maintaining zero contact.
The Women were assigned to laundry duties, while the Men were to attend the market gardens outside of the prison grounds.
During the global conflict of World War II, The Gladstone Gaol was transformed into a South Australian Internment Camp for German and Italian internees. While interstate, another two gaols were also used, along with a hospital and a race course, eventually leading to the need of purpose-built internment Camps.
Following this, the gaol was used as a Military Detention Barracks.
Between 1943 and 1953 the Gaol remained unused until it became a corrective training facility for offenders aged 18 - 25 years old.
In 1955 the complex increased to include 125 cells following an extension.
Closing in 1975, as its facilities were deemed outdated, only to be reopened to the public in 1978
Charles Vangelis Ross in His Prison Guard uniform
Photograph provided courtesy of Roslyn Ross, http://Roslyn-ross.blogspot.com/.
During the late months of 1979, The Gladstone Gaol became the "Gatunga Gaol" for the set of the prison movie "STIR".
While controversial at the time, "STIR" was inspired by and loosely based on the real-life prison riot at Bathurst Gaol of N.S.W. in 1974.
The "B" and "C" wings were used in the making of the movie.
Travellers and Tourists alike find the Gladstone Gaol a "must see" destination of the Southern Flinders Ranges.
Today, The Gladstone Gaol is available for overnight accommodation with three styles available
-"Budget": Bring your own bedding
- "Affordable": ready-made beds
- "Bed and Breakfast": Fully prepared accommodation with a continental breakfast
Tours available include:
- A "Do it yourself" Tour
- A Guided Tour
You can make an appointment for a night "Ghost Tour"
- functions and conferences are also catered for, along with special interest groups
- Light refreshments are available at the Gaol Cafe
Gaol opening times are:
Wed- Mon 10am - 5pm
Gladstone S.A. 5472
Ph: (08) 86622200
Mobile (Cell): 0429799926
Fax: (08) 866622240
June 1910, appointed Senior Warder at Gladstone Gaol
We prepared for our investigation by researching our location, getting maps and making a list of all known haunted areas within the Gaol, Karen and Allen then presented this material to the other teams at a team meeting held the weekend before the Gaol Investigation.
We decided on how to approach the investigation at the team meeting. It was decided each team would take a section of the Gaol, locations listed from A to E, and spend half an hour there investigating before moving into the next section. All the teams would then meet together and try some experiments Allen and David had designed, then return to the rotating roster of locations.
We started our walk through of the site with Kathy Webb, former caretaker of the Gaol. Kathy gave us vast amounts of insight into the operations of the gaol in its working life, and life in the gaol since its closure in 1975. Kathy took us to all the locations reputed to be haunted and told us the stories associated with the haunting, some of which, in her opinion, are not true at all.
After our tour we began our setup process, DVRs were placed in the "D" block by the Adelaide Shadow Hunters, and the "C" and "A" blocks, and tower by Adelaide Spirit Chasers and Shadow Riders Paranormal Investigations. Ir lighting was set about the different hallways and measurements of sound, wind and EMF were taken throughout the facility.
We then stopped for dinner and a quick chat about noise levels and contamination of evidence.
Each team began its investigation in it's allocated area, then rotated throughout the evening, until we gathered together for an experiment.
Cell Block Experiment
We gathered all the teams together in cell block "C". Allen and David acted as the Warden and Guard.
All the remaining team members divided into individual cells, then Allen and David walked through the cell block calling "lights out" and checking on the individual cells as guards would have done in their era.
During this experiment we noted a number of occurrences, one team member reported that their K2 meter went into the "red" , Allen and David both witnessed a light leaving a cell behind them and heard the sound of shuffling feet (no-one was behind them, nor was anyone moving about).
We decided to move the experiment into cell block "B' and try again, this timeless phenomena occurred in the cell block when compared to the previous experiment, however, whilst watching the DVR system during the experiment, we noticed movement in the stairwell and in the "C" block where we had just been...
Each team took turns at doing EVP sessions during the night, experiments and using various equipment - look for a video on youtube soon showing some of the investigations during the night
Sometimes whilst investigating people have experiences that aren't caught on camera, voice recorder or other equipment.
These experiences, being touched, being scratched, smelling perfume etc. cannot be caught on conventional paranormal investigation equipment. Often these experiences are dismissed as they cannot be quantified, or validated by any conventional means, and thus remain the personal experience of the witness.
The majority of Personal Experiences are never expressed to the client as no physical evidence or reading can be supplied, however, if the event coincided with a reading, it may be referenced in a report.
Here we are going to share some of the personal experiences from team members on our investigation at The Gladstone Gaol.
We are not stating that these experiences are verifiable paranormal experiences, but they are related to the investigation and previous ghost stories told from the Gaol.
Lisa: Shadow Riders Paranormal Investigations
When we were doing the experiment in area B, I thought I would just lay down for a minute (mistake no 1) and shut my eyes for a sec(mistake no 2). I started to doze off, at first it felt like someone was lightly rubbing the inside of my knee, but then I decided it was just the fabric of my jeans moving across my leg, that I must have moved slightly. As I was falling deeper asleep, I got what felt like a firm squeeze on the right side of my waist, I really thought it felt like fingers digging into me, and I woke up with a jolt. When I was awake I thought I must have imagined it and it was just that I woke with a start. When I mentioned it on Sunday morning, I found out some of the others had the same thing.
John: Adelaide Shadow Hunters
"We began by holding an EVP session in Cell 1 where the only activity seemed to be me (John) experiencing something tug on my Infra-red light cord. We then moved around each cell in D-block conducting EVP sessions where we didn't get much activity.
Another personal experience that happened to me was I had seen a shadow go across the back wall into a closed cell. As we went down there to see which cell it went in we noticed that the cell was locked and that you could not get into it."
John: Shadow Riders Paranormal Investigations
It was about 5.30am... in "A" Block and I awoke with a pain in my side like I was being clamped by a claw of sorts. The funniest thing was I had been dreaming that I had been bitten by a crocodile. After I woke the pain was gone within a few seconds
Back Row: John (S.R.P.I.), David (A.S.C./ S.A.P.), Allen (E.P./ S.A.P.), Ben (A.S.H.), Tony Holland - Curator
Middle: Lisa (S.R.P.I.), Mick (A.S.C.) John (A.S.H.), Courtney (A.S.H.)
Front: Cathy Webb (Guide) Jayde (E.P.), Maryann (A.S.C.), Teena (M.N.P.), Deb (M.N.P.)
Kneeling: Karen(E.P./ S.A.P.)
A big thanks to Tony Holland, Gladstone Gaol caretaker for allowing us investigate.
Thanks also to Kathy Webb for the tour and valuable insight into Gaol life...
And Finally, A Big thank you to Mid North Paranormal for all the liaising in Gladstone
"The Mercury" - Hobart, Tasmania, Sat. 15th May 1920 - page 7
"The Advertiser" - Adelaide, South Australia; Sat. 21st Oct. 1911 - page 19
"Barrier Miner" Broken Hill, N.S.W. Mon. 2nd March 1953 page 1
"Barrier Miner" Broken Hill; N.S.W. Wed. 9th May 1894 page 1
Gladstone Community Development & Tourism Association
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