Behind Bars - Fremantle Prison

>>  Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This week's gallery is 'Door'.

 Fremantle prison in Perth, Western Australia was built as a convict barracks and used from 1855.  It continued to be a fully functioning prison until 1991.

The death penalty was carried out here, the last man was in 1964.  The death penalty was abolished in 1984 in Australia.

It's now open as a heritage site and you can go on many different types of tours around both the men's and lady's prisons.

We have been on a few of them over the years.  It's a really interesting place to go around.  It just hasn't been changed much across the years, even whilst it was a working institution.

It is very much about doors.

And containment.

You can look through one cell door and see something so clever like this.
And yet look into another and see this.

This is a death row cell.

You would walk out of this door... this

43 men and 1 woman were hung here.
It is interesting in the chapel that on the ten commandments painted on the wall, the 6th has been altered from 'thou shalt not kill' to 'thou shalt do no murder'.  Execution was not murder.

This would not have been a nice place to be.

If a man tried to run up this hill to get to the grassy area at the top, he would have been shot.

The gun tower guard was armed and watching.
The heat in the exercise yard was quite unbearable.

Intially you walk around thinking you are looking at something from the 1800s but the fluorescent strips and modern fittings really bring home how you are walking around a prison where the prisoners are not long gone.

They were moved out to Casuarina in 1991.

If you find yourself out in Fremantle I really recommend the prison as a great day out.

You can only go on a timed tour so sometimes there can be a wait, but there is a nice cool cafe and good toilet facilities.  There is an interesting exhibition to be looked at and a convict database so you can look up your relatives.

There is also an art exhibition.  The last time we went is was art done by prisoners, a lot of it aboriginal but not all of it.  I really enjoyed it, good quality work with real depth, really worth taking the time to look around it.


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