Our Latest News

Join us for the Power of Parks forum at Launceston

22/07/2016

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) in partnership with the University of Tasmania is exploring The Power of Parks through a series of UTAS public forums celebrating the benefits that parks and reserves provide to Tasmania's overall identify.More

Shipwreck identified as the Viola

19/07/2016

Timber samples from a ship wrecked on Tasmania's East Coast nearly 160 years ago have been identified as the Canadian-built brig Viola.More

Prosecution for Stanley penguin deaths

15/07/2016

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and the Circular Head Council have conducted a joint investigation after 18 little penguins were found dead near a rookery in Stanley on the State's North-West coast last week.More

Richmond Gaol

Introduction

The gaol entrance as it appears today

Richmond Gaol is the oldest, still intact, gaol in Australia. It predates the penal colony at Port Arthur by five years. A cornerstone of the convict system devised by Governor Arthur, the gaol was erected by convicts in 1825-27 in several stages. The 1835 wing built to accommodate women prisoners are the best preserved female convict structures still existing in Tasmania.

Specific regulations drafted for the Richmond Gaol in the 1830s aimed to maintain a constant vigil on the prisoners. Floggings - usually carried out by convicts or ex-convicts themselves - were frequent. The colonial hangman, Solomon Bleay, was also imprisoned at Richmond Gaol, being escorted to and from Hobart and Launceston (the only places of execution), when necessary, to carry out his duties.

Many of the gaol’s prisoners remained unbowed by the system imposed upon them and escapes were frequent throughout its history. Convicts resorted to all manner of means to break out, including removing roof shingles, digging under the foundations and removing lintels over windows.

In 1945 the gaol was ceded to the State Government as a State Reserve under the Scenery Preservation Board and subsequently gazetted as an Historic Site under the National Parks and Wildlife Act in 1970.

The gaol, now a museum, is open daily from 9am to 5 pm. Phone (03) 6260 2127 for details.