With my brother and sister-in-law,
we toured the Old Melbourne Gaol.
It was a lot better than we expected.
First, we were given a guided tour of the Court Room.
(In case you were wondering,
the motto is the motto of the British Monarchy
and it means “God and my Right”.
No, it’s not Latin.
It’s actually French,
as are the other words on the emblem.
French was the language of the Royal Court,
hence, the French on their emblem.)
Then, we were ‘escorted’ into the old watch house
…by our ‘arresting’ sergeant
and our ‘arrests’ were processed.
We were placed in lines and shouted at
and then led into our holding cells.
Then, the lights were turned off
and we were left at the mercy of our cellmates.
It sounds terrible, doesn’t it,
but, it was a lots of fun
(…except for the little kid
whose mother thought it would be a good idea to bring the child along).
After we were ‘released’,
we were free to explore the watch house
and its cells.
You’d have to be desperate
to use the toilet
in front of all of your cellmates.
And, yes, they really do have padded cells.
Back in the Old Gaol,
we took our seats for a play about Ned Kelly.
It was titled, “Such is Life”.
It was really good.
After the play,
we explored the Old Melbourne Gaol itself.
There was so much to see.
Firstly, Ned Kelly’s death mask.
Ned was left hanging for thirty minutes
before being moved to the mortuary.
There, a ‘death mask’ was made of his head.
(I wonder why death masks were made in those days.
They had access to photography by then.)
The gaol also contains the gun that Ned used in the Glenrowan siege.
He’d stolen it from a constable
during the Jerilderie robbery.
You can also see where Ned was hung,
along with 134 other people.
There were lots of cells to explore
and lots of stories to read.
This is the death mask of Francis Knorr,
the first woman to be hanged in Victoria.
The hangman, who was supposed to hang Francis,
committed suicide two days prior,
rather than hang a woman.
We wandered up and down the gaol catwalks
inspecting the cells
and reading about the history of the prison and its prisoners.
It was a fascinating place
and I wished we had more time to spend there.
However, we had to get on the road
and continue our drive north and homeward.