Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pentridge Gaol

"Bluestone College" or as it was officially known Pentridge Gaol, home to many students of crime.

It had been a gaol a life time before I was born. No, probably more as it was established in 1850. As a young boy of twelve, I remember riding my bike beside the bluestone walls of Pentridge gaol. It didn't have any relevence on me at the time. I was young with no knowledge of its history.

Opposite the gaol in complete contrast to the evils and stresses behind these walls was the serenity of a small lake that today is the playground of swans, ducks and families enjoying picnics. I use to run through the undulating hills opposite as part of my training program.

Ned Kelly's remains were buried within the walls of Pentridge Gaol. Above: Ned's portrait (he had been beheaded after being hung), his grave and the armour he wore at his last stand at Glenrowan, Victoria.

Inside the walls back then were criminals no more than 200 meteres away from the lake opposite. Some escaped and were caught fortunately. Ned Kelly the infamous bushranger was held at the Melbourne gaol in 1880 before being hanged. His remains were believed to be buried within the bluestone walls in 1929 after being discovered by workmen when building the Royal Institute of Technology.

The last hanging was Ronald Ryan after being caught from his escape with other inmates from "Bluestone College". Ryan was charged with the murder of one of the wardens.

Today the land within the bluestone gaol has become a residential site, but to me and people of my generation, we would wonder why you would want to live there. To us, it still has an unpleasant aura about it.

Sue had no previous history with the prison but felt an unpleasant feeling within that made her quite emotional.
The souls of the past imprisoned still give off a presence that I would rather not be close too.

One of the entrances to your apartments. No, not for us!!!


  1. I don't think I would like to live there either.
    Yesterday, the travel section of the LA Times had a great article on Tasmania. How I would love to be there right now, or anywhere in Australia for that matter.

  2. Tassie is one of my favorites as well.
    Hobart is gorgeous with so much history - it was settled before Victoria. Initially it was a penal colony at Port Arthur as well as a couple of more locations on the island.
    Just quietly, my family tree has convict ancestors on it. Shhhh, I only share that with friends.

  3. Leon, don't be ashamed of your ancestry! Whenever I hear someone talk about royalty, aristocracy, I never forget that they are where they are because their ancesters had A LOT of blood in their hands or/and were thieves...
    Your secret is safe. No one will find out.

  4. Who came up with the idea to transform this prison in homes for people to actually live in? It sounds so gruesome ... in spite of the pretty lake across the road! Is there an housing shortage in the area?

  5. The area surrounding the old prison is mostly industrial, commercial and older residential. The land is mainly volcanic soil and very rocky hence the use of so much bluestone used in the prison walls and bridges in the area.
    Its situated in the northern suburbs of Melbourne where I grew up and was developed mainly after the war. Low cost war service loan homes sprung up and workers and their families took advantage of owning their first homes. Today it is only a 30 min tram trip to the city.
    Who's idea was it - some finacial developer. Although there are some nice home there - its not where I would like to be (due to its past history).


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