Day 9 - MelbourneSeptember 6, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C
For today’s activity, we headed to the Old Melbourne Gaol which is in the CBD. This however wasn’t your usual walk around and read the signs experience, oh no! It all started with a 30 minute experience, where you are treated like a prisoner in the 90’s. We lined up outside the prison entrance and waited for the guard to let us in. Eventually he came out jangling his keys and then ushered us in and asked (well actually it was more like demanded) us to line up with our backs along the wall. After telling us that he was the boss now, we were each given a sheet with our characters on. I was serving time for possession of a firearm and Simon was in for arson. My particularly favourite fact about my prison self was that when asked why I was in possession of a firearm, my defence was “it was a present for a friend’. Smart!
We then went through and were lined up for our “search”. After a lot of heckling we were taken into the prison and shown to our cells, men in one and women in the other. Bye Simon! There were about 8 women in total and we just all sat there in silence not quite sure what was going to happen next when we heard the guard shout “lights out” and then everything went completely dark! Fortunately that didn’t last long before we were let out and marched into the exercise yard. Here the guard gave us a bit of history about the prison whilst still remaining in character. We were then given 5 minutes to have a look around and take some pictures. As it was a gaol, prisoners only stayed here awaiting trial, at which point they would then be released or transported to a prison. There was a padded cell for the crazies and a wet cell for the drunks which had nothing in it apart from a toilet and a drain in the middle so that it could be easily hosed down. The next stop on our prison experience was the women’s section of the gaol which was a lot smaller than the men’s. The guard then said his goodbyes and released us to go and have a look around the rest of the prison at our leisure. The main cell block was a lot larger and spanned 3 floors which we were free to walk around. It also contained the gallows where many men and women were hanged.
On our walking tour, the guide had mentioned that the La Trobe Reading Room in the Victoria State Library was worth a stop if you had the time, so as it was only around the corner from the gaol, we popped in there on our way back. It was a beautiful space with a magnificent octagonal domed roof so well worth the stop. We then headed back to Richmond as Maddy was taking us to a trivia and parma night at a nearby pub called The Corner. It turns out The Corner is actually quite a famous pub and a great place to see live music.
So the parma is an Aussie favourite of breaded chicken breast topped with a tomato sauce and melted cheese and for a cheap pub meal (parma and a beer for $20) it wasn’t bad at all. The trivia however didn’t go so well. Maddy’s friend Danni joined us for the pub quiz and it turns out our team name ‘Witness the Thickness’ was quite apt as we finished up in last place. It didn’t help that there was an entire round on Australian television and music that Si and I were no help whatsoever (although I did know the Neighbours question). It was good fun though.Read more