When Adelaide was established a free colony in 1836, many believed that Adelaide would be a utopian society as all settlers were highly educated, so there was no need for a prison. Sadly things did not go as plan and the first prisoners were held on the HMS Buffalo- a floating prison hulk
A temporary gaol was then set up in a wooden hut, which was surrounded by a wooden fence. This enclosure was often over-crowded and escapes were frequent. As the prison grew, permanent buildings slowly replaced the makeshift huts.
Adelaide Gaol is the longest continually operating gaol in the country. From 1841 to 1988 Adelaide Gaol was home to over 300,000 people, both guilty and innocent, including men, women and children.
A total of 45 executions were performed onsite. Initially, executions were public and were held in front of the Gaol buildings. Up to 2,000 people attended public hangings!
Adelaide Gaol is now a museum, tourist attraction, function centre and registered cemetery.