Fremantle Prison

Locally referred to as Fremantle Gaol, the prison is a former Western Australian detainment centre turned World Heritage Site. The prison, as the name suggests, is in Fremantle, originally used to ‘store’ convicts arriving from Britain. In 1886, the prison was transferred to the local colonial government and remained active until 1991.

From 1886 to its closure, the prison was used initially intended for short-term convictions. However, towards the late 50’s, the prison morphed into a maximum-security prison that, until 1984, carried out the death penalty by hanging.

Life in the Western Australian prison, particularly towards its closure, was highly regulated, often overlooking prisoners’ rights. For example, even meals become a privilege if the convicts didn’t obey to prison regulations.
Construction of the prison began in 1851 under the leadership of Comptroller General Edmund Henderson, whose primary responsibility was to direct convict labour. The prison was built using forced labour.