AGY-406 | Parramatta Gaol [I]

NSW State Archives Collection
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The first gaol in Parramatta was built in 1798. This was 'a strong logged gaol of 100 feet in length, with separate cells for the prisoners ... and paled around with very high fence'. (1) Like the Sydney Gaol, the Parramatta Gaol, then housing eight prisoners, was destroyed by fire on 28 December 1799. (2) The 'jail' was rebuilt in 1802. (3) The premises were 'a modest variant of an army barrack ... (with a) central converse corridor with wards to the left and right and cells added to each end.' (4)

A new prison was erected on the site between the years 1837 and 1843. Because of the poor physical state of repair of the previous premises the building under construction was proclaimed a 'Public Gaol, Prison and House of Correction' in 1842. (5) The design of this prison was extended several times during the 19th century. (6)

Declining prison population during World War I led to the closure of the Parramatta Gaol in 1918. (7) During these years the gaol was used as a mental hospital and much of its equipment was removed or destroyed. (8)

The Parramatta Gaol was re-established on the same site in 1922.

1. HRA Series I, Volume II p.560.
2. Ibid. p.434.
3. HRA Series I Volume III p.406.
4. Kerr, J.S. The Parramatta Correctional Centre. Sydney, Department of Corrective Services, 1995 p.2.
5. Ibid., p. 12
6. Department of Corrective Services. "An analysis of NSW Prison Proclamations compiled by Denis Fitzpatrick. Sydney, The Department, 1996, p.36.
7. NSW Government Gazette, 13 September 1918, p.4531.
8. Kerr, op. cit., p.36.
9. AGY-485, Parramatta Gaol [II] (1922-1992) / Parramatta Correctional Centre (1992-2011).

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