Get a taste of life as a prisoner of yesteryear at the Old Gaol Museum. Be regaled by fascinating stories from the days of the gaol’s operation and take a sneak peek at how the prisoners lived.
Built in the 1880s by Colonial Architect James Barnet the gaol became a home for the wayward in September 1882 and operated as a medium security prison for 100 years. Although the planned capacity of the gaol was 32 inmates, up to 49 have been accommodated. Nobody was ever hanged in the Gaol.
After its closure the Narrabri Historical Society was invited to house their collection in the Old Gaol section, and the museum opened in 1988. Visitors can experience the austere “feel” of the building with its cells, exercise yard and a black tracker’s hut.
Today the museum houses an extensive collection of artefacts of historical, archival and cultural significance, in addition to an extensive family history section catalogued by dedicated local historians. From a historical point of view, the centre houses a well documented range of early Australian memorabilia. The women’s cell is given over to the “Dalway Collection”, a fascinating collection of documents, uniforms, paintings and other articles from an influential Irishman who travelled to Australia in the early 1800’s, changed his name and took up life as an Australian. A well-versed guide will share the history of this early pioneer.
Night tours are available for groups of ten or more.
Tours of the town starting or ending with a visit to the museum can be arranged and are hosted by members of the Historical Society. For more information or to organise a tour please contact the Narrabri Shire Visitor Information Centre.
The Old Gaol Heritage Museum is located in Narrabri.
From the Narrabri Shire Visitor Information Centre, drive up Lloyd Street for two blocks, then turn right into Barwan Street.
Continue on Barwan Street for three blocks until you reach the Old Gaol Heritage Museum on the corner of Bowen Street.