Maitland Gaol is Australia's longest continuously operating correctional facility (1844-1998) and is now one of the Hunter Region's most recognised and awarded heritage and cultural tourism attractions.
Developed over the last few years, the facility now caters for tourists looking for a unique and unusual day or night activity.
A world-class self-guided audio tour will take you on a 150 year history of the Gaol. Narrated by award-winning actor, Chris Haywood, the tour is illustrated by many actual comments and observations by former in-mates, officers, other staff, assistants and researchers.
Three very different themed public guided tours are available. Experience the personal accounts of an Ex-Inmate tour, learn the facts and stories of Maitland Gaol on a History tour or pursue the supernatural on a Psychic tour. The Ex-Inmate tours are offered regularly as both day and torchlight, prebooked and prepaid public activities while the Psychic tour is offered regularly as a torchlight activity. History tours are occasionally available as a public tour but generally offered as a private educational activity. An Officers themed guided tour will soon be available.
The site is also used extensively for functions, events and community activities.
Recently conserved and restored, the Auditorium has been developed as an educational and interpretive centre which also includes an extensive museum and exhibition space. This space displays smaller and more delicate items from the Maitland Gaol Collection and hosts special themed exhibitions of Maitland Gaol artefacts and travelling exhibitions. It is also used for lectures and educational purposes.
Spreading over 2.5 hectares, the site is a facility exhibiting 150 years of correctional institution social history. A look at life on the inside!
The Maitland Gaol Collection is primarily the 30+ buildings, facilities, furniture and fittings, associated with the 150 years of this correctional institution. The area is gradually being developed, in conjunction with an extensive interpretation plan, into a site museum spreading throughout the major buildings and facilities.
However, a major project has recently been established in conjunction with the new Education and Interpretive Centre together with the Research and Reading Room, to obtain, catalogue and display, items which tell more of the story of Maitland Gaol, its people and its buildings. Donations and extended loans of artefacts, such as documents, artworks, uniforms and clothing, books and records have been sort and acquired and are now being added to the larger items associated with the fabric of the site to create a much more complete story regarding the history and sociology of prison life throughout the 150 year operation of Maitland Gaol.