On our way to the Grampians from Ballarat, we had to drive through the rural town of Ararat and we decided to make a pit-stop at the infamous J-Ward gaol.
J-Ward gaol (an obselete spelling for "jail" used in Australia) started out as a goldfields prison in the 1850s, as a response to the influx of immigrants to the area during the Gold Rush. When the gold ran out, its was converted to temporary housing for the criminally insane in Victoria, before becoming an extension of the Aradale Lunatic Asylum. It was in operation right up to 1991 and is now a museum to preserve the lives and stories of the criminals who were imprisoned there.
We were given a one-hour tour by a volunteer who explained to us the history of the compounds, The fascinating stories of the criminals and their experiences in the goal.
He even threw in a ghost story for good measure. In the governor's bathroom, he alleged, lives the restless spirit of the governor who had died of a heart attack on the second step from the floor of the old kitchen.
Before the tour, E and I had wandered the grounds on our own and had taken pictures in the very same room. I am relieved to report that the photos came out normal. ;)
My mum might say "Aiyoh, bad luck!"
You can view more photos from the J-Ward gaol here!