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Trial Bay Jail
Photograph - Photography, Black & White,
Trial Bay Gaol (ruins), situated at Laggers Point, South West Rocks, NSW, Australia.
In 1861 there was a plan to build a breakwater off Laggers Point, South West Rocks, NSW, Australia to create a harbor for ships which were too big to cross the Macleay River mouth. It was planned to use prison inmates for the construction of the breakwater, hence Trial Bay Jail was established specifically for the purpose of housing the workers, and became a Public Works Prison. The breakwater project was never completed.
Work on the prison started in 1877, and 64 cells were completed in 1886 when the first prisoners occupied. Built from exceptionally hard local granite from the nearby hill, it created many construction problems.
The last use of the prison was between 1915-1918 when it was used as an enemy alien internment camp. Most of the detainees at this time were officers from the German Army Reserve. In 1917 It was rumoured that the Germans planned to rescue these men. When in 1918 an armed merchant raider, the German Hilfskreuzer SMS Wolf was seen... all the men from the prison were relocated to a larger prison on the outskirts of Sydney.
This was the last use made of the prison and it was dormant for several years and was completely stripped of fixtures in 1922 which were sold off.
Today it is open to the public, operated as a heritage site by the National Parks and Wildlife Service
Today Trial Bay prison is open to the public 7 days a week from 0900-1630 and operated within Arakoon State Conservation Area, a heritage site by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. It also provides thousands of visitors yearly with facilities for camping, swimming, boating, fishing and scenic walks.
February 17th, 2012
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