This prison, founded in 1840 and used right up until 1988, is grim and imposing. I like how they’ve kept it pretty much the same as it was. There are a few collections of artifacts and some information boards, but generally you feel like you’re walking around in an old prison. The cells are tiny and windowless.
Over the decades, 45 criminals were executed here, including the only woman in South Australia ever given the death penalty. Her name was Elizabeth Woolcock and was found guilty of poisoning her husband Thomas. The museum here speculates that she may not have been guilty. His autopsy found that he died of mercury poisoning and the evidence was that Elizabeth had sent her son to buy mercury on several occasions. She claimed this was for her headaches but the jury didn’t take long to pronounce her guilt. Shortly before her execution on 30 December 1873, she wrote some memoirs in which she described her unpleasant upbringing and gave something of a confession, writing that ‘she had given in to temptation’ after harsh treatment from her husband.
All those who were executed at the gaol were buried there and someone had recently left flowers at Elizabeth’s gravesite.