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Boggo Road Gaol Complex

  • 601033
  • 150 Annerley Road, Dutton Park

General

Also known as
Boggo Road Gaol: No. 2 Division and Remnant No. 1 Division; State Prison for Women at Boggo Road South Brisbane; No.2 Division Brisbane Correctional Centre
Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
15 February 1993
Type
Law/order, immigration, customs, quarantine: Prison/gaol
Theme
7.1 Maintaining order: Policing and maintaining law and order
Architect
Queensland Department of Public Works
Construction periods
1903–1992, Boggo Road Gaol Complex (1903 - 1992)
1903–1992, Views and Outer Grounds
1903, Perimeter Walls, Sentry Cabin and Tower, and Sterile Zone (1903)
1903, Gatehouse, Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former) (1903)
1903, Former Receiving Rooms / Kitchen / Laundry (later a Library and Recreation Room) (1903)
1903, Former Hospital / Offices (later Warders’ Recreation Area) (1903)
1903, Cell Blocks (1903): Block D (former Workshop, converted 1930); Block E (formerly known as Block B) ; Block F (formerly known as Block C)
1903, Parade Ground (1903)
1903, Exercise Yards (1903)
1969–1978, Remnants of former No. 1 Division: Watchtower (c1969-78)
1974–1988, Remnants of former No. 1 Division: Detention Units (1974; ground floor cells 1988)
1987, Visitors Centre (1987)
Historical period
1900–1914 Early 20th century
1970s–1990s Late 20th century
Style
Arts & Crafts

Location

Address
150 Annerley Road, Dutton Park
LGA
Brisbane City Council
Coordinates
-27.49514578, 153.02852627

Map

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

Boggo Road Gaol Complex, comprising the former State Prison for Women (later No. 2 Division, 1903) and remnants of No. 1 Division (opened 1883, rebuilt 1960s-1980s), is important in demonstrating the evolution of prison design and policy in Queensland.

The former State Prison for Women (No. 2 Division) is important as Queensland’s first women’s prison complex and the only women’s prison designed to incorporate the ‘separate system’ in Queensland.

As one of only three gaol complexes designed on the ‘separate system’ in Queensland, No. 2 Division is a rare and exceptional example of 19th century penological principles. Designed as a complex of buildings to punish and rehabilitate its prisoners through separation, its built and plan form, fabric, and layout reflect the conditions under which prisoners were incarcerated. Converted to a male prison in 1921, the complex continued to serve as part of Queensland’s most populous prison until its closure in 1989.

The remnants of No. 1 Division (watchtower incorporating staircase of former hospital building (c.1969-72) and overhead walkway (c.1975-78); section of former workshop building (c.1974); and detention cells (1988)); and the Visitors Centre (1987) are important in demonstrating the evolution in prisoner accommodation and prison facilities in the latter part of the 20th century. The remnants of No. 1 Division are the only part of that complex to remain and as such they are reflective of the use of the much larger site as a gaol from 1883 and demonstrate its continuity of use for over 100 years.

Features added to the gaol complex during the 1970s and 1980s – including chain-wire and barbed-wire fences and roofs in the exercise yards (c.1970-1984), prisoners’ graffiti (c.1970s-1992), and detention cells (1988) – are important in demonstrating both the deteriorating conditions and the increasing political unrest and civil rights activism associated with the gaol. The gaol complex achieved notoriety for the inadequate conditions and treatment of those inside its walls, and was a focus for protests by prisoners and civilians, part of a broader social and political movement which occurred in Queensland in the late 20th century.

Boggo Road Gaol is significant as part of a network of late 19th and early 20th century institutions in Queensland which were designed to control and discipline. Through the gaol complex’s design, form and layout, it demonstrates the control exerted by the government over those interned.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

Boggo Road Gaol Complex (No. 2 Division) is rare as the only surviving intact gaol complex in Queensland reflecting 19th century penological principles, being one of only five such gaol complexes built (including Brisbane men’s prisons at Petrie Terrace (1860, no longer extant) and Boggo Road (1883, no longer extant), Rockhampton (1884, no longer extant) and Townsville (1878, rebuilt 1893, not intact as a complex)).

As a rare Australian example of a prison complex purpose-built for women, the Boggo Road Gaol Complex (No. 2 Division) demonstrates rare aspects of Queensland's cultural heritage.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

Boggo Road Gaol Complex (No. 2 Division) is important as a highly intact and rare example of a separate system prison complex established in Queensland during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It demonstrates the principal characteristics of this type through its: collection of robust masonry buildings, forming a purpose-built facility for the incarceration of prisoners; tall perimeter walls/fences to prevent escape; defined, highly-secured areas for prisoners and semi-secured areas for staff and visitors; front, imposing gatehouse; tall observation (sentry) towers and open spaces for surveillance of prisoners; large cell blocks with separate prisoner accommodation cells, organised in a radiating plan form around a central observation point (Parade Ground); cells with curved ceilings, heavy cell doors locked from the outside, and purpose-built fixtures (metal shelves, and bed/hammock hooks), accessed via central galleries with central stairs and large banks of windows to their front and rear end walls; outdoor, fenced exercise yards with shelter sheds and amenity blocks; sanitation facilities (sanitation yard, and drains); ancillary buildings for administration, hospital, kitchen and laundry services and resident staff accommodation; and the use of robust materials (namely brick, stone, concrete and metal) throughout the complex.

The complex is also important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of the architectural work of the Queensland Department of Public Works (DPW), retaining an extensive range of excellent, highly-intact examples of DPW-designed buildings from the early 20th century. The principal characteristics of the DPW’s architectural work demonstrated at the prison complex include: well-designed, fit-for-purpose buildings with a dignified civic character; use of high-quality materials and construction detail; and provision of natural light and ventilation of interiors (except to cells).

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Highly intact, Boggo Road Gaol Complex (No. 2 Division) has aesthetic importance for its expressive and evocative attributes, high architectural quality, and strong landmark presence.

Through the grand scale, imposing form and robust material palette of the Cell Blocks, Gatehouse, Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former), the tall Perimeter Walls, the observation towers, and the barred and gated openings, the place expresses the power exercised by the State in applying law, order and social regulation during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The foreboding presence of the buildings, and the complex’s high level of security and surveillance (facilitated by sentry towers, open spaces, and visual observation alignments) conveys the sense of incarceration, punishment, and deterrence.

The imposing appearance of the Gatehouse, and the connections between the prison’s spaces (revealing a sequence of movement through the Gatehouse vestibule, into the Quadrangle for processing in the administration buildings, through the Parade Ground and into the secured Cell Blocks and Exercise Yards), are evocative of the sense of restraint and coercion experienced by former prisoners on admission to the gaol complex. The size and scale of the buildings, and the use of solid materials throughout the complex to enforce compliance and deter escape, reflect the lived experience of the prisoners both on arrival and during their terms of incarceration.

Accentuated by high-quality and durable materials, elegant formal compositions (most using symmetry), assertive massing, and decorative treatments and refined finishes (such render details, dressed stone, and tuck pointing to brick walls), the architectural quality of the buildings reflects an ordered and moralistic approach to incarceration at the time of construction, the functional robust material requirements of a prison, and affords the complex a dignified townscape presence. 

Graffiti to Cell Blocks and Exercise Yards, largely dating to the later period of the prison’s use, expresses the sense of confinement, seclusion, political and social ideologies, and sentiment of anti-establishment of former prisoners of Boggo Road Gaol around the time of its closure, and the sub-standard conditions to which they were subjected.

The complex is a landmark in its setting due to the strong physical presence and visual dominance of its elevations (particularly those fronting Boggo Road (north), Annerley Road (west) and Peter Doherty Street/Boggo Road Gaol Park (south)), prominent siting on the rise of Annerley Road, tall Perimeter walls and unified material palette of face brick, concrete and stone.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

Boggo Road Gaol Complex is important for its social significance as a place of confinement within the community and has a strong association with those groups connected to the place, including ex-prisoners and their families, ex-prison warders and others employed within the complex.

History

Boggo Road Gaol Complex (comprising the No. 2 Division buildings, opened in 1903 as the State Prison for Women; and remnants from the No. 1 Division, built c.1972-1988 to replace the 1883 men’s prison) operated as Brisbane’s main prison during the 20th century. The site had served as a prison from 1883, when the men’s prison was opened. In 1903, the five buildings of the women’s prison were opened in their own enclave adjacent to the men’s. The women’s prison was designed and constructed to enable the operation of the separate system, a penological philosophy developed in the 19th century. In 1921, the women’s prison was converted to the No. 2 Division for men. It remained operational through the 20th century, while the 1883 prison (No. 1 Division) was demolished and replaced in the 1960s-70s, to reflect new legislation, design philosophies and to overcome chronic overcrowding problems. After significant unrest in the 1980s and the condemnation of No. 2 Division (for not meeting modern prison and basic human rights standards), both No. 1 and No. 2 Divisions were closed by the early 1990s. No. 1 Division was largely demolished in 1995-6, except for the watchtower incorporating staircase of the former hospital building (c.1972) and overhead walkway (c.1975-78); section of the former workshop building (1974); and detention cells (1988). No. 2 Division remains intact.

Queensland’s gaol system

Incarceration developed as the primary form of punishment in Europe and America for those who transgressed the law from the late 17th century. Initially acting as temporary holding places for wrongdoers, prisons (known as gaols until 1890[1]) were later constructed to hold prisoners for longer terms, as other forms of punishment (particularly corporal) fell out of favour. The concept was an inherent component of European settlement of Australia, which began in 1788 with the establishment of a large open-air penal establishment for convicts shipped from England. Places of secondary punishment were established for reoffending convicts around the continent. This included the Moreton Bay Penal Colony, opened in 1825 (removed from Redcliffe 1824) at Meanjin, part of the land of the Yuggera and Turrbal people. While largely open-air, prisoners’ barracks and a Female Factory were built to accommodate and control convicts.[2]

Following free settlement for Europeans in Meanjin (Brisbane) from 1842, a prison was established at the former Female Factory in Queen Street (built 1829, converted and reopened 1849, closed 1860). Shortly after the separation of Queensland from the colony of New South Wales, a new purpose-built gaol was constructed on Petrie Terrace in 1860.[3] This was almost immediately overcrowded, and in 1866 a half-built quarantine station on St Helena Island was converted into a penal establishment to accommodate the overflow.[4] In 1880, with both prisons overpopulated, a site for a new Brisbane gaol was selected on Boggo Road in South Brisbane (now Dutton Park). The new prison – holding male prisoners on short-term sentences – was constructed and opened in 1883. Gaols were also built throughout the 19th century at a number of Queensland’s major towns to hold prisoners on short sentences, supplemented by police lock-ups at smaller towns.[5]

Queensland’s gaols were an integral part of a network of institutions that was established across the colony to receive and intern those who were perceived to have deviated from standard behaviour. Nineteenth and early twentieth century solutions were to accommodate, control and discipline such people away from society at a range of institutions, including prisons, mental hospitals, lazarets, asylums and Aboriginal ‘mission stations’. While some of these institutions were operated by charitable organisations, often with benevolent intentions, they rarely provided treatment, opportunities for reform, or a pathway for the incarcerated to leave the institution and rejoin accepted society. Queensland’s extant 19th century institutions include mental hospitals at Wolston Park (QHR 600340), Ipswich (Challinor Centre, QHR 601821) and Toowoomba (Baillie Henderson, QHR 601161); the Peel Island lazaret (QHR 601901); Ward 13, Dunwich Benevolent Asylum (QHR 650265); the privately-operated Holy Cross Laundry (QHR 600359); and the Normanton Gaol (QHR 601501). None of Queensland’s 19th century prison complexes survive intact, with only ruins of the St Helena prison (within Saint Helena Island, QHR 600315) and some structures of the 1893 Townsville prison (Stewart’s Creek Gaol, QHR 601250) remaining.[6]

Queensland’s gaols operated on the ‘association’ system, allowing prisoners to intermingle freely in communal dormitories, workspaces and yards. While 19th century theories considered criminality to be inherent and hereditary (thus to an extent inevitable),[7] concern was expressed that unconvicted (and potentially innocent) remand prisoners and first-time offenders would be corrupted into a life of crime by recidivists. In 1868 regulations were introduced to classify prisoners by nature of offence (felonies, misdemeanours, those awaiting trial, ‘lunatics’, and debtors), and keep them separate, ‘so far as the construction of the building and the necessities of the works and trades will admit’.[8] In Brisbane, long-term offenders were held at St Helena, with shorter term and remand prisoners at the Brisbane Gaol.[9]

Women were also imprisoned separately from men. Queensland’s female prisoners were mostly convicted for offences such as drunkenness and prostitution. They were convicted in smaller numbers than males, but were considered more incorrigible and prone to recidivism.[10] From 1860 they were imprisoned in a wing of the Brisbane (Petrie Terrace) gaol, but, following complaints about the unsuitability of the conditions for female prisoners, the women were transferred to the former Toowoomba Court House (QHR 601315), converted to a gaol in 1870. A second female prison operated at the Fortitude Valley Police Gaol for short sentences, those on remand, or those awaiting transfer to Toowoomba.[11]

By the 1880s, the subpar conditions at Queensland’s gaols were gaining public attention. All were overcrowded; prisoners’ living conditions were poor; and adherence to the strictest forms of prison philosophy was not obeyed.[12] Alleged abuses in discipline triggered a Parliamentary Inquiry into the management of the colony’s gaols in 1887. The inquiry found conditions at most of the gaols inadequate, and the female prison at Toowoomba was particularly condemned. Queensland’s comparatively high proportion of female prisoners was noted, which, along with the associated quarters, made the classification and separation of female prisoners impossible. This allowed career criminals to freely associate with – and corrupt – young first-time offenders, evidence of which the inquiry heard with concern.[13] Accordingly, the establishment of a new prison for women was recommended.[14]

On 25 November 1890 the first Queensland Prisons Act was assented to, aiming to consolidate and amend the law relating to gaols, prisons, houses of correction and penal establishments. This Act created a prisons department under the control of the Comptroller-General and clarified the distinction between a Police Gaol, being a specially proclaimed lock up or watch house, and a prison. The nomenclature of ‘prison’ was also adopted in place of ‘gaol’.[15]

Regulations were passed under the new Act in 1892, requiring the implementation of separate treatment for prisoners. Separate treatment, or the separate system, was born out of 19th century British penal philosophies espoused by prison reformers,[16] influenced by religious penitence theories, and adopted in a model prison at Pentonville (1842). The strictest form of separate treatment required a prisoner to be held in a cell in isolation, where s/he would eat, exercise and work, and have no contact with other prisoners. This was occasionally modified to the ‘silent’ system, in which prisoners could work together in a workroom but could not communicate with one another (more commonly used in America), or a combined classification and separation system, which grouped prisoners by type of crime, length of sentence or number of reoffences, and allowed prisoners within the groups to communicate only with one another. As well as encouraging penitence by leaving prisoners alone with their thoughts, the separate system sought to avoid the creation of a prisoner underclass. Through separation, a first-time prisoner could not be tainted by hardened criminals, enticing them into a life of crime, or exchanging ideas of how to better commit crimes.[17]

The 1892 regulations classified Queensland’s prisoners into eight classes, from reoffenders sentenced with or without hard labour, to first-timers sentenced with or without labour, to debtors and lunatics. All prisoners were required to be held in separate cells for at least the first three months of their sentence, then allowed only to associate with others within their class. Those with prison terms of less than 12 months would be required to spend the entire sentence under separate treatment. The classification applied both to women and men.[18]

State Prison for Women (1903-1921)

Construction of new prisons implementing the separate system did not immediately follow, delayed by an economic depression which struck in the early 1890s. Simultaneously, conviction rates and prison admissions climbed through the late 1880s and early 1890s, further stressing accommodation at the existing prisons.[19] In 1893, a new prison at Stewart’s Creek in Townsville was opened, operating as the main prison for north Queensland and relieving some of the burden on Brisbane’s prison population.[20] Conditions in the women’s prisons did not significantly improve,[21] however, and residents of both Toowoomba and Fortitude Valley continued to complain about the presence of the prisons in their neighbourhoods.[22] In annual reports for 1895 and 1897, the Comptroller-General of Prisons recommended the construction of a new female prison on the Boggo Road reserve to replace the ‘old and ill-constructed’ Toowoomba prison, and ‘unsuitable and ill-situated’ Fortitude Valley gaol.[23] Designs for a new women’s prison were finally prepared between 1898 and 1901.[24] The prison would be the first designed to fully implement the separate system in Queensland.[25]

The 82-cell[26] State Prison for Women was designed by the Department of Public Works (DPW), during an era when it was producing many high-quality public buildings. Between the 1870s and early 1900s the DPW, operating from Brisbane to design Government buildings across Queensland, produced a remarkable and substantial body of high-quality civic buildings that were ‘equal to any in the country’, including customs houses, post offices, courthouses, police stations and schools. By 1899 the DPW was a large team of 20 draftsmen, one junior draftsman, and acclaimed Queensland architects Thomas Pye, John Smith Murdoch, and George David Payne.[27] That year the department reported ‘one of the busiest periods in its history’, with plans being prepared for

the completion of the Treasury Buildings; for new Lands and Survey offices, Brisbane; conversion of the Museum, in William Street, Brisbane, into Public Library; National Art Gallery in the Botanical Gardens, Brisbane; new Gaol for Female Prisoners, Boggo Road, South Brisbane; new Custom House at Townsville; new Court House at Roma; new Gaol at Roma; new Lock Hospital, Brisbane; Reformatory Buildings for boys, at Westbrook; new Police Buildings at Warwick and Bundaberg; additional wards at the Toowoomba Asylum; additions to the Goodna Asylum; additional buildings at the Hospital for Consumptives at Dalby; new Post and Telegraph Offices at Ipswich; extensive alterations to the Post and Telegraph Offices at Toowoomba and Townsville; State School at New Farm.[28]

The designer of the women's prison is not known, but Murdoch, Pye, and William Patrick Hendry appear to have been involved in its design, supervision and construction.[29] Tenders for the work were called in June 1901, and the contract awarded to A Lind and Son, at a price of £18,795.[30] Male prisoners cleared and levelled the site in 1899, and construction of the prison began in October 1901.[31]

The construction of a separate and purpose-built prison complex for female prisoners was unusual. ‘Female factories’ (women-only prison buildings) had been constructed at penal settlements around what is now Australia, purpose-built out of necessity.[32] In the colonial period, however, most women’s prisons operated within men’s prisons, both physically and administratively,[33] and usually comprised a single wing (reflecting both the lower number of women convicted, and the lower priority afforded them).[34] For Queensland’s new state prison for women, the large Boggo Road site offered the opportunity not only to fully implement ‘modern principles’ of prison design, and isolate male from female prisoners (which had proved difficult at other Queensland prisons[35]) but also to close the much-decried Fortitude Valley and Toowoomba gaols.[36]

The Women’s Prison was constructed east of the men’s prison on the Boggo Road gaol reserve. Set back from Annerley Road on elevated ground, it was surrounded by open space. The entrance drive branched off the men’s prison entrance at the north of the complex. The prison itself covered an area of 240ft by 220ft (73 by 67m), encircled by a 20ft (6m) high brick wall. Within the wall, five separate buildings were laid out in a half-radial design, from a central (pentagonal) parade ground. This layout, allowing for centralised supervision, had also been implemented at Stewart’s Creek and Rockhampton prisons.[37]

Access to the prison was via immense gates into the gatehouse (which contained offices, a visitors’ room, and the prison bell). A second pair of gates opened onto a quadrangle, with a two-storey hospital block to the west (containing magistrate’s room, dispensary, warders’ room, debtors’ room, and hospital); and a single-storey building with kitchen, laundry and receiving-room on the east. A gate set into a ‘formidable looking’[38] iron palisade fence led to the parade ground,[39] around which were positioned a two-storey workshop; two three-storey cell blocks, each with 41 single cells, a padded cell and darkened punishment cell, a central hall, iron staircase and iron galleries.[40] The buildings were separated by six exercise yards (sufficient to facilitate classification), with a debtors’ yard and photographic studio behind the hospital block. An observation tower and surveillance catwalk on the southwestern side of the brick wall overlooked the prison. Between the wall and the prison was a 12ft (3.5m) wide track or ‘sterile zone’, delineated from the prison by a 10-foot timber fence. Staff quarters – for the matron on one side, and the warders’ quarters, guard room and entrance lodge on the other – were located on the east and west of the gatehouse, and accessed from outside the prison.[41]

All buildings within the complex were of brick with corrugated iron roofs (supplied from James Campbell and Sons’ Albion brickworks), and featured buff brick bands and quoins and cement dressings, matching the men’s prison. Iron fittings (doors, gates, fences, columns, window frames, galleries) were supplied by Master Sargent and Co, Britannia Ironworks, and gravel for the ground surfaces from the O’Connell Town and Bundamba quarries. Specifications provided for the prison had detailed the high quality of materials and workmanship required, with particular attention to the public-facing sections of the complex.[42]

The prison was completed in June 1903,[43] and the State Prison for Women was proclaimed on 30 September 1903, and the female prisoners transferred from Toowoomba and Fortitude Valley in October.[44] Female journalists visited the prison shortly after its opening and were given guided tours by the prison superintendent.[45] They drew attention to aspects of the prison intended to reform its inmates, including the enforcement of separation during the initial incarceration period; and keeping first-time offenders from recidivists.[46] They also noted the cleanliness of the prison, the rigid discipline, and the ‘dreary monotony’.[47]

Daily routine inside the prison was highly regimented, including parade and inspection times, meal times, and work, both to keep the prisoners occupied and to contribute to the cost of running the prison. Work for female prisoners included laundry washing, cooking and kitchen duties, and sewing work for other government institutions. In line with the ideals of separate treatment, those at the start of their incarceration ate, worked and slept in their individual cells, allowing them ample time for the perceived reforming influence of quiet reflection and industry.[48] The cells had limited furnishings and no plumbing; instead, sanitary tubs were provided, to be emptied daily at the sanitary yard, behind the cell block under the watchtower.[49] Washing facilities were installed in the shelter sheds in each yard, though only cold water was available.

Few changes were made to the prison in the following 18 years. In 1904, an ordinary cell was converted into a condemned cell to accommodate women sentenced to death.[50] A sewerage system was installed in 1911;[51] and electric light was installed in 1912.[52] The quadrangle and parade ground were planted with lawns, shrubs and small trees.[53]

No. 2 Division (1921-1974)

The daily average number of female prisoners incarcerated in the State Prison for Women in 1903 and 1904 was 40. Accommodation had been provided for more than twice as many prisoners as were admitted, allowing the separate system practices to be retained. Over the next twenty years, conviction rates for women fell, and by 1920 the prison, with a daily average of 12 female inmates, was far from overcrowded.[54] On the other hand, male accommodation was overtaxed, thanks in part to the closure of the Cooktown prison for economic reasons and the conversion of the St Helena prison to a farm reformatory, which accommodated smaller numbers of prisoners.[55] In August 1921, the proclamation of the 1903 prison as a female prison only was rescinded.[56] The prison was renamed No. 2 Division, and around 78 long-sentenced male prisoners took the place of the female prisoners.[57] The change was reflected on the gatehouse building by the covering of the ‘WO’ in ‘Women’s Prison’; the workshop and cell blocks were renamed D, E and F; and mesh was added to the workshop building. Boggo Road, comprising the No. 1 Division (men’s 1883 buildings) and No. 2 Division (former women’s prison), became officially known as His Majesty’s Prison Brisbane, or the Brisbane Prison, though its unofficial name of Boggo Road continued in use.[58]

In the late 1920s, the remaining prisoners from the St Helena prison farm were transferred to the Brisbane Prison, as the island was considered too costly and isolated to maintain.[59] To provide additional accommodation and occupation at the Brisbane Prison, a new workshop block was constructed east of No. 2 Division in 1929, and sections of the eastern perimeter wall were demolished to provide access into No. 2 Division.[60] The unused women's workshop block was converted to a cell block (Cell Block D) in 1930, accommodating the St Helena prisoners.[61] Working gardens, outside the southern and eastern walls of No. 2 Division, also occupied the prisoners.[62]

As the prison network was reformed in the 1920s, attempts were also made to improve prisoner rehabilitation at the Brisbane Prison.[63] Although the daily routine remained highly regimented, discipline was relaxed in the months leading up to a prisoner’s discharge,[64] and skills training was introduced to fit prisoners for life after imprisonment.[65] The prisoners’ work schedules were offset by occasional entertainments (including moving pictures and band concerts[66]). Radio loudspeakers were installed in the cell blocks, with educational programmes broadcast from the prison wireless set in the evenings, improved educational opportunities were provided, and recreation time in the yards was increased to approximately three hours each day.[67] By 1937, Queensland’s imprisonment rate was the lowest in Australia.[68]

Apart from the conversion of the workshop block, only small changes were made to No. 2 Division between the 1920s and 1940s. The dispensary behind the hospital block was converted to a dental surgery, and bars added on the external side of the windows in cell blocks E and F. The exercise yards, which had been asphalted in 1923, were concreted in 1938; the quadrangle and parade ground paths were also concreted in 1938. The reception room in the administration building, no longer needed, was converted into a scullery and then a library. The laundry and ironing room, also superfluous, were converted to a bakery in 1945, while the debtors’ yard and photography studio were converted to saddlers’ and paint shops. The front (north) of the complex was landscaped by prisoner labour in 1933-34.[69] Increased security measures were installed after prisoner Arthur ‘Slim’ Halliday effected two escapes from the prison. Punishment cells were added to Yard 5, and a reinforced door with three padlocks and a double-welded bed were installed in Halliday’s cell (9 in D Block). Plans to extend the observation tower catwalk were drawn in 1947, though only implemented in 1955 due to material shortages.[70]

As Queensland’s population increased after World War II, its prison population also grew. Between 1949 and 1954 the daily average of incarcerated prisoners in Queensland climbed from 392 to 608.[71] The majority of these were held in Brisbane Prison.[72] A record number of 300 prisoners was reported in Boggo Road in 1953; by 1959, there were 588 prisoners at the prison. With accommodation stretched beyond capacity, condemned buildings were repurposed to hold prisoners, while others were sent to Townsville (maximum security) or prison farms (minimum security) to try to reduce numbers at Boggo Road. The punishment cells in E and F blocks were divided into two, creating additional accommodation. Further security was also added to the No. 2 Division buildings, including steel grills in the staff quarters, safety mesh in the cell block galleries, a shelter shed in the centre of the parade ground, and a prefabricated armed post on the wall of the hospital overlooking the parade ground.[73]

A new Prisons Act was passed in 1958, attempting to implement changing philosophical approaches to incarceration and the separate system. To accommodate these changes and attempt to resolve the chronic overcrowding problem, a new ‘farm prison’ was opened at Wacol, eventually becoming a high security prison. New penalties, including parole, weekend detention, work release and later community service, were also introduced, reducing the numbers requiring accommodation in Queensland’s prisons. While admissions fell in the early 1960s, they began to climb again in the late 1960s. An increasing number of civil liberties protestors were imprisoned in Boggo Road for refusing to pay fines on principle, and the jail became the centre of vigils held by their families and supporters. On their release, protestors publicised the poor conditions and treatment they had experienced in the jail. Prison officers also began publicly objecting to their working conditions, particularly following the death of an officer on duty in 1966.[74]

In the late 1960s, the No. 1 Division buildings (including the 1929 workshop serving both divisions) were demolished and gradually replaced with more modern prison accommodation, administration, hospital and workshop buildings. Extant sections of the No. 1 Division buildings include a staircase from the hospital block (c.1969-72); and a three-storey section of the workshop building, built in 1974 for printing in the basement, laundry on the ground floor, and cell accommodation on the first floor. A new watchtower and walkway were constructed atop the hospital block, circa 1976 (also extant).[75]

The prisoner accommodation in the new No. 1 Division buildings provided a stark contrast to the No. 2 Division cells. The No. 1 Division cells included a bed, desk and running water and toilet. They were laid out to a hollow square design, facing an internal courtyard, and received more natural light and ventilation than their early 20th century counterparts.[76]

Small improvements were made in No. 2 Division, including the construction of contact visitation rooms on the verandah; the conversion of the kitchen into a television room; the replacement of the timber fencing in the exercise yards by mesh security fences; and the installation of televisions in boxes in the exercise yards. The obsolete hospital was converted to an officers’ mess. These changes, however, did not rectify the incompatibility of No. 2 Division’s separate system infrastructure with 20th century philosophies of rehabilitation, treatment and reform. Attempting modern treatment in older prisons like No. 2 Division was either too liberal, leading to increased successful escapes, or too hard, resulting in a lack of essential service provision and resentment from both staff and prisoners.[77]

Remand and Maximum Security (1974-1989)

By the 1970s, overcrowding in the prison was rife. The Brisbane Prison’s population of 650 exceeded the prison’s 500-man capacity, and up to three men were accommodated in a single cell.[78] No. 2 Division had been proposed for demolition and replacement, but in 1972, the Comptroller-General reported that its buildings would have to be retained ‘for some years’ in order to accommodate the large number of prisoners.[79] By 1973 No. 2 Division, formerly the ‘industrial section’, housed mainly ‘short-sentence and unemployable prisoners with little work.’[80]

Unrest amongst prisoners and prison officers grew in the 1970s, sparked by a range of factors including overcrowding, disruptions brought about by the rebuilding program, lack of prisoner occupation, the introduction of drugs into the prison, and poor working conditions. In January 1971, a riot was reported to have caused $15,000 worth of damage. Prison officers began striking to protest poor working conditions.[81] The imprisonment of two men convicted for mass murder following a firebombing at the Whiskey-au-Go-Go nightclub brought more notoriety to the prison. Shortcomings in security became evident following a number of breakouts[82] and the admission of four prisoners to hospital for swallowing razors and sharp objects. In May 1974, a three-day warders’ strike against the dismissal of a Wacol officer followed a prison riot, leaving prisoners locked in their damaged and burned cells for over 50 hours.[83] Some judges refused to send young offenders into Boggo Road to be ‘contaminated’ by the hardened criminals;[84] the Minister for Welfare and Services conversely reported that young offenders had to be separated from older prisoners for the protection of the latter, so ‘professional in their depredations’ were the young ‘vicious thugs’.[85]

Following the escape of two prisoners in 1973, an inquiry was held into the conditions of the Queensland Prison system (the Bredhauer inquiry), which recommended changes to the Brisbane Prison. No. 2 Division was recommended to become a maximum-security prison, while No. 1 Division was to be used for medium and low security, remand and holding cells. Security infrastructure in No. 2 Division was again increased, with additional mesh screening built atop the walls of the exercise yards into the parade ground. The yard shelters were replaced, and a new secure yard (Yard 1A) was added behind D Block for particular classes of prisoners.[86] An electric shop was also installed behind the kitchen and laundry block.[87] Following breakouts and disturbances at the remand section in No. 1 Division, No. 2 Division was converted to a remand section in 1976.[88]

Unrest continued in the late 1970s and 1980s. A dog squad was introduced to the prison in 1977 to control prison outbreaks. In 1979 more political protestors were jailed, including a federal member of parliament objecting to Queensland’s anti-march laws.[89] Prison officers held a week-long strike in 1982. In November 1983, prisoners held a hunger strike to protest the poor prison conditions, and this escalated into a two-day riot, allegedly followed by a mass bashing of prisoners.[90] No. 2 Division was quickly converted to the maximum-security section for the Brisbane Prison, and barbed and razor wire was placed atop all structures in the division.[91]

Following the 1983 incident, an investigation into prison conditions was held (the Longland inquiry), and a report on Queensland’s prison accommodation requirements prepared. At the same time, visitors’ facilities were altered.[92] A block of ten ‘remand interview rooms’ was constructed in the formerly empty space behind the kitchen block.[93] Non-contact visiting booths were installed on the ground floor of the Matron’s quarters, and interview rooms were added to the upper floor. In 1985-86 a Visitors Centre was built adjacent to the Matron’s quarters, serving both divisions.[94] It officially opened in April 1987. In 1988, Ray Wallace, an artist then incarcerated, painted three murals on the walls of the Visitors’ Centre, as well as two murals in the former kitchen.[95]

Another riot occurred in December 1986. Five hundred prisoners participated, setting fires to blankets, mattresses, and parts of the prison; spray painting walls; and climbing onto the jail roof to draw public attention to the poor conditions. This attracted significant public attention and criticism of the jail by prison research organisations, the Queensland Civil Liberties Council, and other members of the public. A protest outside the prison was held in support, resulting in numerous arrests. In 1987, after discovering a plot for prisoners to seize control of the jail, prison authorities reopened No. 1 Division’s ‘Black Hole’, an underground cell without windows or ventilation. Human Rights Commission officials inspected the cell and condemned the move as inhumane. The cells were closed in December. The laundry in the No. 1 Division workshop building was partially reconfigured to accommodate a six-cell detention block, with a new section encroaching into the No. 2 Division sterile zone. It officially opened in April 1988.[96]

In March 1988, after further disturbances, four prisoners climbed onto the roof of No. 2 Division and remained there for a week. They communicated their complaints about substandard conditions inside the prison to the media and supporters surrounding the walls. In April, around 350 No. 2 Division warders went on strike protesting the inadequate security measures in the gaol.[97]

These final years of unrest precipitated the establishment of the Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland (the Kennedy Report, 1988).[98] By this time the prison was seen as a symbol of all that was inadequate and deficient with the prisons system in Queensland. No. 2 Division, with its poor conditions and lack of sanitation, was particularly criticised. The Human Rights Commission submitted that the division failed to meet internationally recognised minimum standards for prisoners, lacking essential facilities like running water and ready access to fresh water; and reports of prisoner treatment were inconsistent with human rights standards.[99]

The review found the prison ‘a blot on the urban landscape’ which was ‘hopelessly inadequate to provide corrective services’.[100] The conditions of No. 2 Division were considered so lacking that a commitment to demolish them was sought in the interim report; the final report recommended the demolition of the entire Boggo Road Gaol complex.[101] With the threat of closure and demolition, prisoners’ graffiti was allowed to remain on the cell walls and shelter yard structures.[102]

The prison was renamed the Brisbane Correction Centre, bringing the terminology in line with late 20th century prison ideology, but the new name was short-lived. In the wake of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald inquiries, No. 2 Division was decommissioned in January 1989 and No. 1 Division closed in July 1992. Prisoners were transferred to other Queensland jails. No. 1 Division was demolished in 1996 (except its extant remnants) and redeveloped into an Ecosciences Precinct in 2010.[103]

Described as a ‘blight on the community’,[104] Boggo Road’s No. 2 Division had been slated for demolition in the early 1990s. However, the demolition of this highly intact 1903 prison complex, was protested; and No. 2 Division was ultimately retained, along with a small representative section of No. 1 Division. Management of No. 2 Division was instead transferred to a museum group comprised of former prison guards, who led historic tours and oversaw maintenance. Rooms in the staff quarters and former hospital and kitchen/laundry wings were refurbished and leased to community legal groups and additional museum collections. A range of tourism activities were held at the site into the early 21st century, including gaol tours, ghost tours and overnight stays.[105]

Throughout its operation as a prison, Boggo Road Gaol had remained a focus of curiosity to those outside its walls. Reports of the buildings, daily life in the prison, escapes and escape attempts, biographies of high-profile prisoners and ex-prisoners’ complaints about poor conditions, were published in Queensland newspapers during the first half of the twentieth century, morphing into reports on the deteriorating building conditions, unrest and riots in the second half.[106] Former inmates and employees published biographies centred on their time in the prison, and Boggo Road Gaol historical interest and advocacy groups were formed.[107]

The Gaol was incorporated into a 9.5ha site which became the Boggo Road Urban Village in 2009. The Boggo Road Gaol Complex remained in use for gaol tours until March 2022.

Description

Boggo Road Gaol Complex comprises a group of brick and timber buildings and associated spaces, which formed the State Prison for Women (former; later known as No. 2 Division) and part of the No. 1 Division (former). The place occupies a large site on the rise of a gently sloping hill in Dutton Park, approximately 3km south of Brisbane central business district (CBD). Prominently fronting Boggo Road to the north, the site is bounded on its other sides by Annerley Road (west), Peter Doherty Street and Boggo Road Gaol Park (south), and a pedestrian thoroughfare and the ‘Ecosciences Precinct’ (east). The heritage boundary also includes part of Boggo Road Gaol Park, and the Annerley Road, Boggo Road and Peter Doherty Street road reserves.

The prison complex is largely secured by tall Perimeter Walls, with primary access provided through a Gatehouse at the north. On the outer (non-secure) side of the Perimeter Walls are the Matron’s Quarters (former) and the Warders’ Quarters (former), flanking each side of the Gatehouse (east and west, respectively), and a Sentry Cabin and Tower overlooking the southwest corner of the site. To the inner (secure) side of the Perimeter Walls, the northern end of the complex comprises a central Quadrangle with prison administration and ancillary buildings on its east (single storey, former Receiving Rooms / Kitchen / Laundry) and west (two storey, former Hospital / Offices) sides. The southern end features cell blocks, fenced exercise yards, and a central open Parade Ground that allows for the movement and observation of prisoners.  

Of a later construction, remnants of the former No. 1 Division are located at the northeastern corner of the complex and include: a Watchtower (east of the Visitors’ Centre), and Detention Units (south of the Watchtower). A contact Visitors’ Centre, also of later construction, is located east of the former Matron’s Quarters.

Features of Boggo Road Gaol Complex of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • State Prison for Women (former; later known as No. 2 Division), including:
    • Perimeter Walls, Sentry Cabin and Tower, and Sterile Zone (1903)
    • Gatehouse, Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former) (1903)
    • Quadrangle (1903)
    • Former Receiving Rooms / Kitchen / Laundry (later a Library and Recreation Room) (1903)
    • Former Hospital / Offices (later Warders’ Recreation Area) (1903)
    • Cell Blocks (1903):
      • Block D (former Workshop, converted 1930)
      • Block E (formerly known as Block B)
      • Block F (formerly known as Block C)
    • Parade Ground (1903)
    • Exercise Yards (1903)
  • Remnants of former No. 1 Division, including:
    • Watchtower (c1969-78) and Detention Units (1974; ground floor cells 1988)
  • Visitors Centre (1987)
  • Views and Outer Grounds.

State Prison for Women (former; later known as No. 2 Division)

Perimeter Walls, Sentry Cabin and Tower, and Sterile Zone

The tall, face brick Perimeter Walls are arranged in a rounded rectangular plan form. To their upper half, the width of the brickwork tapers in, and squared face brick pilasters are expressed at regular intervals. The walls are topped with rounded concrete caps, and are set on a base of Brisbane Tuff.  

Wrapping around the inner side of the Perimeter Walls is the Sterile Zone – a band of open space, used as a security measure to facilitate clear observation of the prison. On its inner side, the Sterile Zone is generally defined by recent metal chain-wire fences (formerly timber; the only surviving remnants of the former timber fence are two long metal brackets, located between the former Laundry and Cell Block D) and Cell Block walls. Two gable-roofed sentry boxes, formerly located within the sterile zone, are retained within the complex.

Attached to the southwest corner of the Perimeter Walls, a Sentry Cabin and Tower overlooks the complex. It has an octagonal plan-form, and comprises a face brick base that supports a timber-framed observation booth. Accessed by a spiral stair within the base, the observation booth is flanked by walkways that follow the curve of and cantilever over the walls below (the walkways show evidence of their 1947 extension; and their roof is later). 

Features of the Perimeter Walls, Sentry Cabin and Tower, and Sterile Zone also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • face brick Perimeter Walls: approximately 20ft (6m) in height; tapered in and with squared face brick pilasters to the top half; capped with rounded concrete; and on a Brisbane Tuff base; including:
    • white paint to above head-height in southeast corner
    • metal hook to southeast corner
    • evidence of 1930 openings to former workshops in east wall
  • Sentry Cabin and Tower, including its:
    • octagonal base and observation cabin:
      • octagonal pyramid roof, clad in corrugated metal sheets, with a soffit lining of spaced timber boards
      • red-brown face brick walls to the base exterior, with contrasting cream bricks to the headers of the door and window openings
      • timber chamferboard exterior wall cladding to cabin
      • externally-accessed, ground level flush-panel metal door
      • rectangular opening over ground level door, with metal grille and concrete sill
      • timber-framed, four-light, fixed windows to cabin with two-light centre-pivoting fanlights
      • timber, low-waisted, three-light French doors to cabin, opening onto the covered walkways
      • interior concrete wall finish to base
      • beaded timber board interior wall and ceiling linings to cabin
      • metal (cast- and wrought-iron) spiral stair to base, with perforated steps, providing access from ground level to observation cabin
      • metal (iron) stair balustrade
      • concrete floor, with a stencilled square pattern
      • timber hook panel.
    • covered walkways, cantilevered over the curve of the Perimeter Walls:
      • corrugated metal-clad, metal and timber-framed roof (curved at the corners)
      • circular hollow section (CHS) metal posts and metal brackets, attached to the Perimeter Walls
      • concrete floor (with fibre finish), including wide, rounded concrete corbels (corbels indicate the earlier extent of the walkway, prior to being extended in 1947)
      • tubular metal balustrades
      • metal mesh to balustrades.
  • Sterile Zone, including:
    • a strip of open space running along the inner edge of the Perimeter Walls, free of built structures, defined by the Perimeter Walls, and the line of chain-wire fences (formerly timber fences), and cell block walls
    • metal brackets attached to the walls of the former Laundry and Cell Block D, indicating the former location of timber picket gates
    • gravel ground surface material, and later brick pavers east of the Kitchen/Laundry/Receiving Room (former)
    • concrete and brick sewerage system inspection chambers
    • concrete spoon drains to inner perimeter
    • gable-roofed, plywood-clad sentry boxes, including fixed and top-hung awning windows, and timber vents to the gable ends.

Features of the Perimeter Walls, Sentry Cabin and Tower, and Sterile Zone not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • to Perimeter Walls: concrete blocks (c1972-74) (to 1929 workshop opening)
  • to Sterile Zone: turf; concrete block-wall amenities; concrete manholes; concrete block-walled toilet block to southeast corner of complex; and location of sentry boxes
  • to Sentry Cabin and Tower: aluminium-framed fixed window to opening over ground-level door; single-light fanlights (replacing two-light fanlights); recent security cameras and their fixings and frames, extending externally from the exterior balustrades; toilet, basin and tap; and timber panel to the stair balustrade
  • recent cables, conduit, light switches and lights.

Gatehouse, Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former)

Marking the formal entrance at the north end of the prison complex is a central Gatehouse, with the Matron’s Quarters (former) to its east and the Warders’ Quarters (former) to its west. The three buildings present externally as an imposing, single structure, but are roofed separately.

The combined, front (north) elevation of the three buildings is symmetrical, with the central Gatehouse featuring a large gateway with lunette over, and a central rendered parapet with the lettering ‘HM PRISON for –MEN’ (formerly ‘HM PRISON for WOMEN’). To each side of the Gateway, the former Matron’s Quarters (east) and former Warders’ Quarters (west) narrowly project to the north, with verandahs to their outer sides featuring brick end walls. The front elevation features a well-proportioned composition, with wide corner pilasters, string courses and headers of contrasting red-brown and cream coloured face bricks, expressed circular vents, arched wall openings, and a symmetrical window arrangement. The south elevation presents as a uniform face brick wall, with windows, doors and a central archway opening.

Gatehouse

The Gatehouse is a rectangular building, with its short sides facing north and south, and a hip roof. Its interior comprises a tall vestibule that separates the interior and exterior of the complex, and is secured by gates at its north and south ends. Steps run along each long side of the interior, and some doors and windows open onto the space from the Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former) (there is evidence that some openings have been altered). A small, arched opening located high up in the southern wall formerly housed the prison bell (bracket remains, but the bell has been removed).

Matron’s Quarters and Warders’ Quarters (former)

The Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former) are two-storey, L-shaped buildings, mirrored in plan, with long sides running parallel to the Gatehouse and short sides perpendicular at the south end. Their roofs are gabled to the north, hipped to the south and to the perpendicular section, and there are separate skillion roofs to the verandahs.

The ground floor of the Matron’s Quarters (former) comprises a northern former sitting room, separated by a stair from a central non-contact visits room (former dining room), with a southern spiral stair (1985-87) and toilet (former visitor’s room); and waiting rooms and visitor toilets to the east (former kitchen, and servant’s rooms). The building’s first floor features two hallways – one running north-south and the other east-west – accessing three northern rooms (formerly one room), two central rooms (formerly one room), and three rooms, two bathrooms and a spiral stair at the south (formerly two bedrooms and a bathroom).

The ground floor of the Warders’ Quarters (former) comprises a northern armoury (former office), central visitor waiting room (former dining room), and southern storerooms and stair; with a western room and toilet (former kitchen and store). A hall running north-south along the eastern side of the first floor accesses three rooms (aligned north-south) and a southern room adjacent the stair. From this southern room, a short hall runs to the west to the stair and a large western room. Two openings to the ground floor verandah have been filled in (openings remain discernible). 

A free-standing, skillion-roofed toilet block stands to the west of the Warders’ Quarters (former) (a matching toilet block east of the Matron’s Quarters (former) has been demolished).

Features of the Gatehouse, Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former) also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • locations within the complex, early building form and early floor plan layout
  • red-brown face brick exterior walls, featuring string courses of contrasting cream face bricks and cream face brick headers, laid in an English bond
  • Brisbane Tuff stone base to exterior walls
  • Gatehouse:
    • hip roof form, clad in corrugated metal sheets
    • central rendered parapet with the lettering ‘HM PRISON, for, –MEN, No 2.’ (formerly ‘HM PRISON, for, WOMEN’)
    • tall vestibule space, connecting the exterior and interior of the prison complex
    • front and rear arched openings, featuring large metal grate gates (the front gates feature a solid metal lining for privacy, and a lunette with metal array detail over front gate)
    • evidence of early openings (some now infilled with recent fabric)
    • narrow-profile corrugated metal ceiling lining
    • concrete floor, stepped up along the long sides (including square stencilled pattern to steps)
    • red-brown face brick interior walls with cream coloured face brick string courses and headers
    • rectangular terracotta vents
    • rendered blocks adjacent rear opening, painted with the lettering ‘B.P’ and ‘No. 2’
    • arched opening high in rear wall, indicating former location of the prison bell, including metal bracket
    • electrical bell at high level to interior wall, west of arched entrance gate (formerly connected to exterior call button
  • Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former):
    • gable and hip roof forms, clad in corrugated metal sheets
    • spaced timber eaves linings
    • brick chimneys, including concrete caps
    • circular vent to gable-end, defined by cream-coloured face bricks, and featuring timber louvres
    • windows: early timber-framed, double-hung windows (single and two-light); and centre-pivoting fanlights
      • sandstone (exterior-facing) and concrete (secure area/interior-facing) window sills
      • timber-framed, corrugated metal-clad skillion window hoods
      • metal security bars to window openings
    • doors: timber French doors opening onto verandahs; metal door with four-light peep hole, and barred fanlight accessing the armoury from the Gatehouse; early panelled timber doors
    • slate door sills
    • verandahs, including: corrugated metal-clad skillion roofs, timber floors, stop-chamfered timber posts, stop-chamfered timber top-plates, unlined ceilings to ground floor, beaded timber board ceiling linings to first floor, arched timber board valances, timber balustrades (replaced 1985), and face brick end walls and parapets (with arched openings and curved concrete capping)
    • plaster finish to interior walls
    • arched divider north-south hall
    • beaded timber board ceiling linings
    • early decorative timber ceilings vents
    • timber picture rails to armoury, former dining room and northernmost first floor room of Matron’s Quarters (former)
    • timber floors (most are concealed)
    • timber cornices and skirtings
    • early timber stairs and balustrade (with turned balusters, detailed newel posts, panelled timber underside lining, and panelled timber door under)
    • early concrete step with rounded nose edge to south elevation
    • visitor booths fit-out to non-contact visits room (former dining room).

Features of the Gatehouse, Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former) not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • recent partitions and recent plasterboard walls
  • recent floor coverings, including vinyl and tiles
  • recent conduit, pipes, ductwork, water-goods, and electrical fixtures and fittings
  • to Gatehouse: infills to early openings; recent openings; recent sink to west of front gate; paint to brick walls
  • to Matron’s Quarters (former): metal security mesh to verandah of Matron’s Quarters (former); timber lattice screens to first floor verandah; recent bathroom fit-outs and tiles; louvre windows to south elevation; recent concrete steps and landing to north elevation; recent ramps accessing north elevation; recent timber cornices and skirtings to partitions of northernmost first floor room; recent timber floor lining (replacing earlier timber floor lining) to easternmost first floor bedroom (former); southern spiral stair and balustrades (1985); metal screens to early stair
  • to Warders’ Quarters (former): metal barred door with metal mesh fanlight to verandah; concrete block wall to stair, timber lattice screens to first floor verandah; rendered wall infill to former verandah openings; recent bathroom fit-outs and tiles; reconstructed timber ceiling vents.

Quadrangle

The Quadrangle is a rectangular, flat, open space entered from the Gatehouse at the north and Parade Ground at the south. It provides access to a single brick storey building along its eastern side (former Kitchen / Laundry / Receiving Room) and a two-storey brick building (former Hospital / Offices) to its western side.  

Features of the Quadrangle also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • unroofed, flat, open space
  • rectangular plan form
  • short brick wall with concrete cap along the southern side, including wrought iron palisade fence over and central metal gate
  • concrete slab floor, including spoon drains along east and west sides
  • provision and form of garden beds.

Features of the Quadrangle not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • paint finish to short brick wall
  • brick pavers and concrete edges to garden beds
  • recent concrete cross-over steps to eastern spoon drain
  • corrugated metal-clad storage shed
  • recent conduit and pipes, including elevated metal pipes and attached conduit to southern end
  • recent metal gates northwest (between former Hospital / Offices and the former Warders’ Quarters).

Kitchen / Laundry / Receiving Room (former; later a Bakery, Library, Recreation Room, Legal Visits Rooms and Dormitory)

The Kitchen / Laundry / Receiving Room (former) is a single-storey, brick building, located to the east of the Quadrangle. The earliest sections of the building form an L-shaped plan, with its former northwest service yard in-filled with recent fabric (counselling rooms and store).

Internally, the eastern section of the building (running north-south) comprises a northern receiving room and bathroom, with a long, large southern room (formerly two stores, a scullery and kitchen). Wall nibs and changes in the brick wall fabric of the southern room indicate its former layout and openings. Along the southern end, running east-west, is the former laundry (later used as a bakery).

The building has undergone several changes to its fabric and layout since construction, including the enclosure of the western verandah for visitors’ boxes (legal visits rooms), removal of the eastern verandah (and replacement with counselling rooms), removal of tall brick chimney, and the alteration of some interior partitions. A cream-coloured exterior face brick wall to the north side of the laundry space indicates the former location of ovens (added for the space’s use a bakery, and subsequently removed).

Features of the Kitchen / Laundry / Receiving Room (former) also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • location within the complex, and remnants of early floor plan layout (including original partitions, and wall nibs / changes in the wall fabric indicating the early layout and openings)
  • single-storey, L-shaped and hip-roofed form
  • corrugated metal roof sheets
  • spaced timber eaves lining
  • red-brown face brick exterior walls, featuring a string course of contrasting cream face bricks and cream face brick headers, laid in an English bond
  • terracotta wall vents
  • concrete base to early walls
  • stone corbels to south elevation
  • windows: timber-framed double-hung windows
    • metal security bars to window openings
    • concrete sills (including those indicating the former locations of filled-in window openings)
  • doors: VJ timber-lined, stable door to western verandah (accessing receiving room); VJ timber lined, ledged door to bathroom; and VJ timber-lined double door to south elevation
  • western verandah, including roof form
  • brick interior wall finish (excluding paint)
  • concrete slab floor
  • red and black tiles to bathroom
  • concrete spoon drains running along all sides
  • murals to walls of large southern room, painted by former prisoner, Ray Wallace
  • mural to western verandah enclosure (visitor box), painted by WR Stivey
  • to western verandah: visitor box enclosures (1982) including roof overhang extending out from the verandah roof, concrete block walls, fixed and louvre windows, half-glazed doors, vinyl floor coverings); metal post; and ramps
  • butterfly-roofed, flat-sheet-lined, counselling rooms addition to northwest (c1982-84)
  • skillion-roofed, face brick addition to northwest corner, accommodating a store room (former electric shop, c1974-78).

Features of the Kitchen / Laundry / Receiving Room (former) not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • recent circular metal roof vents
  • paint finish to brick walls, excluding murals
  • recent fabric infilling original window and door openings
  • corrugated metal-clad hood over southern door
  • recent flush-panel doors
  • cream coloured face brick wall to northern elevation of former laundry space
  • recent flat sheet wall and ceiling linings
  • recent lights, fans, pipes and conduit
  • recent hot water system
  • recent concrete stairs and drain cross-overs.

Hospital / Offices (former; later Warders’ Recreation Area)

Located to the west of the Quadrangle is the two-storey, brick Hospital / Offices building (former). The building is rectangular in plan, with its long sides facing east and west. Its eastern elevation features a verandah along the ground floor, and its western elevation formerly opened onto an Exercise Yard (early openings have been enclosed). 

Internally, the ground floor comprises a northern stair, a central room (formerly magistrate’s office) and three southern rooms (formerly two rooms: warders’ office and debtor’s office). A single-storey former dispensary room stands to the west of the stair. The first floor features a large southern room (former hospital ward), with a former warders’ room and bathroom to its north accessed by an eastern hall.

Some of the building fabric has been replaced following a fire in 1996 (particularly to the celling of the large southern room and former warders’ room to the first floor).

Features of the Hospital / Offices (former) also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • location within the complex, and early floor plan layout
  • two-storey, rectangular, hip-roofed form, with skillion roof over eastern verandah and hip roof over former dispensary room
  • corrugated metal roof sheets
  • spaced timber eaves linings
  • red-brown face brick exterior walls, featuring string courses of contrasting cream face bricks and cream face brick headers, laid in an English bond
  • Brisbane Tuff stone base to exterior walls
  • eastern ground floor verandah: stop-chamfered timber posts and top plate; timber beaded board-lined, raked ceiling; timber board valance to north end; brick wall to south end; concrete slab floor stencilled with a square pattern
  • windows: six- and four-light, timber-framed, double-hung windows; two-light, centre-pivoting high-level windows to south elevation; centre-pivoting timber-framed fanlights
    • metal security bars to window openings
    • concrete sills (including those indicating the former locations of filled-in window openings)
  • doors: four-panelled timber doors; and VJ timber-lined doors
  • evidence of early window and door openings, including: differentiated brick colours, header bricks and slate door sills
  • narrow-profile corrugated metal sheet ceiling linings
  • plaster finish to interior walls
  • timber floor to stairwell
  • timber stair with timber balustrade, decorative timber newel post, and beaded timber board underside linings
  • early (but not original) VJ timber-lined enclosure under stair
  • wide timber skirting boards to stairwell and first floor (except to former warders’ room)
  • wide timber cornice to first floor (except to former warders’ room)
  • early sections of narrow timber cornice to ground floor
  • painted timber (pine) cupboard adjacent first floor bathroom
  • fireplace, including timber mantle-piece to former hospital ward
  • early metal prison bell (excluding current location)
  • metal-framed and -clad guard post addition to south elevation, including metal door
  • early sink and timber counter to former dispensary room.

Features of the Hospital / Offices (former) not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • to verandah: stepped section of concrete floor at southern end; brick piers; opening to south brick wall; recent post braces; panel of metal mesh to ceiling space; metal security screens between verandah posts; and recent water fountain
  • recent corrugated metal-clad, metal-framed, skillion structure attached to west elevation
  • metal-framed louvre windows
  • recent timber pelmets to windows
  • recent single-light flush panel door
  • metal grate sliding gate to north end of east elevation
  • flat sheet ceiling linings
  • recent concrete block walls separating the three southern ground floor rooms
  • recent floor coverings, including vinyl and tiles
  • recent lights, pipes and conduit (including surface mounted)
  • recent toilet and bathroom fixtures, fittings and shower wall
  • recent servery window to north wall of former hospital ward.

Parade Ground

The Parade Ground is a flat, open space at the centre of the prison complex, entered via the Quadrangle at its north. Six sided, the perimeter of the Parade Ground is formed by the front elevations of three Cell Blocks, and their surrounding fenced Exercise Yards.  A shelter shed stands at its centre, which incorporates part of an original lamp post.  

Features of the Parade Ground also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • unroofed, flat, open space with perimeter of three Cell Blocks, the southern walls of the Hospital / Offices and the Kitchen / Laundry / Receiving Room, brick fencing of the Exercise Yards, and the Quadrangle’s short brick wall with metal spiked fence
  • early concrete paths running around the perimeter, and north-south and east-west to and from the shelter shed, including circular mark around shelter shed indicating the former location of a garden bed
  • early concrete spoon drains
  • turf
  • early metal lamp post on circular concrete base
  • metal and timber-framed, central shelter shed (1958)
  • views to the front elevation of the three Cell Blocks.

Features of the Parade Ground not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • timber bench seats and fluorescent lights to shelter shed
  • recent concrete path connecting to Cell Block F
  • recent ramps and balustrades
  • recent sink to northwest wall.

Cell Blocks

Three Cell Blocks (Cell Blocks D, E and F) are positioned in a radiating plan around a central Parade Ground and are separated by fenced Exercise Yards. The three-storied brick buildings are rectangular in plan form, with their short (front) side facing toward the Parade Ground (Block D west; Block E northwest; and Block F northeast). Blocks E and F largely feature the same detailing, while Block D somewhat differs due to its 1930 conversion from a workshop.

The interiors of the Cell Blocks contain a full-height central gallery, connecting 42 separate cells. The upper-level walkways running the perimeter of and through the central galleries are constructed of metal (iron) to Block E and F, and those to Block D, are of concrete. Stairs at the rear end of the galleries provide access to each floor.

Each cell comprises a small, rectangular space with a curved ceiling; concrete floor; heavy metal door; and an un-glazed, barred window opening. Many cells feature graffiti that dates from the later period of the prison’s use.

Features of the Cell Blocks also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • locations within the complex, and early floor plan layouts
  • three-storey, rectangular, hip-roofed forms
  • corrugated metal roof sheets
  • flat eaves linings, with ventilation perforations and exposed timber rafters
  • concrete base to exterior walls
  • early metal water goods
  • red-brown face brick exterior walls, featuring string courses of contrasting cream face bricks, laid in an English bond
  • rendered concrete stepped pilasters and arch details to centre of the front elevations
  • lettering painted to the keystone of the building entrances (‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’, according to the associated Cell Block)
  • concrete stairs, rounded at the corners, to front entrances
  • braced and ledged metal gates with large bolts to front entrances
  • corrugated metal-clad, timber-framed window hoods with metal (iron) brackets, running the length of the long (side) elevations
  • stone window sills running the length of the long elevations (Blocks E and F)
  • stone window sills to the long elevations (Block D), alternating with face brick stringer courses, and indicating the former location and size of original windows
  • rendered concrete window headers and sills to rear elevations
  • metal bars securing windows
  • central galleries, including:
    • brick wall finish (likely originally whitewashed; excluding recent paint layers), with expressed headers over cell doors
    • metal (iron) stairs at rear end of the blocks
    • to Blocks E and F: concrete floor stencilled with a square pattern to ground floor; metal (iron) walkways supported by decorative metal (iron) brackets with concrete corbels, and metal girders to first and second floors; and crossed-braced, tubular metal balustrades to first and second floor walkways and stairs
    • to Block D: concrete floor stencilled with a square pattern to ground floor (patches of different coloured concrete indicate the former location of posts, stair and fireplaces related to the building’s use as a workshop); concrete walkways supported by concrete brackets and beams to first and second floors; and crossed-braced, tubular metal balustrades to first and second floor walkways and stairs
    • arched ceilings to second floors, lined with narrow-profile corrugated metal sheets
    • timber-framed ceiling vents to arched ceilings (some retaining lattice)
    • large banks of metal-framed windows to the front and rear elevations
      • arched to the second floor of Blocks E and F
      • arched, timber louvred fanlight over to Block D
      • fixed at the lower rows and centre-pivoting at the second from the top rows
      • fixed side lights to the front elevations
    • timber cornice / architrave, curved over front and rear window banks of Blocks E and F’s second floors
    • evidence of early name plates to wall beside each cell door (appearing as a square outline, with four holes; some with a metal plate)
  • cells, including:
    • inward-opening, heavy metal doors, featuring circular peep holes, rectangular access flap, large bolt lock (locked from the outer side), and painted cell number (the detail of the doors to Block D differs slightly to those in Blocks E and F, and feature a cross-brace to the cell side of the door)
    • outward-opening heavy metal door (detailed as above), and inward opening ledged metal gate to northwestern-most cell of Block F
    • curved concrete ceilings
    • concrete floors, most stencilled with a square pattern (smaller scale pattern and stepped up at the entrances to Block D)
    • unglazed, high-level, barred window openings to exterior wall and central gallery wall
    • early fixtures: quarter-circle metal corner shelves; and metal (iron) bed/hammock hooks
  • graffiti dating to the later period of the prison’s use
  • metal loudspeaker (1936) fixed to northwest exterior wall (north end) of Block F.

Features of the Cell Blocks not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • recent lights, electrical boxes, evacuation signs, security systems, conduit and pipes (most are surface mounted)
  • recent fire extinguishing equipment, including fire hose reels, fire extinguishers, cabinets, and pipes
  • metal bell attached to front elevation of Block F
  • recent ramps and balustrades to front entrances of Blocks D and F
  • recent clear acrylic sheets replacing early window glazing
  • central galleries: metal-framed, cage-wire screen (Block D); timber braces and frames, and recent metal handrail to ground floor stair (Block F); safety tape to first floor stair (Block F); recent round metal pipe bracing between first and second floor balustrades (Block F); and sinks and associated pipes and taps
  • cells: recent tables and shelves; recent bed bases; electrical ceiling lights
  • building movement monitors
  • recent graffiti not associated with former prison occupants (prisoners / staff, etc) or dating from the operation of the prison
  • interior speaker boxes (including remnants, to Block F cells only).

Exercise Yards

Nine Exercise Yards (formerly ten yards) are located between and adjacent to the three Cell Blocks and the Hospital / Offices (former), including two small yards to the rear of Cell Block E and Cell Block F. The yards are unroofed spaces that are secured by brick perimeter walls and metal wire fences (formerly timber fences). Apart from the yards directly behind Cell Block E and Cell Block F, each yard features a skillion-roofed toilet block, and a metal-framed shelter shed dating to the later period of the prison’s operation. The concrete slab floors are built up over earlier layers, and marks in the concrete indicate the former location of earlier shelter sheds (now removed).

A sanitary yard to the rear (southwest) of Cell Block F retains features related to the washing and drying of sanitary tubs/buckets. It includes two timber-framed shelter sheds: the southwest shelter shed that features a concrete and a copper tub, brick piers (formerly supporting a hot water system and boiler) and a circular hole in the roof (indicating the former location of a flue); and the former shower block that is parallel and adjacent to the rear of Cell Block F (shower heads, water tank and most plumbing removed). A sign painted on its eastern concrete block wall describes the ‘Procedure for washing sanitary tubs’.

The yard to the rear of Cell Block E was originally un-fenced and was later converted for use a plumbers’ shop (roofed), and a vulnerable persons’ exercise yard. It is only accessible via the Sterile Zone.

Features of the Exercise Yards also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • unroofed spaces, secured with perimeter walls and fences
  • face brick walls (some sections painted), laid in an English bond, and capped with rounded concrete (except easternmost wall to eastern yard); and concrete bases to the walls between Cell Block D and E, and between E and F
  • concrete block walls
  • toilet blocks, with showers and toilets, including their: timber-framed, corrugated metal-clad skillion roofs; timber facias; brick walls (painted and red-brown face brick; laid in a Common bond); concrete slab floors, concrete and cement-rendered partition walls and doors
  • concrete slab floors, with marks and changes in concrete colour indicating the early location of shelter sheds (concrete has been built up over earlier layers over time)
  • concrete spoon drains
  • two shelter sheds to the yard to the rear of Block F, including:
    • skillion roofs, clad in corrugated metal sheets
    • timber frames and posts
    • concrete slab floors and upstands
    • former shower block (northeastern shelter shed): corrugated metal sheets to northwest and southeast side walls and to tank stand walls (projecting over roof); plaster cement render to the northeast wall (southwest wall of Cell Block F); metal pipes (former vent); and raised concrete floor that slopes down to a drain along the northeast side
    • southwestern shelter shed: timber weatherboard cladding to walls of the roof space; raised concrete slab floor with concrete kerb; and equipment for the washing and drying of sanitary tubs (including a rectangular concrete tub with tap; copper tub; and a brick and timber stand (formerly supporting a boiler and hot water heater cylinder))
  • metal-framed shelter sheds, with skillion roofs clad in corrugated metal sheets, including metal television brackets
  • metal tables and bench seats
  • graffiti related to the later period of the prison’s operation, including to shelter shed posts, to the interiors of toilet blocks and to brick walls
  • painted numbers to perimeter walls
  • metal basketball hoops to the vulnerable persons exercise yard
  • skillion-roofed, face brick toilet to yard south of the Hospital / Offices (former) (c1954-74)
  • evidence of the transition to the use of the place as a high-security prison: metal-framed chain-wire and barbed-wire fences attached to the top of face brick walls, including metal brackets; metal-framed chain-wire fences separating yards from the Sterile Zone; metal-framed cage-wire roof over eastern yard (1984).

Features of the Exercise Yards not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • taps and metal troughs attached to the exterior of toilet blocks
  • recent opening and brick wall infill (cream coloured face bricks) to northwest yard
  • recent pipes and conduit
  • recent toilet and shower fixtures and fittings
  • building movement monitors.

Remnants of No. 1 Division

Located in the northeastern corner of the complex are the Remnants of No. 1 Division, comprising a Watchtower (formerly a part of the Hospital and Administration Block) and Detention Units (formerly a part of the Workshops and Services Building). 

Watchtower (c1969-78) and Detention Units Block (1974, ground floor cells 1988)

The Watchtower and Detention Units Block are located at the northern end of the east side of the complex.

The concrete Watchtower is approximately four storeys in height, and overlooks the complex. Its lower floors form a stairwell (constructed as part of Division 1’s Hospital and Administration Block, c1969-72), which leads up to a skillion-roofed room and overhead concrete walkway (c1975-78) that runs to the roof of the Detention Units Block.

The Detention Units Block is a three-storey concrete block structure that is a remnant of the western end of the former Workshops and Services Building (1974). It comprises: part of a large gymnasium to the basement (former printing; now inaccessible); a row of detention cells (including separate courtyards) accessed via a western hallway (converted from a laundry in 1988), and a warder’s office in the northwest corner to the ground floor; and a row of detention cells along the western and southern sides of a central courtyard (secured by a metal-framed cage-wire (unlined) roof; cells were also formerly located along the east side) to the first floor.

Features of the Watchtower and Detention Units Block also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • Watchtower: metal-framed flat skillion roof clad in metal rib and pan-profiled sheets; concrete block walls; concrete floors; concrete stair and balustrades; metal posts and balustrade to walkway; and views overlooking the prison complex
  • Detention Units Block: skillion roof clad in metal rib and pan-profiled sheets; concrete block walls; concrete floors and ceilings; separated cells (each ground floor cell has an individual courtyard with skylight and shower); metal-framed cage-wire fences and gates to ground floor cells; flush-panel doors, flat sheet wall lining and perforated metal vents to first floor cells; toilets, sinks, desks and bed bases to cells; and secure courtyard to first floor.

Features of the Watchtower and Detention Units Block not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • to Watchtower: wall cladding and windows to top floor
  • to Detention Units Block: plywood board walls to eastern elevation
  • recent scaffold
  • recent graffiti
  • recent signs
  • recent fire exit doors and metal gates between Watchtower and Detention Units Block.

Visitor Centre (1987)

The Visitor Centre is a large extension at the northeastern corner of the complex, to the eastern side of the Matron’s Quarters (former) that provided a secure space for prisoner contact visits (generally with family and friends). Its architectural design facilitated a more relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere than the prison proper (through the use of natural light, artificial turf, the former provision of a playground, and murals).

The interior comprises a large contact visits room accessed from the west, with separate access for prisoners via a prisoner body search room and warders’ office at its southwest corner. The contact visits room is partially roofed and features a naturally-lit courtyard in the northwest corner, secured with a metal-framed cage-wire roof. Landscape murals (titled ‘A Sense of Freedom’, ‘Alone’ and ‘Tranquility [sic]’), painted by a former prisoner, Ray Wallace, are to the west, north and east walls of the contact visits room, and are dated 1988.

Features of the Visitor Centre also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • provision of secured, partially roofed contact visits room, facilitating the meeting of prisoners and their visitors; with natural light and ventilation, artificial turf, playground (now removed) and murals 
  • murals: ‘A Sense of Freedom’, ‘Alone’ and ‘Tranquility [sic]’ (by Ray Wallace) to walls of contact visits room
  • warders’ office overlooking contact visits room and prisoner body search room, with toilet
  • prisoner body search room, located between the contact visits room and the prison proper.

Features of the Visitor Centre not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • exterior form roughly mimicking the combined Gatehouse, Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former) front (north) elevation
  • timber-framed roofs
  • concrete block walls with ashlar stone bases, including circular and arched openings
  • brick floor pavers, and concrete floors
  • timber board raised floor, timber ramp with metal handrail, timber picket fence, gate
  • bathroom fixtures and fittings
  • interpretive signs
  • fluorescent lights.

Setting

The complex is highly prominent in its streetscape due to its striking front elevation, tall Perimeter walls, surrounding open space, and distinctive unified material palate that largely comprises red-brown and cream coloured face brick and corrugated metal.

Open spaces to all sides provide a buffer from the public domain, and facilitate views to the complex, particularly from Annerley Road to the west, Boggo Road to the north, and Peter Doherty Street to the south, and allows the appreciation of the complex in the context of the city. The slope of the ground plane up to the complex from the surrounding roads emphasises the imposing presence of the former prison.

A stone retaining wall fronting the corner of Annerley and Boggo roads (east of the non-significant ‘Boggo Road Urban Village’ sign) is a remnant of a larger 1933-34 landscaping scheme.

The former locations of timber picket fences to the north of the complex are no longer discernible.

Features of the Setting also of state-level cultural heritage significance include:

  • views of the complex from Annerley Road, Boggo Road and Peter Doherty Street
  • open space around all sides of the complex
  • open space to the north, facilitating views to the combined front elevation of the Gatehouse, Matron’s Quarters (former) and Warders’ Quarters (former)
  • elevated ground plane that slopes up from Annerley Road and Boggo Road
  • curved, dry-stone retaining wall, approximately 17m in length, fronting the corner of Annerley and Boggo roads.

Features of the Setting not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • carpark, hardstand, and brick seats and bollards to north of complex
  • recent concrete footpaths
  • temporary metal fence to east
  • recent trees, landscaping and park infrastructure
  • ‘Boggo Road Urban Village’ sign to corner of Annerley Road and Boggo Road
  • recent road infrastructure and lights.

References

[1] The term ‘gaol’ was officially replaced with ‘prison’ in Queensland’s 1890 Prisons Act (John McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society: A History of Penal Change in Queensland, 1859-1930s, PhD thesis, University of Queensland, November 2001, v). However, the word ‘gaol’ continued in common use and remains so in Boggo Road Gaol.
[2] Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp.3 and 5; URQ Henriques, ‘The Rise and Decline of the Separate System of Prison Discipline’, Past and Present, February 1972, No. 54, pp.61-93, at p.61.

Alternative spellings for the language groups of Meanjin include: Yugerra, Yagara, Yaggara, Yugg-ari, Yackarabul, Turubul, Turrabal, Turrubul, Turrabal, Terabul, Torbul, Turibul, Toorbal, Churrabool, Yerongban, Yeronghan, Ugarapul, Yerongpan, Biriin, Ninghi, Ningy Ningy, Duke of York Clan, Jaarabal, Jergarbal. State Library of Queensland, Aboriginal Languages of the Greater Brisbane Area, https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/blog/aboriginal-languages-greater-brisbane-area, 16 March 2015, accessed December 2021.
[3] The Petrie Terrace prison had been commenced under the governance of New South Wales. Queensland’s prison system operated under legislation passed in New South Wales in 1840 (An Act for the Regulation of Gaols Prisons and Houses of Correction 1840) until it was replaced in 1890: Entry on the Queensland Heritage Register, Petrie Terrace Police Depot (former), 601894; Robert Riddel Architect, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan: A report for Department of Public Works, October 2002, p.6.
[4] Additionally, the Water Police’s hulk in the mouth of the Brisbane River, Proserpine, was converted into a prison (1865-1871) and then into a boys’ reformatory (1871-1881). Entries on the Queensland Heritage Register, Petrie Terrace Police Depot (former), 601894 and St Helena Island, 600315.
[5] Prisons also operated at Toowoomba (1864), Rockhampton (1864, replaced 1884), Roma (1872), Townsville (1878, replaced 1893), Mackay (1883), Thursday Island (1891), Blackall (1891), Cooktown (1892), Normanton (1893), and Cairns (1897). Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, p5; Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, ‘Colonial Queensland Prisons’, Inside Boggo Road, https://www.boggoroadgaol.com.au/2015/10/know-your-colonial-queensland-prisons.html, 2015, accessed 18 October 2021; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.7.
[6] The sites of the 1892 Deebing Creek Mission (former) (QHR 602251) and early 20th century Taroom Aboriginal Settlement (former) (QHR 602769) also exist as ruins with archaeological potential. Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, pp.44, 47-48. In the absence of other institutions, those deemed to require institutionalisation would be admitted to gaol, which led the Comptroller-General of Prisons to advocate for the establishment of a broad range of institutions to take the pressure off the prison system: McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society, 2001, p.129.
[7] E.g., Northern Argus (Rockhampton), 27 December 1865, p.2; Toowoomba Chronicle and Queensland Advertiser, 24 October 1866, p.2; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.47.
[8] Queensland Government Gazette, Vol. 9 No. 74, 29 July 1868, pp.856-858.
[9] Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, p7; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.5. Condemned prisoners were also incarcerated and executed in Brisbane Prison.
[10] For example, in 1873 the Sheriff of Queensland claimed women prisoners were ‘the most degraded and difficult class to deal with’ while in 1887 the Melbourne Argus called female criminals ‘if not a little lower than the male… a good deal more repulsive’. In 1897 the NSW Comptroller-General of Prisons declared that female prisoners ‘require much greater supervision, and are less amenable to disciplinary methods than the male prisoners’, recommending a separate female prison: Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp.5-6; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.47; Argus (Melbourne), 9 July 1887 p.10; and Sunday Times (Sydney), 1 August 1897 p9.
[11] Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, pp.6-7.
[12] Telegraph, 13 December 1886, p.4, which referenced the ‘insufficient accommodation, poor conditions and lax discipline’ that sparked the inquiry.
[13] Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Conservation Analysis, 1992, p.8; McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society, 2001, pp.230-231; Alana Piper, ‘”I go out Worse Every Time”: Connections and Corruption in a Female Prison’, History Australia, Vol. 9 No. 3, 2012.
[14] Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp.8-9; Dalby MP JS Jessop on the Gaols Commission Report, Legislative Assembly Hansard, 14 September 1887, pp.559-563.
[15] Entry on the Queensland Heritage Register, Normanton Gaol, 601501.
[16] Including William Crawford (1788-1847) and the Society for the Improvement in Prison Discipline: Henriques, ‘The Rise and Decline of the Separate System of Prison Discipline’, 1972, pp.61-93.
[17] Henriques, ‘The Rise and Decline of the Separate System of Prison Discipline’, 1972, pp.61-93; Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp3-4. The adoption of a new system of classification for prisoners and the provision of single cells for prisoners had been amongst the recommendations of the 1887 report: Queensland Figaro and Punch 10 September 1887 p3; Colonial Secretary BB Moreton and Dalby MP JS Jessop on the Gaols Commission Report, Legislative Assembly Hansard, 14 September 1887, pp.559-563. The theory of the separate system had been largely discarded in Europe and America by the late 19th century in favour of the emerging study of criminality as a psychological disorder, but was nonetheless adopted into Queensland’s regulations in 1892: Henriques, ‘The Rise and Decline of the Separate System of Prison Discipline’, 1972, at pp.84-89; McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society, 2001, p.123.
[18] Queensland Government Gazette, Vol. 56 No. 33, 3 June 1892, p.295. Prisoners were also to wear coloured bands on their right arms to identify their classification. The period of compulsory separate treatment was reduced in 1912: Cairns Post, Monday 8 January 1912 p7; Queensland Government Gazette, Vol. 97 No. 172, 27 December 1911, p.1727.
[19] McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society, 2001, pp.105-106; Figure 2.1, p.107 (admissions to Queensland Prisons, 1895-1939); and Figure 4.3, p.248 (Female admissions).
[20] Entry on the Queensland Heritage Register, Stewart’s Creek Gaol (former), 601250
[21] The Comptroller-General of Prison’s annual report for 1893 recorded ‘some necessary additions and improvements’ had taken place at the Fortitude Valley gaol, but that the site was unsuitable and could ‘only be looked upon as a temporary convenience’ (‘Report on Prisons’, The Week, 31 August 1894, p.8).
[22] E.g., Brisbane Courier, Friday 12 October 1900, p.4; 28 June 1901, p.4; 19 June 1903, p.4.
[23] The Week, 11 September 1896, p.12; Darling Downs Gazette, 14 September 1898, p.3.
[24]  Department of Public Works (DPW), Report of the Government Architect and Engineer for Bridges for the year ending 30th June, 1899, 14 August 1899, p.4; Brisbane Courier, 12 October 1900, p.4; and Telegraph, 26 February 1901, p.3. A small number of plans for the prison, dated 1901, have been located, including those for the Watchtower, Boundary and Dividing Walls, Details of Iron Staircases, [Photographic] Studio and Cell Door (Department of Public Works, New Gaol for Females Boggo Road South Brisbane, Drawing Nos 8, 9, 10, 11, July 1901. The specifications, dated July 1901, are also extant: Specification New Female Prison Boggo Road South Brisbane, July 1901, Queensland State Archives Item ID PR1014088.
[25] Some features of the separate system were implemented at Stewart’s Creek, which was under construction when the 1892 regulations were introduced. The prison included with 124 cells for males (plus 4 punishment cells) and 36 for women (Brisbane Courier, 17 February 1890, p.3); giving it ‘capacity for about 140 prisoners’ and it was stated to ‘allow the separate treatment system recently introduced to be carried out thoroughly’ (Telegraph, 9 July 1892, p.2).
[26] This was the combined capacity of Toowoomba and Fortitude Valley women’s prisons in 1902: Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, p.13.
[27] Entry on the Queensland Heritage Register, Mount Morgan Courthouse and Police Station Complex (600745); Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp.45-46; Donald Watson and Judith McKay, Queensland Architects of the 19th century: a biographical dictionary, South Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 1994, p.149.
[28] Department of Public Works (DPW), Report of the Government Architect and Engineer for Bridges for the year ending 30th June, 1899, 14 August 1899, p4.
[29] Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, pp.11-12.
[30] DPW, Annual Report of the Department of Public Works for the Year 1901-1902, 18 August 1902, p.3.
[31] Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.13.
[32] Female factories had operated in Moreton Bay, Parramatta, Newcastle, Bathurst, Port Macquarie, and Van Diemen’s Land (including Launceston, Hobart, Ross and George Town).
[33] Nicole Hahn Rafter, ‘Prisons for Women, 1790-1980’, Crime and Justice, Vol. 5, University of Chicago Press, 1983, pp.129-181, at p.142.
[34] A female-only prison had been opened in New York (Mount Pleasant, 1835) and England (Woking, 1869), but both had closed before the end of the 19th century. Trends in the United States and Canada, influenced by Elizabeth Fry, tended towards the construction of separate female prison reformatories during the second half of the 19th century, with ‘cottage’ style architecture and focus on training women for life as domestic servants or wives: Jessica Pishko, ‘A History of Women’s Prisons’, JSTOR Daily, 4 March 2015, https://daily.jstor.org/history-of-womens-prisons/, accessed 20 December 2021; The Open University, ‘Woking Female Prison’, 19th century Prison History, https://www.prisonhistory.org/prison/woking-female-prison/ , 2021, accessed 20 December 2021; Rafter, ‘Prisons for Women’, 1983, pp.146-147; McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society, 2001, p.228. In Australia, a female division was established in the male prison at Fremantle from 1889, and a purpose-built wing constructed in 1898; Victoria’s Female Prison at Coburg opened in 1893, and was proclaimed a separate prison in 1894, though it was built within the existing male prison at Pentridge; and Sydney’s Long Bay Gaol female section opened in 1909: Heritage Today and the Fremantle Prison Heritage Team, Fremantle Prison Collection Significance Assessment, October 2017, p.81; Research Data Australia, ‘Female Prison Pentridge’, https://researchdata.edu.au/female-prison-pentridge/492356, accessed January 2022.
[35] At Townsville and Normanton, men and women were able to converse and pass contraband, and some female prisoners were punished for exposing themselves to male prisoners: McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society, 2001, pp.232-233.
[36] Telegraph, 13 July 1898, p.5; Darling Downs Gazette, 14 September 1898, p.3; Brisbane Courier, 8 June 1901, p.6.
[37] The radial plan had been recommended by the Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline and implemented at the first Rockhampton Gaol, before a half-radial plan was adopted for Queensland gaols. Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.5; ‘Women’s Gaol, South Brisbane’, Brisbane Courier, Saturday 16 March 1901 p15; James Semple Kerr, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Australia’s Places of Confinement, 1788-1988, Sydney: SH Ervin Gallery, 1988, pp.116-117. Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp.4-5.
[38] ‘The Buildings’, Queenslander, Saturday 28 November 1903, p.23.
[39] Also known as the ‘circle’ and ‘B clock’ (by prison officers at night): Tom King, Boggo Road and Beyond, Mansfield: T King, 2007, p.32.
[40] Daily Mail, 24 October 1903, p.6; Open space in the cell blocks and narrow galleries allowed the blocks to be surveilled from a central point at the entrance. This had been introduced in the Sydney Gaol and Parramatta Female Factory:  James Semple Kerr, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Australia’s Places of Confinement, 1788-1988, Sydney: SH Ervin Gallery, 1988, p.44. The cell size in the State Prison for Women was later reported to be 11ft x 8ft (3.3m x 2.4m): Sunday Mail, 6 November 1949, p.9.
[41] Brisbane Courier, 7 October 1903 p6; Queenslander 28 November 1903 pp22-23; Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp.17 & 25; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, pp.67-72.
[42] Public-facing sections included the Matrons’ and Warders’ quarters, the gatehouse, and all external walls. Public Works Department, Specification New Female Prison Boggo Road South Brisbane, July 1901, Queensland State Archives Item ID PR1014088.
[43] Brisbane Courier 7 October 1903, p6; Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp.14-15.
[44] Brisbane Courier, 19 June 1903, p.4 and 1 October 1903, p.4; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.14.
[45] The Truth’s correspondence was particularly struck by the prison superintendent, Captain AT Peirson, stating that “the lady prisoners have at least one daily treat in their monotonous lives, that of gazing for a short space on an almost perfect specimen of manly beauty”: Truth (Brisbane), 13 March 1904, p.4.
[46] Truth (Brisbane), 13 March 1904, p.4; Queenslander, 28 November 1903, pp.22-23. Timber shutters had also been installed on the first floor cells, to prevent prisoners communicating with pedestrians in Annerley Road, by 1921: Telegraph, 5 December 1921, p.2.
[47] Truth (Brisbane), 13 March 1904, p.4.
[48] They were provided with an hour’s silent exercise in the yards: Queenslander, 28 November 1903, p.12.
[49] Truth (Brisbane), 13 March 1904, p.4. The sanitary arrangements were described in 1903 as ‘of the best and most up-to-date kind’ (Brisbane Courier, 7 October 1903, p.6). This system was still in use in 1988, when the Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland reported that cell toilet tubs were emptied and cleaned by a work gang of three prisoners: Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland and Jim Kennedy, Final Report: Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland, North Quay: The Commission, August 1988, p.67.
[50] Three were admitted; none were executed before the abolition of the death penalty in 1922. Christopher Dawson and Frank Wood, Last Prison Standing: A Short History of Boggo Road’s No. 2 Division 1903-1989, Brisbane: Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, 2005, pp.10-12.
[51] Department of Public Works, Annual Report for 1910-11, p.6 (including inspection chambers in the sterile zone); Telegraph, 1 November 1913, p2.
[52] Department of Public Works, Annual Report for 1910-11, p.6 and Annual Report for 1911-12, p.11; Murchison Times and Day Dawn Gazette (Cue, WA), 17 June 1911, p.2.
[53] Images, ‘Quadrangle at the female division of Boggo Road Gaol Brisbane,’ 1912, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, negative number 33777; and ‘Female Division of Boggo Road Gaol’, 1916, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, negative number 33786; Image, ‘Looking through the check gate in 2 Div Max security cell blocks on the left, 10 May 1965’ [supplied by Jack Sim].
[54] McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society, 2001, pp.247-248; Brisbane Courier, 26 July 1917, p.6. Alana Piper, ‘”I go out Worse Every Time”: Connections and Corruption in a Female Prison’, History Australia, Vol 9 No 3, 2012.
[55] Brisbane Courier, 3 October 1921, p.6; Daily Mail, 31 August 1921, p.6.
[56] As well as being a desirable potential holiday destination, suggested as far back as 1901: Telegraph, 26 February 1901, p.3.
[57] The women were transferred to an associated ward on the Boggo Road site, outside the walls of the 1903 prison. Department of Public Works, Annual report for 1920-21, p.5; Telegraph, 5 December 1921, p.2; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.22.
[58] Telegraph, Saturday 16 September 1922 p13. By 1937, No. 2 Division was also reportedly known as the “Big Prison” by inmates: Truth (Brisbane), 1 August 1937, p.19.
[59] Townsville Daily Bulletin, 4 June 1925, p.4. The final 97 prisoners were discharged from St Helena in 1932: George Porter, Registrar-General, Statistics of the State of Queensland for the year 1932-33, Brisbane: David Whyte, Government Printer, 1933, Part E, Table 29, p.43E.
[60] Prisoners in No. 1 Division were also employed at the workshops. The workshops were connected to No. 1 Division by a tunnel, which remained in use until the 1970s. It was uncovered during archaeological excavations in 2005, but was not intact. Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, ‘The Archaeology of Boggo Road’, Inside Boggo Road: History Vault https://www.boggoroadgaol.com.au/2015/10/the-archaeology-of-boggo-road.html, 2015, accessed 6 October 2021. Human bone was found under No. 1 Division in 2003, following reports of bodies buried on the site. Drilling of geotechnical exploration holes in No. 2 Division gaol approved 23 December 2005 (application CHCH00162205); permit to carry out archaeological investigation granted 30 June 2006 (application CHST00164906).
[61] Brisbane Courier, 8 October 1928, p.12; 8 November 1928, p.14; and 15 March 1929, p.13; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.23; Department of Public Works, Annual Report 1927-28, p.10; Department of Public Works, Annual Report 1928-29, p.9.
[62] The Boggo Road Gaol vegetable gardens had been shown to the Home Secretary in 1913, and referenced as a money-saving measure (Daily Standard, 31 October 1913, p.5). These gardens were photographed and included in the Comptroller-General’s annual report in 1915 (C Pennefather, Report of the Comptroller-General of Prisons for the Year 1915, Brisbane: Government Printer, 1916, inset), and are visible in historic images of the complex, taken in 1929 (John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, negative number 8028) and 1954 (John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, negative number 45743), and referenced in newspaper reports (e.g., Sunday Mail, 6 November 1949, p.9).
[63] Telegraph, 16 September 1922, p.13.
[64] Daily Mail, 31 August 1921, p.6.
[65] Work had previously been performed by prisoners as punishment (particularly aimless tasks such as picking oakum and shot drill) or for economic reasons (manufacturing goods to fund the operation of the prison). Attempts to train the prisoners in skills that would assist them in finding employment after their imprisonment was considered but objected to by the working class, which considered the prisoners unfair competition; and had mixed results in providing employment for former prisoners. Accordingly, under the system introduced in the 1920s, items manufactured by the prisoners were transferred to the State Stores and used by government departments. This avoided creating competition in the ‘free market’, and aided the economy of the prison. Prisoners were paid small amounts of money for their labour, which funded either luxuries within the prison or expenses on release from prison. McGuire, Punishment and Colonial Society, 2001.
[66] Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 5 May 1922, p.8.
[67] Brisbane Courier, 21 September 1920, p.8; Northern Miner, 28 October 1936, p.1; Truth, 20 December 1936, p.18; Proserpine Guardian, 24 December 1936, p.6. The loudspeakers, installed in 1936, connected to the radio master set installed in the Comptroller-General’s office. Educational and occasionally entertainment programmes were broadcast to improve educational opportunities and morale for long-term prisoners. Other educational opportunities included ‘culture classes’ conducted by a retired school teacher from 1935 to 1937 (Sunday Mail, 18 April 1937, p.36 and Mail (Adelaide), 28 August 1937, p.1); an additional hour of light for prisoners undertaking study (Sunday Mail, 11 July 1937, p.34); textbooks for individual study; a library (Sunday Mail, 30 August 1936, p.3); correspondence classes from the Brisbane Technical School; and a remedial school conducted by a Brisbane State High teacher from 1948 (Charleville Times, 6 February 1948, p.8 and Truth, 24 April 1949, p.10).
[68] This, according to the police, was due to their diligence in keeping ‘southern criminals’ out of the State: The Bulletin, Vol. 60 No. 3110, 20 September 1939, p.38.
[69] Comptroller-General of Prisons, Prisons Department – Information contained in the Report for the Year ended 31st December, 1934, pp.50-1; images, ‘View looking towards Boggo Road Gaol in Dutton Park, Queensland, 1932’, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, negative number 102639 and ‘Entrance to Boggo Road Gaol’, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, negative number 62056. Remnants of the landscaping works include a section of curved dry-stone wall near the corner of Annerley Road and Boggo Road.
[70] Department of Public Works, HM Prison Sth Brisbane. Alterations and additions for new bakehouse, Drawing No E249K-1, June 1943 (the bathroom, including black and red tiles installed in 1901-3, was retained); Department of Public Works, HM Prison Sth Brisbane. Alterations and additions for new bakehouse, Drawing No E249K-1, June 1943; Department of Public works, HM Prison – Sth Brisbane. Kitchen Block – No 2 Gaol, Drawing No E294-737, February 1945. A second oven was installed in 1950-51: Department of Public Works, HM Prison, South Brisbane, New Oven at Bakehouse, Drawing No E294K-13, October 1948; Project Services, Queensland Government, Boggo Road Gaol Division 2 Brisbane Proposed repair and adaptation, April 2009, pp.42 & 113; Department of Public Works, HM Prison Sth Brisbane Extension & Cover to Walkway of Tower C, July 1947; Department of Public Works, Brisbane Gaol Division 2 Blocks E & F. Alterations to convert punishment cell to 2 additional cells, February 1950 (E294-1000); Department of Public Works, ‘Particulars of more important works authorised, or in progress during the financial year 1953-54’, Annual Report for the year ended 30th June 1954, Appendix IV, p.19; Department of Public Works, ‘Particulars of more important works authorised, or in progress during the financial year 1954-55’, Annual Report for the year ended 30th June 1955, Appendix IV, p.23; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, pp.25 & 27; Project Services, Queensland Government, Boggo Road Gaol Division 2 Brisbane Proposed repair and adaptation, April 2009, Project Services, 2009, p.113.
[71] Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 3 September 1954, p.4.
[72] Brisbane Prison held 232 of 380 prisoners in Queensland on 1 July 1949; at 30 June 1950, this had climbed to 252 of 406 prisoners. Brisbane Prison held 349 of 570 prisoners on 1 July 1943, and 380 of 617 prisoners on 30 June 1954. Registrar-General’s Office, Government Statistician’s Office, Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (Australia), Queensland Office, Statistics of the State of Queensland for the year…/ compiled from official records in the Government Statistician’s Office, Brisbane: Government Printer, various years.
[73] Truth (Brisbane), 18 January 1953, p.7; SE Solomon (comp.), Statistics of the State of Queensland for the year 1958-59, Brisbane: Government Printer, 1959, Part F, Table 20, p.23F.; Townsville Daily Bulletin, 26 June 1954, p.1 and 3 September 1954, p.2; Morning Bulletin, 3 September 1954, p.4. Department of Public Works, Brisbane Gaol, Division 2, Blocks E and F, Alternations to convert punishment cells to 2 additional cells, Plan E294-1000, February 1950; Department of Public Works, [unreadable] sentry posts HM Prison Brisbane, Plan E294-1622W, 29 April 1958; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p26; Administrative Services Department, Boggo Road Gaol: Conservation Analysis by the Heritage Buildings Group, Q Build Project Services, Administrative Services Department for Department of Justice and Corrective Services, January 1992, pp.25 & 28. A shower block was also installed in the sanitary yard, with provision for hot showers: Department of Public Works, HM Prison S Brisbane, proposed shower block in No 2 Division, 1949 (E294R/8); Courier Mail 14 September 1949, p.4. Prison farms were established at Palen Creek (1934), Numinbah (1940), Stone River (1944) and Whitinbah (1943, closed in 1949): Government Statistician, Queensland Year Book, No 8, 1947, pp.78-79.
[74] Government Statistician, Queensland Year Book, No. 18, 1957, pp.82-83 and No. 28, 1967, p.107; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.26; Carmelo Galea, The Prisons Act 1958: Queensland’s missed opportunity in prison reform, PhD thesis, Central Queensland University, 2015, p.72; ‘The Long Haul’, The Bulletin, Vol. 82 No. 4234, 5 April 1961, pp.20-21; Canberra Times, 21 March 1963, p.2, 9 March 1966, p.8 and 10 November 1967, p.3; G St JB, ‘Political Chronicle: Queensland’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 14 No. 1, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1968, pp.125-129, at p.129; Tribune (Sydney), 8 February 1967 p.12, 9 April 1969, p.4 and 16 April 1969, p.2.
[75] Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.27; Galea, The Prisons Act 1958, 2015, pp.221-222; Department of Works, Brisbane Prison – Hospital Admin Block – Alterations, Drawing Nos E294/2785/30, E294/2785/31, E294/2785/32 and E294/2785/33, 17 September 1975 [EJ Stoopman]; Department of Works, Architectural Branch, Brisbane Prison Division 1 NE Watchtower, Drawing No E294/5064/1, 20 June 1977, which shows the towers and walkways as existing.
[76] Galea, The Prisons Act 1958, 2015, pp.55-57; By the 1980s, however, the hollow square design had proved flawed, as it provide an ‘auditorium type atmosphere’ in the centre, encouraging disturbances to spread to the whole prison and making riot control difficult: Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland and Jim Kennedy, Final Report: Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland, North Quay: The Commission, August 1988, pp.72, 74.
[77] Galea, The Prisons Act 1958, 2015, pp.59-61; P.J. Bredhauer, Report on the Queensland Prison System, Brisbane: Public Service Board, May 1974, p.11, Queensland State Archives, Item ID PR415650. The report was citing Royal Commissioner RE Jones (Fremantle Prison report, 1973) in turn was citing Lord Mountbatten’s 1966 British government report Prison Escapes and Security.
[78] The Bulletin, Vol. 96 No. 4892, 9 February 1974, pp.23-24; S Kerr, Annual Report of the Comptroller-General of Prisons for the year ended 30th June, 1966, Brisbane: Government Printer, 1966, p.1; Galea, The Prisons Act 1958, 2015, p.221. Between 1959 and 1975, the average prisoner population in Queensland climbed from 935 to 1,527, while the single cell capacity climbed from 600 to 1,197. During this period, prison accommodation was never under 100% capacity, and was up to 155%. Galea, The Prisons Act 1958, 2015, p.57.
[79] S Kerr, Annual Report of the Comptroller-General of Prisons for the year ended 30 June 1972, Brisbane: Government Printer, 1972, p.1.
[80] S Kerr, Annual Report of the Comptroller-General of Prisons for the year ended 30 June 1973, Brisbane: Government Printer, 1973, p.1.
[81] The Bulletin, Vol. 93 No. 4743, 20 February 1971, p.17; MNBC, ‘Australian Political Chronicle: Queensland’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 20 No. 3, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1974, pp.401-405, at p.404; Canberra Times, 8 May 1974, p.7 and 29 October 1976, p.1.
[82] The breakouts were largely from No. 1 Division, including the remand section: The Bulletin, Vol 93. No. 4743, 20 February 1971, p.17; Vol. 95 No. 4869, 1 September 1973, pp.22, 24.
[83] ‘The Bulletin, Vol. 96 No. 4892, 9 February 1974, pp.23-24; Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, 6 May 1974 p.7 and 7 May 1974, p.6.
[84] MNBC, ‘Australian Political Chronicle: Queensland’, The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 20 No. 3, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1974, pp.401-405, at p.404.
[85] Canberra Times, 6 November 1975, p3.
[86] The recommendation to convert No. 2 Division into a maximum-security unit was made in the 1974 Bredhauer Report, because ‘the division is isolated, compact, and can be made largely self-contained’, though the lack of sewerage facilities was noted as a disadvantage. The report also mentioned that the division was ‘old and due for eventual demolition’: Bredhauer, Report on the Queensland Prison System, 1974, pp.14-15; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, pp.28-29. Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, ‘The Bredhauer and Longland Repots’, Inside Boggo Road, https://www.boggoroadgaol.com.au/2015/10/the-bredhauer-and-longland-reports.html, October 2015, accessed 5 August 2021; Project Services, Queensland Government, Boggo Road Gaol Division 2 Brisbane Proposed repair and adaptation, April 2009, p.73.
[87] Marked on Department of Public Works plan Brisbane Prison: Interview Rooms to Remand Section, Drawing No. E294/6251/1, 4 December 1979. The electrical shop does not appear in a January 1974 aerial image of the complex (QAP27579890) but does in a May 1975 aerial (QAP31065638), possibly when it was under construction. Bakehouse ovens behind the kitchen/laundry building were also removed around this time.
[88] AJ Whitney, Annual Report of the Comptroller-General of Prisons for the year ended 30 June 1975, Brisbane: Government Printer, 1975, p.3; DPW, Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 1976, Brisbane: Government Printer, Appendix 4, p.34. There is evidence that the No. 2 Division was used as the remand section in 1980 (see, e.g., notices on the back of the cell doors in Block F, dated June 1980; and the report of the death by suicide of a prisoner on remand in Block F in December 1980: Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Commissioner LF Wyvill, Report of the Inquiry into the Death of the Man who died in Brisbane Prison on 4 December 1980, Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1990.
[89] George Georges (George Geogouras, 1920-2002): Canberra Times, 17 August 1979, p.8; Brian Stevenson, The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, Vol. 4, 1983-2002, Canberra: Department of the Senate, 2017, pp.156-162, via https://biography.senate.gov.au/georges-george/.
[90] Most of the November 1983 disturbances took place within No. 1 Division, however, on 22 November, No. 2 Division’s E block prisoners barricaded the door and smashed glass within the building. 29 of the 34 prisoners inside were forcibly removed into the parade ground, and nine were later charged with tumult. Queensland Prisons Department, Report on Debriefing relating to the disturbance which occurred at Brisbane Prison Complex in November 1983, 1984 [unpaged].
[91] Queensland Prisons Department, Report on Debriefing relating to the disturbance which occurred at Brisbane Prison Complex in November 1983, 1984, p.17.
[92] This appears to be at least in part in response to a report undertaken by the Prisoner Accommodation Review Committee in July 1984, which established conditions for an ideal correctional facility, including non-contact and contact facilities (MJ MacNamara, Prisoner Accommodation Review Committee, Queensland Prisons to the year 2000 and beyond, July 1984, p.32). The Longland report also emphasised the importance of visiting facilities at the prison: Sir David Longland, CMG, Enquiry into the Management Practices operating at HM Prison Brisbane, April 1985, p.25.
[93] These rooms were referred to under a variety of different names and appear to have had several uses since their construction. Plans drawn in 1979 and 1982 (Department of Works, Architectural Branch, Brisbane Prison, Interview Rms to Remand Section, Drawing No E294/6251/1, December 1979; Department of Works, Engineering Branch, Brisbane HM Prison – Interview Rooms, Remand Section – Supply & Installation of Electrical Work, Plan A1E10994, 23 March 1982; also Brisbane Prison Remand Section Interview Rooms Exhaust Ventilation, Plan A3M5867, 13 April 1982) refer to the rooms as ‘remand – interview rooms’ between the existing prisoners dining room and the existing electrical shop. Aerial images QAP37283668 (5 June 1980) and QAP4208140 (1 June 1983) confirm that the rooms were built by June 1983. A 1985 plan describes the rooms as Legal Visits rooms (Department of Works Queensland, HM Prison – Brisbane new visitor facilities site plan, Drawing No E 294/7084-1A, 22 May 1985). Conservation Management Plans describe them as recreation and group counselling rooms (Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p27); an undated sign on the building refers to the welfare officer seeing prisoners in the rooms (DES, site visit, 1-2 November 2021).
[94] The Centre included playground facilities for visiting children and a body search room for prisoners: Tania Cleary, Museum Services, Museum Plan for No 2 Division, November 2003, p.34; Department of Works Queensland, Brisbane HM Prison New Visitor Facilities, Drawing No E294/7084-1A, May 1985; A1 E 12839 C, 9 January 1986; Drawing Nos C1929-4 to C1929/6, February 1986.
[95] DES site visit, 1-2 November 2021; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, pp.29-30.
[96] Riddel,  Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, pp.29-30; Canberra Times, 19 November 1987, p.6, 9 December 1987, p.7 and 3 April 1988, p.3; Tribune (Sydney), 16 March 1988, p.11; Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2011, p.27; Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, ‘The “Black Holes”’, Inside Boggo Road, https://www.boggoroadgaol.com.au/2015/10/the-holes.html, 2015, accessed November 2021.
[97] Tribune (Sydney), 16 March 1988, p.11 and 6 April 1988, p.7; Canberra Times, 14 February 1988, p.3, and 10 April 1988, p.20.
[98] Presented as two reports: Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland and Jim Kennedy, Interim Report: Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland, North Quay: The Commission, May 1988 [Kennedy Interim Report]; and Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland and Jim Kennedy, Final Report: Commission of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland, North Quay: The Commission, August 1988 [Kennedy Final Report].
[99] The report that prisoners were locked up in their cells for 23 hours a day was inconsistent with principles established in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1955): Kennedy Final Report, 1988, p.63.
[100] Kennedy Final Report, 1988, ii, pp.70-71.
[101] Kennedy Interim Report, May 1988, p.11; Kennedy Final Report, 1988, vi and vii.
[102] Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, ‘Cell Graffiti’, Inside Boggo Road: History Vault, https://www.boggoroadgaol.com.au/2015/10/cell-graffiti.html, 2015, accessed 6 October 2021. Some graffiti has been added since the gaol closed, but studies published in 2013 and 2017 identified graffiti containing references to prison officers and superintendents and names of prisoners who were incarcerated during this period. The 2017 study identified 277 graffito produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people formerly incarcerated at Boggo Road Gaol. Belinda Costanzo, Melissa Bull and Catrin Smith, ‘If these walls could speak: A visual ethnography of graffiti at Boggo Road Gaol’, Queensland Review, Vol 20 Issue 2, 2013, pp215-230, at 223-224; Belinda Mulcahy, Melissa Bull and Kate Smith, ‘Traces left behind: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Graffiti at Boggo Road Gaol’, Limina, Vol. 22.2, 2017, pp.48-68, at pp.56- 57 and 64.
[103] Kennedy Final Report, 1988, pp.46-47; Courier Mail, 28 July 1992, p.9.; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.30; Brisbane Open House, ‘Ecosciences Precinct’, https://brisbaneopenhouse.com.au/building/ecosciences-precinct/, accessed 6 October 2021; Arch Daily, ‘Ecosciences Precinct/Hassell’, https://www.archdaily.com/125407/ecosciences-precinct-hassell, accessed 6 October 2021. The women’s prison on the Boggo Road Gaol reserve (rebuilt in 1982) was also closed in 1999, having been scheduled to so do in 1994: Queensland State Archives, Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre, Agency ID A925; Canberra Times, 2 October 1989, p.4.
[104] Tom Gilmore, Opposition spokesperson for Prisons, 1993, quoted in Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2002, p.31.
[105] The museum operated from 1992 until 2005, under the curatorship of Faye Smith and former prison officer Don Walters consecutively, with occasional school tours and guided tours: Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, ‘The Boggo Road Gaol Museum’, Inside Boggo Road: History Vault, https://www.boggoroadgaol.com.au/2015/10/the-boggo-road-gaol-museum.html, 2015, accessed 6 October 2021. Gaol tours operated regularly until 2005, then between 2012 and March 2022: Boggo Road Gaol Pty Ltd, https://boggoroadgaol.com/; Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory, ‘Boggo Road Gaol to be open for holiday period’, Hon. Tim Mander, Minister for Housing and Public Works, media statements, 5 December 2012, https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/71129, accessed 6 October 2021; Scott Emerson, ‘Boggo Road Goal historian “anxious” for uncertain future as development halts tours’, 4BC, https://www.4bc.com.au/boggo-road-gaol-historian-anxious-for-uncertain-future-as-development-halts-tours/, 16 March 2022, accessed April 2022; Riddel, Boggo Road Gaol Conservation Management Plan, 2011, p.28; Sue Monk, ‘Scientists to do time in Boggo Road cells’, Courier Mail, 30 June 2001, p.12.
[106] Particularly at Christmas, (e.g., Daily Standard, 26 December 1934, p.5; Courier Mail, 22 December 1949, p.5); public holidays (Warwick Daily News, 29 June 1936, p.7); visits to the gaol by journalists (e.g., Daily Mail, 30 March 1921, p.7; Sunday Mail, 4 February 1934, p.7, Telegraph, 30 January 1937, p.11); or complaints made by ex-prisoners (Truth (Brisbane), 1 August 1937, p.19). Newspaper reports in the second half of the 20th century include those from interstate and national publications. The gaol was referred in popular culture before and after its closure (including music, such as Skyhook’s 1979 song Over the Border; radio programmes, such as 4ZZZ’s Prisoners program; and film, including Kerry O’Rourke’s 1988 documentary The road: voices from prison, and was even referenced in the English House of Commons in 1991 (Peter Kilfoyle, MP for Liverpool, Walton, House of Commons Hansard Debate, 3 December 1991, cited in Christopher Dawson and Frank Woods, Last prison standing: a short history of Boggo Road’s No 2 Division 1903-1989, Brisbane: Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, 2005, p.28.
[107] Biographies and memoirs include, for example, those of former Superintendent John Roy Stephenson (Nor Iron Bars a Cage, Ascot: Boolarong Publications, 1982); former officers Stephen M Gage (Boggo Rod prison: riots to ruin: 1976-2008, Glen Waverley, Vic: Sid Harta, 2009); Tom King (Boggo Road and Beyond, Mansfield: Tom King, 2007); and Rob Tisbury (35 years of screwing around: Boggo Road & more prison stories / written by retired prison officer Rob Tisbury, 2018); and former prisoner Larry Denis Campbell (multiple volumes including The real Boggo Road: A 1960s Queensland prisons journey of a teenager at risk, Vol 1, Brisbane: Larry Denis Campbell/Dead Set Publishing, 2013). Groups included the Friends of Boggo Road, the Boggo Road Gaol Museum, and the Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, with advocacy from the National Trust. Tenants included the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal and Advocacy Service (Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, ‘The Boggo Road Gaol Museum’, Inside Boggo Road: History Vault, https://www.boggoroadgaol.com.au/2015/10/1990s-end-of-road.html).

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Location of Boggo Road Gaol Complex within Queensland
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