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Robe Gaol Ruins

Robe Gaol Ruins

The Robe Gaol Ruins are a historical attraction in Robe. These partially restored stone ruins are a significant cultural attraction because they tell the intriguing, albeit dark, story of the area.

The gaols were first built between 1860 and 1861 to accommodate prisoners who had to travel to Adelaide to attend trial and serve the mandated sentences.

Robe Gaol Ruins History, Old Jail, Hours & Address Location, SA

Back then, the cost of travelling such a distance to Adelaide was too high, thus developing the gaol. Initially, it had a small receiving yard comprising cells that served as the residence for male prisoners and the keeper. Later on, a duplicate half was built on the southern side of the gaol, this time for female prisoners.

When the gaol was still being worked on, there were concerns regarding the quality of workmanship. Questionable security features resulted in two of the earliest prisoners being able to succeed in escaping – just by picking the walls using a hook obtained from a window fastening. Though the prisoners were eventually caught, this led the builders to install reinforcement in the outer walls of the cell using boilerplates obtained from the Admella shipwreck located near Carpenter Rocks.

Two indigenous men were the first prisoners of the Robe Gaol; they were charged with stealing the female of another aborigine. One escaped after striking a gaoler using a stick, though he was recaptured sometime later.

Another time, a prisoner named George Catella was able to escape after assaulting a gaoler with an axe to the head; a telegraph was sent to notify the district and cannons were fired. Several months later, Cateola’s body was found in Lake Eliza.

By 1995, the Robe Gaol Ruins underwent restoration as part of the Federal Government Job Skills program.

Visit the ruins found along Obelisk Road in Robe.

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael created and runs the Mount Gambier Point website, as well as the Holiday Point travel brand that incorporates a network of 16 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia, Asia, and around the world.

With 25+ years of online experience and a passion for travel (having been born in Mount Gambier, lived there and reguarly visits family), Michael not only researches and writes content for the website, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

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