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Robe Gaol Ruins

Robe Gaol Ruins

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

The gaols were first built sometime during 1860 and 1861 to accommodate the 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, the development of the gaol. Initially, it had a small receiving yard, which comprised of cells that served as the residence for male prisoners, as well as 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 for stealing the female of another aborigine. One of them was able to escape after striking a gaoler using a stick, though he was recaptured sometime after.

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.

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