Situated in Ararat, Victoria, construction of the goal commenced in 1859 and the facility was opened in 1861.
In 1887 it was converted for use as a maximum security psychiatric ward for the criminally insane.
The original building was intended to be a Victorian goldfields prison, based on the Pentonville concept, by the Public Works Department.
On 10 October 1861 the gaol was opened, with a total of 21 prisoners incarcerated.
The first Governor was Samuel Walker (previously the Governor of Portland Gaol). In 1864 the gaol housed 40 prisoners and in 1867 John Gray became the gaol’s second Governor, a position he held for ten years.
On the 15 August 1870 the first execution was conducted at the gaol, when Andrew Vere was hung for the murder of Amos Cheale in January 1869.
The second execution at the gaol was held on 25 September 1883, when Robert Francis Burns was hung for the murder of Michael Quinlivan.
In 1877 Henry Pinniger was appointed as the gaol’s third Governor.
On 6 June 1884 the gaol held its third execution, with Henry Morgan being hung for the murder of Margaret Nolan in November 1883. I
n 1884 George Fiddimont became the gaol’s fourth Governor, he died of a heart attack at the goal on 14 September 1886.
In the aftermath of the Victorian gold rush the gaol was no longer required and in December 1886 the gaol building was proclaimed as the ‘J Ward’, part of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum.
J Ward is now a museum open to the public. Other notes about J Ward include the amazing art work done by prisoners on the walls out side in their open area, the way this place makes you still imagine it being operated, and the thought to detail is amazing.
J ward was not only occupied by the criminally insane but also the insane who had not committed any crimes.
via Ararat Lunatic Asylum – J Ward – Wikipedia