On Saturday 26 October our Junior Pioneers visited the historic Adelaide Gaol. There were fifty of us altogether including Junior Pioneers, their family and friends, grandparents and Pioneer members. On our arrival, finger prints and mug shots were taken and then we divided into two groups for intensive guided tours of the Gaol. Our time at the Gaol finished with afternoon tea and a range of learning activities. It was with a sense of relief that we all managed to escape.
The following two reports from Riley and Tessa (Pioneer member Jill Davy’s grand daughters) describe their thoughts on our Junior Pioneers ‘doing time’ at the Adelaide Gaol.
from Riley Pahl….
The tour of the Old Adelaide Gaol gave me an insight to the lives of the prisoners, that I would have never known. During the tour, I was surprised at the information the guide told us. I learnt all about the conditions the prisoners put up with, and just how little you had to do, to be but in the gaol. A theft of only two pieces of fruit, and a six week sentence would set you straight.
Discovering about the food that was served at the goal, may have put you slightly off your appetite, yet learning about the horrible circumstances, was engaging.
If the prisoners were too fed up with the little amount of water, disgusting food and small cells, it was almost impossible to escape. I never knew about the loose bricks on top of the walls, that were there to make the prisoners fall, if somehow they reached the top. They were called honeycomb bricks, as the wall would hold their weight, yet not be secured down, so they would easily fall and crumble.
To end the tour, we had our own afternoon tea (luckily not what the prisoners ate!). I was intrigued by the day, and left knowing more than I thought I would find out. On the whole, I am pleased that I was able to come to this day at the goal.
from Tessa Pahl….
I thoroughly enjoyed our fascinating tour through the old Adelaide Gaol. It was an aspect of Adelaide`s history I had never considered. I found that the gaol itself and its history reflected important parts of South Australia`s settlement. We were toured right around the gaol and saw the many buildings added as the gaol became bigger and more modern. It was amazing to see the elaborate hanging towers which almost sent the state broke so close to a plain fibreglass meeting chamber which looked almost out of place! I loved the many tales our guide told us, which I would never had learnt on a self-guided tour.
The guides were fantastic and really knew the gaol inside out. Quirky facts such as the ease at which contraband items could pass into the gaol and the beautiful rose garden in the centre, were very interesting and really contrasted with the rules of today`s prison structures. I was also able to appreciate just how horrific the conditions would have been, particularly in summer with poor water systems and absolutely no airconditioning! Overall an intriguing tour which I was glad to have been a part of.