Ghosts of the Old Melbourne Gaol: Haunted Australia

Ghosts of the Old Melbourne Gaol: Haunted Australia

Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, marking the darker side of the city’s history. It has stood in the heart of Melbourne since 1839 and has seen many hardened criminals pass through its doors, though not all departed the jail alive.

Old Melbourne Gaol.
The Old Gaol framed by the Melbourne skyline.

Being the only jail in the Melbourne area, this jail was used to house an array of prisoners. These criminals ranged in age, gender, offense and innocence. Men, women and even children were often housed at the jail with the youngest prisoner on the record being just three years old.

Haunted Old Melbourne Gaol.
Exploring one of the most haunted places in Australia, the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Poor conditions and executions at the jail made death a common occurrence within the building. Tragedy and these harsh conditions have led many to believe in the possibility that ghosts now haunt the former jail.

Old Melbourne Gaol.
Looking for the ghosts of Melbourne’s Old Gaol.

Death and the Old Melbourne Gaol

Death is commonly associated with hauntings, so it is important to understand some key events that led to death within the jail, to understand its ghosts.

Execution display at the Old Melbourne Gaol.
The gaol’s execution display.

Throughout the 90 years of the jail’s operation, it has seen many people pass over within its walls. Some of the souls of the people who have died here are thought to linger within the old buildings of the jail. Executions were a form of death that greatly added to the death toll at the Old Melbourne Gaol. The hangman’s noose was responsible for some 133 executions within the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Hanging beam at Old Melbourne Gaol.
The hanging beam and rope where many executions at the Old Melbourne Gaol took place.

Some of the notable executions to occur at the jail include that of Ned Kelly, an infamous Australian bushranger and outlaw. Another well-known execution was of a man named Frederick Bailey Deeming. This man was known for murdering two of his wives and own children. Many also speculate that he may have actually been the infamous Jack the Ripper, having been in London around the time of the Whitechapel murders. Finally, the death of Elizabeth Scott is also well known. She was actually the first woman to be executed within the state of Victoria in 1863 and is thought to remain at the jail to haunt it.

Death mask of Ned Kelly.
Ned Kelly’s death mask on display.

Ghosts of the Old Melbourne Gaol

As previously mentioned, the spirit of Elizabeth Scott is believed by many to haunt the Old Melbourne Gaol. Many people claim to have heard the disembodied voice of a female within the jail. This is believed to be Elizabeth attempting to communicate with visitors beyond the grave.

Old Melbourne Gaol prison cell.
Something lurking in the back of a prison cell.

Elizabeth’s spirit isn’t the only one thought to haunt the Old Melbourne Gaol. Many former prisoners are also thought to dwell there. Not only have people claimed to hear the voices of the former inmates still at the jail, but they have also claimed to capture a glimpse of them. Sometimes they are described as dark shadowy figures of men lurking within their cells and sometimes something much more sinister. Others have described seeing the dark outlines of what looks like men standing at the entrances of cells, though upon closer inspection their skin appears to be rotting off their skeletons.

Cells inside Melbourne's old jail.
Exploring some of the most haunted areas of the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Cell 17 has been described as the jail’s most haunted cell. Though no one truly knows who or what lurks within, many people have claimed to be physically assaulted by an unseen force within the cell. Many who enter this area of the jail have been either unexplainably scratched or even pushed.

Old Melbourne Gaol haunted cell 17.
Cell number 17, the most haunted cell inside the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Visiting the Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol is one of the most visited attractions in the city. The jail can be entered after purchasing a ticket either online or at the gate. Visitors can explore at their own leisure as the tour is self-guided. There are many informative signposts and displays around the jail and enough to see and spend a few hours in the building. The jail also offers watchtower tours which, encompass more of an experience. These depart from the front of the watchtower and visitors will be led through the tower by a guard who ‘locks you away.’ Almost nightly ghost tours can also be attended, where a guide takes you through the jail after hours.

Historic jail in Melbourne, Australia.
The beautiful yet eerie remaining cell block of the Old Melbourne Gaol.

If you enjoyed this article you may also like to learn about the Old Adelaide Gaol.

Thanks for reading!


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About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (2)

  • Josh Bruce Mellis

    Posted by Josh Bruce Mellis on July 14, 2019

    Great pics! Is there any place you haven’t been? Haha. I’ll be recommending checking this out and haven’t been to the Old Melbourne Gaol since a kid. Travelling around the world as well as here in Australia to living in San Francisco must be awesome. Unfortunately haven’t been to Adelaide before (Mortal Kombat film soon yeah!) – only been to Queensland, Sydney, Alice Springs and Hamilton Island.

    Great videos on Bodie California, Alcatraz, Lizzie Borden’s family house, The Stanley Hotel (from film The Shining), Notre Dame and The Abbey of St. Carta in Romania (true story behind the demon Valek in film ‘The Nun’) as well as many of the others in America, Europe, Asia etc.

  • Amy

    Posted by Amy on July 16, 2019

    Hi Josh! Thanks for the comment. Haha, I am quite well-traveled. I’ve dedicated every part of myself to see these types of places during my life. Adelaide is awesome, I hope you get the chance to visit one day! Yes, we are getting the Mortal Combat movie here, so awesome! Appreciate this!

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