Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne

#1 of 40 in Historic Sites in Melbourne
Historic Site · Tourist Spot
At Old Melbourne Gaol, see how Australia handled its most notorious criminals many years ago. Built in 1839, the prison housed and executed famous criminals such as Ned Kelly and serial killer Frederick Bailey Deeming. Today, you can tour the prison's three levels. Visit cells, see the execution area, take a spooky night tour, or participate in a reenactment of a trial. Above all, learn about crime and punishment during Australia's wild past. Before you visit Melbourne, use our trip planner to discover what you can do and see there.
Create an itinerary including Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
3,209 reviews
  • first time visiting and thought it was great! really interesting to learn about the history of the gaol and watch house and to explore the old cells. felt super creepy at first but after a while you.....  more »
  • Last minute decision to take a tour through the old gaol. Has a death mask of Ned Kelly and others. Interesting to see the harsh conditions prisoners lived in.  more »
  • Not gonna lie, I kinda got dragged into this adventure but it turned out to be amazing. They get all 5 stars for how the tour is out on. It’s truly fascinating and on the guided parts, the guides are tremendous. You get an up close and personal look into the lives of those that stayed there and were executed there. Very informative and hands on. The Sheriffs have done an outstanding job of saving actual items important to its history and allowing you a peek into what it was like. Tip: look up Ned Kelly before you go, and learn about the most famous outlaw to be held on site.
  • The Old Melbourne Gaol is to be seen and visited. Great for everyone. You can also bring your picnic and have lunch in its massive courtyard (which we did). One of our kids really enjoyed ‘Escape the Gaol’ scavenger hunt (it’s free and children will get a small prize at the end – it’s part of the general admission ticket). We all went through the guided Watch House Experience. It is to be done. Do not miss it. They have multiple time slots throughout the day. I think this is the best part of the visit. All the kids loved this tour, even the 4 year old. He needed reassurance but he loved it (read further for more explanation). Great lovely acting from our Sergeant. Some great stories to listen to and many pictures to be taken of too. This is not scary at all. The sergeant is maybe scary at times (loud voice only)  but she was harmless. One kid left crying at the start of the visit…..which is not uncommon as she stated. I can reassure you, the Sergeant only uses a loud voice. She was harmless. The performance in the Gaol itself was great too. It tells the story of Ned Kelly. Don’t worry if you cannot read everything in the Gaol about him, you can catch up with the performance. Get there early to get a good seated spot unless you don’t mind standing. During your self-guided tour you will discover many information about former inmates if this is of your interest. They also offer $5 guided tour if I’m correct. Great visit to do if you haven’t done it yet or if you are just visiting Melbourne. Plus the Melbourne museum is not far away either. Enjoy and don’t forget “Yes Sergeant” if you want to make it out of the Watch House ;-)

Plan your trip to Melbourne

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.