Berrima, New South Wales - Old Berrima Gaol

Old Berrima Gaol

Berrima Gaol was built over five years with much work done by convicts in irons. Conditions at the gaol were harsh, prisoners spent most of their days in cells and the only light was through a small grate set in the door. In 1866 the gaol was renovated to the standards described by the prison reform movement for a "model prison". However, Berrima gaol had solitary confinement cells which measured 8 feet by 5 feet, some smaller, where it was intended that all prisoners spent one year. In 1877 a royal commission was held to investigate allegations of cruelty by the prison authorities but the complaints were not upheld.

During World War I the army used Berrima Gaol as a German-prisoner internment camp. Most of the 329 internees were enemy aliens from shipping companies. There were German officers from Rabaul, German New Guinea (what is now Papua New Guinea) and also officers from the light cruiser SMS Emden

The correctional centre was used most recently as an all-female low-to-medium security prison. In the 2011 NSW State Budget, the Government announced that the centre would be closed, which took effect on 4 November 2011.

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