J Ward for the family – life sentence

J Ward for the family – life sentence
Ararat, Australia

Ararat, Australia


On the way home from Halls Gap we stopped off at J Ward for the Criminally Insane. It closed in the early 1990s but it feels like a relic of the 1950s. Beautiful blue stone walls, but it is only a step up from Pentridge. Cramped jail cells, desolate shower blocks and a grim exercise yard.

It was a psych ward and jail before becoming a jail for the criminally insane. Inmates were in for a variety of reasons – killing a man for smoking in a cafe being one of the more mad ones.

Josefa didn’t enjoy it, even though we’d been here before! She feels too much empathy for those who were in the cells. Aidan thought the guided tour a bit long. But Rosa seemed interested in the stories behind the prisoners, the escape plots, the hangings and the exercise yard engravings.

Ararat is one of the better large country towns. Next time we’ll have to take a look at the Chinese Heritage Centre.

We also dropped in to see a friend from Year 12 who is now a Senior Detective in the region. He gave us a tour of the police station, so it was a real contrast and also a day of crime and punishment.


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