Doing time

One of our day trips whilst staying in Oz was to Freemantle Prison. The prison has been closed since 1991 when the staff and inmates were moved out to another secure prison.  The roundhouse was built in 1831 and served as a courthouse, place for detention and execution. Since 1992 the prison has offered guided tours of the grounds to the paying public. We decided to take the Doing Time Tour.

Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable. We were told of fires caused by inmates, ghosts and escapes. Different tours offer different insights into prison life. There is a window that your guide will point out to you in the main yard that supposedly has a ghostly face in it. You can see something.

The thing that struck me most though was a moment in the isolation wing. These were rooms in which inmates were kept in darkness for 23hrs a day. Whilst we were there I wandered down the short corridor and went to take a picture of the end room. As I approached it, I felt what I can only describe as oppression and a drop in temperature. It was distinctive enough that I dropped the viewfinder on the camera and looked into the room without it. I quickly took a photo and walked back to join the rest of the group. A short while later as we moved down the corridor our guide explained to us that the room I had just visited was used to house prisoners in their last 24hrs before they were executed. Ive never experienced anything like this before and had no idea that the room was used for that when I felt what I did. Very strange, but very real. Really worth a visit


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