Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a tour. The Old Darlinghurst Gaol tour.
For such a long time the notorious secrets that laid in and around the grounds of what is now known as the National Art School, Darlinghurst were closed to visitors. I remember when I was slightly younger than I am now walking passed the sandstone walls (and buildings) and wondering what laid behind it and what secrets were hidden. So after years and years of trying to get into some parts of the ‘institute’, I decided to give up and google the site. I typed in ‘National Art School’ and things popped up but nothing really took my fancy, so to speak (But I will be truthful and say that I even considered enrolling in one of their awesome yet expensive courses). After a while of internet searching, I gave up on the idea that any tour or open visitation were never going to happen. But, one late September morning while I was flicking through my facebook account half asleep and the half – well you know, kinda, maybe awake – there it was, an advert about the ‘Old Darlinghurst Gaol Tour‘ and I couldn’t believe it. And in true style ( and without even looking at the dates) I booked it – and I booked it for a weekday – a working weekday. I was confused as to how I managed to not see the date, slightly frustrated that it happened and contemplated about if I should go to work that day ( which I did ) and upset that there were no other dates on offer so I could change it. So, again I had to let go of the idea of exploring these grounds.
Fortunately enough for me (and with the constant stalking of the website) there it was, another tour and this time during the weekend, yes I did book it again and yes it was awesome. The tour started at
The tour started at 10:30 am and finished at 11:30 am. We started at the entrance of the building (where we were told public hangings took place), and made our way to and through the grounds, exploring the tunnels (where prisoners would be searched, stripped and cleaned), studios (where cells and workshops were held), and the disused morgue.
The tour itself was amazing and informative. Each path and turn we took, the tour guide presented the place with its grim truth of the past and its stunning reality and creative environment of today.
I’m not going to give out all the secrets of the tour because I highly recommend attending yourself and exploring/experiencing the Old Darlinghurst Gaol. So for further information and bookings visit the Old Darlinghurst Gaol website.