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Adelaide Gaol
Title : Adelaide Gaol Adelaide Gaol
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Creator : Henderson, James, artist
Source : B 2434/37
Date of creation : ca. 1843
Format : Artwork
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

Sketch of the Adelaide Gaol, ca. 1843, showing the Gaol governor's house at left, parts of the 18-foot-high outer wall and two of the octagonal corner towers. The building was designed by architect George Strickland Kingston and construction commenced in 1840.

South Australia was proclaimed a convict-free colony and so the surveyors made no provision for a gaol when setting out Adelaide and its sections.

Two temporary structures were built, which proved very insecure, crowded and unsatisfactory. By 1840 it was decided that a new gaol was needed; Civil Engineer and Inspector of Public Works George Strickland Kingston drew up the plans for a gaol in May 1840.

Kingston's design and concept for the gaol was not unique as it was a design similar to the American radiating plan in use at the time. This was also the design used at the English Pentonville Prison which was considered a model prison of the 19th century. Note that the second tower in the illustration and in the building lacks the dramatic crenellations of the front tower.

The gaol ceased to be used as a prison in 1988. It is now a heritage site under the custodianship of the Adelaide Gaol Preservation Society.

This building is listed on the Register of the National Estate and on the South Australian Heritage Register.

Born in Scotland, James Henderson came out to Australia for health reasons, travelling with a party of Royal Engineers under EC Frome. He was engaged in numerous surveys, particularly around Lake Alexandrina and the north-west bend of the Murray River. During this time developed a reputation as an artist. In 1841 he transferred to the Public Works Department where he remained until returning to England in 1851. He was a member of Frome's Expedition to Lake Frome, 8 July to 29 April 1843 and kept a journal (D 7504 L) and sketchbook (B 2434) of 42 drawings.

Related names :

Frome, Edward, Charles, 1802-1890

Henderson, James, 1821-1903

Kingston, George Strickland, 1807-1880

Coverage year : 1843
Period : 1836-1851
Place : South Australia
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

Danvers Architects Adelaide Gaol conservation study report Adelaide: Danvers Architects, 1986

Langmead, Donald Accidental architect Darlinghurst, N.S.W.: Crossing Press, 1994

Scheiffers, Sue Inside: a brief history of the Adelaide Gaol [Strathalbyn, S. Aust.: S. Scheiffers], 2002

Internet links :

Adelaide Gaol

Australian Dictionary of Biography Onlinesee: Kingston, Sir George Strickland

Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. From the ground up August 2004-



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