When I was in Tasmania, one of the woman on my tour told me that if I liked looking at the jails in Australia, I had to check out the Old Melbourne Gaol while I was there. With the convention over and me with a day free before I left the city, decided to take her advice and head that way. It’s a good 30 minute walk from my hostel, and very out of the way, but eventually stumble on it around noon.
Part of the Gaol have long since been demolished, or are out of bounds, but they still have a cell block, in addition to a section that was still being used as a jail up until the mid 90’s. If you buy a ticket into the gaol, you can also enter the former jail and get treated to a modern day booking. I ended up being a woman arrested for growing an ‘illegal substance’ in her garden. Once you’re booked, you get to see the cells, including the padded ones, and those for men who were there for drunk and disorderly (you could tell the difference from normal cells thanks to the addition of a drain).
The Gaol itself is mostly famous for being where Australian icon Ned Kelly was jailed, hung and buried. You can try on replica’s of his armour, and see the cell where he was incarcerated. On the second floor, there are stories of other prisoners, including woman, children and Colin Campbell Ross, the first man in Australia to be arrested on DNA evidence. Ironically, tests performed in recent years have actually proven that the DNA tests don’t prove the match they claimed – he was most likely innocent.
The Gaol also hosts ghost tours in the evening, but I decided I wasn’t up to doing the walk twice, I’m still under the weather from Tasmania, and head back into town. Along the way I stop at a Vietnamese Restaurant directly opposite the bus station for lunch – I’m still missing Vietnamese food quite badly. You cannot find decent Pho in Australia, so figured a place with Pho in it’s name might be a good shot.
It wasn’t. Food was nice, but the broth really wasn’t ‘pho’. Was fairly bland all things considered – back to the eternal search.