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Trial Bay Gaol BW by TarJakArt Trial Bay Gaol BW by TarJakArt
In 1861 a plan was formed to construct a breakwater off Laggers Point to make Trial Bay a harbour of refuge for those ships too big to cross river mouths.[3] Further plans included the idea to use prison labour for the construction, with a prison established specifically for that purpose. In 1877 work on the gaol commenced and in 1886 it was proclaimed a prison and inmates moved there.

The breakwater they worked on was to extend some 1500 metres out into the bay, built from granite blocks quarried from the nearby hill. Heavy gales caused damage to the structure as it progressed over the years. In 1898 and 1899 new wings were built on the prison, suggesting work was intending to continue, but in 1903 it was abandoned. Apparently the prison was costly to run and didn't fit with ideas of penology of the time.

About 300 metres of breakwater had been built, and it had shoaled up the bay considerably. A wharf had been built inside the breakwater in 1898, not meant for public use, but which ended up used regularly by passenger ships which could not navigate the Macleay River mouth. Today only a small section of the breakwater remains, about 50 metres, and nothing of the wharf.

In 1915 the gaol was reopened to hold German wartime internees. Most were single men of some education and included officers of the German Army Reserve. A rumour went around in 1917 that a German landing party planned to free the men and when a German raider the SS Wolf was seen in 1918 the men were moved to the large camp at Holsworthy outside Sydney.

This was the last use made of the prison and it was stripped and fixtures sold off in 1922. Today it's open to the public, operated as a heritage site by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Canon EOS 500D Canon EF-S 10-18mm at 14mm 1/250s @ f/7.1 ISO100
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Submitted on
December 22, 2016
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717 KB


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