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Maitland Gaol
Maitland Gaol Governors House.JPG
The former Maitland Goal and Governor's House
Location John Street, East Maitland, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates 32°44′42″S 151°35′23″E / 32.74500°S 151.58972°E / -32.74500; 151.58972Coordinates: 32°44′42″S 151°35′23″E / 32.74500°S 151.58972°E / -32.74500; 151.58972
Status Open(Museum)
Security class Maximum security
Capacity 174, but has reached 400+
Opened 1848
Closed 31 January 1998 (1998-01-31) after 147–148 years)
Building details
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Former names Maitland Correctional Centre
General information
Construction started 1826
Completed 1875
Technical details
Material Stone
Design and construction
  • Mortimer Lewis (1844–48)
  • James Barnet (1851–75)
Architecture firm Colonial Architect of New South Wales
Main contractor H. Brodie and A. Craig
Official name Maitland Correctional Centre
Type Built
Criteria a., c., e.
Designated 2 April 1999
Reference no. 01296

The Maitland Gaol, also known as Maitland Correctional Centre, is a heritage-listed former Australian prison located in East Maitland, New South Wales. Its construction was started in 1844 and prisoners first entered the gaol in 1848. By the time of its closure, on 31 January 1998, it had become the longest continuously-run gaol in Australia. It has since been turned into a museum and is a popular tourist attraction. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

The gaol closed in January 1998. Maitland City Council was offered a 50-year lease in February 1999.


The Maitland Gaol complex is positioned on top of the main hill at East Maitland. It is the focal point of the town and an important confirmation of the axial town planning concept of the Surveyor General of that time, Sir Thomas Mitchell.

Made mainly of sandstone and metal roofing, the building structures are set out on the same north-west bearing as the predominant street pattern of East Maitland. The cell block Wings "A" and "B" were located symmetrically about the Gate House axis in the 1840s being of equal distance from the axis.

The houses of the Governor of the Jail and of the Lieutenant-Governor project forwards from the gaol wall to form a court, with the main entrance at the far end.

The newer extension on the western side is of red coloured brick.

Heritage listing

On 2 April 1999 the Maitland Correctional Centre was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register with the following statement of significance:

Maitland Gaol is of considerable significance because it is the oldest substantially intact country gaol in NSW. It is Australia's oldest structure in continuous use as a gaol. It is the only surviving example of the group of "Inspectors' Gaols" designed by the Colonial Architect in NSW and built during the 1840s. Together with the courthouse, it provides an elevated focal point at the north-west end of William Street, the grand axis of the 1829 town plan. In addition, Maitland Gaol was built of local stone and has a substantially homogenous character of a 19th century stone precinct. It is a showcase of stone, iron and timber work from the 1840s to the 1890s, much of it executed by local and prison artisans.

—Statement of significance, New South Wales State Heritage Register.


Visitors can take a self-guided audio tour of the historic prison or can take guided theme tours.

Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles

The "Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles" is located in the Maitland Gaol and features clothing and accessories, textiles and related items.

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