21 Boggo Road, Dutton Park, QL

Status: Former Maximum Security Prison; Heritage Property; Open to Public

Paranormal Investigations Available


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Boggo Road Gaol a cellblock & watch tower at the front.jpg

By <a href="//" title="User:Kgbo">Kgbo</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0Link


The first cellblock opened on July 2, 1883 and over the years many other buildings came and went on the site. The first buildings were built by Robert Porter, contained 57 cells, and were constructed using materials from the demolished Petrie Terrace Jail.

In 1903 a structure was built to hold female prisoners. This later became known as the No.2 Division, and is now the only prison building still standing. It is heritage-listed.

The 'No.1 Division' built in 1883 was the scene of 42 hangings, including the hanging of Ernest Austin in 1913; the last execution in Queensland.

A new prison was built around the perimeter of No.1 prison during the 1960s and No.1 prison was demolished leaving area for an oval and recreational facilities for the newly built prison and this prison had running cold water and toilet facilities in all cells.

Under the oval was the facility that became known as the "black hole" where prisoners were subjected to "punishment". The "black hole" still in use until the late '80s.

Protests at the gaol during the 1980s saw inmates undertake hunger strikes, roof top protests, and rioting over the poor conditions and treatment. The prison was constantly in the headlines and became notorious around Australia.

Many cells still did not have any form of sanitation and facilities for washing were lacking. Prisoners were required to use a bucket through the evening for toilet breaks and empty it, or 'slop out', in the morning.

A Queensland Government inquiry into the living conditions of State prisons found Boggo Road to be outdated and inadequate for prisoners' needs. No.2 Division was closed in 1989.

The replacement No.1 division was closed in 1992 and was demolished in 1996 (a small section of what was "C5" and guard tower still remain). A more modern (by 1960's standards) prison for women operated adjacent to this site until 2000 and was demolished in 2006.

Since 1992 the No.2 Division has been home to the Boggo Road Gaol Museum, which featured displays of prison-related artefacts. Throughout the 1990s ex-officers conducted guided tours of the site, and from 2003 the museum and tours were operated by the Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, a non-profit incorporated association of volunteers.

Like many other similar places around the country, the site also hosts ghost tours.

Redevelopment of the surrounding site began in 2006, leading to the temporary closure of the Boggo Road Gaol historical site.

The No.2 Division prison buildings were preserved according to its heritage listing.

The gaol was originally designed to house 40 male prisoners serving as a holding place for prisoners heading to St Helena Island in Moreton Bay. However, by 1989 there were 187 male prisoners and the women's facility had around 200 additional prisoners.


Paranormal Activity

Stories of paranormal activity at this site date back to the 1930’s.

At around midnight, every night, an old prison guard, who was brutally murdered by 2 inmates, can be seen walking around the perimeter of the fence, just outside the main cell block. If you listen, you can also hear the group of keys that he carried, rattling against his leg as he walks.

Stories of the ghost of Ernest Austin – the last man hung here – nicknamed “Ernie” were used to scare new guards and new prisoners alike but there may have been some truth to these stories.

A female ghost has been seen which thought to be either Ellen Thompson – the only woman ever executed in Queensland - or a former guard from the women’s prison.

The ghost of 3 legged cat is also often seen. He is called – fittingly – tripod and will rub himself against visitor’s legs.

Apparitions of former guards, staff and prisoners; touches, tugs and pushes by unseen presences; cold and warm spots; possessions.

Disembodied voices, whispers and cries; unexplained noises from banging on the cells to a broom sweeping and everything in-between; phantom footsteps; feelings of not being alone, being watched, not being wanted and being stalked; empathic feelings of fear, anger, bipolar, hopelessness and sadness.

The energy at this site can be so powerful for some sensitives they can become physically ill or so overwhelmed they have no choice to leave.