Boggo Road Gaol opened in 1883, over the years of operation it gained a reputation as Australia’s most notorious prison. There were many infamous inmates including the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub fire-bombers James Richard Finch and John Andrew Stuart – and the “Houdini of Boggo Road” escapologist and jail-breaker Slim Halliday. Forty-two prisoners were executed by hanging – the last in 1913. In the 1980s Boggo Road was the scene of dramatic escapes, riots, hunger-strikes and roof-top protests which led to the prisons official closure 25 years ago in 1992.
Heritage-listed Number 2 Division – the remaining section of Boggo Road – is as it was when it closed in 1989, a time-capsule of the past. It is part of the new Boggo Road Urban Village redevelopment. Since 2012 Boggo Road Gaol Pty Ltd has conducted historical tours, events and experiences at the historic site. Boggo Road Gaol provides an invaluable lesson about Australian history, crime and punishment, law and order.