Prisons of Colonial Queensland


An extensive prison system was developed in Queensland as the colonial authorities sought to impose their laws on this land, ranging from Roma to Camooweal to Thursday Island.

For many new towns, the presence of a local prison was something of a status symbol, a sign of confidence and coming prosperity and regional importance. In fact, when a new prison for south-east Queensland was being discussed in the 1850s, the residents of Ipswich lobbied hard for it to be erected within their boundaries, and were very disappointed when Petrie Terrace, Brisbane was eventually selected as the site.

In terms of numbers, the Queensland prison network peaked in the late 19th century before a programme of centralisation saw many regional prisons close. A wealth of information about those old prisons can be found within these pages.


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