top of page


Events in The Yard

The Yard, in any Gaol was a place of exercise, a place of work, a place of muster, and for precious few moments each week a place of recreation for prisoners.  The Yard offers an event venue that easily accommodates weddings, music, markets and more. Contact us to find out more!



The Old Dubbo Gaol began as a courthouse lock up in 1847, one of the first Government buildings for Dubbo. As the town and region grew so did crimes brought about by greed, hunger and poverty.  See our timeline on pivotal moments through the gaols history.


The first Courts of Petty Sessions were held at Dubbo. Prior to 1846, law and order in the Dubbo area was administered from Wellington.  

1847 - 1848

Police residence, court house and lock-up constructed.

Dubbo lock-up was a slab-hut connected to the courthouse comprising two cells and a guard room.


23 November 1849

Dubbo officially gazetted as a village on this date.


12 July 1859

Dubbo lock-up officially proclaimed a gaol to allow those tried in the newly expanded jurisdiction of the General Quarter Sessions to be legally held in the custody of the sheriff.


Construction of the third gaol in Dubbo completed. This new building, presently the front section of the Male Division, was the first of a set of buildings that would form what is known today as Dubbo Gaol.


29 May 1877

First execution in Dubbo Gaol.

Thomas Newman executed for murder and buried in the Dubbo Gaol yard.  


Thomas Newman photographic description sheet image, 1877, source unknown.


26 May 1880

Albert executed for murder and buried in the Dubbo Gaol yard.


Major construction work completed, including construction of Female Division, Gaoler’s residence, and extension of Male Division.

Classification upgraded from Police Gaol to Minor Gaol. Instead of being under the control of an Acting Gaoler who was also a police constable, now had a specially appointed Gaoler, of much higher social status.


Construction of the second Dubbo courthouse and gaol completed.

The new stone courthouse featured two wings, one of which was the new gaol.

Macquarie Street Courthouse and Gaol, circa 1860s.jpg

American & Australasian Photographic Company, Macquarie Street Courthouse, ca. 1870, ON 4 Box 54 No 184, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

1877 - 1880

Additions and upgrades including construction of kitchen, hospital ward, and watchtowers.


Dubbo Gaol. Proposed additions and alterations, (detail), 1878, NRS 43354, Plans of public buildings, PC185/043, NSW State Archives and Records.


Dubbo Court House; Telegraph Office, ca. 1880, NRS 4481-2-[4/8633]-989, NSW State Archives and Records.


Western Entrance Dubbo Gaol, ca. 1880/90, source unknown.


2 May 1891 

Lars Peter Hansen executed for murder.


The third courthouse in Dubbo, located on Brisbane Street, officially opened.


Court house, Brisbane Street, Dubbo, third building, c.1890, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council, D0000468


The Gaol Photographic Description Book, Lars Peter Hansen, 1891, INX-84-25342, NSW State Archives and Records.

26 November 1891

Harold Dutton Mallallieu executed for murder.


Additions and improvements including expansion into the site once occupied by the 1860s courthouse and erection of trial yard in the space.


Interior Western Entrance Dubbo Gaol, ca. 1880/90, source unknown.


The Gaol Photographic Description Book, Harold Dutton Mallalieu, 1891, INX-84-25369, NSW State Archives and Records.


13 December 1898

Wong Ming executed for murder.


The Gaol Photographic Description Book, Wong Ming, 1897, INX 84-26293, NSW State Archives and Records.


24 June 1897

Thomas Moore executed for murder.


The Gaol Photographic Description Book, Thomas Moore, 1897, INX-84-26279, NSW State Archives and Records.


14 December 1898

Jacky Underwood executed for his part in the attack on the Mawbey family at Breelong which left 4 dead. Jimmy Governor, the other man involved, would be hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol. The events would inspire the novel “The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith” by Thomas Keneally.


28 June 1904

Last execution in Dubbo Gaol.

Ah Check executed for murder.


Reduced in status to a police gaol. Hangings could no longer occur on the grounds. Prisoners would now only serve short terms.


A campaign to close the Dubbo Gaol due to its location on Macquarie Street resulted in a compromise to relocate the front entrance of Dubbo Gaol. The Western Entrance was closed, sold to the Commonwealth Bank, and relocated to the Eastern Wall. The new gates opened onto the Brisbane Street courthouse grounds.


Dubbo Gaol. Alterations and additions. Plans, elevations and sections, (detail), 1927 28, NRS-4335-4-[Plan958]-PC185/052, NSW State Archives and Records.


31 August 1966

Dubbo Gaol officially closes. Remaining prisoners were transferred to Bathurst or Parramatta.


Dubbo Gaol was flooded to a depth of 5 feet. Prisoners were transferred to Bathurst Gaol.


Dubbo Gaol flooded, (detail), 1955, ODG1999.081, Old Dubbo Gaol collection.



Old Dubbo Gaol opened as a tourist attraction after extensive restoration by the Old Dubbo Gaol Restoration Committee. 

Prior to restoration ca 1970s.jpg

Ronald James Christian locking the gates for the final time, (detail), 1966, Donated by Mrs S. Christian, ODG2001.240, Old Dubbo Gaol collection.

Interior Dubbo Gaol prior to restoration, (detail), ca. 1970, D987-114, Old Dubbo Gaol collection.

bottom of page