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“"Interesting"” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Old Dubbo Gaol

Old Dubbo Gaol
Ranked #2 of 27 things to do in Dubbo
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Old Dubbo Gaol is a state heritage listed must see. This remarkably complete and intact gaol operated for 119 years from 1847 to 1966 and is still nestled in the main street of Dubbo. This set of 19th and 20th century gaol buildings create a pocket in time, and the experiences within brings history to life. This regional gaol is representative of powerful, surprising and dark moments in Australian prison history. We house important collections such as the hangman's kit and gallows, and unforgettable experiences such as the dark cells and the bird's-eye view from the watchtower. With guided tours, night tours, and theatrical experiences on offer, the Old Dubbo Gaol is a rare piece of history open to explore.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
302 reviews
113 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2014

I've been to the gaol years ago so this time decided to do the 'Beyond the Grave' tour for something different. The guide was informative and told some interesting stories. It's a little expensive for the hour but it was fun walking around at night.

Experiencing the solitary confinement cell in total darkness was fascinating. We were only in there for a matter of minutes so how prisoners did that for days on end is mind-boggling!

Visited January 2014
Thank BarbsZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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592 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • Any
English first
Warners Bay, Australia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Very educational”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2014

Our grandchildren were extremely interested and went back again on the following day. It is a walk back in time and gives an indication of the hardship endured by prisoners in early times.

Visited January 2014
Thank Lozz17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Twilight tour = An immense disappointment”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2014

After all of the rave reviews of the Dubbo Gaol on TripAdvisor we decided to go. With our limited amount of time we took the twilight tour on the night that we got there. Considering how good the Gaol was supposed to be we agreed that the premium would be worth it. We arrive and are greeted by a member of staff who marks our names off and are greeted by another member of staff playing the gaoler. For about the first ten minutes this was somewhat a fun experience but the novelty of the role-playing wore off very, very quickly. What probably made the experience so much worse was that we were stuck in a tour group with incredibly rowdy people who, instead of listening to the guide who was trying to give the history of the place, would intentionally muck up for cheap laughs. No, this wasn't just the children doing this, but often parents as well. However I'm putting this factor aside in the review, as it's not the fault of the gaol to have these people on the tour.

The two main problems that my parents and I felt the gaol had were; time and engagement. In terms of time, our tour took 1.5 hours. We all felt we could have done the tour probably at 30 mins to an hour at the absolute maximum and we all became somewhat agitated with how long it took to get from each part of the gaol to the next. We spent so much time literally just sitting there and waiting until the entire group could be coordinated to move to the next part.

The next problem we faced was the overall engagement of the tour. Basically, although the guides were clearly trying with what they had (considering the rowdiness of so many people in the group) it was hard to just simply ask questions about the history (the inherent reason why we paid the premium) without cheap jokes thrown our way by the gaoler. It's not at all that we couldn't handle a laugh, but it just became so annoying and repetitive that I gave up about half way through, combined with just wanting to get to the next section because it was taking so long.

We paid $70 for 2 adults and 1 student which included day admission for the next day. It's a reasonable cost, but we all felt it was a bit of a waste considering how disappointed we were with the gaol.

However, the grounds are kept beautifully and there is a lot of history behind the place. My advice would be DO NOT take the twilight tour because it's a waste of your time. In retrospect we would have definitely done a day tour.

Visited January 2014
3 Thank danniomc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cairns, Australia
Level Contributor
45 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Very interesting!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2014

The highlight of my trip to Dubbo was definitely the Old Dubbo Gaol. My family and I did a self-guided tour during daylight hours and all thought it was fantastic. The gaol has been very well preserved, and the information scattered through every building gave a really good insight into how life was in the gaol, as well as what the prisoners themselves were like.

Some areas were interactive - you could walk into a solitary confinement cell that was pitch black and sound proof (a very eerie experience). Some cells had figures of prisoners who would talk to you when you stood in front of the bars, while others allowed you to walk in and read the crimes of the prisoners who had stayed in those cells. There was also a very interesting display about the hangman and the prisoners he executed.

For all it is morbid history, my whole family enjoyed it - my younger sister and brother (14 and 9 respectively) both loved it as much as I did. It was also great value for money, costing about $40 for all of us (two adults and two kids). I would recommend it to anyone passing through Dubbo.

Visited December 2013
Thank Steph B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wodonga, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2014

love it and would recommend anyone going to dubbo to do it and my wife and l loved every min off is and if we ever got back to dubbo we would do it agean

Visited January 2014
1 Thank trevor c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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