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Chewton Portable Lock Up

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141 Main Road, Chewton VIC 3451

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  • Restored portable wooden lock up
  • Information sign
  • Bench seating
Chewton's interesting old c1860's portable police lock up stands on display alongside the Town Hall, and is accompanied by an information sign, gardens and bench seating. 

This is a fascinating place to stop by for a look while you're checking out the town's remarkable sculpture trail along Main Road!

The lock up is one of the oldest surviving portable lock ups in the state, and was rescued, restored and re-located to be displayed at this site in the 1990s. 

These old portable wooden lock ups were designed to be easily dismantled and moved, and were set up as required in the many communities which popped up and moved around with the gold rushes. 

They were all of similar construction, consisting of a cage built out of iron bars which was then clad with wood. The ends of the iron bars can usually be seen along the floor and roof of these old lock ups. 

If you look closely at this one in Chewton you will see that there are a few bars missing.

Information sign accompanying the lock up

A beautifully presented information sign stands before the lock up and displays the following text (along with a brilliant image of Forest Creek / Chewton by S.T.Gill, 1852):

Chewton's Old Portable Police Lock-Up (c. 1860's)

Re-located from the ex police quarters behind the town hall and repaired in 1994/1995.

This project as initiated b Chewton Progress Association and made possible by-
  • A generous grant from Victorian Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
  • Valued reconstruction works by Community Corrections Centre, Bendigo.
  • Support and provision of the site by Metcalfe Shire Council.
  • Community volunteer assistance.
(Image of Forest Creek/Chewton 1852 by S.T. Gill).

In 1852 the police stationed at Chewton were foot police. The mounted policeman in the painting would have been on regular patrol from the Central Government Camp at Castlemaine. Bryce Ross' office was almost on site of the sign.

This is one of the oldest portable police lock-ups in Victoria

It consists of a frame of iron rods passing through the heavy wooden planks of the walls, floor and ceiling. If a prisoner managed to break through the wood, he would find he was still imprisoned in an iron cage. These lock-ups could be dismantled and the four wall units, the floor, ceiling and roof loaded onto a police dray to be transported and quickly re assembled where needed. 

Relocation of the Chewton Lock Up

This photo of the lock up being re-located to its present site was taken by Mary Thompson. The image was kindly provided by Elaine Appleton. 



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