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Gallows from the Ballarat Gaol

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62 Glenelg Hwy, Smythesdale VIC 3351

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  • Historical display
  • Information sign
The Smythesdale Historical Precinct is a brilliant place to stop by when exploring the region around Ballarat. 

As well as a historic court house, police lock up. stables and sextons office, you will also find the gallows from the Ballarat Gaol on display!

These gallows were used to execute 13 offenders by hanging at the Ballarat Gaol. The gallows were obtained in 1965 when the gaol was demolished. 

Today the remains of the gaol are used by Federation University as their SMB campus, and you can still go and check out the gates, guard tower, and more. 

The Smythesdale Historical Precinct has toilets, picnic tables and various educational and art displays. 

From information signs at the old gallows

Ballarat Gaol Gallows

Obtained in 1965 when gaol demolished.

Erection: Prison built 1856 and completed 1862. Gallows built in during this period.

First execution: A.B. 75 years on 29-2-1864 for murder.

Last execution: C.D. 39 years on 29-6-1908 for murder.

In all there were 13 hangings: Murder 9, Rape 2, Carnal Knowledge 1, Shooting with intent 1.

There was a notable double hanging on 7-8-1867 of J.B. and G.S. for the murder of a bank manager at Smythesdasle.

Gallows from HM Prison Ballarat

The Ballarat Gaol was completed in 1862. The first hanging took place on 29 February 1864.

There were gallows at Melbourne, Beechworth, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Castlemaine and Ararat. In total 195 men and women were hanged in Victoria between 1842 and 1967 with 13 being executed at Ballarat. Four of these offenders were from the Smythesdale district. 

Smythesdale Connections:

Alexander Davis, executed 29 February 1864 for murdering George Sims at Smythesdale.

James Jones executed 19 March 1866 for murdering Dr Louis Saengar at Scarsdale.

Joseph Ballan and George Searle executed together on 7 August 1867 for the murder of Thomas Ulick Burke at Derwent Jacks. 

This display is one of only two remaining complete gallows in the State of Victoria.

The Woady Yaloak Historical Society acquired the gallows in 2008 in a severely deteriorated condition. Extensive restoration work involving the replacement of rotten and damaged timber has been undertaken while still maintaining the integrity of the display.

The gallows are fully functional with the mechanism being able to viewed from the rear. The operation lever is generally removed except for demonstrations. The operating lever is the only non original part of the mechanism. The trap is located in what was a first floor walkway connecting cells. 



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