Posts Tagged ‘Ernest Austin’

Today the gaol in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is open for guided tours and is the only surviving intact goal for the period of the 19th Century in Queensland. It was officially known as Brisbane Jail but gained a more local name of Boggo Road.

In 1903 a female prison was built, later known as Division 2 and is the surviving building. It has been heritage listed. Division 1, built in 1883, was demolished during an overhaul to provide an oval and recreation facilities in the 1960’s. Division 1 saw 42 hangings one of those was Ernest Austin who was the last man executed in Queensland in 1913, under the oval on the former site was a facility that became known as the black hole. It is where the prisoners were subjected to punishment of what I presume was pretty darned awful. It was used until some time in the 1980’s.

During the 1970’s the inmates undertook protests, hunger strikes and riots hit the headlines. The prison conditions were outdated and inadequate. In 1989 Division 2 building was closed down and 1992 they closed Division 1 and it was demolished in 1996. A modern prison for women operated adjacently until 2000 and was taken down in 2006.

Ernest Austin is alleged to be a member of the Boggo Road Gaol ghost collection. Legend has it that he was not at all sorry for his crimes and mocked the crowd that gathered at his the gallows for his execution. He said he would return from the grave to cause more suffering, he went on to haunt the prison, lock eyes with his victims and then drive them into madness.

It seems this story doesn’t fit so well with the records that suggest his last words were to beg forgiveness. For some reason he is said to haunt Division 2 but was hanged in the demolished Division 1. It seems this story may be an urban legend or an old story that crossed into the area after the original building was destroyed.

StateLibQld 1 111256 Entrance to Boggo Road Gaol, ca. 1936.jpg
By Item is held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland., Public Domain, Link

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