BOGGO ROAD OFFICIALLY CLOSED 25 YEARS AGO
BRISBANE CORRECTIONAL CENTRE CLOSES – 27 JULY 1992
25 years ago, on Monday 27 July 1992 Corrective Services Minister Glen Milliner closed the gates of Number One Division of the Brisbane Correctional Centre, officially ending the era of Boggo Road Jail Australia’s most notorious prison. In May 1988 the Kennedy Report had recommended the closure as well as a new focus on rehabilitation rather than retribution.
Over 119 years of operation, thousands of men and women served time behind its red-brick walls.
There were many infamous inmates including the “Houdini of Boggo Road” escapologist and jail-breaker “Slim” Halliday and the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub fire-bombers James Richard Finch and John Andrew Stuart. Forty-two prisoners were executed by hanging – the last in 1913.
In the 1980s Boggo Road was the scene of dramatic escapes, riots, hunger-strikes and roof-top protests which led to the prisons official closure 25 years ago in July 1992.
Heritage-listed No. 2 Division – the remaining section of Boggo Road – is as it was when it closed. It is part of the new Boggo Road Urban Village redevelopment. Since 2012 Boggo Road Gaol Pty Ltd has conducted guided tours, events and experiences at the historic site.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Thursday 27 July 2017 – 10.30am outside the prison gates to commemorate 25 years since Boggo Road Gaol’s closure + History. Saturday night – Ghost Tours. 28 / 29 July – Hourly History Tours with re-enactments by the Prison Players.
Jail Open 7 Days – HISTORY tour (11am)
Book Group Tours and Jail Hire / Events
FROM THE HEADLINES…PRISON’S FIRST TALKIE
Eighty-Two years ago… The prisoners of Boggo Road Gaol got a very rare treat. They saw their first ‘Talkie’! that may not sound like much to you and I but these are men who had never seen a motion picture with sound. Something that today is unheard of with the advancements in technology, surround sound, multidimensional extravaganzas that we see each week…. Not to mention the equipment we have in our very own living rooms and even on our mobile phones! Some would say they should have never received such an opportunity. Some would say it was about time that prisoners were treated as human beings and witness some of the outside world. All of this was very controversial at the time…
There were no better films at this time than Charles Dickens’s “David Copperfield”. It was and still is a masterpiece of its generation. If you haven’t seen it…I can highly recommend it. So this Friday the 7th of July, get out the popcorn, and catch a ‘talkie’… in the comfort of your very own lounge chair.
Or, if you want a truly authentic experience…Join us at Boggo Road Gaol for the Prison Movie Series. For dates and times visit www.boggoroadgaol.com/movies/
Some Brisbane residents who previously had never heard or seen a talkie, yesterday of seeing such as had the privilege yesterday of seeing such a picture for the first time in their lives.
Unique in many ways was the occasion. For it marked the first showing of films in 10 years at Boggo-road Gaol, and the first exposition of talkies in that institution at any time.
One hundred and ten prisoners comprised the audience, among them many of the most famous criminals in the State – men who had seen nothing but the inside of the gaol since long before the first talkie was shown in Brisbane!
SILENT films were shown to the prisoners about a decade ago, and concert parties have visited the gaol on regular occasions, but many of the long-termers have never witnessed a talking film.
The program yesterday commenced with a colored “Silly Symphony”, after which the film version of Charles Dickens’s immortal “David Copperfield,” which has not yet been released to the public in Brisbane, was screened, and the show concluded with one of the famous Laurel and Hardy comedy shorts.
The effect on the 110 members of the motley audience was astounding. Men like Jeynes, Turner and Fountain-men whose crimes had shocked a nation- sat enthralled by the movements and voices of the silver figures on the sheet as the “David Copperfield” story was unfolded.
Like a well-ordered class of school boys at their first picture show they sat… Murderers, thieves, knockdown men, “con” artists, criminals of all descriptions… laughing uproariously at the antics of the comedians…charmed by the beauty and simplicity of Dickens’s famous creations.
Permission for the prisoners to see the films was obtained from the Home Secretary (Mr. E.M. Hanlon). The Comptroller of Prisons (Mr. J.F.Whitney) was host to a party of visitors that included Mr. Les. Andrews (MGM Films), F Mussared (Cremorne Theatre), G. Campbell (R.C.A Photophone), and Mr. McLeod a Brisbane engineer. “The men’s reactions to the films were a most extraordinary sight. “ Mr. Mussared said last night. “And it was an experience that one doesn’t have very often.
In the front row sat three men convicted of murder. In other seats, were men convicted of other crimes of violence. Yet the effect of the pictures on them was- well as far as was observable, the same as the effect on any ordinary, average, theatre audience.” “Mr. Micawber must have caught their fancy,” he went on, “for every time he appeared they burst into laughter. It was good to think that the pictures helped them to forget their own troubles for a little while, at least.”