This is the earliest known photograph of the Brisbane Gaol as viewed from Bolgo Road (“Boggo Road”), circa late 19th century, showing the drive and gatehouse. Opened in 1883, the prison would become infamous. Number Two Division, the only remaining section today, had not yet been constructed at the time this photograph was taken.
Source: Farrell, J. former prison officer, Brisbane Prison.
The only remaining section of Boggo Road Gaol was originally a purpose-built female prison. In the 1920s when it became No2 Division, the home of long term male inmates, the words on the parapet were updated from “H M PRISON FOR WOMEN” to “MEN” , with the letters “WO” being covered over to indicate the new use. This alteration can still be seen today.
Boggo Road Gaol Tour Guide Toby Martin carefully removes ‘Bluetac’, sticky tape and other rubbish from the walls of the Gatehouse in Number Two Division; left from years of poorly managed events and functions, this laboursome task is one of many being carried out by Boggo Road Gaol staff to reinstate the image of the prison as a heritage site. Our Tour Guides are passionate about the significance of Boggo Road in Queensland’s history – when not taking tours or re-enacting they have been hard at work removing non-original material deposited from years of abuse.
Number Two Division closed in 1989, and during the early 2000s was a popular venue for parties. Inadvertently many hirers did not realise when they put up streamers, balloons and decorations at these events that evidence of their celebrations would remain a decade later.
When Number Two Division was in use as a prison substances such as Bluetac were never used. Unfortunately it can now be found throughout the entire prison – particularly on walls including those in F Wing cellblock taken in on the HISTORY OF BOGGO ROAD GAOL Tour.
Each blob of Bluetac takes around 5-10 minutes to remove. ‘Although people would assume Bluetac would not harm brickwork, left for years to dry out or harden in the sun has made it a challenge. It can be extremely difficult to remove. We cannot use chemicals or solvents as this is a heritage site so it is a gradual process of teasing the substance off the surface using new Bluetac or water.’ According to Jack Sim, ‘slowly and carefully we are gradually removing all trace. It is a shame that this was not policed in the past.’
New signage throughout the Gaol is being fixed in place with easily removable adhesive tape and will routinely be checked and replaced as it ages.
The last minutes of Patrick Kenniffs life were captured in an article written for The Brisbane Courier newspaper published the day after his execution. Patrick was a Catholic, and as such, was compelled to confess his sins before he died. Many placed great weight upon his maintenance, in the presence of death, that he was innocent of murder.
Following his burial in South Brisbane Cemetery, a grave was permitted to be erected. In 2003, to commemorate the centennial of the execution, a plaque was added in the presence of related families and members of the community. READ MORE FROM THE ORIGINAL ARCHIVES HERE.
The last chapter of the Kenniff story played out at Tamrookum Station with the internment of the victims remains in the church yard there. A memorial was later erected to mark the resting of their few mortal remains. Boggo Road Gaol would encourage readers to visit the lonely, but powerful gravesite near the town of Beaudesert. READ MORE FROM THE ORIGINAL ARCHIVES HERE.
The whole state of Queensland was gripped by the trial of the Kenniffs, which took place in the Brisbane Supreme Court. The trial was held before Sir Samuel W. Griffith, regarded as one of the founders of the Australian Constitution.
The Prosecution case was circumstantial, and the evidence of Crown witness, tracker Sam Johnson, regarded as unreliable. However, during the trial the courageous indigenous man proved to be faultless in his recollection of what transpired that day. His testimony to the jury was damning, and showed, beyond reasonable doubt, that the Kenniffs had brutally shot and murdered Albert Dhalke and George Doyle. READ MORE FROM THE ORIGINAL ARCHIVES HERE, HERE and HERE
Join us Saturday 12th January for the commemoration of the execution of Patrick Kenniff, bushranger. GO TO OUR EVENT ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.
As word of what the Kenniffs had done spread, stories, legends and folklore began to be created, some of which last to this day. Their reign was likened to the Kelly gang. Like the Kellys, in time the brothers began to be viewed by many, especially by their families, as the victims of prosecution for their Irish-Catholic origins – much to the disdain of authorities in the capital. As details emerged however, it was clear that murder had been committed, for which there was no excuse. READ MORE FROM THE ORIGINAL ARCHIVES HERE
One of the greatest manhunts in the history of Queensland began to locate the bushrangers. It took an incredible toll on those involved, man and animal alike. Horses died of exhaustion, caves and valleys were searched; for weeks men and beasts pressed on to catch the Kenniffs. READ MORE FROM THE ORIGINAL ARCHIVES HERE, HERE and HERE
A reward of 1000 pounds was offered, an enormous sum. Eventually, 23 June, the western bushrangers were apprehended. They were charged and brought before the courts. The end was now in sight. READ MORE FROM THE ORIGINAL ARCHIVES HERE and HERE
Join us Saturday 12th January for the commemoration of the execution of Patrick Kenniff, bushranger. GO TO OUR EVENT ON OUT FACEBOOK PAGE.
The incident which spelt the beginning of the end for Patrick Kenniff took place on Monday, 24 March 1902 out in Western Queensland.
That night, three of the Kenniff brothers raided Merivale Station intent on causing trouble, and to steal stock. Reports soon began to circulate that they had gone even further, and had actually killed a police constable and the manager of another station, Mr Doyle, who had been in pursuit of the known cattle duffers. Expert horsemen, the outlaws would evade capture for a considerable period of time, hiding in the bush they knew so well. Slowly, exactly what transpired in the lonely Australian outback, and the process of bringing the killers to justice, came to light through newspapers of the time… READ MORE FROM THE ORIGINAL ARCHIVES
Join us on the GUILTY KILLER OR VICTIM OF THE SYSTEM? Commemoration of the execution of Patrick Kenniff, bushranger.
Sign up to join this event on our facebook page, and join us for a HISTORY OF BOGGO ROAD GAOL tour after this special event.
Boggo Road Gaol reopens its doors…
It’s true – Boggo Road Gaol is now open for historical tours, ghost tours, and events after eight long years of being closed.
Recently the State Government announced that a licence would be offered to Jack Sim (www.jacksim.com.au) and his company Boggo Road Gaol Pty Ltd.
The licence is for an initial period of four months – a trial to see how well we operate the site. If the State Government is satisfied with our efforts the licence will be extended until November 2013.
The Department of Public Works decided that the old prison, an icon for all the wrong reasons, was best to be managed commercially. We are under no illusions what this responsibility entails, but we believe that we can create a great tourist attraction for Brisbane and Queensland. It will take time, money and effort, and now more than ever we need your support.
Come along on one of our 1.5 hour guided historical tours through the Gaol. Run during the day and at night THE HISTORY OF BOGGO ROAD GAOL TOUR http://boggoroadgaol.com/historical-tours/ is the tour to begin with – Hear stories of escapes, riots, inmates, but also the ordinary offenders who called Boggo home over the 120 years it was in use. Highlights of the tour include a visit to 5 yard where “The Cages” of Boggo Road kept some of the most troublesome inmates of this notorious place in steel mesh enclosures. Open to the elements, the Cages were second only to the infamous Black Hole in reputation. The Hole is now long gone, but the evidence of the Cages can still be seen. At the end of the tour, you get time to explore one of the original cellblocks – read the graffiti from inmates of the 1980s and be taken back to the era of Joh, Expo 88, 4ZZZ, riots, strikes and protests.
The Gaol is haunted – as you move through the prison eyes will be watching you – the Prison Players bring Boggo to life recreating the lives of prisoners and inmates. If you aren’t careful you could find your self pushing a broom or sweeping a path!
Thanks to all of you who have been great supporters of Ghost Tours Pty Ltd (www.ghost-tours.com.au) over the past 15 years. Boggo Road belongs to the people of Queensland, so discover its secrets.
We look forward to locking you up! Call our Booking Manager Bridie Foster 0411 111 903 – bookings are essential!