Berrima Gaol was operational from 1839. The first quarter-sessions were held at the courthouse in 1841, and the first trial by jury in the colony of New South Wales held here. When it first opened, the Gaol consisted of a massive and foreboding thick stone outer wall containing a centre building from which radiated three wings, each with fourteen cells. The centre building had a kitchen and rooms for the keeper and staff. Further work was carried out in the 1840s to make the building more secure. All cell doors were made of solid cedar 3 inches thick and fitted with huge iron bolts.
Corridors and exercise yards were partitioned off by heavy iron grilles. On an underground level were solitary confinement cells and a condemned cell where convicts spent their last days awaiting execution. Only five were ever recorded as being hung at Berrima Gaol. During World War I the army used Berrima Gaol as a German-prisoner internment camp and used the “silent treatment” as an effort to better the prisoners and punish their bad behaviour.
Berrima Gaol re-opened for German Interns in 1915. By 1918 Berrima Gaol became over crowded, holding 300+ Internees. The Correctional Centre was used in recent years as an all-female low-to-medium security prison and in September 2011 closed its gate for inmates. The Correctional Centre was reopened for male prisoners in late 2016.
However in June 2018 was reclassified as a women-only prison.
Address: Argyle St, Berrima
Phone: (02) 4868 7300