- New Fremantle Prison exhibition explores prison reforms from convict era to 1980s
- Learn about prisoners turned good and the jailer turned bad
Fremantle Prison is marking the 25th anniversary of its decommissioning as a maximum security prison with the launch of a new exhibition focusing on the history of prison reform.
Heritage Minister Albert Jacob today opened the free exhibition Reform: The History of Reformative Measures at Fremantle Prison.
From the days of floggings and leg irons to religion and education, the exhibition explores how authorities attempted to reform prisoners during 136 years of operation from 1855 to 1991.
Visitors will learn about the reformists and the notorious villains, the prisoners who made good and the jailer who turned bad.
"People may remember the names of famous inmates such as notorious gunman Ernest 'Shiner' Ryan, who was a model prisoner and became a much respected member of the Fremantle community," Mr Jacob said.
"There is the uplifting story of education officer teacher Noel White, who was employed to teach prisoners to paint and was behind the internationally acclaimed Carrolup artwork.
"On the flipside, there is the story of the first Prison superintendent Thomas Hill Dixon, who introduced significant reform measures in the 1850s, only to be caught siphoning prison funds to pay off his significant debts.
"The story of reform is a very fitting way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the closure of this once notorious maximum security prison - a place that played a significant role in WA's history over nearly 14 decades of its operation as a jail."
The exhibition includes original documents, artworks and objects from the prison's collection and is on display in the prison museum until November 5, 2017. Entry is free.
- Fremantle Prison closed on November 8, 1991 and opened three months later as a tourism attraction
- It welcomes more than 200,000 visitors annually
- It was listed as a World Heritage site in 2010
Heritage Minister's office - 6552 5800