Regardless of if you’re a believer or not, Adelaide Gaol is steeped in history and horrors worth hearing about.
Presented by Lantern Ghost Tours
Reviewed 6 March 2021
Adelaide Gaol was the first permanent gaol in South Australia, opening in 1841 and closing in 1988. The appalling conditions included a completely concrete environment, crowded cells with no amenities other than a bed, and a remand wing designed for cooler European climates.
During its time as an operating gaol, around 300,000 prisoners were housed, and 45 people were executed and buried with the grounds, including Elizabeth Woolcock, the only woman ever executed in South Australia.
In such a harsh environment, filled with anger, despair, violence and death, one could expect spirits to be haunting the cold, echoing halls and, in fact, they do. Believers and non-believers alike were given ample opportunity to learn, explore and reach out to those still roaming the buildings. And indeed, they did. Many on the tour claimed to get responses to their questions through diving rods and electronic equipment offered up by the tour guides to help the flow of supernatural communication.
The evening is made up of a walk through the darkened gaol with stories of history, hauntings and macabre goings-on. Two cell lock-ins of ten minutes each become the highlight for those able to communicate with the lurking spirits. Be warned though – the whole tour is done in the dark, save for the odd mobile phone torchlight guiding one’s step. Tread carefully when speaking with the deceased and walking the grounds, lest you end up with them to welcome future tours!
Regardless of if you’re a believer or not, Adelaide Gaol is steeped in history and horrors worth hearing about. The supernatural element is an added thrill or a bit of fun, depending on your perspective. The two guides are knowledgeable and articulate, and are quick to let punters share stories of their experiences after being shut in cells during the evening.
The remaining Adelaide Fringe tours are sold out, but as a historic museum nowadays, the Adelaide Gaol hosts both day tours and ghosts tours throughout the year. Check their website for future opportunities.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Venue: Adelaide Gaol, 18 Gaol Rd, Adelaide
Season: Sold out
Duration: 2 hours
Rating out of 5: 3.5