Pentagonal Goal Ruins


Credit : Explore TV – Guru Productions

The former high-security Pentagonal Prison, designed by Lieut . HW Lugard of the Royal Engineers in 1839, consisted of five radiating arms of cells blocks separated by stone wall.

The New Gaol (Jail) was not completed until 1847. It housed convicts who resisted the penal colony’s harsh discipline, and who were sentenced to working on chain gangs, to solitary confinement, or to death. Other prisoners were housed in the Prisoners’ Barracks.

It was built with the aim of reform by isolation, and contained a central pentagonal building of 84 cells, two lockup rooms ten turnkey’s rooms and ten yards. Each cell had stone walls and floors and a timber ceiling; was 6ft long, 5ft wide, almost 11ft high, and was occupied by up to 3 prisoners.

The complex also contained another 40-cell block, two service buildings, 12 solitary confinement “apartments” about which the Royal Engineer wrote “…the convicts regard the…new cells with dread…they are the most perfect specimens of prison construction I have seen…”, and two “dumb cells” which prevented the transmission of light and sound – sending their occupants insane.

During the Third Settlement the Gaol fell into disrepair and was quarried for stone during the early part of this century.

The prison has been demolished and only the walls remain with a handsome main gateway on the western side.

Kingston Sites of Interest Map 1- 46 ( PDF )

Note Site: No.20 Pentagonal Goal Ruins

Collect your printed version of the map from the Pier Store Museum or Visitors Tourist Information Centre.


Q Were female convicts sent to Norfolk Island?

Female Convicts
Acton, Sarah – Convict. Died Norfolk Island.
Anderson, Elizabeth – Convict.
Armsdale/Armidale, Anne – Convict.
Arnold, Mary – Convict.
Baker, Elizabeth – Convict.
Barnes, Mary – Convict.
Bateman, Mary – Convict.
Baxter, Susannah – Convict.

Q When were convicts sent to Norfolk Island?

Norfolk Island twice served as a penal colony, from March 1788 to February 1814, and from 1825 to 1853. During both periods the government in the Colony of New South Wales transferred convicts that had been brought to Australia on to the island. At first the intent was to settle and develop the island.