Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/178353/domains/unfitforpublication.org.au/html/plugins/system/gantry/gantry.php on line 406
1893, Grafton Gaol - Unfit For Publication
Text Size



Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Sat 30 May 1885 1


THE report of the special committee of the Borough Council, appointed to confer with Mr DONALDSON, District Surveyor, in reference to the suggested exchange of sites—portion of section 118, known as the Cattle Market Reserve, for a portion of section 139, higher up—having recommended the acceptance of the offer, and the Council having adopted the report, it may be considered as settled that the new gaol will be built on the site of the Cattle Market Reserve. We think it might have been placed, with advantage, a little higher up the creek and just outside the boundary of the town; but of the reserves inside the limits of the Borough, taking everything into consideration, the site chosen is the best. As will be seen by the report, which was read at last meeting of the Council, the latter only stipulates the Government shall pay the cost of outlay for fencing and clearing the ground they surrender. This is not unreasonable, and as the Aldermen have shown a ready disposition to accede to the wishes of the Government, no doubt the latter will meet them in this trifling matter. The need of a new gaol, as well as its removal from the present site, has been frequently advocated by us, and we are pleased to find that at length there is a prospect of this being carried out. On the new site there will be ample room for all the requirements of a modern gaol, suited to the necessities of the district. We do not wish to see premises erected to which the criminals of the whole of the northern parts of the colony should be brought, eventually to be discharged in our midst. The worst criminals should still, as before, be sent to the principal gaols of the colony, and light-sentence prisoners incarcerated in country gaol such as ours will be. At the same time, there should be provision made so that prisoners may be made to labour, and as far as possible earn their own keep. This was impossible in the old gaol, which was unsuited in every way for the use required from it, and could not have been improved without pulling down the whole structure. The Government have adopted the wiser and cheaper cause or erecting a new gaol entirely, and when this was decided upon, of course it would have been folly to have attempted to place it on the old site. We trust now that every diligence will be used so as to have tenders called for the new building at the earliest date, in order that its completion may be anticipated in the course of a couple of years, or three at the outside. Everyone who has visited the present gaol knows that at any circumstances, but especially in the overcrowded condition it has been at times, it is no place to confine prisoners; and it is, we believe, mainly due to the punctilious system of cleanliness and care exercised by Mr FREWIN and his officers that an outbreak of fever has been averted. It is too much to presume that this can always be guarded against, nor could such cases be treated there if unfortunately they should occur. Among the classes that are cast into gaol is likely at any time to be introduced some infectious disease, and no precaution of the officials can avert this danger. It is therefore very desirable that the new gaol shall be erected with the least possible delay, and we therefore hope soon to hear that tenders are invited for the work.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tue 24 Aug May 1886 2


THERE seems to be much unnecessary delay in starting the building of the new gaol. It was for a long time supposed that the cause of this was connected with the necessary steps to be taken in resuming the site chosen for its erection. But this has all been settled months ago, and still there are no signs of tenders invited. It is a work which will take some time to complete, and even if carried out with all possible dispatch will still necessitate the use of the existing gaol for two more summers. The unsuitableness of the present site and buildings has frequently been referred to by us during the last five years; and having at length been practically acknowledged by the Government, there is no further need to refer to them specifically, but we must again re-iterate that as a place of incarceration for prisoners it should be dispensed with as soon as possible. The money has been voted, and it was said the plans were ready last year, and we cannot therefore understand why delay should continue. The letting of this work would be very acceptable to the building trades just now. Several contracts have recently been finished, or are on the point of completion, and this work would find occupation for a number of hands who may otherwise be left unemployed. It will be very unfair to the town and its mechanics if an opportunity is not now immediately given for builders to tenders for this contract, which means spending some thousands of pounds here for labour and material. The time is very opportune to have the work done reasonably, and this forms another argument why it should be commenced at once. Altogether, the new Grafton gaol appears to have been pigeon-holed for some months, and we think it is high time it was moved forward another stage. If this is not done the public must take it up, and see what pressure will effect.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Sat 12 Oct 1889 3


IN the [Legislative] Council, the President announced the Governor’s assent to certain Bills. The Redhead Coal mining bill was received from the [Legislative] Assembly, and read a first time.

    The Governor then arrived, and having assented to the Appropriation Loan and Bills, delivered the usual speech in connection with prorogation of Parliament, which was a review of the work done during the session. Referring to the Payment of Members, the speech stated that it was a new departure in the constitutional relation between the two Houses, one being paid for their labours, and the other not. His Excellency then declared Parliament prorogued till the 5th of November.

    In the Assembly, assent of certain Bills was announced, and the Redhead Coal Mining Bill read a third time.

    Mr BRUCE SMITH, in reply to Mr SEE, said that the Government would make inquiry with the view of ascertaining whether a new gaol at Grafton was needed.

    Mr McMILLAN, in reply to Mr CRICK, said that he could not say whether a Civil servant who had been sentenced to ten years’ for embezzlement, and released, was now employed in the Customs Department.

    Mr SMITH, in reply to Mr LYNE, said that no Secretary had been appointed for the Department of Agriculture.

    Mr BRUCE SMITH said the question of abolition of tolls and ferries would be considered during recess.

    The Black Rod’s arrival closed proceedings.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 15 Oct 1889 4


THE Member writes to the Mayor: “I have your wire asking if provision had been made on the Loan Estimates for a new gaol at Grafton, to which I replied in the negative. I enclose copy of letter sent to the Minister for Workers pn the subject.”


“Sydney, 9th October, 1889.”

    “Dear sir.—I have for many years been agitating for a new gaol at Grafton. In 1883 or 1884 £4000 was voted towards the erection of a new gaol, and a site was selected. The old gaol is insufficient and unsuitable, and frequent reports have been made as to its rottenness, and that any large expenditure upon it would be wasted. Besides the old gaol is in the heart of the town, and is quite an eyesore to town. I trust, sir, that you will at once carefully look over the correspondence, and I feel sure it will convince you of the extreme urgency of the matter; and I beg of you to make provision in the next Estimates to carry out the work.—


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 11 Feb 1890 5


WE have been informed on good authority this his Honor Judge Backhouse was requested by the Minister for Works to inspect the Gaol as to whether it was desirable to enlarge it. He accordingly inspected the building, and came to the conclusion that it would be throwing money away in expending it on enlargement of the present structure. His Honor then inspected a number of places about the city, and we understand highly approves of that known as the reserve cattle market, near the Hospital, selected for a gaol side by the Comptroller-General of Prisons. He considers this place the most suitable in Grafton or its vicinity, and we believe it is his intention to recommend the erection of a gaol thereon that will be sufficient to meet the requirements of Grafton and the Northern districts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 10 Mar 1891 6


ON Saturday an inquest was held in the Grafton Gaol, before Mr AL McDougall, PM, coroner, and a jury of twelve, touching the death of Thomas Hoskins, who had been sentenced to two years hard labour at the Quarter Sessions the previous week. 7 According to the rules in cases of death in the gaol, half the jury were composed of civilians, and the other half of prisoners.

    William H Barnier, warder in the Gaol, deposed that he was on duty the night previous, and had a powder to give deceased at 9 o’clock, and a gargle for his throat twice. A prisoner named Baker was ordered to remain in the cell to attend on deceased. Baker rapped at the gate at 1.50 am, informing witness that Hoskins was dead. This he reported to the gaoler. Deceased appeared to be ailing for some days before he was kept in his cell.

    Charles Baker, one of the prisoners under sentence, deposed that he was told off to attend on deceased, and did everything possible to relieve his sufferings. He was present when deceased died.

    By a juror: Deceased was lying for one day only on a mat in the cell. After that he was supplied with a mattrass [sic] and bedstead.

    Jeremiah Frewin, gaoler, deposed that he had been informed that deceased was unwell. He complained of a sore throat. Spoke to him about it, telling him it was a cold, and that it would soon be all right. In the meantime he was placed on a hospital diet by the visiting surgeon, who had been prescribing for him from the time he first entered the gaol. The doctor’s instructions were fully carried out as regards the treatment and medicine ordered for him, and prisoners told off to attend deceased during the time he was confined to his cell.

    Dr [Andrew] Houison saw deceased the day after he was admitted to gaol on 17th ultimo, and on that occasion, as well as once or twice subsequently, prescribed a little opening medicine for him. On the 23rd he began to complain of a sore throat, and a feeling of smothering. Examined his throat and found nothing in it. Thought at the time that he was suffering from a king of hysterical feeling, and prescribed accordingly.. On 2nd instant found that he was so seriously ill that witness gave instructions to keep him in his cell, and be made as comfortable as possible, as there is no hospital in the gaol. On the 3rd instant found that deceased had developed strong symptoms of typhoid, which continued up to the time of his death. On Friday called in Dr Campbell in consultation, who agreed that the case was one of typhoid fever. During the whole of the time deceased was in gaol he scarcely took any nourishment.

    By a juror: Deceased never complained of having to carry water or do any other work in the gaol. After he received his sentence witness ordered him hospital diet, which consisted of milk, rice, bread, tea and sugar, and when he was unable to take that, a quart of milk a day was ordered.

    By the Gaoler: Deceased, in witness’ opinion, contracted the decease before his admission to the gaol.

    The jury found that deceased, Thomas Hoskins, died from natural causes.

    One of the prison jurors expressed a desire that the evidence of Senior Warder Flanders should be taken, but the Coroner stated that their duty was to ascertain the cause of death, and this he considered was fully proven by the evidence already given.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 14 Mar 1891 8


THE death of prisoner HOSKINS is being used as a lever to urge on the erection of the long-promised new gaol. A public meeting has been convened for that purpose for Monday evening next. Doubtless there will be a large gathering, and possibly some strong points will be made upon the subject. The feeling that the gaol in the centre of the city has been the scene of a death from typhoid, will doubtless serve to strengthen the movement. The statement on oath of the DOCTOR—that the disease was contracted outside, and not inside the Gaol—will scarcely affect the question. The Gaol is undoubtedly in an unsanitary state, and it does not contain within it those provisions necessary for dealing with and outbreak of contagion, whether that contagion was contracted within the walls or outside it. The fact is, that originally constructed as a police gaol, and subsequently patched into a make-shift for a Gaol proper, it is entirely behind the requirements of an Assize city, the centre of a large circuit district, with a rapidly-increasing population. Not only in a more commodious and superior gaol required, but such gaol should contain within its walls all the requisite provision for treating prisoners, whether in health or otherwise, as well as providing largely, by labour, for the self-maintenance of the confinees, we, of course, hold to the opinion that the Grafton Gaol should be, as it has been hitherto, the Gaol for the Grafton Circuit, and that it should be constructed upon the most modern principles, and so conducted. In that view of the case, we do not entirely approve of the new site. We would prefer a site being chosen beyond the Junction. But we do no desire to quibble over a question of that kind in the present emergency. The authorities think the site near the Hospital sufficient for all purposes. So thinking, then we demand from them that the work of erecting that gaol on that site shall no longer be delayed. We make this demand in the interest of the prisoners themselves, as we also make it in the interest of the community. Years ago money was voted for this work; we admit the amount to have been ridiculously small. Last session provision was made for a larger sum to be devoted to the erection of a gaol at Grafton. Under these circumstances the Public Works Department are now blameable for not having the plans of the gaol ready.

    Since the above was written we have received a telegram from Mr J SEE, MP, repeating a previously made announcement as to the intention of the Department to invite competitive designs for the Grafton Gaol buildings. This is supplemented with the additional information that the conditions upon which those competitive designs are to be submitted will probably be completed during next week. The excuse the Department appears to have made to Mr SEE has been, that as the Grafton Gaol matter is the first work which will be subject to the new procedure—competitive designs—great care has to be bestowed upon the conditions, as they will form the precedent for all future works of the kind: works that formerly were entrusted wholly to the Colonial Architect. Well, the Department would be no where had it not some excuse for delay. We have no fault to find with the competitive-design system so far, nor with the alleged necessity for care in setting the conditions. What we desire in the public service, is both care and expedition. There is no reason why both should not proceed hand in hand. Under these circumstances, we trust the result of the meeting on Monday night will be at least to impress the MINISTER the urgency of the design being invited and dealt with without unnecessary delay. We see—judging by the Government stroke with which business of this kind is conducted—at least quite another six months of weary waste. Unless the MINISTER is urged on to action, the probabilities are—judging by the wasted time in the past—that this time next year another dead prisoner may impel another public meeting. But then—need we say—something more than a mere public meeting is needed to attain success amongst politicians, even in the matter of suitable accommodation for criminals.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 17 Mar 1891 9


IN response to a requisition signed by a number of ratepayers, the Mayor convened a meeting for last evening at Mr JH Munro’s rooms, to urge the construction of a new gaol at Grafton, for which money was voted by Parliament in 1883. The attendance numbered about 80 persons, and was thoroughly representative. Four resolutions were passed, urging that a new gaol be at once erected, owing to the over-crowded and unsanitary condition of the existing prison. The recent death of a prisoner from typhoid caused a feeling of apprehension amongst the citizens, and indignation was manifested at the delay in commencing new buildings, especially in view of the fact, upwards of eight years ago, a sum of money was placed on the Estimates for a new gaol.

    Those who spoke to the resolutions were Aldermen Kritsch, Trent, and Dr Campbell; Dr Hedley; Messrs RR Donaldson, E Francis, G Stokes, Jas Gill and A McIntosh. The speakers referred specially to the lamentable want of accommodation in the present structure, its insanitary condition, its unsuitable position in town, and that mortality that was likely to ensue if disease broke out when it was overcrowded. The officials were complimented for carrying out the regulations under such disadvantageous circumstances.

    A fuller report will appear in Saturday’s issue.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 17 Mar 1891 10

(By Telegraph.)
(From Our Correspondent.)

Grafton, Monday,

    At a public meeting held to-night to urge the immediate erection of a new gaol at Grafton the following resolutions were carried:—Proposed by Alderman Kritch [sic], seconded by Mr RR Donaldson,—“That this meeting is of opinion that the following message should be sent to the member for Grafton:—‘The electors of Grafton in public meeting assembled urge upon you the immediate necessity of using every endeavour that lies in your power to hurry on the construction of the new gaol at Grafton.’ ” Proposed by Dr Hedley, seconded by Mr E Francis,—“That the following be embodied in a letter to the Minister for Justice:—‘The overcrowded state of the old gaol at Grafton, its insanitary condition, and the death of the prisoner Hoskins from typhoid fever, have created a feeling of apprehension in the minds of the citizens, particularly as there is no hospital accommodation for the sick in the gaol. This public meeting, therefore, respectfully calls upon you to exert all your influence to have a new gaol constructed at one’.” Proposed by Alderman Trent, seconded by Mr J Gill,—“That the following memorandum be sent to the Minister of Works:—‘The people of Grafton, in public meeting assembled, respectfully urge upon you the immediate necessity of constructing a new gaol at Grafton, and at the same time would point out that it is over eight years ago since a sum of money was placed on the Estimates for this purpose, and that in consequence of disclosures made lately at the inquest of the prisoner Hoskins, who died of typhoid, a feeling of widespread indignation is entertained throughout this electorate at the delay of the department in commencing the new gaol buildings.’ ” A fourth resolution was carried to forward the former motion to the member for Grafton for transmission to the Government.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 21 Mar 1891 11

Public Meeting.

A MEETING convened by the Mayor in response to a requisition was held in Mr Munro’s rooms on Monday evening and attended by about 80 citizens. The Mayor occupied the chair, and after the business of the meeting was formally announced—

    Alderman KRITSCH moved the first resolution, specially referring to the necessity for the erection of a new gaol. The resolution read as follows—“that this meeting is of opinion that the following message should be sent to John See, Esq. The electors of Grafton in public meeting assembled urge upon you the immediate necessity of using every endeavour that lays in your power to hurry on the construction of a new gaol at Grafton.”

    Mr RR DONALDSON, who, from the visits he had made to the present gaol officially (as a solicitor) considered it was high time that there was a new one at Grafton. There was a suitable site in the city for such a building and the late case that occurred in the gaol proved the necessity that the gaol should be erected near a hospital. He seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.

Grafton Lands Office - formerly old Grafton gaol. Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000317.jpg
Grafton Lands Office - formerly old Grafton gaol.
Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000317.jpg

    Dr HEDLEY moved the second resolution—“That the following be embodied in a letter to the Minister for Justice. The overcrowded state of the old gaol at Grafton, its insanitary condition, and the death of a prisoner,, Thomas Hoskins, within the gaol from typhoid fever, have created a feeling of apprehension in the minds of the people of Grafton, particularly as there is no hospital accommodation for the sick in the gaol. This public meeting, therefore, respectfully calls upon you to exert all your influence to have the new gaol constructed at once, for the sake both of the prisoners and of the inhabitants of Grafton generally.” He had occasion to frequently visit the gaol, and each time he did so was the stronger impressed with its utter unsuitability to the requirements of the place. As regarded cleanliness and management there was nothing to complain of respecting the officials, who did their best under the unfavourable circumstances in which they were placed, but the present gaol was a disgrace to humanity, and a discredit to those responsible for its erection. At present there were 18 male prisoners lodged in 14 cells, each of the latter being 12 x 6 x 10 feet. According to the gaol regulations the distribution of prisoners must be either one, three or five in each cell, and he had known as many as 35 to be located there at one time, so that according to the system of distribution adopted, there must have been five and three in some cells. He pointed out the mortality that must result if an outbreak of typhoid occurred, such as proved fatal to the prisoner Hoskins. If the gaol contained many prisoners at such a time the disease must spread, as prisoners were not allowed out of their cells at night, and the water placed in their cells for drinking purposes, besides the air they breathed, became infected with typhoid germs. The Licensing Act provided for 1200 cubic feet per room for each lodger, but in the gaol but 720 feet were allotted to five. A sick man should have at least 1500 cubic feet, and this being the case what chance had poor Hoskins in a small cell as described. The accommodation was insufficient, the ventilation bad, and the sewerage simply abominable. The soap subs, washing water, and other matter were thrown into defective drains, that discharged into the boulevard—the recreation ground of the wives and families of the citizens. (Applause.)

    Seconded by Mr E FRANCIS, who considered the gaol should have been removed from its present position many years ago. Money had been voted years back for the construction of a new gaol, and it was a scandalous shame it was not expended. The fault lay probably with the department, but the citizens had been too long unconcerned about the matter. This agitation might be productive of good, though he anticipated further delay, seeing that the Government were to obtain competitive designs. He thought they might build a gaol at Grafton as they had done at other places. (Hear, hear.)

    Dr CAMPBELL supported the resolution, and affirmed the truth of what had been said by the mover. He had seen five prisoners in a single cell, and he had been obliged to turn back when going into these overcrowded cells. The officials had to keep up a decent appearance, yet contrived to do their duty wonderfully well. Compared with other places he would show that Grafton was fully entitled to a new gaol. At Bathurst with 7000 inhabitants, a sum of £10,000 had been placed on the Estimates for a gaol, and £100,000 expended on its erection; at Goulburn £10,000 was placed on the estimates, the erection costing £85,000; at Tamworth, with population of 4000, £2000 was placed on the Estimates, £14,000 expended; at Dubbo, population 4000, £2000 placed on Estimates, £14,000 expended; Grafton, with population of 6000, £6000 placed on Estimates eight years ago, and nothing done yet. (Applause.)

    The resolution was carried unanimously.

    Alderman TRENT moved the third resolution, “That the following memorandum be sent to the Hon the Minister for Works:—‘The people of Grafton in public meeting assembled, respectfully urge upon you the immediate necessity of constructing a new gaol at Grafton, and at the same time would point out to you that it is over eight years ago since a sum of money was placed on the Estimates for this purpose, and that in consequence of the disclosures made at the inquest upon the prisoner who died lately of typhoid fever, a feeling of widespread indignation is entertained throughout this electorate at the delay of the Department in commencing the new gaol buildings.’ ” Some years ago action was taken by the Borough Council respecting the erection of a new gaol, and a communication to the Government elicited a reply to the effect that it was under consideration. That was the condition of matters since, and would remain so as long as they did not agitate. As in other things the Government had neglected to carry out their requirements,, and persistent agitation was necessary to achieve the result desired. (Hear, hear.)

    Seconded by Mr J GILL and carried.

    Mr G STOKES moved the fourth resolution, “That the foregoing resolution shall be embodied in a letter, to be sent to the Member of the Electorate, and transmitted by him to the Government, signed on behalf of the meeting.” A Member of Parliament he had some time ago interviewed informed him that the Grafton people were too diffident and did not push matters as vigorously as they should. The Member stated that he would never succeed if he was content with mere promises from the Minister, but he went to the Under-Secretary and urged him to push on with what was needed. They should keep their grievances prominently before the Parliament till they got them redressed. (Hear, hear.)

    Mr A McINTOSH seconded the resolution, which was carried.

    A vote of thanks was accorded the Mayor, and Mr Hockey, in acknowledging the same, thanked the audience for being so orderly, while he presided over the first meeting since he was elected to the office of Mayor.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 21 Apr 1891 12


WITH reference to the important change decided upon by the Minister for Works with regard to obtaining designs for public buildings and other works in the colony, a set of regulations to guide competitors has been submitted by the board to the Minister, and he has spared no trouble to make them as liberal and effective as could be. The conditions have now been adopted, and will be used in connection with the invitation that has been issued for competitive designs for a new gaol at Grafton. The conditions will be varied from time to time as experience may dictate. An endeavour has been made to simplify as much as possible these conditions, and in order that all may be enabled to take part in the competition the plans are to be free from any elaborate finish or outward adorning, competitors being advised to devote their attention more to the production of a good scheme than to any special finish in their designs.

    The drawings will be placed before a board of advisers consisting of Government Architect, an officer from the Department for which the special building is intended, to be appointed by the Ministerial head of the department, and one non-official and non-competing architect to be chosen by the Minister for Public Works. The board can recommend the rejection of any, or the whole, of the designs, if not, in its opinion, considered of sufficient merit, or if otherwise considered unsuitable. The recommendation of the board will be placed within six works of date of receiving designs before the Minister for Public Works, with whom will rest the final awards, and his decision will be published within three weeks of that time.

    With regard to the particular case for which the first competitive designs under these conditions are to be invited, that of the Grafton Gaol, the Minister has decided to offer four premiums of 100gs, 13 50gs, 30gs, and 20gs each. The particulars show that the building is to occupy an area of land of 50,000 superficial feet. There are to be 28 single cells for male prisoners, four single cells for female prisoners, hospital, executive offices, gaolers’ quarters and other buildings. The choice of material is left to the discretion of the competitors, but the amount proposed to be expended on the gaol is limited to £16,000. The designs must be sent in to the Under-Secretary for Works on or before noon of June 1st next.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Rules concerning building design competitions 14

& to be returned to B.B.

To Be Observed In Submitting
Emulative Designs For
Public Works 

    With a view to securing the best designs for any required Public Buildings &c, to the reduction of the labour in preparing such designs, and with a view to award a money honorarium to source of the most meritorius [sic] designs, the following rules are promulgated.


Proposed Architectural Competitions
For Public Works
Suggested Rules and Regulations by—
Benjamin Backhouse, Architect, H.A.R.I.B.A.,
Chairman, City of Sydney, Inspectorate Board &c
1st May 1890

    1st. That designs be invited for all works to cost £500, (five hundred pounds) and upwards.

    2nd. That the first premium be substantially the usual commission of 5% on the cost of the proposed work, with the usual allowances as per schedule, some reasonable money honorarium for the 2nd design in small works, and for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th and other designs for larger works, as per schedule, in the order of their merits.

    The designs to be mere sketches, small scale, generally 1/16th of an inch to the foot, and in pencil outline, tinting such sectional parts as may be necessary.

    1. There should also be furnished a pencil or outline prespective sketch from a 16th scale plan, in the point of sight to be taken 66ft from the building, & at a fixed level.

    2. A brief specification sufficient only to indicate the general construction and material to be used, and—


    3. An estimate of cost.

    Proviso 1. If the successful Architects in any competition after preparing plans specifications &c to the satisfaction of the Advising Architect to the Government, and inviting public tenders fails to obtain an eligible tender at, or with 5% of his estimate sent in with his competition plans, such competitor shall then be disqualified, his plans returned to him, and he shall have no claim upon the Government, the Minister in such case to be at liberty to call upon the author of 2nd, 3rd or succeeding designs, or to call for a fresh competition as he may see fit.

    Proviso 2. The Minister to have the right to ask any Architect, whose design may have been awarded first place, to prepare plans and specifications only, at half the usual commission, but it is to be understood that this power will be exercised only in a case of inexperience on the part of the designer, or if other circumstances render its exercise desirable in the opinion of the Minister.

    Proposed means for arriving at the best design in each competition.—

    To obtain a quick, efficient and inexpensive selection of the best design for recommendation to the Minister for adoption.

    I propose the following method.

    All designs shall bear a motto; every bona-fide competitor to have one vote for such design 1. 2. 3. &c; each vote to be required as a condition of the competition, to vote for designs


other than his own, in the order of their merit, according to his opinion, the majority of votes (voting to be by ballot) to determine the first place, the next largest number of votes, at the same voting, for a particular design to determine the 2nd and so on.

    Proviso.— The Minister to have power (on advice of the Advising Architect or otherwise) to limit the voting, or to confine the voting, to authors of fairly suitable & meritorious designs, disfranchising authors of inferior designs, i.e.– designs having no merit in the opinion of the Advising Architect.


    1st. This method, by bringing men together, as adjudicators, who have, previously minutely studied the requirements of the proposed work, were competent to recommend a design without delay, and whose services would be necessarily of a superior order,— is certain to produce the very best results.

    2nd. This highly cultivated, valuable and superior service would be free of any cost to the Government.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 7 Jul 1891 15


WITH respect to the designs which have been submitted for the Grafton Gaol, the Board of Advisers state that through the general excellence of the plan, their task of advising has been by no means an easy one. The following are the names of those who have won the awards. First prize of 100 guineas to Mr HA Wilshire, Sydney; the second prize of 50 guineas to Messrs Backhouse and Laidley, of Sydney; the third successful design to Mr EC Manfred, of Goulburn. It was found that the plan placed in the fourth position of merit was designed by the gentleman recommended for the first premium, and it was not considered advisable that the fourth premium should under the circumstances be awarded. The board are of the opinion that all the designs recommended by them comply with the conditions laid down, including that of cost of erection. The whole of the designs will be on view to the general public at No. 28 Austral Bank-Chambers, Sydney, until Friday next. The Minister is gratified that his first attempt to this direction has been so successful.

    Mr Wilshire, the winner of first prize, is a native of Sydney, like his father before him, and he has been eight years practising his profession, after seven years apprenticeship to Mansfield Brothers. He also won the second prize of £105 for designs for headquarters at Brisbane of the Royal Bank of Queensland; also third prize of £105 for the Thos Walker Hospital.

Grafton gaol, prisoners transferred into it on 3 Nov 1893. Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000092.jpg
Grafton gaol, prisoners transferred into it on 3 Nov 1893.
Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000092.jpg

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 15 Sep 1891 16


AS stated in a recent issue, Mr Wilshire, who obtained the premium for the best design for a new gaol at Grafton, arrived here last week to obtain data to enable him to prepare specifications. He has been instructed to prepare these, and tenders are to be called immediately the specifications are ready. In an interview with Mr Wilshire, we were shown the plan of the proposed gaol, which is to be a two- storey building, erected on the site near the Hospital, and will front Hoof-street. It is to be built with brick walls on concrete foundation, and surrounding the prison proper will be the wall 18ft high and 18in thick, and between this wall and the walls of the prison is a passage right around ranging in breadth from 16ft to 25ft.

    In the division allotted to male prisoners are 28 single cells, four associated cells, capable of accommodating six each. The condemned cell will be on the ground floor, with gallows arranged at the end of the corridor. There are two dark or punishment cells; also cook-house, smithy and workshops. Shelter sheds are provided in the yard. There are three yards, the labour, exercise and trial yards, and a watch tower is so situate that one watchman can overlook the whole three, and likewise be in a position to overhear any conversation that takes place in the sheds. Provision is made for two watchmen in the walls at the Queen-street corner and the upper corner. There is also a men’s hospital capable of accommodating six patients, store-room, dispensary, bath, &c; also a men’s hospital yard.

Grafton gaol entrance gate, prisoners transferred into it on 3 Nov 1893. Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000281.jpg
Grafton gaol entrance gate, prisoners transferred into it on 3 Nov 1893.
Photo ID: SRNSW 4346_a020_a020000281.jpg

    For female prisoners there is a separate range of cells, with separate hospital and yard accommodation, and they are entirely shut off from communicating with the other portion of the prison. A hospital yard is also provided in this portion. The cells throughout will be of brickwork set in cement, also cemented inside, floors of concrete and cement, iron doors, and stone lintels and sills.

    The gaoler’s quarters are arranged along the front wall facing Hoof-street, and comprise four bedrooms, dining room, parlour, kitchen, wash house, and separate yard. On the right of the gateway is a guard room, armoury and office, and on the left are a lodge, store, clothes, visitors’ rooms, and caretaker’s quarters, the latter having a separate yard.

    These are briefly the main particulars of the building that is to adorn the site so long vacant near the hospital. The architect is pleased with the situation, and considers it well adapted for gaol purposes. Water is to by [sic] supplied by underground tanks, and so far as is practicable in such buildings, due provision is made for ventilation. Precaution will be taken to raise the lower floor some considerable distance above highest flood level. Mr Wilshire returned to Sydney on Saturday, and we trust no further delays will now arise to prevent the erection of this building.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 16 Apr 1892 17

BRICKS for the GAOL.

THE Mayor has received from the Member for Grafton an extract of a minute made by the Board of Reference in Sydney, respecting the trials made of some samples of clay brought to Sydney as a test for producing brick suitable for the erection of the new gaol. Mr Holloway stated to the Board that he visited Grafton, obtained the clay from which he made the bricks produced. It was pointed out that the bricks were very inferior, and not so good as the sample from the district on a previous occasion, and the Board resolved to adhere to their previous recommendation that Sydney made bricks be used for the building. Mr See states that he did his utmost to have local bricks used, but adds that there is no doubt that the Sydney bricks are immensely superior to the locally made, and, in his opinion, better than freestone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 19 Apr 1892 18

BRICKS for the GAOL.

MR EDITOR.—In your issue of April 16th, the quality of the local-made bricks, and that Mr Holloway stated to the Board that he visited Grafton; obtained the clay from which he made the bricks produced.” Also that the Board has resolved to adhere to their previous recommendation, that Sydney made bricks be used for the building.

    This proceeding seems to be a repetition of the old centralization policy, and very unfair. First, Mr Holloway procured the material from which the condemned sample was made, not more than one feet from the surface. Any practical man will admit at once that that is not a fair test. Second—a hole six feet deep was purposely dug from which to procure the material for a test to be made. That clay has not been tested, except by myself. From that depth a few bricks of a first-class character were made, but there is every reason to believe they were never tested. Third, as to cost, I give a rough estimate of the respective productions.

  1,500,00 bricks at £1 17s £2775 0 0
  Cartage at 8s per 1000 £600 0 0
Total £33750 0
  1,500,00 bricks at £2 5s £3375 0 0
  Cartage at 8s per 1000 £600 0 0
  Freight at £2 per £1000 £3000 0 0 
  Local cartage at 6s per 1000 £450 0 0
Total £7425 0 0 

Thus making the Sydney article at an extra cost of £4050 to the State, principally in freight. 

    Is this fair and equitable, or has a fair investigation been made? I do not wish to convey that the Board are biassed in their decision; but I am of opinion that the claims of the local-made article have not received proper consideration, for the simple reason that the tests have been made from loam, and not from the clay beneath.

    I am willing to supply material from which to make a fair trial, procurable within three miles of Grafton, and in unlimited quantity, to make some specimen bricks, and send them on to the Department for trial.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 23 Apr 1892 19

    BRICKS FOR THE GAOL.—In response to a numerously signed requisition, the Mayor convened a public meeting in the Council Chambers for last evening to consider the decision of the Government to disallow the use of locally made bricks for the new gaol, and permit none to be used but Sydney bricks. The Mayor presided, and there were about 50 persons present. Several practical brick-makers addressed the meeting, affirming that the district possessed suitable clay for brickmaking, and Mr T Bawden explained at some length some communications he had with Messrs Holloway (the lowest tenderers) on the matter. They had made inquiries about obtaining brickyards near Grafton, and stated that they were satisfied that by machinery bricks could be produced from local clay equal to Sydney bricks. A resolution moved by Mr G Stokes, seconded by Mr Smith, was carried as follows:—“That this meeting is of opinion that a fair test of the capability of the clay in and near Grafton has not been made, and that the Government should be asked to re-consider the matter, before condemning Grafton-made bricks.” another resolution, that this be forwarded to the Member for the district, was also carried.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 26 Apr 1892 20


As stated in last issue, a public meeting was held at the Council Chambers on Friday evening, presided over by the Mayor, to consider the decision of the Government to permit none but Sydney made bricks to be used in the erection of the new gaol. In initiating the business of the meeting, the Mayor remarked that it was strange exception was taken to the local bricks, which had been used for the Cathedral, the present gaol, AJS Bank, besides a number of other public and private buildings, and were found durable, though some of these buildings had been erected fully 30 years. He read a communication from the Member on the subject, enclosing an official document (already published) which stated that owing to the test of clay from Grafton proving unsatisfactory, none but Sydney bricks would be permitted in the new gaol.

    Mr J GIESE stated that he was the first brickmaker on the Clarence, and instanced a number of buildings for which he supplied bricks. He contended that clay was procurable locally that would produce bricks equal to any part of the colony.

    Mr SMITH (one of the trade) said that Mr Holloway only took loam for the test, although he was shown the clay. He could have shown a dozen places near South Grafton where clay could be found that would produce bricks equal to Sydney.

    Mr WILLIAMS said that he showed Mr Holloway some local bricks, and he pronounced them equal to some he had used at Burrawong on the Government contract. Now, if the Burrawong bricks were used thus, why should not those at Grafton.

    Mr JOHN BURNS, First Falls, had that day inspected clay obtained in several places, and was sure first-class bricks could be made from it. He had seen bricks used in the first brick house in the district (Mr Robinson’s, Deep Gully), which had been erected 32 years, and they were still sound. Mr Smith, a previous speaker, referred to sending down more clay for another test, but he would advise him to keep it at home unless he went with it himself and saw it treated, or it would be served in the same way as the last. Mr Giese stated that they could make bricks equal to Sydney manufacture; if so, they should challenge the Sydney makers to a trial, but they would have to go down, as the Sydney men would never come here. Further, he would approve of the clay being sent to either Newcastle or Maitland, and there tested by practical and impartial judges. He saw some good bricks at one of the local yards, but was dissatisfied with the clay. There was, however, good clay near the Junction. This move of the Government was going to ruin the brickmakers here for life; it was going to do the district harm, but the bricks made here 32 years ago would speak for themselves. Mr See compared the Sydney bricks to freestone, but in some respects bricks were superior to freestone.

    The MAYOR said he understood that the Messrs Holloway were in communication with some person here for a piece of ground for a yard. There had also been rumours about certain parties endeavouring to secure Sydney bricks with the object of obtaining freight; but he scarcely thought any person possessed a mind so small, and did not think those affected in this way would advocate procuring Sydney bricks for this reason.

    Mr T BAWDEN said there was some mystery about this matter, and it was only fair to the Messrs Holloway that the facts should be laid before the meeting. Some time ago he received a letter from that firm requesting him to ascertain on what terms certain sites in the vicinity of Grafton could be obtained on a lease of three years for brickmaking purposes. (The speaker here described the result of his inquiries, and on what terms one of the pieces could be obtained. The proprietor of a piece of land at the Junction was willing that it should be granted as desired.) He communicated the result of his inquiries to Messrs Holloway, and received a reply stating that they would write instructions as soon as their tender was accepted. He had since noticed Mr Smith’s letter in the Examiner, [see above], also that the present meeting was convened. He then considered it necessary to obtain further information respecting brickmaking in Grafton, and forwarded the following telegram to Holloway Bros.—“Sample bricks made from local bricks in Sydney said to be condemned, and that Government intend insisting on Sydney made bricks being used. Have you any information this point. Public meeting on subject being held. Anxious for positive information for public benefit.” To this he received the following reply—“We have nothing definite about bricks, but we can guarantee bricks equal to Sydney made from local clay, with machinery.” These men tendered for the gaol with these facts before them, and were willing to undertake the risk of putting up machinery to make bricks, which they were scarcely likely to do unless they were confident that they would not be condemned.

    Mr G STOKES, who had previously moved a resolution, said after the very lucid explanation made by Mr Bawden, he would withdraw it and substitute the following—“That this meeting is of opinion that a fair test of the capabilities of the clay in and near Grafton has not been made, and that the Government should be asked to reconsider the matter, before condemning the Grafton made bricks.”

    Seconded by Mr SMITH, and carried unanimously.

    It was then resolved that the decision of the meeting be sent to the Member for Grafton.

    A vote of thanks to the Chairman closed the proceedings. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

NSW Prisons report for 1893 21 

(Report for 1893.)

    The Comptroller-General of Prisons to the Under Secretary of Justice.

Department of Prisons, NSW, Comptroller-General’s Office,
Sydney, 9 May, 1894.

    I have the honor to forward herewith my Departmental Report to the Minister of Justice for the year ended 31st December, 1893, together with the usual tabulated statistics.

I have, &c.,

    The number of gaols in operation on the 31st December, 1893, was 59; 36 of these were police gaols, which are occupied partly by this Department and partly by the Police for purposes of economy.

    The total number of prisoners distributed throughout these gaols on the last day of the year was 2,445, as against 2,622 at the end of the previous year, while it is estimated that the population of the Colony has increased from 1,197,050 to 1,223,370. The number of distinct persons received during the year was 12,002, as compared with 11,806 received during 1892.

    The total entries and discharges during the year numbered 19,080 and 19,257 respectively, as against 18,910 and 18,904 during 1892. In these numbers are included incorrigible offenders who served more than one short sentence during the year.

    The number of deaths during the year was 36. Of this number, 5 were executions and 1 was a case of suicide.
the new gaol at Grafton, which was referred to in my previous reports, having been handed over by the contractors, was proclaimed on the 8th September last, and the prisoners were removed from the old to the new establishment on the 3rd November following. The new gaol is a fine structure, affording means for the proper treatment of prisoners which could not be carried out in the old gaol.


1     Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Sat 30 May 1885, p. 4.

2     Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tue 24 Aug 1886, p. 2.

3     Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Sat 12 Oct 1889, p. 5. Emphasis added.

4     Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 15 Oct 1889, p. 3.

5     Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 11 Feb 1890, p. 2.

6     Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 10 Mar 1891, p. 3. Emphasis added.


    Thomas Hoskins sentencing is reported in the Clarence and Richmond Examiner,  Tue 3 Mar 1891, p. 2. as follows: “On Saturday  morning the prisoners convicted at the Sessions were brought up for sentence. On being asked if he had anything to say, I Hoskins (found guilty of assault on Nellie Lawrence) requested that he be sent to any gaol other than Grafton.

    His Honor said there was little use in sentencing prisoners to particular gaols, as they were removed owing to overcrowding. He was willing to accede to prisoner’s request so far as he could. He wished to know if there were any previous convictions against the accused.

    Inspector Casey said he had been before the Lismore and Murwillumbah Police Courts for petty larceny, and receiving short sentences.

    His Honor said that prisoner had been found guilty on the second count but had he been convicted on the first he would be liable to a long sentence. As there was no serious charge against him, he would not pass the full sentence provided by law, but sentence him to be imprisoned in Grafton Gaol for two years with hard labour.”

8     Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 14 Mar 1891, p. 4.

9     Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 17 Mar 1891, p. 3.

10    The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 17 Mar 1891, p. 9.

11    Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 21 Mar 1891, p. 3.

12    Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 21 Apr 1891, p. 2.

13    One guinea equalled £1 and 1 shilling.

14    SRNSW: NRS744, [4/6915], Papers concerning building design competitions.

15    Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 7 Jul 1891, p. 2.

16    Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 15 Sep 1891, p. 6.

17    Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 16 Apr 1892, p. 4.

18    Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 19 Apr 1892, p. 4.

19    Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 23 Apr 1892, p. 5. 

20    Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 26 Apr 1892, p. 8. 11  

21    NSW Legislative Assembly, Votes and Proceedings, 1894, vol 3, p.1103. Emphasis added.