J Ward Museum Ararat Reviews
Great stop-off on the way to the Grampians Jun 02, 2011
Located in the small township of Ararat in western Victoria, J Ward is a must-see for those interested in the 'darker' side of Victoria's history.
The building itself is made of bluestone and is eerily beautfil in itself and seems to set the scene for what went on inside it's walls many years ago.
J Ward was originally a prison during when Ararat was having its gold rush from the 1850s until the 1880s. It was then turned into a prison for the 'criminally insane' until it was closed in 1991.
Admission is about $15 for a guided tour which I would highly recommend because the guides tell you some of the horrific stories about what happened within J Ward's walls. There are so many stories of inmates although the one I will never forget was about 'The inmate with the rubber bucket'. The cells had metal buckets for the inmates to defecate in and this one prisoner used to throw his full bucket at the guards and nurses when they came in. They were getting injured by the bucket so they solved the problem by giving him a rubber bucket to use to avoid injury!
This is not a place I would recommend coming to Ararat for as there isn't much else to do in the town (it's the town I grew up in, trust me, I know!) but if anyone is on the way through then stop by and catch a tour. It's an amazing place to learn about history!
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