Story: Prisons

Dunedin Prison, 1880s

Dunedin Prison, 1880s

Dunedin Prison, shown here in the 1880s, was in fact three buildings, constructed between 1855 and the early 1860s. The main prison consisted of a wooden building with a bluestone building next to it. There was also a debtors' prison (for those who could not pay their debts) built of steel. In the provincial era, from 1853 to 1876, the provinces were responsible for prison construction and maintenance. Jails were a low priority for spending and were often run-down, overcrowded and easy to escape from. A new brick Dunedin prison was completed in 1896 and remained in use until 2007.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Field-Hodgkins Collection
Reference: PA1-q-079-16

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Peter Clayworth, 'Prisons - Early prisons, 1840–1879', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 April 2024)

Story by Peter Clayworth, published 20 Jun 2012