It appears that the Gaol at Bathurst was established on or by 1 January 1830. (1)
In his letter to Right Hon. T. Spring Rice on 13 January 1835 Governor Bourke recommended the erection of new Gaol premises at Bathurst. (2) On 1 November 1837 'a certain building known as a watch-house or lock-up, situate and being at Bathurst' was proclaimed as a Public Gaol. (3) This proclamation suggests that a new building may have been erected. Mr William Cummings (the Member for East Macquarie) moved in the Legislative Assembly on 21 August 1866 that the Bathurst Gaol be relocated "its sanitary condition evidently being injurious to the health and the lives of the residents of Bathurst" however, the motion was lost. (4) In 1878 the gaol consisted of 38 separate and 123 associated cells and held 69 male and 18 female prisoners. (5)
The previous 'watchhouse or lock-up' ceased to be a public gaol and premises which had 'been for some time in the course of erection ... and known by the name of the New Gaol at Bathurst' were proclaimed a public gaol on 7 June, 1888 (6) The new building which contained 308 cells and "commodious workshops" was complete and partly occupied in 1888. (7) This was one of a number of gaols rebuilt or enlarged in this period, the purpose of which was to commence the program of 'restricted association' of prison inmates. The Governor of the Bathurst gaol reported on restricted association as follows:
" The restricted treatment for male prisoners has been in vogue for the past seventeen months, and has worked in every way satisfactorily. The prisoners are more obedient, and there is a marked improvement in the discipline; several of them have on many occasions told me that they would not desire to return to the old system.
"On the 11th December, the new treatment was introduced into the female division, under the supervision of the Comptroller-General for Prisons everything passed off satisfactorily, and ever since has worked well. A few days afterward the whole of the prisoners, by yards (when mustered for dinner) desired me to thank the Comptroller-General for his kindness in placing them under the treatment, stating that they were grateful for the concessions allowed to them in the way of reading and light at night." (8)
Bathurst (occasionally called the Central Western Prison) was a major gaol reserved for prisoners variously described as 'the more hopeful class' (9) 'the less incorrigible' (10) or 'men previously convicted but deemed amenable to reformative influences' (11) Bathurst Prison continued to house prisoners serving their second or subsequent sentence. In 1970, following a re-classification of prisons it was became a maximum security prison. (12)
Between 1992 and 1993, the name of Bathurst Gaol was re-named Bathurst Correctional Centre. (13) This title change appears to have been at departmental discretion, but was made official by the Prisons Amendment Act, 1996 (Act No 25, 1996). (14)
When the Department of Corrective Services was abolished on 1 July 2009 Bathurst Correctional Centre became responsible to Corrective Services NSW. (15)
1.Return of the Colony, 1832 p. 134-5 (4/263)
2. HRA Series I Vol XVII, p. 630
3. NSW Government Gazette 1 November, 1837 p.
4. Votes of Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly 1866 volume 1 p. 84
5. Prisons report for 1877 in Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly 1878-79, vol 3 p. 1031
6. NSW Government Gazette 8 June, 1888
7. Prisons report for 1888 in NSW Votes of Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, 1889 vol. 5 p. 979
8. Bathurst Gaol. Extract from the Governor's Report in Report on Prisons for the Year 1899 p. 14 in Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, 1900 vol 2 p. 832
9. Official Yearbook of NSW, 1904- 1905 p. 594
10. Official Yearbook of NSW, 1908- 1909 p. 130
11. Official Yearbook of NSW, 1911 p. 280
12. Official Yearbook of NSW 1971 p. 1071
13. Analysis of NSW Prison Proclamations, Dept. of Corrective Services, 1996, p.3
14. Prisons Amendment Act, 1996 s. Schedule 5 s. 4
15. Public Sector Employment and Management (Departmental Amalgamations) Order 2009 (2009 No 352) cls. 20; notified on NSW Legislation website, 27 July 2009.
Bathurst & Western District Directory, 1886-7,Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1978
New South Wales Government Gazette. Sydney, Government Printer. 1832 -
"NSW. Department of Corrective Services. ""An analysis of NSW Prison Proclamations compiled by Denis Fitzpatrick. Sydney, The Department, 1996."