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The original gaol was designed by Colonial Architect, James Barnet, built by Mr. J. Conlan at a cost of 3,590 pounds eight shillings and six pence ($7080.85), and opened in September of 1882.
 
The complex consists of an Office, Charge Room, Medical Room, seven cells for male prisoners, and one cell for females. One cell was set aside for a bath and laundry for women, and one yard for their exercise.

Although the planned capacity of the gaol was 32 inmates, up to 49 have been accommodated. No one was ever hanged in the gaol. Narrabri Gaol ceased it s life as a prison in September of 1982, one hundred years after it had opened.
 
The Museum has been maintained and manned since 1988, by members of the Narrabri & District Historical Society, and houses a large quantity of artifacts and records relating to the local district. Some of the artifacts relate to the Kamilaroi people, who were the first inhabitants of the region. One cell has been left as a typical cell, as an inmate would have known it. Others house displays of women’s apparel going back to the early 1900’s; medical apparatus and history of the hospitals; a collection of war memorabilia featuring locals who served in the two World Wars, kitchen and other household and dairy equipment, and copies of early Parish maps.

The Family History Room houses a wealth of records for researchers, including a 60,000 plus Name File, which is constantly being upgraded, and Narrabri’s newspapers back to the late 19th century are kept on microfilm.

The “Dalway Collection”, donated to the Historical Society by Mr. Marriot Dalway, is alone a sufficient reason for a visit to the museum.
 
Under the Blythe Shelter, are many of the tools used by our forefathers; shearing shed equipment, timber workers tools, and tools of the railway fettlers and the Blacksmith; rabbit and dingo traps; horse drawn vehicles and other items that are rarely seen today.

PHOTOGRAPHY In the Display Room in the men’s exercise yard can be found an extensive collection of cameras and other equipment related to photography, as well as a great collection of photographs of early Narrabri
THE MUSEUM Narrabri P. A. & H. Association held their first show on land near the old racecourse. A cup presented at this first show is on display at the museum along with many other ribbons and items of interest
NIGHT TOURS The Narrabri & District Historical Society will conduct night tours of the Old gaol Museum for groups Bookings through the Visitor’s centre

SPORTIEST TOWN The Museum houses a collection of photographs of early sporting events and teams along with some of the trophy’s won at these events
For more information contact the Tourist Centre Corner of Bowen & Barwan Streets Entrance in Barwan Street Opening Hours Saturday 9 am to 1 pm and Wednesday 10am to 2pm Or by arrangements through the Visitors Centre on 02 6799 6760
OTHER TOURS Tours of the town starting or ending with a visit to the museum can be arranged, as can other visits.


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