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J Ward, Ararat’s Old Gaol and Lunatic Asylum

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Art & culture

Take a guided tour of J Ward, Ararat’s Old Gaol and Lunatic Asylum. Hear stories of murderers, ghosts and mistreatment of mental illness.

J Ward is two and a half hours from Melbourne, close to the Grampians and open daily for tours by passionate Friends of J Ward volunteers. More than 10,000 people visit each year.

Tours run at 10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm each day with extra tours at 12:00pm and 3:00pm on Sundays and Victorian public and school holidays (except Christmas Day).

J Ward started its life as a goldfields prison in 1859. When the gold ran out in the mid 1880s the prison buildings were acquired by the Lunacy Department as a temporary housing for the Criminally Insane. The County Gaol then became a ward (J Ward) of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum where the most depraved and most dangerous men in Victoria were housed in horrific conditions under the highest security.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Girdlestone Street, Ararat, VIC 3377Get directions

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Visit Ballarat is supported by the City of Ballarat

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