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Grafton Correctional Centre Celebrating 125th Anniversary

Publication date: Tuesday, 4 September 

Corrective Services NSW will this week be celebrating Grafton Correctional Centre staff, as the heritage-listed prison marks 125 years of operation.

The free community celebration is on Saturday 8 September from 10am, and it will have a Corrective Services NSW K9 Unit, escort vehicle displays, historical images, a charity barbecue and inmate-produced products for purchase. All funds will go towards the Buy a Bale charity.

Grafton Correctional Centre Governor Michelle Paynter said the centre employs about 70 staff, including custodial officers, industry overseers and psychologists.

"Back when it opened, there were just 18 male cells, seven female cells and two 'dark cells' across a two-storey wing, as well as a trial yard, labour yard and an exercise yard," Ms Paynter said.

"Now named, Grafton Intake and Transient Centre, we house 260 male minimum- to maximum-security inmates and 20 minimum-security women in the June Baker Centre.

"Inmates work in food, laundry, timber and agricultural industries and undertake education, vocational training and therapeutic programs to prepare them for a life outside prison." 

Grafton Gaol was built in 1893 to replace an existing prison considered too small, flood-prone and unhygienic. The first correctional facilities were established in Grafton in 1862.

Made primarily of brick, sandstone and terracotta tiles, the £17,000 gaol was built by leading English construction company, Holloway Bros, and gazetted on 8 September 1893. The first inmates moved into the facility two months later.

The prison's imposing and elaborate gatehouse has mediaeval architectural motifs, such as mock 'machiolations' – the small openings in castles designed to throw missiles through. 

Grafton Correctional Centre 125th anniversary celebration

When: Saturday, 8 September 2018
Where: 170 Hoof Street, Grafton
Time: 10am – 2pm