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News / City Life

You can take a tour of Pentridge Prison

Pentridge Prison doors
Photograph: Supplied

HM Prison Pentridge is one of Australia's most notorious houses of correction, having operated from 1851 to 1997. The Coburg prison has been home to some of Australia's most infamous criminals, including Ned Kelly; Hoddle Street murderer Julian Knight; Russell Street bomber Craig Minogue; and gangsters Chopper Read and Squizzy Taylor.

Some luminaries in Australia's arts and cultural scene also found themselves on the wrong side of the law at Pentridge, including legendary Indigenous actor Jack Charles (imprisoned for burglary and drug offences); Indigenous choreographer Noel Tovey, who choreographed the Indigenous welcoming ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (imprisoned for homosexual acts when it was illegal to be gay); and sculptor William Stanford (imprisoned for stealing a horse in 1854). 

Part of Pentridge Prison has now been turned into a wine storage area, as the lack of natural light and constant cool temperature makes an ideal wine cellar. And Pentridge Cellars is now running tours of the infamous prison on Thursdays and Saturdays, so you can learn all about the place's criminal past. During the 90-minute tour visitors can see where Chopper Read and Squizzy Taylor were housed, as well as seeing the site of the last hanging in Australia. Tickets are just $12.

Love to learn? Here are Melbourne's best tours. Want more tales of Melbourne's criminal past? Drinking History Tours provide a lot of info on our city's underbelly – plus, there are drinks along the way.

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