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TOWER TOURS: Maitland Gaol to unlock hidden history

Visitors to Maitland Gaol will soon be able to walk along the metal catwalks once used by guards to keep the inmates in check.

The newly launched Tower Tour promises to give people a fresh perspective on the former maximum-security prison.

It’s the first time in 175 years that the catwalks will be open to the public.

“There’s so much history and heritage at Maitland Gaol we’re confident the Tower Tour will attract both new and returning visitors,” Maitland Gaol’s Heritage Interpretation Specialist, Zoe Whiting said.

The unique experience will see visitors ascending a spiral staircase ingeniously constructed inside the Gaol’s imposing sandstone walls before arriving on the catwalks.

It’s an experience that will give people an unparalleled view of the prison and its surroundings like never before. Visitors will be able to check out key landmarks around the area like the railway station and the former courthouse in East Maitland.

During the tour, a guide will delve into the operational aspects of the towers, their use during crises, and the working conditions faced by the staff who occupied them.

“As you move along the catwalk, your guide will explore how the towers were operated as a security measure when they were used in a crisis and the working conditions for staff that occupied them,” Zoe said.

“We want to identify changes in how the towers were used and examine the impact of the towers on staff and prisoners.”

Tower Tours will begin running at Maitland Gaol from Thursday 7 December 2023. To find out more visit