Possibly the most common question Maitland Gaol staff are asked is 'can we go up to the guard tower?', and the team has listened.
After months of planning and renovations, Maitland Gaol staff have proudly opened up their brand new Tower Experience to the public.
For the first time ever, visitors can climb up the winding staircase to tower one, and walk across the catwalk seven metres in the air to tower six, which features a glass floor to show it's original steps.
Maitland Gaol heritage interpretation specialist Zoe Whiting said the experience is about unlocking new layers and views of the site.
"I think people are going to be really amazed to see the gaol from above, it helps provide context to the space, where the buildings fit into the space, which is a little bit hard to do when you're walking around on the ground, and it also provides a really lovely view into East Maitland and Maitland," she said.
Renovations on the tower included a new, safe stair case with care to have no impact on the original sandstone, and conservation work in the towers themselves such as safety glass windows.
Tickets go on sale Friday, November 10 and the first tour will go ahead on Thursday, December 7.
Tour groups will be of ten people plus a guide, and it will last for one hour. The guide will share history and stories even regular gaol-goers won't have heard before, and attendees will get to step where for 132 years only guards had stood.
The towers were built by prisoners, and were manned by a guard 24-hours a day from 1866 until it closed in 1998.
Get tickets and find out more at www.maitlandgaol.com.au.
The Tower Tour is proudly supported by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, through the 2020-21 Experience Enhancement Fund.
In other news:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.