Flamingo Dancer goes to Jail!

Sunday was prison day. We toured the Fremantle Prison, which is a world heritage listed building. Let us start at the very beginning though. First there was breakfast at a cafe called X-Wray.

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The view from my side of the table

The view from my side of the table

Yes, that is a pig in the corner of the restaurant

Yes, that is a pig in the corner of the restaurant

The trend is to serve food on a wooden serving or cutting board.

The trend is to serve food on a wooden serving or cutting board.

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A quick trip through the Fremantle Markets didn’t entice us to linger – too hot and too many people, but obviously a popular spot.

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The courtyard of a bed and breakfast we passed. It just looks so romantic.

The courtyard of a bed and breakfast we passed. It just looks so romantic.

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Performance artist outside the markets.

Performance artist outside the markets.

Our Doing Tine Tour guide was a retired prison warden, who soon informed us that he was going to speak to us as if we were prisoners, which basically meant he yelled in our faces most of the time. This seemed to be partly due to trying to give us the “real” experience minus the strip searches, and also to keep us on the run so that we completed the 90 minute tour on time.

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Prison uniforms through time - the prison started as a convict prison in 1850

Prison uniforms through time – the prison started as a convict prison in 1850

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washing machine

washing machine

a view of some of the complex. The prison housed both men and women prisoners.

a view of some of the complex. The prison housed both men and women prisoners.

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Kitchen.

Kitchen.

The prisoners who would be serving the longest sentences were trained as cooks. The reasoning being that it took a long time to train a good cook! This meant that some of the hardest and nastiest prisoners worked in the kitchen. One day they took the carving knives to a fellow prisoner and beheaded him… no one asked for seconds that day, I bet!

The remand yard

The remand yard

Those on remand, not yet sentenced were kept in this area during the day. Up to 250 men would be herded here all day, with little or no supervision, resulting in all sorts of bullying and violence. They were not allowed to work in the first year.

The wire netting was to catch prisoners leaping to their death.

The wire netting was to catch prisoners leaping to their death.

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I suspect this was the room of an indigenous prisoner, and occupied in the last years of the prison's life.

I suspect this was the room of an indigenous prisoner, and occupied in the last years of the prison’s life.

These are the cells in different eras. There was no electricity installed until 1982. Often the temperature in the cells got to 50C in summer.

Perth Jan6 2013 070Perth Jan6 2013 071These were all taken on the run as the tour guide had us scurrying.

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Convict era

Convict era

The first cells...

The first cells…

The gallows. 34 people were hung here, including one woman. WA had capital punishment as a law until 1984.

The gallows. 34 people were hung here, including one woman. WA had capital punishment as a law until 1984.

I couldn’t take more photos of the gallows, it just seemed wrong too. The sound of the drop was horrifying.

Afterwards we drove to the beach for lunch. My first real sight of the Indian Ocean!

Perth Jan6 2013 117Perth Jan6 2013 118One more day and then I fly home on Tuesday. I will miss Daughter 2 dreadfully, but she promises to fly home for Easter and to welcome her new niece when she arrives.

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13 thoughts on “Flamingo Dancer goes to Jail!

    • It was. I have found Perth quite an interesting city to visit and rather easy to navigate on foot. Sadly the temperature has been on the hot side, but most of Australia is in the grip of a heat wave right now and poor Tasmanians are fighting fierce fires so who am I to complain. Well, Flamingo Dancer actually.

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  1. When I read the title I thought “Finally! That’s what you get for threatening innocents with a stick!” lol

    And I’m not going to speculate on the “pig in the corner” comment and the poor woman standing in the corner …

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    • If I ever have to compile a list of people to take to a desert island with me, you shall be on that list! They also allowed dogs in the cafe. Not something I plan on doing with Augie any time soon!

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    • Actually it was a bit on the watery side, I have had better in the last few days. Mr FD has developed a pretty good poached egg over the years. Breakfast is a favourite time to eat out, as is lunch, dinner and afternoon tea!

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  2. Grim places all right. We’ve been to Old Dubbo Jail which has speaking mannequins activated by a laser beam. Better than being yelled at (I get enough of that at home) Ratty

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    • We went to Dubbo too, and it had more of a convict history. I think I actually enjoyed Dubbo more, but that might have been that we didn’t get yelled out (except for Mr FD as expected). Fremantle was a system obviously set to fail as they did everything to dehumanise and victimise prisoners. The ex warden was a bit defensive about methods relating the actions to the time and values, but a wrong is still a wrong, and being stupid is no excuse.

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  3. I’ve toured only one prison, and that was enough. It’s depressing to think of the human beings locked up in these places, even if they were the worst of the worse among society. My daughter wanted to tour Alcatraz when she was living in San Francisco, but the price of the ferry and tour was enough of an excuse to put it off.

    In California a voter referendum to get rid of the death penalty failed this past November. I think the memory of serial killers like Charles Manson (who somehow escaped the death penalty) and the “speed freak killers” in this state have too many people frightened to want to do away with it. Very few criminals receive the death penalty, however, since judges are often reluctant to use it. Research has shown that a sizable percentage of people sentenced to death were in fact innocent; few educated jurists want to be held responsible in the event of a bad verdict.

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    • I am anti capital punishment as that element of killing the innocent is too much of a risk. We would have killed Lindy Chamberlain (the dingo got my baby mother) if that was the case. It was interesting that in the prison chapel a prisoner had hand painted the 10 commandments, and no 6 was not written as Do Not Kill, but as Do Not Murder, because they did kill people there with capital punishment. I am sure The Big Whatever was impressed with the fancy wording.
      So, I am against capital punishment but when cases like that poor woman in India arise, and I am sure if it was a member of my own family, that I doubt my resolve not to call for their heads.

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  4. As you would expect, I did NOT have the same initial thought as GOM when I read the title.

    Thanks for the tour……I’m unlikely to be able to sit still long enough to fly all the way over there.

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    • Yes from your mountain top it would be gruelling to say the list. I must admit I was getting twitching towards the last hour or so on the trip over, and am not looking forward to the long sit back home. They trot the food out in the first half hour and then nothing for the rest of the flight which means one is getting hungry by the end too. I shall pack a snack this time, or perhaps select a small child on the flight to eat.

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