Parramatta Correctional Centre

Parramatta Correctional Centre
Location North Parramatta, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°47′57″S 151°00′00″E / 33.79905°S 151.0°E / -33.79905; 151.0Coordinates: 33°47′57″S 151°00′00″E / 33.79905°S 151.0°E / -33.79905; 151.0
Status Open
Security class Medium (male)
Capacity 580
Opened 1 January 1798
Managed by Corrective Services NSW
A prison guard on lookout in the watchtower at Parramatta Jail

Parramatta Correctional Centre, a former Australian medium security prison for males, was in operation between 1798 and 2011. Located in North Parramatta, New South Wales, the centre was initially called Parramatta Gaol until its name was changed to Parramatta Correctional Centre in 1992. When in operation, the centre was managed by Corrective Services NSW, an agency of the Department of Attorney General and Justice of the Government of New South Wales. Immediately prior to its closure, the centre detained short term sentenced and remand inmates, operated as a transient centre, and was the periodic detention centre for metropolitan Sydney.


Correctional facilities were first established in Parramatta in 1798, being "a strong logged gaol of 100 feet in length, with separate cells for the prisoners ... and paled around with very high fence", housing eight prisoners.[1] In 1799, a fire destroyed this facility and it was rebuilt in 1802 on the same site (now occupied by Riverside Theatres).[2] A more substantial stone structure was built between 1837 and 1843 by James Houison and Nathaniel Payten on the North Parramatta site. Parramatta Gaol was formally proclaimed on 2 January 1842 with progressive opening of wings up until approximately 1910. It was closed in 1918 and was used as a mental hospital.[3] Re–established in 1922, the centre became a major industrial prison with inmates working in the fields of tailoring, bookmaking and carpentry, tin smithing and bakery. The centre closed briefly between 3 September 1997 and 1998.[1]

In 2004, there were calls for the centre to be closed after two inmates escaped by scaling the prison wall using ladders without being seen by guards.[4]

Prior to its closure on 9 October 2011, Parramatta Correctional Centre was home to Jason Bennett, also known as Big Bad Benno. Bennett's presence within the facility changed even the officers guessing the place and is also believed to be the real motive behind the prisons closure.Corrective Services NSW have not determined the future use of the property.


Notable prisoners

Current use

During 2012 the centre was used for the setting of a film, The Convict, and has been used in filming for both Home and Away and Underbelly television series.[13]

The song "Tomorrow", recorded by Australian rock band Cold Chisel on their 1980 album East (album), portrays the desperation of a Parramatta Gaol inmate on a life sentence who escaped three days earlier, and is facing imminent recapture.[14]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Parramatta Correctional Centre". State Records. Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  2. "Criminals and Parramatta Pirates" (PDF) (Press release). Riverside Theatre. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  3. "Parramatta Gaol". State Records. Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  4. "Call to close prison over escape 'farce'". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 29 November 2004. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  5. "Prisons to close" (PDF) (Press release). Corrective Services NSW. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  6. Smith, Alexandra (27 July 2011). "Budget cuts will force Parramatta jail closure". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  7. Bartok, Di (8 August 2011). "Drop in crime, budget cuts close Parramatta Correctional Centre". Parramatta Advertsier. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  8. 1 2 Walsh, G. P. "Freeman, George David (1935–1990)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  9. "Sydney". Hawkesbury Courier and Agricultural and General Advertiser. 2. Windsor, NSW. 18 July 1844. p. 1. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  10. Ryan, Stephen (10 February 2012). "Prisoner to stay in jail". Newcastle Herald. p. 15. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  11. Sutton, Candace (23 February 2003). "Neddy the fun family man - by his ex-wife". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  12. Neill, Rosemary (23 June 2012). "Prison playwright Jim McNeil's inside jobs get a fresh outing". The Australian. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  13. "Old jail sets the scene for silver screen". Parramatta Holroyd Sun. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  14. "Lyrics of Cold Chisel song 'Tomorrow'". Cold Chisel. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
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