With Australia's history as a convict colony, it's no surprise that there are a few prisons you can check out while visiting and Melbourne is no exception to this.
Tickets to check it out are $25 for adults, there are different prices and packages for children and families, prices are listed here. The ticket includes three portions: The Goal, The Magistrates Court, and the Police Watch House. Parts of it have a timed schedule so make sure you check on arrival.
The Goal itself was open from 1842-1929. It housed many of the areas convicts, including those that were to be executed by hanging on the grounds. The women's wing has been torn down, but you can do a self-tour of the cells in the men's wing. It's three levels of cells and the hanging block.
Outside there's a courtyard between the gaol and the police watch house.
This portion is closed to visitors as it's part of the RMIT college campus nowadays, but the chapel was formerly in this area.
The Magistrates Court is a bit different, instead of a tour, it's a play. You can choose to volunteer to have a part in the trial of Ned Kelly, one of Australia's most famous outlaws.
I decided to volunteer to play a constable, one of the witnesses against Ned Kelly.
The last part is the police watch house, where prisoners awaiting trial next door were held. These were anything from murder trials, to people being held in the drunk tank overnight. Here you are treated as a newly arrived prisoner for the first 10 minutes, after which you are given a tour.
This small area is the exercise yard.
Overall it's a pretty interesting place to check out if you're really interested in learning about Australia's early days. That being said, it really is a place where you make the most out of it. If you're not into interactive bits, and just want a standard day of reading and looking at things, this might not be up your alley.