"Fairlea" Prison Gates, 1984, by John T. Collins
"Fairlea" Prison Gates, 1984, by John T. Collins - held at State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/230198

Former Fairlea Women's Prison

This site has a long history of use for containing parts of Melbourne's population. After the Yarra Bend Asylum closed in 1925, some buildings were repurposed for the Fairhaven Venereal Diseases hospital; after this closed in 1951, the site was converted into Fairlea Women's Prison, which opened in 1956. This was opened to relieve overcrowding pressure on Pentridge Prison in Coburg by separating the women's population into its own institution. Given that many of the repurposed buildings had been declared unfit during the 19th century, the conditions at Fairlea were often criticised and contributed to a number of instances of unrest in the early 1980s. In 1982, after an escape attempt by four inmates, a fire in the prison's dormitories led to the deaths of three women. The fire caused extensive damage and led to the rebuilding of much of the prison, which reopened in 1986. As part of this process, the remaining structures from the original asylum were demolished, with one of the bluestone gate pillars salvaged and relocated to nearby parkland. In 1996, Fairlea Women's Prison closed permanently, and prisoners were relocated to a new prison at Deer Park. The Parks Victoria Office buildings and the basketball courts on this site are the only remaining structures from the prison, and the rest of the site was integrated into Yarra Bend Park.

by laurenpiko on March 14, 2019

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