Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites

The Gallows Room

Fremantle Prison - Joy of Museums - The Gallows

The Gallows Room was completed in 1888, and first used in 1889 to execute a convicted murderer. The gallows room was the only lawful place of execution in Western Australia between 1888 and 1984. At least 43 men and one woman in 1909 were hanged during this period. The last person to be hanged was a serial killer, executed in 1964.

Upon sentencing to death, prisoners were kept under vigilant observation to prevent suicide. Hangings took place on Monday mornings, at 8:00 am. Condemned prisoners were woken at 5:00am, and provided with a last meal, shower, and clean clothes. Handcuffed, they were moved to a holding or “condemned cell” and allowed a couple of sips of brandy to calm their nerves. They were then hooded, led up to the execution chamber, which could hold as many as eleven witnesses.

The condemned prisoner was positioned over the trap door, a noose was put around their neck, and the prisoner was hanged by dropping through the trap door after the pull of a lever at 8:00am. After medical examination, the deceased was removed for burial.

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                 The Gallows Room
  • Built:               1888
  • Use:                 Place of execution
  • Museum:         Fremantle Prison


“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.”
― Nelson Mandela



Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By Evad37 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons