Sleeping in cells

By | Category: Travel news
YHA Fremantle

The gatehouse at Fremantle Prison – sorry hostel.

Youth Hostels Australia is becoming as adventurous as hotel groups in developing intriguing accommodation in which to stay.

In Sydney just near the Rocks area – the old colonial part of Sydney – they have a hostel/hotel overlooking the harbour. Now, opening in the Spring they have in Western Australia and just thirty minutes away from the state capital of Perth, Fremantle Prison. Yes, a prison.

YHA, is a one-of-a-kind hostel where you can sleep in actual 19th century prison cells! Originally the women’s division of the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison, it has now been turned into accommodation!

Except that I would dispute the claim of YHA that this is a hostel. This is what they say.“Comfort has been added throughout, as well as a new purpose built development of twin, double and family en-suite bedrooms. Guests can also stay in the perfectly-preserved Victorian-style guards’ cottages located just outside the front gates. Fremantle Prison YHA offers all the latest facilities travellers need including kitchens, large common areas, TV rooms, a laundry, ping pong, volleyball, luggage storage, travel desk, 24 hour reception, parking, air conditioning and heating, pool table, reading areas, lockers, group facilities and conference room, wifi and computers, a cafe next door and many outdoor and spacious areas to relax in.”

Does that sound like a hostel to you?

The region and the prison have had strong links with the UK going back to 1829, when the area was colonised by the British and dubbed the Swan River Colony. Originally known as the Convict Establishment, the prison was built in the 1850s with the first convicts occupying it in 1855, all the way up until 1991. During this time, hangings, floggings, daring escapes and prison riots were etched in history.

In 1888 the Perth Gaol closed, and the female inmates were moved to Fremantle Prison for the first time. The laundry, bakehouse and cookhouse division of the prison was sectioned off to accommodate the women. Extended twice in the years to come, this women’s prison is what has now become the Fremantle Prison YHA!

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