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The Dunedin Gaol (formerly the Dunedin Prison) opened in 1898 and was closed as a Corrections facility in 2007. It is now run by the Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust.

Designed by John Campbell (1857-1942), Chief Government Architect, the Gaol has a special and rare architectural value as possibly the only remaining Victorian-era courtyard design prison in Australasia.

The Gaol remains largely unaltered since its closure in 2007, with its layout intact and much of its original fabric and features retained.The building’s architecture presents us with a visual insight into nineteenth-century philosophies about punishment and rehabilitation.

Signage front of building, History unlocked Dunedin GAOL, former Dunedin prison, New Zealand


Front of building, History Unlocked, Dunedin GAOL, former Dunedin Prison, New Zealand

The building commands a prominent position in the picturesque and historically significant Anzac Square urban heritage precinct, within easy walking distance of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, the Dunedin Law Courts and Dunedin Railway Station. The precinct provides a time capsule of Dunedin’s late nineteenth and early twentieth-century architectural glory days.

You can find out more on the Betteridge Conservation plan and our Interpretation plan, as well as more detail on the Gaol Stage 1 and 2 restoration projects.

The Gaol has a Heritage NZ Category 1 listed building classification.

Our popular weekend Gaol tours generally operate from October until the end of April, and are subject to guide availability.

People Stories Amy, famous fraudster, Dunedin GAOL, New Zealand


New Zealand’s most famous Fraudster and Con Artist.

Amy was New Zealand’s most famous fraudster and con artist. During her lifetime of crime she spent time in Dunedin, Addington, New Plymouth and Mount Eden Prisons. Her offences included: Forgery, Uttering, False Pretences and making false statements under the marriage act 1908. She was sentenced two years on each charge and declared an habitual criminal.

Dunedin Gaol Guided Tours

The Dunedin Gaol has regular tours over the summer months.

Our popular weekend guided tours operate every Saturday and Sunday morning, generally from October until the end of April. We also run group tours, including school tours by arrangement.

Our tour outlines the history and use of the Gaol over its 110 years, incorporating stories of its detainees and employees and other people associated with the prison and justice system. These tours are subject to booking numbers and guide availability.

Standard Tour

Unfortunately we are unable to have standard tours during the 2023-24 season

School Group Tours

Cost: $10 per person
(minimum 10 people)

Corporate / Other Groups Tours

Cost: $20 per person (minimum 10 people)


There are uneven surfaces and many stairs in the Gaol and we do not have a lift. Unfortunately this tour is not suitable for wheelchairs or walking frames.


There is no parking available on site, however there is metered public parking right outside the Gaol and in a carpark across the road.