The Gaol is registered as a Heritage NZ Category 1 historic place due to its historical significance as the only surviving building in New Zealand and possibly Australasia representing the Victorian courtyard prison. Its ongoing connection with New Zealand’s criminal justice system, from the building’s construction in 1895 until 2007 (and the site’s earlier penal uses which predate the current building), are further reasons why this is an historically significant place.
Heritage NZ Category 1 listed building
The Gaol is registered as a Category 1 historic place under the Historic Places Act 1993 in view of, amongst other things:
Historical significance as the only surviving building in New Zealand representing the Victorian courtyard prison and the extent to which the place provides insight into important or representative aspects of New Zealand’s history.
National historical significance through its location in one of New Zealand’s most architecturally distinguished urban heritage precincts
Technical significance recognising the architectural and technical accomplishment of John Campbell (1857-1942) who designed the prison in the “Queen Anne” style as a courtyard prison, now unique in New Zealand, and possibly Australasia.
Historical significance through its association with the criminal justice system in Dunedin, from construction in 1895-98 through to 2007 when the Gaol was decommissioned.
Importance as a rare international example of a purpose-built Victorian courtyard style prison.
Heritage NZ considers and is satisfied that the building should be protected, conserved and maintained as an historic place. For more historical information, Dunedin Prison (Former) Heritage New Zealand to read the Register Online on the Heritage NZ website.