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Fannie Bay Gaol

The Fannie Bay Gaol which is now an historic museum was officially named Her Majesty's Gaol and Labour Prison. It is located on East Point Road in Darwin and was established on the 20th of September 1883 and operated until 1 September 1979.

There were two prison blocks, A and B, containing 16 stone cells in the original construction as well as a kitchen and wash house. An infirmary was added in 1887 which contains gallows that were last used in 1952 for the last executions in the Territory.

In 1928 a separate female prisoner block and remand section was added as well as a watch tower, mess building and a 'native section' for Aboriginal prisoners. In the 1950s there was further expansion with two maximum security wings being added.

Execution by Hanging

The last prisoners hanged in the NT were two Czechoslovakian immigrants named Jerry Koci, 21 years of age and John Novotny, 19 years of age. They were convicted before Kriewaldt J. in the NT Supreme Court of shooting taxi driver Mr Grantham in the back of the head on April 12 for his new Plymouth sedan. They were arrested in Mt Isa and both were hanged at 8 am on the 7th of August, 1952. As there had not been an execution for 14 years a new gallows had to be constructed as the previous one had been destroyed by cyclone 14 years earlier.

Terrance Stapleton, who killed Constable William Brian Condon in Katherine in 1952, avoided execution and instead was sent to Pentridge prison in Victoria. After his conviction lawyer John Lyons appealed the verdict on the basis that one of the jurors had not been properly registered. On retrial there was a hung jury and in a third trial Stapleton was insane.

Gaol Keepers

Constable Becker was appointed as Keeper of the Fannie Bay Gaol in 1883.122


  • Nemarluk was a famous prisoner and escapee from Fannie Bay Gaol

  • Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda (alleged killer of Mounted Constable McColl while he was on remand for that murder).

Other Hangings at Fannie Bay

  • Charles Flannagan - 15 July 1893 - Hanged for the murder of Samuel Croker at Auvergne Station, NT.

  • Chung Yeung and Lem Kai - 10 August 1899 - Hanged for the murder of Chee Hang at Yam Creek, NT.

  • Tommy (Aboriginal male) - 21 December 1905 - Hanged for the murders of Henry Edwards, Richard Frost and Nowra at Victoria River district, NT.

  • Koppio (Aboriginal male) - 15 July 1913 - Hanged for the Murders of Ching Loy and Lo Sin at the old Howley Mine, NT.

Other executions in the NT:

  • Wandy Wandy - 25 July 1893 - Hanged on gallows constructed at the scene of the crime at Malay Bay, NT for his part in the murder of six unnamed Malays.

  • Moolooloorun (Aboriginal male) - 17 January 1895 - Hanged on gallows constructed at Crescent Lagoon, NT in the presence of other members of his aboriginal community for the murder of an unnamed Chinese man near the Roper River.

  • Jimmie (Aboriginal male) - 8 April 1901 - Hanged on gallows constructed at Shaw's Creek, Victoria River, NT for the murder of John Larsen at Daly River.

(from notes in The Northern Territory Facebook page).

Museums and Art Galleries NT have a number of other sites of historical interest in the NT. Visit their website - Links Cell Block Image from PictureNT @ NT Library

Fannie Bay Gaol Museum 1983 from PictureNT@ NT Library

Fannie Bay Gaol Museum in Wikipedia Mickey Dewar has written a book "Inside-Out: A social history of the Fannie Bay Gaol"

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