The History of Indigenous Incarceration at Fremantle Prison
Join a guided tour to uncover the legacy of Indigenous incarceration at ‘Walyalup’, a story of sadness and survival. Life inside the Prison was difficult for many, but for Indigenous inmates, there were often additional challenges.
Join the Prison’s experienced guides and learn about the confronting history of Indigenous incarceration in Fremantle and Western Australia.
Aboriginal people have been incarcerated in WA prisons since the early days of the colony, first detained at Fremantle Prison in 1858. By 1954, the number of Aboriginal prisoners had jumped significantly, with men, women and children incarcerated in great numbers, due in part to a legacy of discriminatory laws that resulted in differential treatment for Aboriginal people.
Life inside the Prison was difficult, but for Indigenous inmates, there were often additional challenges; poor literacy, language difficulties, loneliness and isolation from family and community. However, there was also a strong tradition of singing and story-telling, as well as art, and in this way ties to culture and community continued, even behind bars.
Come and experience how life was lived behind bars.