New Exhibition ‘Shantaram: From Punishment to Peace’ opens at Pentridge Prison Tours

Embark on an Extraordinary Journey

The National Trust, Victoria, Gregory David Roberts, and Pentridge Prison Tours is proud to present, “Shantaram: From Punishment to Peace.”   

Join us to explore one man’s remarkable journey.  

This immersive event takes place at Warder’s Upstairs, providing a unique opportunity to imagine wandering the paths of a man who transformed his life relying on personal resilience, love, and community. 

Gregory David Roberts, known also as GDR, is a renowned author, songwriter, composer, and artist. His bestselling novel, Shantaram, has achieved remarkable success selling over 7 million copies and being translated into 44 languages. The novel is based on the raw elements of his life as a fugitive, which has captivated readers worldwide.  

GDR’s journey has been tumultuous, from student activist to a period of drug addiction which led to criminal activities, imprisonment at Pentridge Prison, and eventual escape to India. Despite his past struggles, GDR has made significant contributions; including establishing a medical clinic for slum dwellers and using his artistic endeavours to support charitable causes. GDR continues to write, make music, and create art, while a TV series adaptation of Shantaram is available on AppleTV+. 


Join us at Warder’s Upstairs for an Unforgettable Experience 

Enter an imaginary world, filled with stories of Gregory David Roberts’ incredible journey. This exhibition encapsulates the indomitable human spirit, reminding us that transformation is possible even in the face of adversity. 

It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, when I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them.’ Shantaram, p3 

Spanning several countries and continents, Shantaram (2022) the Apple TV+ series was filmed in India, Thailand, and Australia, with locations that included several National Trust Victoria properties. 

Pentridge Prison, the gaol in which author Gregory David Roberts was incarcerated, is the location for the prison scenes. Look out for the Champ Street entrance, Administration Building and A and H Divisions.  

Trickier to identify, the Old City Watch House at Old Melbourne Gaol, Rippon Lea Estate and Labassa as they were variously transformed into police stations in Bombay and Australia, an Indian Palace, a Gentleman’s Club, and characters’ apartments. 

The National Trust Victoria is proud to use our Warders Upstairs as yet another space to continually tell the myriad stories of Pentridge Prison.’ says Mr Simon Ambrose, CEO National Trust Victoria 

Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram is recognised internationally for both the quality of writing and the extraordinary nature of the story. The National Trust worked closely with the production team across three of our properties, Old Melbourne Gaol, Rippon Lea and Labassa for the filming of Apple TV+ series, Shantaram so it his has been a privilege to work with this story on yet another telling. As many know, Pentridge Prison is a central part of both the series and the story. 

We are eternally grateful to people such as Greg making themselves available to share their experiences.’ Mr Simon Ambrose, CEO National Trust Victoria  

Entry to the exhibition is free, allowing everyone the opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary experience. Additionally, visitors can enhance their journey by booking tickets for the H Division tour, where National Trust trained guides will delve further into Gregory David Roberts’ escape story.