State Archives Collection
Making history every day
Gaol inmates & prisoners
A secure gaol was required for convicts who committed criminal offences within the colony and were sentenced to imprisonment. Gaols were also used to house prisoners awaiting trial or transportation to another penal settlement
Find out what types of prison records are available and how to access them
The Gaol Photographic Description Books contain a photograph of each prisoner and the following information: number, prisoners' name, aliases, date when portrait was taken, native place, year of birth, details of arrival in the colony - ship and year of arrival, trade or occupation, religion, standard of education, height, weight (on committal, on discharge), colour of hair, colour of eyes, marks or special features, number of previous portrait, where and when tried, offence, sentence, remarks, and details of previous convictions (where and when, offence and sentence).
We have indexed and digitised this collection of photographs of men, women and children who were incarcerated in the NSW prison system c1870–c1930
An introduction to the goal records held in the NSW State Archives collection