Ex-wardens join their former charges, the inmates, as part of the Maitland Gaol tour program. Anna Hager reports.

I love gaol house yarns. I was brought up on them.

The proud granddaughter of a prison warden myself, I annoyed my grandmother with never-ending questions about her time as a warden’s wife.

Now everyone can share the stories. Australia’s oldest continuously running prison, Maitland Gaol started offering ex Warden tours in June. The 1.5-hour twilight tours through the Gaol are the first of their kind in Australia – ex-wardens telling you the real story of prison life.

The beauty of the tour is accessing the real stories from those that were actually there, it’s a privilege.

These tours join the highly successful ex-inmate tours that have been running at the gaol for some years.

AT would love to be a fly on the wall at the water cooler as ex-wardens and inmates swap gossip about their weekends.

Alongside the ex-warden and inmate tours, Maitland Gaol also runs history and psychic tours. If however you prefer to learn about the Maitland Gaol at your own pace, there is a self-guided audio tour.

It’s an experience that’s well worth a trip to Maitland and you’ll hear some incredibly interesting stories from people who usually aren’t very easy to access.

Details // Ex-warden Maitland Gaol tours
Where // Maitland Gaol, Maitland, New South Wales
When // From June, 2010
Contact // www.maitlandgaol.com.au; (02) 4936 6482