“No more jail for me. Last lag. 29-11-88”

Unknown prisoner

Scratched into the timber wall of the old Bacchus Marsh police lock–up, these crudely formed words might be a prisoner’s repentance before finally going straight. Or perhaps their regret was short-lived, soon returning to a life of crime.

We will never know if they remained faithful to their promise, but the pledge gives life to the bitter solitude of this place, and others like it.

Prior to the widespread construction of police lock-ups, suspected criminals were subject to primitive forms of detention. In some towns, alleged culprits were tied to trees while awaiting trial, and were often subject to threats of lynching.