If possible I would like to see if anyone can get any readings from the photos I have taken. Here is some background information. Recently I was travelling around Australia and came across a town called Ararat. At first glance it is like any other small town in Australia, one blink and you will miss it. But, off the highway is a hidden side of the town. With nothing but a few little road signs to indicate their existence, you would never know there is a building known as Aradale, built from 1865, that was used as an Mental Hospital until 1993 and a building known as J Ward, used form 1887 to house the criminally insane until 1998. Aradale is now used as a winery, vineyard and lavender farm by an educational institute. However, on Sundays there are guided day tours and from Sunday – Thursday Night Group tours are available. These tours are run by volunteers. Sadly, I was not able to go on one of the tours or Aradale. J Ward is a different story. Volunteers from Friends of J Ward Inc. run tours at least 4 times a day and have night tours by arrangement. Originally built to be used as a county gaol (1861-1887) and used as the site of 3 hangings, the building was then sold to the Lunacy Department. The Department then used the building to house those inmates deemed Criminally Insane and inappropriate to be housed in Aradale. Our guide, Geoff, showed us through the Governors quarters and the married quarters on the premises. The Governor and his Second in charge would have their wives and children living with them while they worked in J Ward, with only a stone wall separating them from the inmates and often not even that. The impressive stone walls of J Ward are over two stories high and are believed to be at least 6 feet underground. Built by immigrants from the British Isles, the walls are magnificent but there are many records of escapes over them. On the walls of the prison are two painted ships, believed to be painted by inmates from the prison days, one of which has been smudged when, during the 1940’s, a German inmate attempted to change the ship into the Nazi symbol, Swastika, to show his alliance. It is believed this inmate is still alive and is being housed in a German Hospital. The West Wing was used to house those of minimum risk. Until the 1950’s, the rooms in West Wing consisted of wooden flooring, a bucket for toileting and a secure window that let in very little light. The arrival of Dr Cunningham Dax saw many changes introduced including carpeting and beds and heating. On display in West Wing is an updated room, an original style room, a suicide blanket, made in such a way that inmates can’t tear strips to hand themselves, tapestries made by an inmate, who was being held for murdering his wife, cutting her into small pieces and discarding of her body in bags into a river. Also, there is one of the original autopsy tables and 3 original morgue gurneys. The Main Cell Block was used to house inmate that’s were being assessed and who would remain in the facility indefinitely. The main cell also housed the chapel. The bottom story has displays from the J Ward era while the top level has displays relating to the prison days. On the lower level on display are strait jackets, electro-shock treatment machines, and restraints, stories, photos and testimonies form former patients. The chapel is in stunning condition, with pews, a stained glass window, organ and bibles. On the upper level there are stories from suicides of inmates, a convict bed, examples of uniforms, and most importantly the death cell and gallows. The three men who were hung in the gaol were buried in unmarked graves on the property. The other prisoners marked their graves with the symbol of the convict, an arrow pointing upwards. It is believed prisoner were buried upright and facing towards the wall so that they would never be able to rest in peace and their souls would always be enclosed by the gaol walls. The Friends of J Ward have place plaques above the grave sites. In the rear of the facility is the exercise yard, where the “unmarked” graves are located. The walls of the exercise yard are marked with the etching of inmates, drawings as plain as boxes, outlines of hand and even a bunch Hof grapes. The most disturbing one is etchings made by an inmate repeatedly scratching the walls. Around the side of the main building is a set of stairs leading down into the kitchen, built underneath the main building. Walking into the kitchen you can still smell the smoke from the wood ovens, long ago put out. The walls and roof are covered in soot and smoke stains. Inmates were never permitted into the kitchen, sharp instruments and all that. The kitchen has even been used in the production of horror movies. To the rear of the kitchen is a door to a passageway. The dark passageway leads to a set of stairs and the original bathroom. One bath to wash all of the inmates! With the construction of the newer bath house the original was then used as a smoking room, to smoke and cure meats. The stairs lead up to the exit of the mail building and museum display of artefacts. Friends of J Ward are open to paranormal research groups and even lock ins. On Friday the 13th a group of people are being locked into West Wing for the night, not sure why they aren’t spending the night in the Main Cell Block with the gallows. There is a lot of interesting stories for me to share but I would like to wait and see if anyone gets any readings first.