The best way to see and understand J Ward is to join one of the regularly conducted guided tours. Bookings can be made online.
Adults $17, concession $15, under 16 $5, under 5 free. Concession applies to Aged Pensioners, Seniors Card holders and pre-booked groups of ten or more. Tickets can be purchased online (below) or by cash or card on the day.
A normal tour will take 1-1.5 hours. Most of our guides will spend much longer than this with anybody who wants to hear more stories or who has questions to ask. It should be noted that the guides do not have access to records or have knowledge of former patients or medical procedures.
There is so much to see that no two tours are exactly the same. Each of the guides is knowledgable in the history of J Ward but each has a wealth of favourite true stories to tell.
You will see the place where murderers breathed their last. You will see where their bodies are buried in unconsecrated ground, supposedly in unmarked graves. You might hear the story of the notorious Garry Webb or of Bill Wallace who lived here for over sixty years and died in his 108th year. You might hear how the Chapel was built due to the efforts of William Watson Carr. You might hear of escapes or suicides or of twelve year olds incarcerated here.
You might hear none of these. There are so many stories in J Ward that people have been back four and even five times. Hours can be spent in the Museum reading early case histories and gazing in wonder at the equipment of the early days of the hospital and the arts and crafts of the patients.
10am and 1pm
Due to limited availability of the volunteer staff admission may not be possible after the tour has started.
10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm (except Christmas Day)
Bookings for groups of ten or more can be accommodated at practically any time. Bus tours, schools and clubs etc are all most welcome at J Ward. Although macabre in places the history of J Ward is generally not disturbing because of its simple truth. Many schools come here with each year's new class.
J Ward was built between 1859 and 1861 and disabled access was not considered. There are three main sets of stairs in the buildings.
The ﬁrst is at the front door. An alternative entrance is available. Speak to the guide or phone the front desk on 5352 2703 for assistance.
There is a stairway to the upper level of the main cell block. Stairways lead to and from the underground kitchen and there are no alternative ways to get to these areas.
J Ward is a Tour Only site, so guides will do their best to give all visitors an interesting experience, keeping in mind these unavoidable restrictions.
A disabled toilet is available at J Ward.
Certiﬁed assistance dogs are welcome at J Ward.
There are no refunds for change of mind. You can change the date of your tour with a minimum of 24 hours notice. A new date must be chosen at the time of re-schedule. Your order is voided by non-attendance and late cancellation.