The bluestone sea wall along the Brighton beach foreshore contains blocks that originally formed part of the Old Melbourne Gaol. The bluestone blocks were reused in the construction of the sea wall, following the closure of the gaol and the dismantling of some walls in the 1920s and in 1937.
Some of the bluestones are carved with the initials and date of execution of former inmates, who were hanged and buried at the Old Melbourne Gaol. Executed inmates at the gaol were not given tombstones, but their burial locations were marked by the carving of their initials and dates of execution into the bluestone blocks directly adjacent to their burial sites.
The Brighton Beach sea wall contains the largest number (six) of known former Old Melbourne Gaol bluestone burial markers. It is likely that other markers exist in the sea wall between Brighton and Beaumaris. The bluestone blocks at Brighton Beach foreshore contain the initials of six executed inmates including: Philipi Castillo (executed 16.9.1889); John Wilson (23.3.1891); Joseph Pfeffer (29.4.1912); John Conder (28.3.1893); Fatta Chand (27.4.1891) and William Colston (24.8.1891).
The sea wall along the Brighton Beach foreshore was constructed as part of a public works initiative established to address unemployment.
How is it significant?
The former Old Melbourne Gaol Burial markers are of historical and archaeological significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The former Old Melbourne Gaol bluestone burial markers are of historical significance in their ability to demonstrate late 19th century and early 20th century prison practices. At that time executed inmates were not given tombstones or formally marked burial sites.
The former Old Melbourne Gaol burial markers are of historical significance for their special association with Victoria's late 19th and early 20th century criminal history.
The former Old Melbourne Gaol burial markers are of potential archaeological significance for the potential of currently unidentified burial markers, located in parts of buried sea wall or carvings facing the interior, to be located during works, development or natural sand shift.
The burial markers are of historical significance in their ability to contribute to an understanding of Department of Public Works programs generated to relieve local unemployment during the Great Depression. The Old Melbourne Gail bluestone walls, including the bluestones with the carvings, were demolished in 1929 and 1937. The bluestones were used as part of the sea wall in the Brighton Beach foreshore reserve, which was constructed as part of the Department of Public Works programs generated to relieve local unemployment.