From Hard Bed to Luxury Home: The Metamorphosis of HM Prison Pentridge

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Abstract

Given all the uncomfortableness, fears, shame, and troubles associated with memories of Australian carceral history, it is surprising that Australians are interested in reusing sites of decommissioned prisons at all. The uncomfortable past juxtaposes basic ideas of preservation, not to mention the further transformation of old gaols to places for comfortable residences and shops. Her Majesty’s Prison Pentridge is used here as a case study, where the exact site of a century-and-a-half of notoriously brutal incarceration and source of uncomfortableness to the local community was transformed to residential and mixed-use developments. Perhaps due to those memories slipping away, or probably due to pragmatic economic opportunities allowed by urban consolidation policies, such acute transformation became possible. This paper joins an unsettled debate surrounding the phenomena of converting old prisons to contemporary buildings and shops inhabited by non-prisoners using Pentridge as a recent example.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-167
Number of pages33
JournalTime and Mind: the journal of archaeology, consciousness and culture
Volume14
Issue number1
Early online date5 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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