This week, we continue our series of stories describing the history of the Daylesford Courthouse Complex, the current home of the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre.  Our thanks to the Daylesford Museum for helping us in our historical research.

The Lock-up

The Lock-up is one of the three remaining historic, heritage buildings located on the Daylesford Court House Complex in Camp Street.

The original jail was a single cell structure built in 1858.  It was soon found to be inadequate and was replaced by the current structure – a solid three-room building erected in 1863.

It is perhaps the earliest of this type of brick and stone lock-up ever built in Victoria and one of only five that still remain.

It provided scant luxury for those confined within.  In 1875 the Inspecting Superintendent reported:

“Lock-up:  3 cells, lined with red pine, asphalt floor found too cold and damp and now covered with wooden floor”.

It was about 30 years later that two cast iron lavatory cisterns and pans were installed (see picture).  They would have significantly improved the lot of the inmates!!  One report states that ‘they provide evidence of changing perceptions in prisoner treatment in later years’.  The manufacturer, S.K McIver, was listed in the Ballarat Directory as ‘a wholesale and retail tinsmith, ironmonger, plumber, slater, bellhanger and gasfitter’.  A very disparate set of trade skills!

Prisoners’ graffiti can still be seen carved in the timbered walls.  It consists largely of personal names, including Harry Carman, Steven Slater, R Bruhn, C Nevill and numerous references to brothers Dave and Jerry Dwyer.  Several of these families still reside in the area.

The Lock-up was still in official use until the late 1960s.

Along with the other buildings on the Daylesford Court House Complex, the Lock-up is managed by DNC.

Come up and visit it, and see the other buildings of historic significance at the Court House Complex.


Free Legal Assistance in Daylesford

Special Announcement

DNC are pleased to announce a new partnership with the Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service (BGCLS) for the provision of a free legal outreach service.  BGCLS will visit Daylesford to provide free and confidential legal services to people in the Hepburn Shire.  We have limited appointment times.  Subject to demand, this may be expanded in 2023.

Our first date for appointments is 30 November 2022 and appointments will run for 30 minutes.  Cases will be accepted at the discretion of the BGCLS team.

All legal services will be by appointment only and subject to a conflict-of-interest test.  Appointments will be made by phone direct to BGCLS but your appointment will be conducted at the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre in Camp St.   No need to travel to Ballarat for advice!

We look forward to being able to offer a free legal service to our community.  For more information or to make a booking call BGCLS on 5331 5999 and tell them we sent you.

Disclaimer:  DNC is acting as a referral service only – we cannot engage in any legalities or discuss your personal situation with you.


DNC Joke of the Week

A Russian, American and Australian Admirals were having a drink in the wardroom of an American aircraft carrier.  They were talking about the bravery of their sailors.

The Russian Admiral says “I will demonstrate the bravery of our Russian sailors”.  He calls over one of his sailors and says “Jump off the ship, swim under it and climb back up.”

The Russian sailor promptly salutes, jumps off the flight deck, swims under the ship, climbs up the davits and stands in front of the admiral and salutes.

The Russian says, “That, gentlemen, is courage.”

The American says, “That’s nothing.”

He calls over a Petty Officer and says, “I want you to jump off the bows.  Swim under the ship to the stern and then return.”

The PO salutes, jumps off the bow, swims to the stern and back and climbs back up to stand in front of the Admiral and salutes.

The American says, “That, gentlemen, is courage.”

The Australian Admiral says, “That’s nothing.  Sailor, come here.”

The matelot comes to attention and salutes.

The Admiral says, “I want you to climb the highest mast on the carrier, jump off, swim under the boat from bow to stern and then from beam to beam then climb up the mast and then do it again.”

The matelot looks at the Admiral and says “You can get stuffed, Sir!”

The Admiral turns to the other two and says, “And that, gentlemen, is courage.”


[Don’t forget, if you’ve got some better jokes, send them to and we’ll publish them (Remember, this is a family publication! ?).  We’ll even include your name if you wish – or you can protect your anonymity!]