KEY1888 - 1991
Small, long, metal key. A long, cylindrical shaft with a flat, round, metal ring, with a large hole in the middle, attached to one end. Imprinted into the surface of the ring, is 'CHUBB'. Attached to the other end of the shaft, below a raised collar around the shaft, is a flat, rectangular piece of metal, attached at 90 degree angle. The rectangular piece has an intricate cut out design in the middle, creating the bit of the key.
The donor explained that this key was given to him by a former Prison Officer, who believed it was the key used to open the 'old padlock' on the Fremantle Prison Gallows.
The gallows at Fremantle Prison were erected soon after the prison was handed to the Colonial authorities, in 1888, replacing the Perth Gaol Gallows. From this time, Fremantle Prison became the only place of legal execution in Western Australia, until the death sentence was abolished in 1984. During this time, 44 men and one woman were hanged at Fremantle Prison.
The gallows were dismantled in 1972 at the request of the Chief Secretary who wished to ensure that they were 'never used again'. They were re-erected in 1986 for historical reasons. Alex Stewart, the Prison Museum's first Curator, wrote in 1986 to Ian Hill, the Director of the Prisons Department in Western Australia, advising him 'that the gallows at Fremantle Prison have been restored, as you requested.'.