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Entry to the Old Melbourne Gaol includes entry to the Bending the Bars exhibition which is located inside the City Watch House.

General admission tickets
Adult $30
Concession $25
Child (5-15 years) $17
(2 adults + 2 children) $70
(1 adult + 2 children) $50
Extra child on family tickets $7

National Trust members receive free general admission.

To ensure a safe visitor experience, we’ve introduced timed entry to the Old Melbourne Gaol. We suggest pre-purchasing tickets online to save missing out.

Bending the Bars Exhibition

10am - 6pm

Friday 5 February, until Sunday 16 May 2021

Bending the Bars commemorates the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Victoria.


The exhibition curated by Andrew Gaynor and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) shares the stories and processes that led to the passing of a historic law reform, through the words and experiences of key participants.

The gay and lesbian community in Victoria found common cause in their fight against unjust laws. The exhibition reveals a poignant and life affirming history using an engaging combination of text, images, and art. It celebrates the significant and vital changes for which the LGBTIQ+ community fought hard to achieve in health, arts and legal reform. It also explores the darker episodes in the ongoing struggle for equality. 

The City Watch House is both a venue and object for this exhibition. It was a place of detention for those charged within Melbourne’s CBD under discriminatory laws based on sexuality.


The exhibition is listed as part of the 2021 Midsumma Festival, taking place from 19 April to 5 May and closes on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). For more information on the Midsumma Festival visit midsumma.org.au

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