The National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame
The National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame is one of two women’s museums in Australia. It is dedicated to preserving the place of women in history for their special contribution to Australia’s heritage and was founded by Molly Clark of Old Andado Station in 1993. The museum has been based in the Old Alice Springs Gaol since 2007, and also explores the history of the Old Alice Springs Gaol.
The National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame was founded as a public museum for recognising and honouring pioneering women who contributed to the development of Australia. Their collection contains women’s objects donated from across the country, and through their exhibitions they commemorate the achievements of women from across the nation who have been first in their field.
Her Majesty’s Gaol and Labour Prison Alice Springs was opened in 1938 and operated until 1996. Additional cells and facilities were added over the years, especially in the late 1960s and 1970s. It was a male and female gaol until the mid-1980s then a male only facility when due to overcrowding the decision was made to send female prisoners to Darwin.
In 1996, the prisoners were moved to the new gaol south of the town. After lengthy negotiations, the site was offered to the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame for dual use; a women’s museum and the preservation of the stories and buildings of the Alice Springs Gaol and Labour Prison.
The Gaol holds an important place in Alice Springs’ local and national history and continues to have relevance to contemporary issues and the cross-cultural landscape in which it sits.