© 2024 — Lisa Louden
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Thanks to Writers Victoria and the Scarlet Stiletto Awards, I received a three-month writer’s residency at the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Located in the heart of Melbourne, this iconic building was home to hundreds of prisoners from 1842 to its closure in 1929. It was the site of 133 hangings, including, most notably, the bushranger, Ned Kelly. Since 1972, it’s been a museum.









Behind the heavy door in Cell 5 on the top floor, with the fan circulating the musty air, my thick-walled cell proved the perfect spot to block out everything else and just write. I was tested on my first day, locked in twice from the outside! The staff at the Old Melbourne Gaol including Erin, Chris, Nathan, Mitch, Brad, Kate and Peter were fantastic and very accommodating.

All the basics and none of the fluff. Perfect for distraction-free writing

I was lucky enough to be awarded this residency after winning the ‘Crime and Punishment Award’ for the story with the ‘most satisfying retribution’ in the 25th Scarlet Stiletto Awards. The awards are hosted by Sisters in Crime, and this award, sponsored by Writers Victoria. I believe though, the cell is available for rent from Writers Victoria, so if you really want some writing space away from other distractions, I certainly recommend this experience!

Help! I’m locked in