It was worth the wait! The old police cell had been sitting quietly in the rear yard following its donation to the Cottage and Forge by the Victoria Police (Bacchus Marsh) many years ago. In June 2014, with labour supplied by the Lions Club and funds from our Shire, the cell was lifted, rotated and renovated – made ready for presentation to our visitors. We planned an official opening in March 2015. As with all well planned events, the unexpected happened! The wind raged over the property resulting in trees from our neighbour finding rest across the fence and on the cell – our planned opening needed to be abandoned.
By June 2015 with many more hours of labour, renewing the roof, gutters and whatever else attracted the trees, the job was completed and once again was ready for an official opening.
The grand day, Wednesday, 9 March 2016 welcomed many invited guests, dignitaries and locals as well as 24 Bacchus Marsh Primary School children creating a picture in period costume as they sang “Waltzing Matilda” and “Give me a home among the gum-trees”. The Committee’s Chairman (and Shire Mayor), Allan Comrie opened the ceremony and introduced Stuart Duff of the Victoria Police Historical Society who, dressed in the 1858 era uniform, told us about the police “look” in the old days. Stuart and his “side-kick” Owen presented an interesting and educational visual display which attracted great attention. It was time for the official opening. Allan was escorted by Stuart and Owen to the cell where Allan performed the much awaited unlocking of the padlock, whereupon Allan found himself “helped” inside the cell – just a short stay; he was “freed” immediately.
The cell will now be open available for visiting on our special open days. The old-style graffiti archived by previous inmates makes interesting reading.