The featured medal and photographs have been generously loaned to Maitland Gaol by the family of former Chief Warder, Noel James Wurth.Paul Wurth and his three siblings, Bede, Marie and Keith grew up in the shadow of Maitland Gaol. Their father, Noel, joined the NSW Department of Prisons in 1925 and was stationed for a number of years at Bombala Prison Farm. In 1930 he relocated with his wife and young children to take a posting at H. M. Gaol Maitland, eventually retiring as Chief Warder in 1962, at which time he was honoured with the Imperial Service Medal.
Established by King Edward VII in 1902, the medal was awarded to administration and clerical staff of the Civil Service throughout the British Empire “for faithful service”. Eligible recipients must have served 25 years, but this could be shortened to 16 years for those serving in “unsanitary” or unsavoury locations. Along with mementoes of his father’s service, Paul, born in 1937, has vivid recollections of playing in the gaol’s front yard with the Lieutenant Governor’s son, Brian Hood and recalls the wooden toys made for the children by gaol inmates. He has fond memories of golfing in Anzac Park. Lost balls were returned by inmates who would find them while maintaining the grounds and impressive rose garden.
These reminiscences are as important to the fabric of the gaol’s history as the items held in the collection. If you have a gaol story we’d love to hear it. Phone (02) 4936 6482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.