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Accessibility.

  • Discovery Centre

Lunatic Asylum

Friends of J Ward volunteers conduct tours each Sunday and Wednesday at 10am . Group bookings can be made by special arrangement.

Due to the Health and Safety Policy of Melbourne Polytechnic all day tours of Aradale will be cancelled on a day of Total Fire Ban in the South West Fire District. If this eventuates, the Friends of J Ward will notify all online customers and also refund the cost of the ticket.

  • Approximate duration: 2 hours
  • Tours commence from the Grano Street entrance
  • Due to the walking involved, parental discretion is advised when taking young children
  • Accessibility – stairs, no wheelchairs
  • Toilets – available during the tour
  • Photos – yes
  • Participants will gain a greater understanding of the history of Victorian Mental Health System.
  • Please ensure you bring a hat, some water and some sunscreen!

Tickets can be purchased online (below), by cash or card on the day.

  • Concession $18
  • Child (16 and under) $5
  • Family (2 adults, 2 children) $50

Group tours can be organised. The cost is $18 per head for minimum of 10 people.

There are no refunds for change of mind . You can change the date of your tour with a minimum of 24 hours notice. A new date must be chosen at the time of re-schedule. Your order is voided by non-attendance and late cancellation.

Discovery Centre - located at J Ward

Please note: the discovery centre does not include a tour of j ward. the discovery centre includes entry to j ward for the purpose of accessing archived records..

If you book into the Discovery Centre and intend to do a tour, you will be charged the difference in admission price upon arrival.

Adults $5, under 16 free. Tickets can be purchased online (below) or by cash or card on the day.

Tea, coffee and soft drink are included in the admission price.

Unable to make it into the Discovery Centre? Email [email protected] with what you are looking for, and one of our friendly volunteers will be more than happy to assist you.

Saturdays and Sundays

11am - 2pm (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

Due to limited availability of the volunteer staff admission may not be possible after 11am.

J Ward was built between 1859 and 1861 and disabled access was not considered. There are two main sets of stairs in the buildings.

The first is at the front door. An alternative entrance is available. Speak to the guide or phone the front desk on 5352 2703 for assistance.

There is a stairway to the Discovery Centre. An alternative accessibility option is able to be provided to ensure access to digitised and physical records is accessible to all.

Our volunteers will do their best to give all visitors an interesting experience, keeping in mind these unavoidable restrictions.

A disabled toilet is available at J Ward.

Certified assistance dogs are welcome at J Ward.

There are no refunds for change of mind . You can change the date of your visit with a minimum of 24 hours notice. A new date must be chosen at the time of re-schedule. Your order is voided by non-attendance and late cancellation.

Book online

aradale day tours

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Aradale Asylum Day Tour

Aradale Asylum Day Tour

  • Duration: 2 Hours
  • Location : Ararat, VIC

Meet at Aradale Asylum, Grano Street Entrance, Ararat

Take a guided tour of the institution that housed Victoria's mentally ill for over 140 years. Aradale Asylum was an Australian psychiatric hospital, located in Ararat, a rural city in Victoria, Australia.

Now a ghost "town", Aradale was once known as the Ararat Lunatic Asylum. Aradale and its two sister asylums at Kew and Beechworth were commissioned to accommodate the growing number of "lunatics" in the colony of Victoria. Construction began in 1860 and was opened for patients in 1865. It was closed as an asylum in 1998. At its height, Aradale had up to 900 patients yearly and is a large complex with up to 70 interesting historic abandoned buildings.

  • Walk through the cavernous wards and halls of the institution that treated and housed the mentally ill of Victoria for over 140 years.
  • Tours each Sunday and Wednesday, 11am and 2pm, 90-120 minutes duration
  • Group bookings can be arranged for other times.
  • Limited to 25 people per group
  • Tours are conducted by the Friends of J Ward volunteers
  • Age limits – parental discretion advised
  • Accessibility – stairs, no wheelchairs
  • Toilets – available during the tour
  • Photos – yes
  • Participants will gain a greater understanding of the history of Victorian Mental Health System.

Approximate Duration:  2 hours 

Venue: Indoors  and Outdoors

Terrain: Moderate walking, some steps

No refunds. Change of date permitted with a minimum of 48 hours notice  BEFORE your scheduled experience for a fee of $5 per order. New date must be chosen at time of reschedule. Non-attendance and late cancellation voids your order.

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Aradale Ghost Tour - Ararat

aradale day tours

  • See all photos

aradale day tours

Similar Experiences

aradale day tours

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Jeff K

Aradale Ghost Tour - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

aradale day tours

For Ballarat Heritage Weekend - Town Hall After Dark Tour - Click Here!

Eerie Tours

Aradale Ghost Tours

  • Most Popular
  • Extended 4-Hour Tour Available

Aradale Ghost Tour

Experience the bizarre history, personal stories, and brutal events that happened in the 130 years of operation at the Aradale Lunatic Asylum. Explore every section of the facilities for ghosts.

  • Hour Glass 2 hrs , 4 hrs
  • Clock 7 pm & 8 pm

Other Popular Tours

  • Extended 6-Hour Tour Available
  • Hour Glass 3 hrs , 6 hrs
  • Clock 7:30 pm & 8 pm

Paranormal Investigations at the Aradale Lunatic Asylum

Experience premier paranormal discoveries using a wide range of state-of-the-art ghost hunting equipment and get a chance to find some evidence of the most haunted locations in Australia.

  • SPECIAL EVENT
  • Hour Glass 5 hours
  • Clock 8:30 pm - 1:30 am

Friday the 13th Tour

Wanna be REALLY creeped out on October 28th?!

Eerie Tours offers ghost tours of Aradale and Ballarat, as well as paranormal investigations at the largest abandoned lunatic asylum in Australia. Join us for a spine-tingling experience you won’t forget!

Eerie tours.

Eerie Tours began in 2008 and is now a popular provider of dark tourism and ghost tours in Australia. They’ve won the Victorian Tourism Award and are the only ghost tour company in the country with professional historians. They’re known for giving an accurate and eerie experience, covering places like the Aradale Lunatic Asylum and the hardships of the Gold Rush.

aradale day tours

Learn What to Expect on our 5-Star Ballarat Ghost Tours

aradale day tours

"Did the 10pm tour last night with “The Matron” she was amazing. Great knowledge of the place. And her theatrics were amazing. "

aradale day tours

"horoughly enjoyed this tour through Ballarat history. We weaved our way around the city and heard amazing stories, many of which were very graphic. Our guide was a character and very entertaining."

aradale day tours

"The ghost tours are fun and exciting as was the 6 hour paranormal investigation which offers an in-depth Paranormal exploration of many areas of the building. The activity is high and the building is beautiful. Many people who attend do so regularly and I look forward to visiting again."

"Highly recommend the Paranormal investigation. Our guide Morgan was absolutely fantastic! I look forward to coming again."

"Awesome, amazing we did a 4 hour tour and had a great night there. Our host was knowledgeable and a lof of fun. Learned a lot about the history of Aradale and definitely will be going back again for the 6 hour paranormal tour. I really can't recommend this place highly enough should be on your must do list. 10/10 highly recommended."

"Mr Keating was very engaging and the 90 minutes flew by. If you are a skeptic its still worthwhile learning the history in a fun way. The large tour group were engaged with Mr Keating projecting his voice and his professional acting."

  • Book your visit
  • Virtual tour
  • Souvenirs & books
  • Discovery Centre

Asylum for the Criminally Insane

These are some of the many stories you may hear on a guided tour of J Ward.

"Hospitals for the Insane"

Continue reading  

The Infamous Garry Webb

Another story told on the display panels is about the infamous Gary Webb. Webb apparently had a long career in crime but the part of his life we are interested in started in Rye on the Mornington Peninsula.

Another Story for the Birds

Roughly in the centre of the back yard, along the east line of fence near the present toilet block, there once stood an aviary. There were apparently some quite exotic birds in this aviary. On the floor of the cages were sheet metal trays filled with sand to catch the bird droppings.

Pumpkin Soup

In the early days of growing vegetables one particular patient was in charge of the pumpkin patch, but he was a J Ward patient, and his subsequent behaviour might give an indication why.

J Ward wins Victorian Museum Award

Friends of J Ward recently received a 2019 Victorian Museum Award for their volunteer work in establishing and maintaining J Ward as a museum and an on-going tourist destination. The award was presented on 26 June 2019 at NGV International.

Time Capsule Opening, 21 April 2019

Buried in 1994, the J Ward time capsule was opened at 2:30pm on Sunday 21 April 2019.

The Women of Old Ararat Gaol and J Ward Asylum

Jacqui Sanders explores the lives of the women who were imprisoned in Old Ararat Gaol and the J Ward Asylum during the nineteenth century.

The County Gaol turned Lunatic Asylum

J Ward started its life as a goldfields prison in 1859.

The ghost of Governor Fiddimont

George Fiddimont was the last Governor of the gaol.

George Leondieu, dangerous and delusional

George was sent to J Ward in the 1950’s for allegedly killing a man who made homosexual advances to him.

aradale day tours

  J WARD LUNATIC ASYLUM

  Ararat's Premier Tourist Attraction

About J Ward

aradale day tours

J Ward started its life as a goldfields prison in 1859. When the gold ran out in the mid 1880s the prison buildings were acquired by the Lunacy Department as a temporary housing for the Criminally Insane. The County Gaol then became a ward (J Ward) of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum where the most depraved and most dangerous men in Victoria were housed in horrific conditions under the highest security.

The Ward was closed in 1991. J Ward is now a museum complex within the original prison structure dedicated to recording and preserving the history of the criminals imprisoned and hanged here during the life of the goldfields gaol and later as the infamous maximum security housing for Victoria's Criminally Insane men in a ward (J Ward) of the Ararat Mental Hospital.

The best way to see and understand J Ward is to join o ne of the regularly conducted Guided Tours. There is so much to see that no two tours are exactly the  same. Each of the Guides i s knowledgeable in the  history of J Ward but  each has a wealth of favorite true stories to tell.

You will see the place where murderers breathed their  last. You

will see where their bodies are buried in unconsecrated ground in

unmarked graves. You might hear the story of the notorious Garry

Webb or of Bill Wallace who lived here for over sixty years and

died in his 108th year. You might hear how the  Chapel was built due

to the efforts of William Watson  Carr. You might hear of escapes or

suicides or of twelve year olds incarcerated here.

And doon't forget after dark when the lights go out a whole other

side of J Ward is revealed on our world famous ghost tours.

aradale day tours

MUSEUM AND EXHIBITION CENTER: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

IMAGES

  1. Aradale Asylum Day Tour

    aradale day tours

  2. Eerie Tours Aradale, Tour, Grampians, Victoria, Australia

    aradale day tours

  3. Discovering Aradale

    aradale day tours

  4. Aradale Ghost Tour

    aradale day tours

  5. Aradale Asylum Day Tour

    aradale day tours

  6. Aradale Lunatic Asylum (Ararat)

    aradale day tours

COMMENTS

  1. Book your visit

    Day tours. Friends of J Ward volunteers conduct tours each Sunday and Wednesday at 10am. Group bookings can be made by special arrangement. Due to the Health and Safety Policy of Melbourne Polytechnic all day tours of Aradale will be cancelled on a day of Total Fire Ban in the South West Fire District. If this eventuates, the Friends of J Ward ...

  2. Original Araradale and J Ward Tours

    J Ward is the premier tourist venue in the Victorian town of Ararat, visited by more than 10,000 people annually (greater than Ararat's population). Tours are run by Friends of J Ward experts and paranormal investigators who are passionate about Ararat's heritage. Our team tell the story of people who lived, who broke the law, who couldn't help ...

  3. Day Tour

    Ghost Tours. J Ward Ghost Tour. J Ward Paranormal Investigation. J Ward Overnight Investigation. Day Tours. J Ward Day Tour. Aradale Day Tour. J Ward/Aradale Tour Combo. Testimonials.

  4. Aradale Ghost Tour

    Book your Aradale ghost tour online…if you dare! Location. Meet at Ararat Lunatic Asylum 15 minutes prior to departure. Ararat Lunatic Asylum, Heath St, Ararat, Victoria 3377, Australia. Feel haunted by bizarre history and events that happened in the 130 years that the Aradale Mental Hospital operated - the creepiest ghost tour in Australia!

  5. J Ward, Ararat's Old Gaol and Lunatic Asylum

    "Thank you for the tours that we were a part of last Sunday 16th April. We really enjoyed spending the day learning about the history of both Aradale and J Ward. The tour at Aradale was very informative and the guides were engaging with their information and stories, and great at answering any questions the group had." — Emma Kearst 2023

  6. Book your visit

    Day tours. Adults $17, concession $15, under 16 $5, under 5 free. Concession applies to Aged Pensioners, Seniors Card holders and pre-booked groups of ten or more. Tickets can be purchased online (below) or by cash or card on the day. A normal tour will take 1-1.5 hours. Most of our guides will spend much longer than this with anybody who wants ...

  7. Aradale Mental Hospital & Ballarat Ghost Tours

    Halloween Special Tour. Enjoy a spooky and extensive 5-hour ghost tour of the infamous Aradale Lunatic Asylum, led by historian and Lead Tour Guide Nathaniel Buchanan. Learn More. From the horrors of Aradale Lunatic Asylum to the hardships and mortalities of the Gold Rush, Eerie Tours provides Victoria ghost tours that can't be missed!

  8. Aradale Lunatic Asylum

    We did the day tour which went for just over 2 hours. This is a fantastic tour, and excellent value. Our tour guide was friendly, knowledgeable, and funny, with the right balance of being respectful of Aradale's history but also sharing a few humourous stories. Aradale itself is a large complex of several buildings in various states of age ...

  9. Aradale Asylum Day Tour

    Meet at Aradale Asylum, Grano Street Entrance, Ararat. Take a guided tour of the institution that housed Victoria's mentally ill for over 140 years. Aradale Asylum was an Australian psychiatric hospital, located in Ararat, a rural city in Victoria, Australia. Now a ghost "town", Aradale was once known as the Ararat Lunatic Asylum.

  10. Aradale Ghost Tours

    Aradale Ghost Tours - Ararat Lunatic Asylum, Ararat, Victoria. 64,689 likes · 1,242 talking about this. Ghost tours, historical tours and paranormal investigations at Aradale Asylum.

  11. Aradale Ghost Tour

    We met our guide at the correct gate, at the time allocated, for the start of out 4 hour tour. Our guide bright, bubbly and knew her subject - so the visit was very informative. Aradale is enormous, with a lot of grounds and buildings to be explored. We were issued with some lamps, and given some safety rules.

  12. Aradale Lunatic Asylum (Ararat): All You Need to Know

    After exploring the location at dark on ghost tour and an investigation we did the day tour which was worth doing. J ward volunteers lead us around the many buildings telling g us of the history and interesting stories of Aradale. Worth every cent and tour went well over 2 hours so got our money's worth. Alex was a great tour guide.

  13. Aradale Ghost Tour: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go ...

    Dec. 2023 • Couples. Our review is split into various categories. 1. I thought we were doing a ghost tour, my guess is that 10% of the tour related to ghosts. Very dissappointed. 2. The balance was about the history of the Aradale Psychiatric Institution, a tale of horrendous conditions and treatments. Very Interesting and well worth the tour. 3.

  14. Aradale Ghost Tours

    Eerie Tours. Eerie Tours began in 2008 and is now a popular provider of dark tourism and ghost tours in Australia. They've won the Victorian Tourism Award and are the only ghost tour company in the country with professional historians. They're known for giving an accurate and eerie experience, covering places like the Aradale Lunatic Asylum ...

  15. About

    Aradale Asylum was an Australian psychiatric hospital, located in Ararat, a rural city in Victoria, Australia.Now a ghost "town", Aradale was once known as the Ararat Lunatic Asylum. Aradale and its two sister asylums at Kew and Beechworth were commissioned to accommodate the growing number of "lunatics" in the colony of Victoria. Construction ...

  16. Stories

    J Ward Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Girdlestone Street Ararat VIC 3377. 0400 977 575 — [email protected].

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  18. About

    About J Ward. J Ward started its life as a goldfields prison in 1859. When the gold ran out in the mid 1880s the prison buildings were acquired by the Lunacy Department as a temporary housing for the Criminally Insane. The County Gaol then became a ward (J Ward) of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum where the most depraved and most dangerous men in ...

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