Construction Delays Keep Tours of Boggo Road Gaol from ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ on Hold

Boggo Road Gaol
Photo Credit: Andrew Lu/Google Maps

Tours of Brisbane’s Boggo Road Gaol in Dutton Park, featured in the Netflix series “Boy Swallows Universe,” remain suspended due to some ongoing construction works nearby.

Despite the jail’s international attention following its portrayal in the popular show, the temporary closure, initiated in March 2022 due to adjacent development, has persisted.

The Boggo Road Village project, originally slated for completion in 2023, has yet to commence major construction, leaving the state government to impose safety restrictions on the jail. These restrictions, related to nearby water and sewerage pipe work as well as construction vibrations, have hindered the resumption of tours.

It appears that the prolonged closure has led to numerous disappointed inquiries from eager visitors, including schools and cruise ship companies, who have been denied access for over two years. 

With the recent surge in interest fueled by “Boy Swallows Universe,” online harassment directed at tour operators has escalated.

“We’re being harassed online by people wanting to gain access to the prison since Boy Swallows  Universe,” Tour Guide and Historian Jack Sim said in a radio interview.

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Mr Sim has been running tours at Boggo Road Gaol for nearly a decade.

Boggo Road Gaol Boy Swallows Universe
Photo Credit: Netflix

Developer Mark Stockwell attributed the project delays, now expected to extend until mid-2025, to complications arising from concurrent state government initiatives such as Cross River Rail and the underground bus tunnel. Expressing frustration at the prolonged timeline, Stockwell acknowledged Mr Sim’s efforts in preserving Brisbane’s heritage.

Mr Sim, who typically sees peak visitation during school holidays, emphasised the necessity of resolving the construction delay, noting the significance of the jail’s historical and cultural value. 

He underscored the urgency of establishing a concrete completion date to facilitate future planning, including the proposed establishment of a museum within the jail premises.

Mr Sim is advocating for collaboration between the Queensland government and developers to expedite the project’s progress, emphasising the importance of capitalizing on the heightened global interest in the jail’s narrative. He urged authorities to address the issue promptly, citing its adverse impact on tourism in Queensland.

Published 9-Feb-2024