The dark past of an Australian prison where convicted homosexuals were sent to separate from ‘normal’ inmates – and authorities bizarrely tried to ‘CURE’ them


It is now the state’s preferred prison for celebrity inmates, but Cooma Correctional Centre has a dark past which in the 1950s saw it designated as the world’s only gay jail, where convicted homosexuals were sent to be ‘cured’. A former lunatic asylum, Cooma has more recently housed high profile criminals like Salim Mehajer, Jarryd Hayne and Roxy Jacenko‘s husband, Oliver Curtis. But few modern inmates in the chilly confines of Cooma’s 150-year-old jail  –  situated in the Snowy Mountains in southern NSW – would realise that gay offenders were once incarcerated there together so as not to ‘contaminate’ prisoners who were ‘normal’. Homosexual sex was illegal in NSW until 1983, and for decades before considered an ‘abominable crime‘ by police who used handsome officers to catch men in ‘unnatural’ acts.

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