The Old Gaol
Visit the Old Gaol for our maritime history and ships models displays, our angling museum - and the story of how a local scientist identified a fish we thought had died out with the dinosaurs!
The Old Gaol - used as a prison from 1859 till the 1980s - now houses our maritime and angling collections, old maps and ships models, and the Green Chefs Café. It’s also an art centre - and it loves getting visitors.
Please follow the links below for details about the building and its various displays.
Find the Old Gaol, Knysna
- Corner of Queen Street and Main Road, Knysna (Opposite St. George’s Church and the Royal Hotel)
- Latitude, longitude: -34.036145, 23.050784
Old Gaol Knysna
The Gaol building
The story of the first government building erected in Knysna. The stone-laying ceremony (19 February, 1859) was quite the affair!
Restored prison hospital cell with exhibition about prison life, prison gangs, etc.
Collection of artefacts from ships of the Thesen Line; stories of some of the best-known ships that visited the Port of Knysna.
Maps & models room
Maps of the Knysna Lagoon (Knysna Estuary); ships models, including a model of the first ship built here - the brig, ‘Knysna.’
A collection of rods, reels, lines, lures, and other accessories - some from the earliest days of fishing at sea (and from banks and shores).
The story of how Prof. JLB Smith identified a fish that was thought to have disappeared with the dinosaurs.
The Knysna elephants
Yes, elephants do still roam free in the forests of Knysna!
Mayors of Knysna
Our collection of portraits of our mayors - from 1882 to the present day.
The Knysna Art Society’s gallery. (Please watch the press for details of exhibitions and opening times.)
A short discussion about the latest discoveries from the Middle Stone Age in Knysna. (We’re still working on this and haven’t installed our Archaeology exhibit yet. Sorry!)