Fond memories of Wellington Prison

As Uwe Preuss walks through Wellington Prison he can point out where he got married, where he conceived his daughter and the cells he called home for a third of his life.

But by the end of the month the prison, sitting high on top of Maupuia Peninsula over Wellington Harbour, will close its doors for the last time in its 85 years of operation, and with its closing Mr Preuss will lose the place he called home for 12 years.

"I wish they weren't closing it. I love the place," Mr Preuss said.

Mr Preuss, who has over 200 convictions to his name, said he had spent 12 years of his 36 years of life calling Wellington Prison home, and held fond memories of the place where he made most of his friends, got married and conceived his daughter.

As he walked through the prison grounds for the last time, Mr Preuss said he still felt comfortable there.

"I don't really want to go [at the end of the day] but I know I have to.

"There's no more, it's sad."

Wellington Prison yesterday opened its doors to the public for a day, before it officially closes at the end of the month.

The prison was no longer considered up to the standard of modern corrections facilities and earlier this year it was announced it would close and the site, which sits on prime real estate land, sold.

The last of the prisoners were moved off site earlier this week.

By midday almost 2000 people had walked through the prison to check it out - and for most it was the first time they had ever stepped foot in one.

For Delphine Turney the place brought back memories of visiting an aunty who lived on site with her uncle, a prison guard.

Her uncle, Dave Manson, was wounded in Gallipoli and when the prison called for military men to join, her uncle took up the opportunity, moving his family to the site.

"It was a job he was able to do without damage to him."

Many people voiced concern about what could happen to the site, with most saying they would hate to see it turned into a residential area.


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