Photographic tour of Riverbank Detention Centre – where Bon Scott spent nine months.

In 1962/1963, aged 16, Bon Scott was sentenced to nine months at Riverbank Detention Centre. He was charged and convicted for stealing petrol, giving a false name and unlawful carnal knowledge. Below is a series of images from Riverbank in Caversham, Perth Western Australia.

For a google map of where this is, click here. Riverbank is the square courtyard building if you zoom in.

The entrance and admin building:

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The central courtyard:

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Entrance to cells:

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The cell block corridor:

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Inside a cell:

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A prisoners drawing:

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The dark cell block corridor:

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The courtyard under croft:

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Dining room entrance:

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The kitchen:

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Bathroom entrance:

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Showers:

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The metalwork shop entrance:

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The recreation room:

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The cricket nets:

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You can read about Bon Scott’s experiences at Riverbank here.

Any questions or comments? Please write below.

17 thoughts on “Photographic tour of Riverbank Detention Centre – where Bon Scott spent nine months.

  1. Hi James, I have been researching Riverbank for my blog ‘The Light at the End’ and was wondering how you were able to gain entry and take photos? I would very much like to do the same but when I visited it was all locked up. Can you get in touch and let me know? It would be much appreciated. Cheers, Joe.

      1. Gday Alan is the guy from corrective services that granted me access, but I don’t think he works there any longer. Here’s his details:

        Alan Sanders
        Project Manager
        Infrastructure Services
        Department of Corrective Services
        Tel: 9264 1807
        Fax: 9264 1269

        Try the number?

        Also, an ACDC fan messaged me on Facebook. Said he was an actor and SBS were filming there.

        Hope this helps.

      2. Thanks! I will do. Reading Mick Wall’s book ‘AC/DC: Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be’, I have just realised that my Dad was in Riverbank Juvenile Prison briefly at the same time as Bon. Bon was incarcerated there aged 16 from April til late December 1963. Dad’s last of several “visits” there commenced on the 19th of November 1963 when he was 17. So they spent a month together behind bars. Scrubbing floors, going “into orbit” (running around and around the perimeter of the prison for miles on end) and, I have it on good authority, being regularly beaten by the screws. Somewhere in the middle of all that I like to think that they might also have shared a gallows laugh and a cheeky cigarette. 🙂

  2. No women. It was a boys institution run by all male warders who were mostly all ex army navy and air force who were very brutal at times. I think the government gave these jobs to them because they thought we needed the military style treatment. I missed being there the same time as Bon Scott who at that time was Ron Scott but i did time with him later in 1968 in Fremantle when he was given a short sentence of about a month for possession of cannabis.
    I noticed a flushing toilet in the photos, but they were not in the cells, you shit in a bucket overnight.
    Hated the place.

  3. I was there May ’64 until 21/2/66. Scott came in while I was there. I dont know if he had been there before , He was 18., just another guy. and very short. He worked in the kitchen with chef Ron Sara. and another inmate known as “blue” peterson. Most wards were there for roughly 6months., depending on behaviour., I went in with 2 others Dennis Locke and Kevin Mcgilvray. for a fixed term. Mcgilvray returned there later as an officer. Talk of beatings is fantasy. although you would be disciplined if you played up.I had an open hand shoved into my nose by senior officer Tim Connolly, for not learning my lines for the parents day play,Those days he used to call me “cunt” .Later he was friendly to me. ,But the incident forced my nose cartilege against the bone and really hurt. ,that was the only time anyone was physical with me… the term “in orbit” was true , running was used as punishment, along with early rises, main course only and segregation. The staff were many ex-servicemen, and normal civillians, mostly good blokes. The only women were the schoolteacher Colleen Stuart, and sick bay nurse Julie Richardson, sometimes females would come in with the sunday service and “young christian workers”.. There were buckets to be taken to the “cabins” overnight. they were not for solid waste (shit). ..you were supposed to bang the door flap if you needed the real dunny. Other inmates I knew were ,Brian Hemmett , Frank Stone, Romak serociak, john Drage, Ron Dodd, bob Cameron , Mick Pickett, dennis Locke , k. mcgilvray. alan birmingham, Brian Morley, Chris Hughes, , , George Jaglicic, Joe Vitkunienne, Ron Buckland, Ian Maskeil, terrence Berry, Tim Martin , Nigel Mcilraith, Ron Myers., Johnny Dodd ,Geoff Lewis ,.and Ron Martin. The woodwork shop was run by Lindsay Hywood, and Noel Fielding. metalwork shop by Ron Stagoll and Brian Edwards, print shop by Angus Golding.. the superintendent was Colin Cambell.. The “screws” were senior officers Ken Brown Tim connolly, Jim Boyle Noel Barratt. and another ex cockey named jim boyle. regular officers were Neil Staniforth ,Ron Smallpage, John Turpstra, Walter Romeyn, John Burns, Cecil Broome, Rod Price, and many others. We, (henderson, Locke & Mc Gilvray) were there for 21 months and got out 1 week after the decimal conversion. I was taken home in a ’62 falcon ,with my model plane & guitar.by my after-care officer Mr Atkins..

    1. wow thanks John. never thought this would become a place for such a discussion. if you know any of the people you’ve mentioned maybe they can chime in. cheers.

    2. note: mistake correction , the ex cockeys name was Jim Boyd not jim boyle. there was a senior officer named Jim Boyle , he was ex RAAF

    3. Hi John, wondering if you might remember my father, he was an inmate there in the early 60s. His name was Dirk (Derek) Kapiteyn.

    4. Hi John, Your summary is very accurate according to my memory. It was run along military lines, very disciplined but fair. We were the three Rambler boys, bit naughty and cheeky but not bad. In hindsight I believe it did me a lot of good. Met Bon later on but he was on his own path.
      Dennis Locke.

    5. Was there during 1964 to 1966, Discharged Currency conversion day in Feb. Vividly recall those referred individual:Corrections Bill Brown, Ron Price, Lindsay Haywood was School teacher, Fielding & Jackson w/work shop. After Collin Campbell,l Don Andrews took over. Remember you making that electric Guitar & the Model plane Complements to Theo Merryfield, The 3 amigo ramble boys enjoyed their B/ball games. Thanks for the memories.
      Jim Isailovich

    6. Ronny Dodd, there’s a name I haven’t heard since the 70s at Freo. Ron was cool. Ronny Buckland is a mutt. Did 3 months at Riverbank and 5 or 6 at Hilston. Sadly did Freo as well, but have no involment with cops for 40 years now. Most of the screws at River bank were infact ex Army, Navy Airforce and Pommys. Are the buildings still around or deserted ??

  4. Thanks JP, I saw dennis locke and k mac on the outside. in the 6os and 70s. not in touch with anyone now except the schoolteacher , Colleen Stuart., who is in her 80s. I attempted to contact chef Ron Sara, but his wife said he was sick . there was a picture of him on fb.. I called staff
    member Neil Staniforth about 15 yrs ago to get Kevin Mcgilvrays contact details as he was still in the ministry of justice at the time. he did not respond to my message.. I did see blue peterson in a doctors waiting room in west perth. we just said g’day. thanks for the effort you put into the photographs JP. ..all looks different though. john.

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