About Cells for Writers

The Cells for Writers program is a way of inspiring and engaging with the Victorian writing community through our rich built, natural and cultural heritage. The project contributes to the vibrant artistic community of Melbourne by offering spaces to writers in which to work uninterrupted on their manuscripts. Writers are housed in a cell with just a chair, table and their imagination.

There are two double cells available on the top floor of the Old Melbourne Gaol, 377 Russell Street, Melbourne. Each cell is available for one writer to use as a short term studio for either one, two or three-month periods.

Monthly rate

  • $170 (Writers Victoria members) – including GST
  • $220 (non-members) – including GST

What’s included:

  • Access to the studio 7 days a week, between 9.30am-5pm
  • Cell includes a desk and chair
  • Overhead light and power points
  • Radiant heater
  • Free entry to the Gaol during business hours
  • Access to all areas accessible to the general public (except Magistrate’s Court, tours or events)
  • Supervised access to the Old Melbourne Gaol archives and reference collection

What’s not included:

  • Accommodation
  • Telephone
  • Internet access
  • A computer

Who can apply?

Bookings are open to writers at all stages of writing: beginning, emerging and established, however preference will be given to writers working on projects in a style that is somehow associated with the Gaol, preferably crime writers, historians or biographers.

Terms & Conditions

Writers are required by the National Trust to have a current Police Check (issued within the last six months) before commencing. A current Working With Children Check (WWCC) is not equivalent to a Police Check. A WWCC only covers convictions for crimes against children. The National Trust, who own and operate the Gaol, require our writers to have a current Police Check as these checks cover all convictions for violent crimes plus any outstanding warrants. Please note that Police Checks can take between 10 and 20 working days and cost $46. You can apply for a Police Check on the Vic Police website.

For full Terms and Conditions, refer to our Cells for Writers Licence Agreement.