Few would realise but women who worked at Maitland Gaol during the 19th Century were actually prisoners in their own workplace.
Their story has been told in a book that will be launched at Maitland Gaol next week to coincide with this year's NSW Seniors' Festival.
While not guilty of any crime, the conditions of their employment kept these women as virtual prisoners within the gaol.
Author Dr Pamela B Harrison will hold a free book launch for her book 'Confined but Free! The Female Staff of Maitland Gaol in the 19th Century'.
Maitland Gaol's Service Delivery Officer Zoe Whiting said Dr Harrison has worked tirelessly to uncover a section of Maitland Gaol's history that was long forgotten.
"The historical significance of this research is paramount in allowing us to give a comprehensive picture of life in Maitland Gaol over its 150 years in operation," Zoe said.
In recent years, there has been increased interest in researching female convicts and prisoners in the colony of NSW; however, little attention has been given to the female staff who supervised their imprisonment.
The publication Confined but Free! The Female Staff of Maitland Gaol in the 19th century aims to redress that omission by revealing those forgotten women who worked in the unique environment that was Maitland Gaol in the 19th century.
A chronological account of their work and the working conditions of female staff has been documented.
There will be a short talk, light refreshments and book signings available on the day. While tickets are free, numbers are limited, and bookings are essential. To book, visit maitlandgaol.com.au/events/seniors-festival-book-launch