Free CSU event remembers Nagle Royal Commission and 1974 Bathurst Gaol riot


Friday 17 Aug 2018

The Centre for Law and Justice at Charles Sturt University (Bathurst) and the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC) will host a free public event on Thursday 23 August to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Nagle Royal Commission into NSW Prisons.

Senior lecturer and Deputy Director of the CSU Centre for Law and Justice Dr Kath McFarlane (picture left) said, “The Royal Commission was initiated to investigate the brutal reprisals following riots at Bathurst Gaol in the mid-1970s, and although much has changed since the report’s release, the principles of prison administration and social justice it laid down remain relevant today.

“We will hear from the experts as they debate Justice Nagle’s legacy and the role of law against the backdrop of a rapidly increasing prison population, increasing sentence length and the privatisation of prison services in NSW.”


Hear more from Dr McFarlane here, as she speaks to CSU Talks about her experience in the law working on prison reform, and chats about what to expect from the public event. Kath talks about the moment in history when the Bathurst Gaol riots erupted and the prison burned down, and how the resulting treatment of prisoners sparked the Nagle Royal Commission.  

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You can also find out more about the lecture panelists at the lecture as Kath discusses the incredible work of human rights activist and lawyer Debbie Kilroy; Uncle Vic Simms, who recorded his music in Bathurst Gaol; and Bill Walsh, one of the first police responders during the Bathurst Riots. 


This free event is a keystone event of the Centre for Law and Justice’s law degree residential school program, which will be attended by students, members of the public, and the legal profession.

The Nagle event will take place at CSU in Bathurst on Thursday 23 August, from 5pm to 10pm.

Keynote speakers and panellists include:

  • Luke Grant - Assistant Commissioner of NSW Corrective Services
  • Adjunct Associate Professor Dr John Paget - former Inspector of Custodial Services;
  • Debbie Kilroy OAM - former prisoner lawyer, CEO of Sister’s Inside, and Australian Human Rights Award recipient;
  • Adjunct Associate Professor Bill Walsh – local barrister and former police officer on duty during the Bathurst Gaol Riots; and,
  • Uncle Vic Simms - musician, Deadly Award winner and former prisoner whose album, The Loner, was recorded inside Bathurst Gaol.

The agenda is:

  • 5pm - Light refreshments at CSU Engineering (building 1305)
  • 6pm - Welcome and smoking ceremony by Wiradjuri Elders at Wammarra (Indigenous  Student Centre, building 1292, across from CSU Engineering)
  • 6.20pm - Welcome by Executive Dean Tracy Green, Director of the Centre for Law and Justice Alison Gerard, and Bathurst Regional Councillor Jess Jennings (building 1292)
  • 6.30pm - Mr Bill Walsh recalls the day of the Bathurst Gaol Riots
  • 6.45pm – Expert Panel and Q&A session, facilitated by Dr Kath McFarlane
  • 9pm - Uncle Vic Simms and ‘On The Prowl’ perform The Loner and more live
  • 10pm - Event close

To attend, please send your RSVP to kejacobson@csu.edu.au until Wednesday 22 August.

Uncle Vic Simms with the album he recorded in Bathurst Gaol, The Loner.


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Media contact: Jess Mansour-Nahra, 0447 737 948

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews.