Police Cells at the Mitcham Cultural Village

Mitcham Police Cells Inside

The small tin building between the Community Shed and the Mitcham Heritage Research Centre at the Mitcham Cultural Village contained the original Mitcham Police Station cells. 

It is believed that the police cell and a stable building (demolished many years ago) were relocated from Belair Police Station to the Mitcham Police Station’s rented premises in 1883. The cell was relocated again when the new police station in Princes Road opened in 1892. In 1920 it was divided into two single cells. 

Police cells at district police stations like Mitcham and Belair were mostly used for overnight or weekend holding before court appearances. Arrests were for petty crimes such as drunk and disorderliness and theft. Following arrest, prisoner’s details were entered in the Charge Book and belts, shoelaces, ties and matches were removed from offenders. Offenders too drunk to walk were carried to the cell and then searched. As the cells were in close proximity to the police residence, drunk and abusive prisoners would often shout out and bang on the cell door for attention. 

Police cells at the rear of suburban and regional police stations were common in Adelaide at that time and were built to a standard design. Cells were sometimes relocated to different sites as needs changed. The Mitcham Police cells were strengthened with two layers of galvanised iron to prevent damage from disorderly offenders; the timber floor boards were laid directly on the ground and a crude built-in wooden bench served as the bed. Offenders were issued with one thin grey blanket during their stay.

Mitcham Police Cells OutsideThe police cells were restored by removing many layers of paint, installing a new heritage galvanised steel roof, removing non-original shelving and reinstating the internal galvanised steel dividing wall. The cells were painted in their original colours, revealed once the paint layers were removed. Mitcham Community Shed volunteers John McLean and Uber Karsens spent many hours restoring the original cell doors, damaged by weather exposure. As much of the original timber as possible was retained, with new hardwood sections spliced in. 

The police cell is open for display Monday to Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm and other times by arrangement.

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PO Box 21

Mitcham Shopping Centre

Torrens Park SA 5062

131 Belair Road

Torrens Park SA 5062


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