Construction of the Cooma Correctional Centre commenced in 1870 from local granite which was quarried from the hill where the Centre now stands.
The Centre commenced operations on 1 November 1873 with 31 cells. In 1876 it was reduced to a Police Gaol and then a temporary Lunatic Asylum in 1877. The Centre closed temporarily in the early 1900s.
The Gaol reopened on 8 March 1957 and was again closed 10 July 1998.
Cooma Correctional Centre reopened for the second time in November 2001.
The Centre is a minimum and medium security institution located only one hour's drive south of Canberra, 410 km from Sydney and 652 km from Melbourne.
The Centre has accommodation for 160 inmates and a total of 53 staff, consisting of 31 custodial officers, 9 overseers and 13 support staff.
1 Vale Street
Cooma NSW 2630
Locked Mailbag 7
Cooma NSW 2630
Phone: (02) 6455 0333
Fax: (02) 6452 2491
How to get there
By Air - Aeropelican offers a daily air service between Sydney and the Snowy Mountains (Cooma). The airport is ten minutes from the centre of Cooma. Bookings and schedules are available from www.aeropelican.com.au
By Rail - CountryLink provides a daily service from Sydney to Canberra with a connecting bus service to Cooma. From Melbourne, there are frequent bus and daily train services to Albury, for connection to Greyhound Pioneer.
By Bus - CountryLink provides a daily service from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Greyhound Pioneer operates frequent coach services from Sydney and Melbourne to Canberra.
From Sydney - Cooma is located approximately 410 km from Sydney. Travel south via the Hume Highway, which takes you through Canberra.
From Melbourne - Cooma is located approximately 652 km north of Melbourne. Take Highway One through Gippsland, turning in at Cann River to the Monaro Highway and Bombala and then on to Cooma, or continue on to Merimbula and Bega and take the Snowy Mountains Highway up Brown Mountain to Nimmitabel and onto Cooma. However, this route will take approximately two hours longer.
From Canberra - Cooma is located approximately 114 km from Canberra. Travel south via the Monaro Highway.
Booking times are now:
- 9am - 3pm Tuesdays and Thursdays
Before travelling for a visit, please call the correctional centre to confirm visit and visiting time.
Saturdays and Sundays only:
- 8.30am-11.45am and 12.15-3pm
Contact the correctional centre for further details
- Leave personal property and valuables at home. These are not permitted into the Centre.
- You are permitted to bring up to $20 in coins for use in snack vending machines.
- Complete a 'Green Slip' before proceeding to the Visits processing counter.
- Any person who enters the Centre may be subject to a search by metal detector. Failure to comply with any direction may result in your visit being denied.
- Make sure you have suitable identification, being one primary (which includes photo and current address, eg, drivers' licence, passport, etc) and one secondary (eg, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc).
- Items not allowed into the Visiting area: Cigarettes, folding money, drugs, syringes or weapons, mobile phones, cameras, pets of any type, alcohol, blankets or thermoses. No valuables. All removable jewellery must be taken off (except wedding rings). No photos or letters. No hats, scarves, handkerchiefs, sunglasses. No item of clothing is to be removed or exchanged in the Visits area. No food or drink is allowed during Box visits (non-contact visits). No lollies or food can be taken into the Centre. No offensive or sexual behaviour is allowed. No smoking in Visits area.
- Travel Assistance forms are available from the Welfare Officer, and can be lodged on the Visitors' behalf (conditions apply).
Legal practitioners may visit 7 days a week. Notification of intention to visit must be made by telephoning the Centre on (02) 6455 0333 or in writing to the General Manager.
Industries employing inmates include domestic service, laundry and food services within the Centre, and Textiles (manufacturing clothing) which currently employs up to 45 inmates, maintenance trade position, Corcraft and special projects.
The Museum is open Tuesday to Friday, 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm and Saturday, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
Corrective Services’ Museum is a living Museum, as it employs select inmates in a variety of areas such as tour guides, sales assistants, collection management and craft manufacturing. For further information, telephone 6452 5974.
Accredited courses, with nationally recognised qualifications, are made available to inmates at each correctional centre.
The Adult Education and Vocational Training Institute (AEVTI) provides literacy, numeracy and communications courses in all centres. Many centres also offer vocational courses such as Information Technology, Horticulture, Construction, Visual Arts and Contemporary Craft.
AEVTI contracts TAFE NSW and other providers to deliver courses in a range of vocational areas such as Hospitality, Business Skills, Building, Cleaning, Transport, Aboriginal Studies, Horticulture and various WorkCover licenses.
AEVTI also co-ordinates traineeships and offers support for distance education.
Each centre has a library giving inmates access to a range of fiction, non-fiction and reference books. Inmates can also login to a secure internal network called the Inmate Legal Portal which gives them access to material of a legal nature.
For more information regarding these programs visit the AEVTI WebPage.
Offender Services & Programs
A range of educational, vocational and therapeutic programs are facilitated by professional staff, including Welfare Officer, Senior Correctional Education Officer and Psychologist. External service providers also facilitate various educational and vocational programs. Inmates’ sentences are managed in accordance with the Corrective Services' Case Management Policies and Procedures.
Inmates paint buildings, maintain gardens, river/creek banks, showgrounds, ovals, town and village road entrances, undertake minor maintenance works in and around Cooma and its surrounding villages and provides assistance to local community groups, schools and centres.
Inmates also participate in the yearly Clean Up Australia Day Campaign as well as providing much needed assistance to groups and individuals to undertake bush fire hazard reduction works.