Ararat's historic gaol for the criminally insane can now be explored in a whole new way.
In late 2020, the Ararat Rural City Council received a $9000 grant from the state government's Let's Stay Connected program for the creation of a self-guided virtual tour of J Ward.
Technology company Macutex worked with Friends of J Ward to develop the tour, which has recently been made available online.
Macutex chief executive Nathan Edwards said rebuilding the site in virtual form was a complex task.
"Our aim was to provide an experience that was more inclusive and provide an opportunity for people to connect through the digital world," he said.
"To do so, we used a variety of technology to capture J Ward using 360 imagery combined with laser scanning which we then stitched together for the model, creating more of an immersive experience."
J Ward, originally the Ararat County Gaol, was an Australian prison that was converted into a psychiatric facility to house the criminally insane between 1887-1991.
Friends of J Ward president Peter Waterman said he was glad to be able to continue sharing former asylum's secrets despite COVID-19 restrictions.
"In this time of restricted travel for many Australians and indeed people around the world, the Friends of J Ward are very pleased to have this additional resource to show off Ararat's premier tourist attraction," he said.
"The virtual tour of J Ward will give prospective visitors a taste of what they will see when they visit this unique facility."
Explore J Ward virtually by visiting www.jward.org.au/virtual-tour.
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