Boy Swallows Universe Fans Are Urging The QLD Government To Reopen The Boggo Road Gaol Tours

Netflix’s brand new limited series, Boy Swallows Universe, has sparked an online movement to reopen Brisbane’s Boggo Road Gaol, which was included in one of the scenes of the highly praised show.

The streaming giant has kicked off the new year with a great big Aussie bang after Boy Swallows Universe captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.

In case you’re not sure what the seven-episode series is about, Boy Swallows Universe is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Trent Dalton. It follows the trials and tribulations of Eli Bell (portrayed by Felix Cameron) as he attempts to navigate his tumultuous childhood which involves the usual stuff like bullies, trauma and crime. Loads of crime.

Although both the series and book are fiction, there’s some truth as it’s inspired by Dalton’s life. One of them includes the character of Slim Halliday — Eli’s babysitter, mentor and convicted murderer — who is played by Aussie gem, Bryan Brown.

Arthur ‘Slim’ Halliday became known as the “Houdini of Boggo Road” after he escaped from Brisbane’s Boggo Road Gaol several times.

As audiences continue to praise the show, author and local history guide Jack Sim, has started an online petition to reopen the Boggo Road Gaol tours.

The prison shut its doors in 2002 after 119 years of operating and Sim hoped the heritage-listed site would be transformed into a museum due to its rich history. However, a combination of a next-door development, plans for the 2032 Olympics, and the pandemic all delayed work to get the museum up and running.

With its newfound notoriety via the Netflix series, Sim has called for the state government to “fast-track and commit to a reopening date”.

“The release of Netflix Boy Swallows Universe based on the best-selling book by Trent Dalton has generated enormous publicity worldwide,” Sim wrote in the online petition.

“We need to get the Gaol reopened for our history tours and re-enactments, filmmaking, school and universities, locals, interstate and overseas tourists including cruise ships.  

“The situation where there is no reopening date is untenable.”

The petition has notched more than 1,300 signatures since January 20, with signatories calling on the state government to get a move on. “Boggo Road is an iconic part of Brisbane history,” one person wrote. “I toured it many years ago and would love to see it renewed for future generations.”

As yet, there’s no date in site for the gaol to reopen — but if you want to add your name, you can sign the petition here.

Hopefully, the magnifying glass that is Netflix will bring the state government’s attention to opening up the facility to not only please fans of the series, but for folks to gauge an understanding of Australia’s rich history.

As of writing, Boy Swallows Universe has remained in Netflix’s Global Top 10 List for two weeks and it is continuing to receive a lot of praise from Aussie audiences and beyond.

Image source: Netflix / Boy Swallows Universe