There was so much optimism for Australia's first free settled colony that no Gaol was included in Colonel Light's 1837 plan. That optimism was short lived. Warnings for Adelaide citizens to be wary of escaped convicts from New South Wales hit the South Australian Register by mid 1837.
It was quickly apparent that not everyone in the new colony intended to be a law-abiding citizen, and so tenders were sought for a temporary Gaol.
The first Sheriff, Mr Samuel Smart, was attacked and wounded during a robbery that led to one of the offenders, Michael Magee, becoming the first person to be hanged in South Australia. He was executed on 2 May 1838.