Rock College

An unofficial history of Mount Eden Prison

Mark Derby

Inside the forbidding stone walls of New Zealand’s most infamous gaol


Grim, Victorian, notorious, for 150 years Mount Eden Prison held both New Zealand’s political prisoners and its most infamous criminals. Te Kooti, Rua Kenana, John A. Lee, George Wilder, Tim Shadbolt and Sandra Coney all spent time in its dank cells. Its interior has been the scene of mass riots, daring escapes and hangings.

Highly regarded historian Mark Derby tells the prison’s inside story with verve and compassion.

To look inside, click here.

‘If you want to know what it’s like inside that place, this book is the next best thing to a ten-year stretch’ — James ‘Diamond Jim’ Shepherd, former inmate of Mount Eden Prison

‘A major contribution to New Zealand’s penal history’ — Sir Kim Workman, penal reform advocate

‘This is truly a detailed history of an unsavoury subject, the scope of which is quite remarkable.’ — Otago Daily Times

‘Derby’s tendency to keep the narrative local and lead with the stories of people and events helps make the book an incredibly engaging read. Derby does a great job developing the kind of thick description of penal practice and life inside that is nearly impossible to find in existing published work. I consider Rock College a must-read’ — Liam Martin, New Zealand Journal of History

  • CATEGORY: Ebooks, History
  • ISBN: 9780995131859
  • ESBN: 9780995137851
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 13/08/2020
  • PAGE EXTENT: 368
  • FORMAT: Soft cover
Profile image for Mark Derby

Mark Derby is a New Zealand writer and historian.