Acting State-wide Museum Manager, Cooma
Two years with Corrective Services NSW
After 14 years of working in prisons in the United Kingdom, including dealing with Britain's most violent inmate Charles Bronson, Andrew Weglarz's journey has taken him to the other side of the world.
The former Senior Correctional Officer now shares the history of the NSW prison system in his role as the manager of the Corrective Services NSW Museum at Cooma, in the state's south.
"As a migrant, I find it a privilege to exhibit a part of Australia's history to the community, while sharing fascinating stories of how NSW correctional centres have changed over the years," he says.
"For instance, people think the ball and chain was just to stop convicts from running away. But it was more than that, it was to ensure if the ship they were on sunk then they wouldn't be able to escape.
"Another curious story was that back in the 1950s, prisoners were perceived by the public as evil merely based on the shape of their heads."
Mr Weglarz, who has a degree in history and also worked in the UK for the Metropolitan Police Service, migrated to Australia three years ago, working in ACT Corrective Services before taking up a role as a Services and Programs Officer with CSNSW.
"I could immediately feel the cultural differences of the job," he says.
"I was no longer wearing my uniform. In the UK, all the uniformed custodial staff delivered the programs.
"But it's been a very good learning experience for me working in different jurisdictions."
Mr Weglarz says the public who visit the CSNSW Museum do have changed perceptions when they leave the place.
"We provide an insight into the daily routine of correctional centres and highlight how there is more to prison life than being locked in a cell," he says.
"After finishing one of the tours, there is greater public awareness about inmate rehabilitation and how today is much different from the punishing times for the convicts that arrived on the First Fleet.
"It's important that we understand our history and I hope to showcase more information and artefacts from all the state's prisons."
The museum showcases the history of CSNSW since 1788 and displays a collection of objects from convict days to the present such as manacles and leg irons, convict and prisoner clothing, weapons and escape devices, photos and displays.
Work for CSNSW