JANINE Della Bosca went from doing night painting classes at the women’s prison to showing visitors from around the world the Fremantle Prison.
Seven years later she has walked home with the FACET Golden Guide Award at the WA Tourism Awards on November 11.
While other students completing the night classes were terrified of the building, Janine felt differently.
“I thought it was the most beautiful building I had seen,” she said. “I used to sit outside and make paintings of the building.”
Janine said she loved seeing the faces of visitor when they walk through the prison gates for the first time.
“Seeing visitors’ faces light up when they walk through the prison and to tell them all about the prison is a privilege,” she said.
“I love to tell school groups about our bushranger Moondyne Joe.”
Janine has helped develop the art tour, which takes visitors to cells that have never been opened, with art drawn and painted on the walls.
What keeps her coming back is working and talking to visitors from all over the world, as well as talking to ex-prisoners and prison staff.
“Four years ago I took a tour with a young man from Finland who was deaf and couldn’t understand English.
“Through using translations he understood the tour and he was so disappointed when it was over,” she said.
After being a finalist for the award three years in a row, Janine said: “I was so happy. I saw it as a nod to everyone, the team at the prison, of how hard we work to make it a great place to visit.”
As for the prison being haunted, she said: “Well, sometimes things happen that there is no logical explanation for.”
The Fremantle Prison also won the Cultural Tourism category for the third year in a row and will be inducted into the hall of fame.
They will represent WA in the Australian tourism awards in Perth next February.