The standard of Wollongong Gaol was often written about and the public was usually well informed about how it was run. Whenever there was a change in staff, it was reported in the press. Men occupied the role of gaoler, earning around £120 per annum and it was often their wives who took up the position of matron, earning a third of that amount.
In 1874 Harold MacLean, the Comptroller General of Prisons, submitted a report to the Colonial Secretary outlining the monetary value of prisoner labour and ensured the Crown that every able bodied prisoner, whether occupied in ‘productive work’, or gaol work was earning more for the Crown than it was costing to keep them in gaol. The Comptroller was also of the opinion that having prisoners in productive employment not only served the interests of the gaol and the Colony, but was valuable for the prisoner as well. The biggest expense in relation to the gaol was the cost of those who were seen as ‘incapables, semi-lunatics and imbeciles’, along with those employed to look after them. Drunkards and vagrants, Wollongong’s most common offenders, were considered incapable of change and a blight on the prison system due to their constant re-incarceration. They were seen as unable to earn an ‘honest living’ and often made ‘the gaol their home’ as they were given small rations. 
In 1898, the Illawarra Mercury received a report from the Comptroller General relating to Wollongong Gaol. The extract reported; “The working of Wollongong Gaol during the past year has been very satisfactory. There was no unusual occurrence, and everything worked well. The prisoners were continuously employed at remunerative work, but I regret there was no land available for agricultural training. The conduct of the officers has been good. The conduct of the prisoners has been good. The labor (sic) at which the prisoners were employed is as follows:-
· Manufacturing Hammocks,
· Cabbage Tree Hats,
· Manufacturing Shirts,
· Scotch Twill,
· Braces and Clothes Bags.
· Repairing Boots and Shoes,
· Cutting Firewood for Gaol use,
· Painting and keeping the building in repair,
· Cleaning and Gardening ”
Since Wollongong Gaol had reduced its prisoner numbers even further, changes were implemented that enabled prisoners to eat meals in their cells. Gas was installed that allowed the prisoners to now have a light in their cell as well. The Acting-Gaoler, Mr. John Roper, stated that the prisoners appreciated the changes and all was running smoothly. The main employment for detainees was ‘painting, carpentry, plumbing, flannel shirts, etc’., grey clothing, and trousers, have been made from material cut and sent from Darlinghurst Gaol’. However prisoners with hard labour sentences still broke rock that was used to form roads. Overall the Colonial Government was happy with the undertakings at Wollongong Gaol.
 Illawarra Mercury, 21 Jul. 1896, p.2.
 Prisons Report for 1874, Votes and Proceedings, 1875, Vol. 2, p.969.
 Prisons Report for 1874, Votes and Proceedings, 1875, Vol. 2, pp. 970-71.
 Illawarra Mercury, 6 Aug 1898, p.2.
 Illawarra Mercury, 10 Oct. 1899, p.2.