With its cinema, vibrant food precinct, and sprawling new bar and beer garden, it can be easy to forget that Coburg’s Pentridge Prison was just that.

But in March, a new set of immersive, no-holds-barred tours will let you walk the halls of the heritage-listed prison, established in 1851, and delve deeper than ever before into its dark and mysterious – and at times complex and confronting – underbelly.

They were created in collaboration with National Trust Victoria and global experiential design agency Art Processors, known for its work with Hobart’s Mona.

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As you move through the big bluestone building, you’ll hear first-hand audio accounts from former inmates and prison officers, while cinematic soundscapes and specially developed scores – as well as multimedia installations – will ensure full immersion. See largely untouched, graffiti-covered cells, isolation and observation areas, and more.

“We cannot wait to open this area of Pentridge to the public and share the stories of what went on within these walls, ensuring that the true heritage of Pentridge is not forgotten nor ignored,” the Trust’s chief executive Simon Ambrose said in a statement.

For the first time, the B and H divisions will be available to tour, separately or consecutively. The B Division tour will look into the prison’s history, airing yards and forced closure in 1997, while the tour of the notorious H (or “Hell”) Division will be for more mature audiences, uncovering uncomfortable truths in the prison’s past.

That includes the prison’s – and the system’s – disproportionate incarceration of First Nations people. Hear stories from the late, legendary Aboriginal actor and activist Uncle Jack Charles, who was a former inmate, presented with permission from his family.

“The National Trust Victoria believes that for too long, these stories have been shrouded in mystery,” Ambrose said. “And although the past is confronting, it is crucial that we do not forget the realities of those who were incarcerated, and we respectfully learn and share their truths.

“Art Processors have been fantastic and instrumental in bringing these powerful stories to life in their rawest, most truthful form. They have managed to intertwine evocative and emotional audio experience with moments of silence to highlight the gravitas and significance of each inmates’ personal narrative.”

Pentridge Prison Tours launch on March 1; tickets go on sale on February 23.