ON THIS DAY ……. 26th March 1949

Robert Whyte Sparks, 40 years old lunatic who was described as being 5ft 9in high with long dark hair, sallow complexion, protruding eyes with a tooth missing from his upper jaw, and walks with a stoop, escaped on this day in 1949, at 4am. Sparks escaped from a heavily barred single room in a ward where the most dangerous male patients were housed. Sparks got out of his cell by forcing the window open with a piece of wire torn from the mattress on his bed. He escaped over the asylum wall by tearing two sheets into strips and platting them into a 35 foot rope. Sparks was considered a dangerous inmate and was usually kept in J ward which is strongly guarded, but he was temporally housed in the main build of Aradale. All he was wearing was a shirt when he escaped, but stole cloths from the back yard of a nearby house. Sparks had in his possession two grey white blankets with a broad blue stripe and two sheets. Large squads of armed police and warders searched densely timbered country near Ararat for a dangerous lunatic, were he was recaptured 14 hours later at 6pm.