On this day …….. 23rd of August 1949
Only a few hours after they broke out of Ararat Asylum, Victoria on the 23rd of August 1949, three men, described by the police as dangerous criminal lunatics, were recaptured. William Thomas Clark aged 32 years, Norman Connors aged 25 years, and Jack Wilmot Allan aged 20 years. They had been locked in separate cells on the second floor of the criminal wing. Early one morning on the 23rd one of the men picked the lock of his cell door and liberated his two friends. After stealing some other prisoners clothes, the three men scaled a 15ft stone wall and escaped. Three men managed to steal a truck and tried to drive to Melbourne. About 10am Senior Constable Downey, of Buangor, was searching trucks at a police road block, when the three patients jumped from their truck when he had signalled them to stop. The patients ran toward a paddock outside the town, but were chased and captured by Downey, with the aid of civilians. While Downey renewed his search for Clark other police took Connors and Allan back to Ararat. Accompanied by Mr B. White, a local resident, Downey traced Clark to a spot about three miles from Beaufort and about a mile and a half off the main road. When Clark realised Downey was a policeman he pulled an open-bladed pocket-knife from his pocket and began to struggle, but was quickly overpowered. In their few hours of liberty the three patients had walked about 14 miles. All had criminal records, and had been certified as insane, Clark in 1941, Connors in 1944, and Allan in 1947, Allan had escaped before, and after being at large several months had only recently been recaptured. All three patients were returned to their ward.