On This Day……… 10th April 1912

Kew Lunatic Asylum

On this day in 1912, Dennis Birmingham escaped from the Kew Lunatic Asylum. He was a strongly built man, about 6ft. in height, and 41 years of age. Birmingham was found in St. Kilda.



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.



ON THIS DAY …….. 24th March 1881

Michael Farly was committed on the 1st of September 1880, Farly was a farm at Lake Rowan, near Benalla, where he resided on a 100 arc. He escaped from the asylum on the 24th march 1881.



ON THIS DAY …….. 24th March 1883

David Chalmens was committed to Ararat Lunatic Asylum on the 14th of July 1869, by his brother Alex Chalmens. Chalmens was a Black Smith for the Port Phillip Mining Company in Clunes. On admission Chalmens was described but the Medical Superintendent Dr William Armstrong as Convalescent. Chalmens escaped on the 24th of March 1883, and was recaptured on the 2nd of April. On the 12th of April 1884 Chalmens was transferred to Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum.



ON THIS DAY …….. 22nd March 1868

There was great excitement in Beechworth, North East Victoria on the 22nd March 1868, when the first lunatic escaped from the newly opened Asylum. A young man suffering from idiocy, escaped from the Asylum by climbing over a section of the Ha Ha wall still in construction. The young man walk down the hill into town and visited Fisher’s Hotels were he met Mr. Superintendent Langley were he asked Langley if he could have a nobbler (beer) and a cigar before being returned to the Asylum. Once back the young man again managed to give the warders the slip and got into Beechworth again, but they were soon on his track, and as people are now aware of his roving propensities, he was quickly handed over to Constable Brown, who took him by the hand. Against this the poor young mans protested, saying, ‘Don’t take my hand, and I won’t bolt, ‘your honour.’ The young man was placed in a lockdown ward, so he couldn’t escape again.



On This Day – 5th March 1854

A sad case of the death of a Lunatic at the Geelong gaol on this day in 1854. The body of a deceased lunatic, Ann Connelly, shows how horribly the authorities neglect to provide for the wants of the community. By the evidence there given, we find the unfortunates incarcerated within the gaol walls are treated more like brutes than rational beings, and, to use the words of the gaoler himself, “the present system is quite subversive of prison discipline.” When will the Government listen to the voice of reason? An inquest was held the following day.