On this day …….. 30th of August 1952

On the 30th of August 1954 Dr. K. Bowden, pathologist, and his deputy Mr McLeod traveled to Beechworth to examine a skeleton found in the bush. Police believe the skeleton which had been scattered by wild animals was a female patient by the name Frances Eileen Debson from the Beechworth Mental Hospital who escaped two years earlier. The remains were brought back to the hospital to be examined.


On this day …….. 25th of August 1896

Two lunatics have escaped from the infamous Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum in Melbourne on the 25th August 1896. This institution built on the Bend of the Yarra River coined the saying…….. “Your going around the Bend”.


On this day …….. 24th of August 1853

This reward is offered in Government Gazette for the apprehension of a prisoner who affected his escape from Collingwood Stockade on the evening of the 24th August – Description of prisoner – Name, James Lane; age, 35 years ; height, 5 feet 3 inches complexion, sallow; hair, brown ; eyes, hazel ; particular marks, small blue mark over left eye ; ship to the colony, Renown. Offence, sentence, and date of conviction- Robbery, eight years, 16th October, 1852


On this day …….. 23rd of August 1933

The police have not been able to trace a patient who escaped from the Ararat Hospital for the Insane, Victoria on the 23rd of August 1933. The patient was brought to the institution from the Nhill district where he lived with his family on a farm. The patient was court in Nhill and was charged with being a lunatic at large; he was then sent back to Ararat.


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.

On this day …….. 21st of August 1926

Lallen Pritchaid, aged 50 years, escaped from Mont Park Hospital, Melbourne at 10am on The 21st of August 1926. She is 5ft. 6in. in height, with grey “bobbed” hair, and no teeth. She was wearing a dark coloured dress and a pinafore, and had no hat.


On this day …….. 20th of August 1926

The police were been notified that two patients, a man and a woman had escaped from the Mont Park Hospital for Insane, Melbourne. About 3:30 on the afternoon of the 20th of August 1926, Sydney Cockle, aged 30 years, escaped from the hospital. He was as later seen walking in the direction of Greensborough. He is described as being 5ft. 3in. in height, with dark complexion and hair, and clean shaven. He was wearing a tweed suit of dark colour, a light grey felt bat, and black boots.


On this day …….. 18th of August 1939

Whittlesea Council – MENTAL PATIENTS – Closer Supervision Urged

At the monthly meeting of the Whittlesea Shire Council a letter was received from Mr. H. O. White, M.L.A., enclosing a copy of a letter from the Chief Secretary (Mr Bailey) following representations made by Mr. White on the council’s request for closer supervision over mental patient’s at Mont Park Asylum, Melbourne following the tragedy at Whittlesea. Mr. Bailey submitted a report from the medical superintendent in which he said that he could not remember’ a single complaint from residents that escaped patients had damaged property or endangered the safety of any person. Those patients who had escaped had in no way been a menace to the public. The majority of escapes could be prevented by close confinement and constant patrol of the ground by attendants, but this would deprive the patients of the few privileges and enjoyments they now possessed, would be detrimental to the prospects of recovery and could scarcely be considered humane. The hospital existed for the treatment and if possible, cure of mental patients, and to that end it was desirable that as much liberty as possible be allowed them. The community was not likely to be endangered by occasional escapees. Letters were received from the Heldelberg, Preston, and Eltham’ Councils supporting Whittlesea’s – protest. Cr. Gardiner said that he under stood that institution’s difficulty but they should not wait until something happened before taking action. Cr. McDonald thought more care should be taken. He had been out with Constable Brough three inmates looking’ for escaped lunatics. In one case Constable Brough was out for three days after one man. Cr Gardiner – Constable Ellis has caught ‘156 escaped’ lunatics sincer he, has been’ in Epping (less than two years).’One man frothed at the mouth and if he had come to a farmhouse where only a woman was at home, he might have done anything. On the motion ,of Cr. Gardiner, seconded by Cr. Reid, it was agreed that further efforts should be made to have the ” patients under stricter supervision.


On this day …….. 13th of August 1907

People living in the vicinity of the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, Melbourne are getting a bit scared owing to the frequent escapes from the Lunatic Asylum.’ The second
escape from the asylum within three weeks was reported to the police. The escaped patient was William Harrison, 35 years of age, 5ft. 5m. in height, with fair complexion and a sandy moustache. He was a stoutly built man and was dressed in blue suit and black boxer hat. Harrison was said to be a harmless lunatic.


On this day …….. 12th of August 1903

On this day in 1903, a fifty pounds reward was given for information regarding the where abouts of D’Arcy Harcourt, who escaped from Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum Melbourne, on the 19th of May 1902. It was believe the Harcourt caught a steamer to Sydney.


On this day …….. 10th of August 1885

A resident of Warrenbayne discovered a number of bleached and partly decomposed human bones in a hollow log on the 10th of August 1885. The police removal the bones to Benalla, for an inquest. It is supposed to be the remains of a lunatic Matthew Lawrence who had escaped from the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum on the 28th of January 1884, and who was at large in the district for two years. Lawrence was committed to Mayday Hill Asylum on the 26th of June 1883.


On this day …….. 9th of August 1916

A man named Llewellyn Williams was presented at the Bairnsdale Police Court on the 9th of August 1916, on a charge of stealing an overcoat belonging to Mr T. Mathieson, of Service street. During the previous afternoon Mr Mathieson left an overcoat in his motor launch, which was moored in the river near Jackson’s tannery. On returning some hours later he found that the coat had disappeared, and subsequently he saw the accused in the Main street, wearing the garment. The police were informed and Searching Williams arrested accused on a charge of theft. Sub-Inspector Ahern prosecuted. Accused made a disjointed statement, but the bench considered the accused of the offence Sub Inspector Ahern then stated that Williams was really an escaped lunatic, having disappeared from the Sunbury Asylum in January 1915. The bench ordered that the accused be remanded to the Sale gaol for seven days for medical observation, before being transferred back to the Sunbury Asylum. This man is identical with the person who had been acting strange manner in the vicinity Mitchell river.