September 7, 1869
On this day …….. 6th of August 1906
A lunatic by the name Thomas Parker Ewing, whilst being transferred from Dr. Mailer’s home in Ballarat to the Ararat Asylum, escaped on the 6th of August 1906, from his attendant at the railway station. Ewig was found the next morning hiding in a railway carriage in the yards. On making his escape Ewing travelled as far as Warrenheip, and when darkness set in he returned to Ballarat and pawned his watch. It is said that this was the second occasion on which he had escaped from custody, Ewing was taken back to Ararat Asylum.
Frank Gardiner, born in 1830 Scotland and shipped out to Australia as a child with his parents, made an illustrious career out of horse thievery and highway robbery. On 15 June 1862, Gardiner along with Ben Hall, John Gilbert and associates held up a gold escort travelling from Forbes to Bathurst. They stole over £14,000 worth of gold and bank notes – Australia’s biggest gold robbery. In February 1864, New South Wales police traced Gardiner to his hideout in Queensland. He was arrested and sentenced to 32 years of hard labour in July. Ten years later, Governor Hercules Robinson granted him mercy and released him, subject to exile. Gardiner lived in Hong Kong and Francisco before dying in Colorado in 1903. “Colonial rule was constantly challenged by bushrangers – it was a major threat to the central administration,” says Dr Hamish Maxwell-Stewart from the University of Tasmania. “They were turning the tables on the convict state.”
Convict Joseph Samuels was sentenced to death for burglary in Sydney in 1803. Whoever on the day of the execution 26th of September 1803, the rope broke 3 times. As Samuels was about to be executed the 4th time, the Governor stopped the proceedings on the grounds of divine intervention. Samuels left the gallows with his life and a sore neck.
On this day …….. 5th of August 1944
The Cowra breakout occurred on 5 August 1944, when at least 1,104 Japanese prisoners of war attempted to escape from a prisoner of war camp near Cowra, in New South Wales, Australia. It was the largest prison escape of World War II, as well as one of the bloodiest. During the ensuing manhunt, 4 Australian soldiers and 231 Japanese soldiers were killed. The remaining escapees were captured and imprisoned.
On this day …….. 3rd of August 1955
A youth who stole the Langi Kal Kal training centre truck to escape on March 31 was gaoled for three months on this day in 1955. He is George Edward Bennett, 17, of Dunlop ave., Ascot Vale, who told Judge Moore in General Sessions that he escaped for “no apparent reason.” Bennett said the inmates were well treated and housed in nice surroundings. Mr. G. K. Sutton, Crown prosecutor, said Bennett had been sentenced to imprisonment for shop breaking and illegal use of a car since he had escaped from the centre. Judge Moore said Bennett seemed to have started a life of crime at an early age. “I wonder if some time someone can make you stop and think for awhile,” he told Bennett. He remanded three other escapees for sentence. They are: Cyril Charles Hall, 20, of David st., Launceston; Ronald Arthur Barber, 17, of Napier st., Fitzroy; and Leonard Wigley, l8, of Cromwell st.,
On This Day….. 1st Aug 2014
On the 1st August 2014, 28-year-old Vikramjit Singh escaped from the Dhurringile prison in Victoria. Vikramjit who escaped at 6:40pm, was the seventh escapee in 11 months, concerned residents are urging authorities to reconsider prison security. Vikramjit was described as 177cm tall, medium build, dark hair, brown eyes, has a beard and will be wearing prison greens. Vikramjit is not of danger to the public and authorities urged anybody who knows of Vikramjit’s location.
Another Irish convict-turned-bushranger was ‘Bold Jack’ John Donohoe. He arrived in Sydney from Dublin as an 18-year-old in January 1825 to serve a life sentence on a settler’s farm in Parramatta. Donohoe escaped with two other convicts and together they formed a gang known as ‘The Strippers’ – named after their technique for taking everything from wealthy settlers. All three were eventually captured and sentenced to death. Donohoe escaped while being transported to the jailhouse. Eventually, he formed another gang of brazen bushrangers known as ‘The Wild Colonial Boys’. His bushranging days came to an end in a showdown with a contingent of soldiers and police on 1 September 1830. It was said that he shouted “come on” to the officers before dying from a shot fired by Trooper Michael Muggleston. “Bushranging was very common in the convict era,” says historian Hamish Maxwell-Stewart. “Australia was a prison without walls.”
On This Day ……. 27th of July 1907
Escaped Lunatic – James Ryan
A lunatic named James Ryan escaped from the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum some time on Friday. Ryan was found guilty of endeavouring to derail a train on the Broadmeadows line some time ago, and on the medical evidence he was ordered detention during the pleasure of His Excellency the governor. He is a criminal lunatic, and was convicted for prior offences. When he escaped he was dressed in asylum clothes, and wore a black felt hat and blucher boots. Ryan is 47 years of age, 5ft. 10in. in height, stoutly built, and is full faced, with black hair and moustache turning grey. Some teeth are missing in the upper jaw.
An Australian emu escaped from a farm in the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand’s South Island in November 2010. The local cop was called and when he arrived on the scene he saw the emu chasing a group of kids down the street in Ocean Bay. With the help of a few locals the emu was herded into a paddock until he was taken back to the farm.
On This Day ….. 26th July 1955
Léonard Wigley, 19, who escaped from the Langi Kal Kal training centre, in central Victoria on this day in 1955, was recaptured in the afternoon at Learmonth by Constable O’Halloran. He appear in Ballarat City Court on a charge of having escaped from legal custody.
On This Day ….. 26th of June 1868
Mary Ann Hall was transferred from Yarra Bend Asylum in Melbourne on the 28th of June 1868 to the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum. On the 26th of July 1876, Hall escaped and was never found. Hall was believed to have crossed the boarder into the colony of New South Wales.