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.

 

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.”

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 July 1898

A woman named Ellis, who has been an inmate of the Lunatic Asylum at Sunbury, Victoria, for a few years, escaped from the institution, and walked to her former residence, situated between Campbell’s Creek and Fryerstown. She was found there by the police, and sent back to Sunbury.