When being transferred from the Watchhouse to the Geelong Gaol on 16th of January 1903, a young man named Flowers who the previous day at Camperdown had been committed for trial for the alleged theft of money and jewellery from the Talindert Estate, made a determined attempt to escape. Senior Constable Harley was escorting Flowers to the gaol, and refrained from handcuffing him. At the intersection of Ryrie and Yarra streets, Flowers made a dash down Yarra Street, and through the Melbourne Club Hotel, with the constable in hot pursuit. Flowers managed to dodge his pursuer in the hotel, and got out through the back way into Little Malop-street, where a baker’s assistant named Milliken made after him in his cart. When Milliken came up to Flowers he dismounted and made a grab at the prisoner, who struggled violently to release himself, at the same time dealing his captor some heavy blows. As the two were struggling on the ground, Senior Constable Harley appeared on the scene, and, placing his handcuffs upon Flowers, he subsequently lodged his prisoner safely in the gaol.

The Argus, 17 January 1903

Albert Flowers was a 17 year old youth, who is listed as being a jockey by trade.  It was not the first time he had been in trouble.  He had been convicted in July 1900 of shopbreaking and was given a suspended sentence.  In September 1900, he was sent to the Ballarat Industrial School before being transferred to Royal Park Industrial School. Albert’s father Henry was living in Raglan Street, Ballarat at the time of his incarceration.

Albert only spent a short time at Geelong Gaol before being sent to Pentridge for 9 months.  He spent 48 hours in solitary confinement in August 1903 “for not being diligent in his work”.  In November 1903, Albert was sent to the Excelisor Home for Boys Reformatory School in North Brighton.

On February 5, 1904, Albert with two other boys would abscond from the Boys home.

Albert would not live a long life.  He died in August 1913 of pneumonia in the Hamilton hospital.  He was well known among the racing fraternity, was working as a fish monger and by all accounts was well liked.  Albert left behind a wife.

Well we might be a little bit late to the new year this year!!  But nevertheless Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

In our defence we have been busy in the background finding and securing some new adventures for the Twisted History for this year, some we will be letting you know about very soon!  As well as busily providing ghost tours and paranormal investigations at Geelong Gaol and murder tours in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

Back to our blog!!  This year we will be doing things a little differently.  For the past couple of years we have been blogging snippets from history that happened “On This Day.  This year we will be doing “Sunday Spotlights” instead.  This will allow us to provide more details (where we can!) on some of the events we will be writing about.

But we would like your input!

As some of you would know we have a few different categories that we blog about – these include Murders, Goals, Hotels, Pop Culture and of course Twisted History.

This year we want to hear from you! Which Australian murder cases fascinate you?  Is there a particular Australian movie or TV show you want to know more about?  Is there an urban legend that gives you a chuckle?  Or even a good ghost story we haven’t heard?  Is your local hotel haunted?  Is there something paranormal you want to discuss?  We want to hear it all!

If you have some ideas for blog articles – get in touch!  You can email us at twistedhistoryvictoria@gmail.com, you can inbox us on any of our facebook pages or give us a call on 1300865800.

We do have some stories going up starting tonight and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Welcome to 2018!!

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 16th December 1972

Edwin Eastwood famous for the Faraday School Kidnapping in 1972, and Michael Pantic escaped from the Geelong Gaol on the 16th of December 1976. The men tunnelled though two doubled skinned brick wells, cut through a padlock to an outside excise yard and scaled the external wall and were able to steal a car to make his get away, before the men parted ways. Eastwood walked into the Wooreen State School in Gippsland on the 15th of February 1977, where he kidnapped a teacher and nine pupils, forcing them into a van. While driving off, he collided with a truck and held the driver and his partner hostage. Soon another log truck came along and Eastwood waved it to a stop, and took the drive and his mate hostage. The next to arrive was two lady’s towing a caravan, which where also taken hostage. Once Eastwood had sixteen hostages, he demanded a ransom from the Victorian Government of US $7 million, weapons, 100kgm of heroin and cocaine, and the release of seventeen prisoners from Pentridge. One of the hostages managed to escaped and notified police. Once Eastwood realised that one of his hostages was gone he fled the seem with the remaining hostages, locked in the campervan. A police block and gunfire at Woodside was enough to stop Eastwood, where he was shot below the right knee and re-captured. Eastwood was charged and pleaded guilty to 25 charges, including 16 counts of kidnapping and was sentenced on 8 November 1977 to 21 years with a non parole period of 18 years. Eastwood was released in 1993 after choosing to decline parole offered in 1991.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 18th November 1879

One of Australia’s youngest bushrangers, a fifteen-year-old member of Captain Moonlite’s gang, is shot and killed.

Augustus Wernicke was one of Australia’s youngest bushrangers, and part of Captain Moonlite’s gang. Captain Moonlite, aka Andrew George Scott, became a bushranger upon his release from gaol, eight years after robbing the bank at Mount Egerton, Victoria. He recruited several other gang members, among them 15-year-old Wernicke, and walked to New South Wales, hoping to find employment at Wantabadgery Station, well known for its hospitality. Being in the grip of a severe drought, and also having changed hands, Wantabadgery could offer them nothing. In desperation, Moonlite took 35 people hostage. In the resultant shootout with police on 18 November 1879, gang members James Nesbitt and Augustus Wernicke, together with Constable Bowen, were all shot dead. Moonlite and the surviving gang members were tried and charged with the murder of Constable Bowen. Moonlite himself was hanged on 20 January 1880 at Darlinghurst Court.

ON THIS DAY…… 4th November 1922

Concerts at Geelong Gaol

Since the escape of Angus Murray from Geelong gaol there has been a ban on the fortnightly concerts that were formerly held in the gaol for the entertainment of the prisoners. The Inspector-General has now issued instructions that the concerts may again be held , and with the object of reverting to the former practice it has been decided to hold a concert on the afternoon of Saturday, November 10. The assistance of vocal and other artists is desired. Visitors will notice that the surroundings of the gaol have been improved, as the painters and decorators have renovated and decorated the interior of the building. Angus Murray’s cell has been repaired, and peace and order seem to again prevail. The prisoners’ choir master (Angus Murrray) will be succeeded by another prisoner who shows vocal power. It is not generally known that among the prisoners are several men who can contribute an entertainment.

ON THIS DAY…… 1st November 1791

Escaped convicts tried to walk to China

On the 1st of November 1791, a group of 20 male convicts and one pregnant female convict escaped from the gaol at Parramatta, New South Wales in an attempt to reach China overland. They took with them rations, tools and clothes. Whilst some of the convicts were recaptured, many simply died in the unfamiliar bushland of New South Wales. Many convicts believed that China lay beyond the Blue Mountains.

 

ON THIS DAY……31st October 1889

Fredrick “Josh” Clark and Christopher “Christie” Farrell were both ex convicts transported from England to Van Demons Land. Once both men had received their tickets of leave they sailed to Victoria, arriving at the beginning of the Victorian gold rush. Both men found there way back to the lives thy once lived in England, preying upon those returning from the gold fields. By 1889 both Clark and Farrell were in there early to late 60’s and were serving 14 year sentences in Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne. Farrell was charged with the attempted murder of a police man during his arrest at Fitzroy in 1887 and Clark for being a systematic malingering. Due to the prisoners age and behaviour both prisoners were transferring Geelong Gaol. About midnight on Monday a warder named Cain commenced his shift at the Geelong gaol. At two minutes to 2am he hard a knocking, from cell 13 occupied by a prisoner named Frederick “Josh”Clarke. Cain unlocked the trap in the door and Clarke asked for a drink of water. The warder brought the water, and was handing it through the hole when he was seised from behind by Farrell. Clarke then came from his cell and seized Cain who saw that the other man was a prisoner named Christopher “Christie”Farrell who was holding a large stone in his hand. He threatened to beat out the warder’s brains if he uttered a single word. Clark had cleverly made a skeleton key, by melting coin into the shape of the key. Clark worked as a blacksmith in the confinements of the gaol. Once the warder opened the trapdoor and walked of to get a glass of water for the prisoner. Clark then simply reached his arm though the opening in the door and let him escape. Once free he quickly unlocked Farrell’s cell before returning to his own and waiting for Cain to return. The men gagged Cain and tied his hands and feet, and took off his boots and carried him to the cook’s house, and tied him to the table, and left him there. He was found just before 6am by the chief warder, who raised the alarm. The two prisoners had meanwhile scaled the gaol wall. Immediately the alarm was given the police who scoured the country in all directions without finding any trace of the escaped prisoners. Farrell was found first on the 16th of October and Clark four days later, both men were heading north to NSW. Warder Cain was confined to his bed, owing to the injuries he received. Four His throat was greatly Swollen, and he is only able to speak with difficulty. An inquiry into the escape was held on 31st October, 1889 which saw the governor of the gaol reprimanded and the warders on duty demoted – this despite Farrell’s saying that the warder Cain had fought like a lion and should not be punished for is failure to prevent their escape. In 1923 a large brass key which proved to be a master key from the era of Clark and Farrell’s escape was found when grounds west of the Geelong Supreme Court were being cleared. Its rough-cut appearance suggested that it was an illegal copy and it was widely believed that this was the key used by Clark and Farrell in their escape. A version of events described in the gaol display has an elderly Clark claiming that he threw the key into the grounds on his way to court however, it seems highly unlikely that having been found in possession of such a key, Clark would have been allowed to keep it. A report in the paper a few days after his arrest indicated that he was found with a skeleton key on his person which had been cut from a penny. At the time the authorities were quick to point out that the make of the key was not such as could have been made in the gaol. Clark died in Geelong Gaol on 4th August, 1904, at the age of 104. Clark had arrived in Tasmania in 1847 at the age of 18, he would go on to send a total of 85 years and 7 months in gaol, over half is life behind bars. Farrell also died in the gaol at the age of 70 on 1st September, 1895. Farrell was also transported to Tasmania, arriving in 1848 and by 1851 he was in Victoria” and joined up with the “Suffolk Gang” as the convict poet. The gang would held up several mail coaches and miners alike. Farrell spent 48 years in prisoned in Australia and 46 of those years were in iron changes.

 

On This Day ……. 29th October 1954

Escaped Elephant – Richmond

An escaped elephant from Wirth’s Circus’ temporary camp outside Olympic Park in Richmond, Melbourne caused a mild panic on the 29th October 1954. At 9.30 p.m. a check was made by the boys guarding the elephants, and it was found that one was missing. Telephone calls started to pour into Russell St. police station from people on their way home from the city saying that they had seen an elephant walking along Batman Ave. A police car was rushed to the scene and after a two and a half hour search they found the missing elephant. It was standing under a tree about 200 yards away from the camp.

ON THIS DAY…… 28th October 1849

On the 28th of October 1849 a prisoner named James MacDonald, undergoing a sentence of eighteen months’ imprisonment for robbery at Geelong, attempted to escape from the gaol. He managed to scale the top of the northern wall by climbing the gallows and then let himself down by means of a rope made of his clothes and blanket, but the sentry private Bryan Kennedy greeted him at the bottom, and marched him at the point of the bayonet to the gaol gate, when he was delivered over to the warden. MacDonald was sentenced to seven days solitary confinement on bread and water.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 22nd October 1850

Francis Gardiner, love of crime began in Geelong, on the 22nd of October, 1850, on a charge of horse stealing, and sentenced to five years’ hard labour. However Gardiner manage to escape in the first few months and returned to Goulburn. Where his career as a bushranger began, for within two years he and his gang committed six mail robberies under arms, besides many others of lesser note. In June 1862 he bailed up the Lachlan Gold Escort near Eugowra with a gang including Ben Hall, Dan Charters and Johnny Gilbert. This hold up is considered to be one of the largest ever gold robberies in Australian history. The total value of the 2,700 ounces of gold and bank notes taken was estimated at £14,000 (approximately A$12.5 million in 2012 terms). Much of the gold was recovered by mounted police after they surprised the gang on Wheoga Hill near Forbes. What happened to the remaining gold is still the subject of much speculation and rumour. It is rumoured that two Americans who were thought to be Gardiner’s sons visited the Wheogo Station near the Weddins in 1912 claiming to be miners.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 22nd October 1923

On the 24th of August 1923, Angus Murray, who is serving a sentence of 15 years for robbery under arms, mace his escape, by mean’s of a small saw, he removed of the stones at the base of his window. The bars were then loosened, leaving him sufficient room to squeeze through. Murray torn his bedclothes into shreds to form a rope to lower himself to the ground. He was then able to scale the outside wall were a motor car which was waiting for him. A boy, passing the Gaol at the time of the escape saw Murray clamber down from his cell and spring into a car. The police scoured the district, but could not find any trace of the fugitive. On the morning of the 9th of October 1923, Murray shoot Mr Berriman the manager of the Glenferrie branch of the Commercial Bank and robbed him of £1851. Berriman died the on the 22nd of October. A large force of detectives raided, a house in St, Kilda at 5am, arresting Angus Murray, Leslie (Squlazy) Taylor, and Ida Pender. Angus Murray was charged with the Glenferrie robbery and with escaping from custody. Taylor and Pender were locked up on holding charges, but wore later released. A few days after Berriman’s death Murray was charged with his murder and on 14th of April 1924, he was executed in the Melbourne Gaol. Murray stood on the scaffold and made the following statement: “Never in my life have I done anything to justify the extreme penalty being passed upon me. I have prayed hard for those who have acted against me, and I hope that those whom I have injured will forgive me.” Turning to the hangman as the rope was passed around his neck, he said: “Pull it tight.” Murray’s death was instantaneous.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 21st October 1893

On the 21st of October 1893, Josh Clark made his last attempt to escape from the Geelong Gaol. At the time Clark was sharing a cell with another male prisoner, both the men decided to escape by tunnelling through the thick walls. The men managed to remove 12 bricks from one of the gaol walls, but the outer blue stone wall stopped their progress. Clark had lifted the floor boards of the cell on the third floor to hide the bricks and mortar. They were discovered when Clarks cell mate dropped a brick. Both the prisoners received and extra six months imprisonment added to their sentenced for attempting to escape from the gaol.