By March, 1855, plans forthe gaol had been prepared and approved of and government funding was being set aside for gaol staff wages, provisions and other expenses. Tenders were called for the construction of the “police lock-up” with the contract being awarded to Mr. Broadbent. The basalt building was constructed between ca.. mid 1855-early 1857. On the 21st of August, 1857, it was proclaimed by Sir Henry Barkly, Capt-General & Governor-in-Chief as a the Belfast Gaol; a “public gaol, prison and house of correction” within the meaning of the Act to Make Provision for the Better Control & Disposol of Offenders (1852). The establishment and proclamation of the Belfast Gaol was widely welcomed. not only as an improved facility, but the Borough Council could now also retain p’risoners sentenced to 12 months or more (who previously had to be sent to Melbourne) and thus secure their labour ‘for the benefit of the township.

On the very first day the gaol was opened for the reception of prisoners, Mr. Broadbent apparently became the first inmate. Having heavily celebrated the completion of the project, Broadbent was arrested on a charge of drunk and disorderly. The following morning, when presented to court, he pleaded guilty, apparently remarking in his Yorkshire accent to the presiding magistrate “Wa’II, I builded the plaice, so I think I had a right to be the first to occupy ‘en.” The plea was accepted and he was discharged.

On This Day ……. 22nd of July 1921

Representing the wages due to the 12 seamen who were sent to the Geelong gaol on this day in 1921, as a result of their refusal to obey the orders of the captain of
the barque Archibald Russell, £931/10/ has been received by the Customs officials. The men were each sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, and their wages will be paid to them when they are liberated.

 

ON THIS DAY – July 22, 1988

PENTRIDGE PRISON

CONVICTED murderer Alex Tsakmakis’s brutal killing earned very little sympathy among his fellow inmates.  Before we was clobbered to death behind bars, he too had carried out a prison killing. Before coming to police attention, Alex Tsakmakis appeared to be a company director and Ivanhoe family man. But his actions made him nothing but pure evil. Tskamakis, 40, was defenceless when he was attacked from behind on July 22, 1988. Taking lunch to a group of prisoners in the maximum security industry yard at about 11.30am, he was beaten on the back of the head by Russell St bomber Craig Minogue, 26. Tsakmakis remained standing at the first blow, but fell on the second. He was hit up to seven times with a pillow case full of 5kg gym weights and suffered a fractured skull and brain damage. Despite being given immediate medical attention and being rushed to hospital, he died six days later. Minogue received a second murder conviction but because he is serving it concurrently with his Russell St bombing sentence he has been given just three more months for Tskamakis’s death. The sentencing judge, Justice George Hampel believed Tskamakis’s life was not worth any more than that. At the time Minogue said he had killed Tskamakis in self defence because feared he would have been Tsakmakis’s next victim. Minogue will be eligible for parole in 2016.

After a failed attempt to derail a police train, and the shootout that followed, Ned Kelly was taken into custody at Glenrowan in June 1880. To capitalise on his capture, photographer William Burman staged a re-enactment within weeks, having replicated the notorious bushranger’s homemade suit of armour. The copyright laws at the time meant that photographers could patent their images and charge for each individual use. Kelly remained a subject of intense public interest until his execution, 13 days after his trial, on November 11, 1880.

 

On This Day ……. 20th of July 1923

There was considerable surprise in Geelong on this day in 1923, when it was
learned that a well-known citizen had been committed to Geelong Gaol by Judge Wasley, for having disobeyed an order of the Court. He had been ordered by the Court to file cash books and vouchers relating to certain estates. His failure comply with the order led to his committal for disobedience.

 

On This Day ……. 19th of July 1910

Five prisoners were brought from Melbourne by the midday train on this day in 1910, to complete their term of imprisonment at the Geelong gaol. Most of them were of the harmless feeble class usually housed at the local establishment.” Signs of mental weakness have been developed by the Austrian fisherman. Dominick Tarrabuchia, who was taken from the Geelong gaol for medical treatment at Pentridge.

 

On This Day ……. 18th of July 1913

Two prisoners were transferred from Pentridge to the Geelong Gaol on this day in 1913.

 

On This Day ……. 18th of July 1860

A. Amos and Co. won the tender to make additional fencing to the Geelong Gaol on this day in 1860, for £59 19s.

 

A drunken gang of seamen were locked in the tiny colonial gaol at Lyttleton, New Zealand, but a few hours latter the gaoler, visiting the town centre, saw the prison walking down the street. The crew had punched holes in the floor for their legs, picked up the whole building and were making for their ship.

 

On This Day……..17th July 1946

Scores of people on the main platform at Spencer Street Railway Station in Melbourne and hundreds of others going to work early saw a warder firing shots at an escaping prisoner. The man had jumped from a train as it was leaving the station. He was chased for 250 yards before he fell with a bullet in the head. His condition was not considered serious. The fugitive, Ian Mitchell, 34, whose address was given as Pentridge Prison, was taken to hospital, handcuffed to the warder. He was handcuffed to his escort while being examined by doctors in the casualty section and was still handcuffed to the warder when taken to the X-ray department. Although wounded in the head the escapee was recaptured. Two prisoners, each escorted by an armed warder, were brought from Pentridge in a police car to be taken to Ballarat Gaol by train, leaving Spencer Street at 8.50 am Prisoners and warders were all in civilian clothes, and, to save the prisoners from embarrassment on the train, the warders had not handcuffed them. Warder John Eddy Dihm had charge of Mitchell, and Warder Mervyn Aldous was escorting the other prisoner, who was a clergyman and was wearing clerical dress. He is serving a five-year sentence. Both were being transferred from Pentridge to serve the rest of their gaol sentences. The train was on No. 1 plat form and the prisoners and their escorts were sitting together in a compartment. As the train was pulling out of the station. Mitchell sprang to his feet, raced along the corridor and leapt on to the platform at the back of the cloak room. Business people coming from that part of the station along the concourse scattered in alarm when they heard shots bring fired and railwaymen and people who had seen passengers off fled for cover. Calling on the fugitive to stop, Dihm fired four shots as he chased him to the enclosed end of No. 1 platform and along a barricaded concourse past the end of several adjoining platforms.

 

On This Day ……. 17th of July 1923

A blind man named Columbine was sent to the Geelong gaol on this day in 1923, to awaiting trial. He was to have been tried, at Ballarat the previous week, but the case had been adjourned till August 18. Columbine,who is said to have been a league footballer in pre-war days lost the sight of one eye at the war. After his return, it is alleged, he separated from his wife, who went to live with her parents at Maryborough. Columbine went to his mother-in-law’s house, where a disturbance occurred, as a result of which he was given into custody. Subsequently acute inflammation of the good eye set in, and the eye had to be removed.

 

On This Day ……. 16th of July 1914

Two old men of the Geelong Benevolent Asylum had a disagreement on this day in 1914, over the cleaning up of their dining-room, and one, a recent transfer from the Geelong Gaol, is alleged to have struck a deaf and dumb Chinaman with a stick, injuring his arm. The police have taken up the case, and it is likely that the aggressor will return whence he came.