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 …… 24th July 1858

James Benson, a lunatic who escaped from Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum on the morning of the 24th of July. Description: 30 years of age, 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high, dark complexion, large moustache, a tailor, stupid looking, an Englishman. Wore a deep blue pea jacket, cord trousers, and wide awake hat, marked with the Asylum brand.


Ararat Lunatic Asylum
Jane Ford was committed to Ararat Lunatic Asylum on the 5th of March 1873. Ford escaped and was arrested near Talbot on the 23rd of July 1876. The escapee was a woman by the named Jane Fordo, who for the last three years had been living in the asylum at Ararat. On escaping Ford made her way to Talbot the town in which she was from. The evening before her arrest she was seen by some residents of Evansford and recognised, but she managed, however, to evade capture. Ford was ultimately found about two miles from Evansford in a hollow log, from which she had stuck her head out. Ford was at once taken to the Wallace’s Junction Hotel, as she was suffering hypothermia. Ford told police that the reason she escaped was because she was overworked. During the 10 days of her wanderings she had only eaten on three occasions and had slept in a shed two nights with only pieces of bark to cover her. On the other nights Ford slept in the bush or on the road without shelter. During the day of her capture she had seen the police searching for her, and hid herself in the log to avoid being sent back to the asylum, however because she was so cold and hungry she allowed the police to find her. The only clothing Ford was wearing was an old skirt, a threadbare shawl, and a tattered hat. She was returned to the Asylum. Ford would go on to escape two more times, the seconds on the 15th of November 1876 and recaptured on November the 17th and again returned, 22nd of march 1882 and recaptured on march the 25th.


On This Day…….13th of July 1925

Recent escapes from the Mont Park Hospital for the Insane form the subject of a report which the Chief Secretary (Dr. Argyle) has received from the Inspector General of the Insane (Dr. W. E. Jones). Dr. Jones says that vigilance is exercised to prevent the escape of patients from asylums, but that the humane modern system of caring for the mentally afflicted makes it easier for the less dangerous inmates to gain their freedom.

07On This Day……7th July 1870

James Geary was committed to Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum on the 24th of November 1867, and was discharged on the 12th of October 1868. Geary was committed for a second time on the 26th of October of the same year. On the 7th of July 1870, Geary escaped by walking out of the Asylum and into the bush.

On This Day……. 7th July 1910

Another patient has escaped from Yarra Bend, and has taken advantage of her liberty to end her existence in the river, placed conveniently for this purpose. The inquiry into the matter opened the eyes of the public to the fact that the lunatic asylum is as easy and accessible as an ordinary villa. Outsiders can get in, and insiders can get out just whenever they feel disposed. True, outsiders do not as a rule try to get into Yarra Bend as fervently as they strive to get into Parliament, but, insiders do try to get out. The patient mentioned above was a woman, and she had no difficulty whatever in getting over the garden wall and into the river. Possibly the policy of “the institution is that mad patients are much better out of the world but, if this is really the case, it would be wiser to extend the asylum grounds, and take in a strip of the river for the convenience of those lunatics who are ambitious to go to Heaven in a hurry.

On This Day……7th of July 1925

A dangerous lunatic escaped from Mont Park Hospital on this day in 1925, and was recaptured by an attendant a few miles from the institution. He gave no trouble, and returned quietly withhis captors – Another escapee said to be dangerous was still free.

On This Day…….. 7th of July 1900

James M’Cormick, an old miner escaped from the Ballarat Lunatic Asylum on the 7th of July 1900. M’Cormick walked though the garden and out the gate of the Asylum.

On This Day…….6th of July 1902

Riddell’s Creek

One of the inmates of the lunatic asylum at Sunbury escaped on the 6th of July 1902, but was caught at Riddell’s Creek by one of the warders, assisted by Mr. J. Keiley. The man had been out all Saturday night, which was a rough and wet one. He said he was anxious to go to Sydney.

On This Day…… 6th July 1886

Escaped Lunatic – John Fleming

John Fleming, a lunatic at Yarra Bend, escaped from the cook-house of the institution on the 6th of July, and could not be traced. The police have been apprised of the escape, and requested to forward any particulars of his whereabouts which they may obtain to the authorities.

On This Day …….. 4th July 1905


A dangerous lunatic named Smith escaped from the main building of the Ararat lunatic Asylum about 7pm on the 4th of July 1905. It is not known how Smith managed to open the front door of the Asylum but its possible he fund some wire and picked the lock. Smith has been an inmate of the Asylum for
over 20 years, and the authorities are treating his escape with much concern. Smith was never found.

On This Day……. 28th June 1913


It was reported to the police on the morning of the 28th June 1913, that Michael Coglilan, an inmate of Yarra Bend Asylum, who escaped from the institution. The escaper was described as 40 years of age, 5 feet 16 Inches in height, slight of build, with black whiskers. He was wearing a brown tweed- suit, with long cut coat, and a brown felt hat.