On this day …….. 10th of June 1920

At 6:30pm on the 10th of June 1920, a prisoner named Josphe Bouchier, who was under going a sentence of three months’ imprisonment for larceny, escaped from the Geelong Gaol. Bouchier was found in bed at a Melbourne boarding house the following night. He was taken back to Geelong gaol.

On this day …….. 10th of June 1876

A powerful and dangerous looking foreigner, Ernest Victor Kodskon, who escaped from the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum on the 10th of June 1876, reached the dwelling of Mr. Ancrum Heriot, and frightened the inmates, as he had a stout stick in bis hand. He craved and obtained shelter for the night, and ate as much as would suffice for three ordinary men. The next morning the police were sent for, and whilst endeavouring to arrest him he struck violently at constable Egan, and were it not that the force of the blow was lessened by the intervention of Mr. Heriot, the constable would have been killed on the spot. As it was the constable received a severe blow on the head, and lost a great deal of blood. The lunatic was handcuffed and brought to Albury, where, on the recommendation of Dr. Andrews, he was remanded for eight days in gaol for medical treatment. It is astonishing some one was not killed by him and that more precautions are not used at the asylum to prevent the escape of such dangerous lunatics. Constable Egan was hospitalised for a week.

Date of birth: 1829
Native Place: England
Trade: Whitesmith
Hight: 5ft 7in
Complexion: Fresh
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown
Geelong Gaol: 1888, 1889, 1894

The death of Frederick Clarke, better known as “Josh ” Clarke, took place in the Geelong gaol on the on the 4th August 1904, which brought to the end one of the most remarkable careers in the history of Victoria’s criminals. Clarke was a natural criminal, and although the list of offences for which he was at various periods cast into prison, included robbery with violence, burglary, house-breaking, garrotting, larceny from the person, horse stealing, simple larceny, gaol-breaking, and having house breaking implements in his possession, he concocted many crimes which were carried out by others. According to the gaol records he was born in Yorkshire in 1829. He entered upon his remarkable career of crime in his early youth, and while he was yet in his teens he was arrested with two others in Yorkshire for violence, one of his companions being after wards hung. For that crime Clarke was sentenced to 10 years penal servitude, but this punishment did not take a deterrent effect upon his criminal impulses, because in 1847 he was again in serious trouble, and transported to Van Diemen’s Land. While in Tasmania he gave the authorities consider able trouble. He tried to break away once. He promoted a conspiracy amongst the convicts to seize a schooner, and he was four times flogged, receiving on each occasion 100 lashes. In 1852 he had obtained his liberty, and emigrated to Victoria, and Geelong taking his fancy, he started business in Corio street as a barber, but he didn’t stay long there. He joined with others in the rush to the Ballarat gold fields, and there he established a barber’s saloon, which was the resort of the worst characters then at Ballarat. Such associations did not have a tendency to make him any better, and in due course he was arrested and found guilty of horse stealing. That was on November 15th, 1854, when he received his first sentence in Victoria, 10 years on the roads. From that date Clarke has hardly ever been out of gaol, and, as a matter of fact, he has only enjoyed two and a half years of freedom during his sojourn of 52 years in Victoria. The sentences passed upon him at various periods of his life aggregated no less than 72years. In 1898 in company with Christopher O’Farrell, he broke gaol and remained at large for some time. In connection with this it will be remembered that the arrest of O’Farrell was accomplished by Constable Mulderry. O’Farrell was run to death in the vicinity of Lake Wendouree, and when at bay made a vicious attack on the constable with a knife, but Mulderry escaped without serious injury. Clarke was captured about the same time in the Learmonth district, and the strangest part of the whole affair was that up to their arrest the prisoners wore their gaol clothes. In 1895 Clarke made a second attempt to escape, but he was found by a warder surrounded by a heap of bricks and mortar which he had loosened from the walls of his cell with a piece of iron which he had wrenched from bucket. On his discharge from gaol in 1902 lie did not remain long at large, as he was arrested early in 1903 in Melbourne, il here he received a sentence of four years shop-breaking. He was serving this sentence at the time of his death.

On this day …….. 7th of June 1824

Matthew Brady and 13 other convicts escaped from the notorious penal Settlement on Sarah Island, Tasmania by boat on this day in 1824. They remained at large for the best part of two years and became increasingly daring as time passed. When Governor Arthur increased the reward fir Brady’s capture in April 1825, the bushranger coolly posted the following notice on the door of the Royal Oak Inn at Cross March.

Mountain Home, April 20, 1825
It has caused Matthew Brady much concern that
such a person known as Sir George Arthur is at large.
Twenty gallons of rum will be given to any
person that will deliver his person unto me.
I also caution John Priest that I will hang him for
his ill-treatment to Mrs Blackwell, at Newtown

On This Day ……. 6th June 2013

A number of circus animals have been recaptured after breaking loose in the middle of Broome. Cows, camels, llamas, horses and donkeys escaped from their temporary enclosure on Male Oval this morning after a fence post came loose. It took Circus Royale staff about 10 minutes to round up the animals as onlookers watched in amusement. Circus Royale spokesman Daman Syred says the animals may have been trying to take advantage of Broome’s wet weather. “We had a cow and a few of our horses decided to go for a run through some of the puddles that have formed here on the grounds in Broome, so yeah they had a bit of a run around on the oval,” he said.


On this day …….. 2nd of June 1915

Arthur William Hope, 26, who was in custody in the Geelong gaol for larceny, offensive behaviour, and vagrancy, was to have appeared in the Police, Court on the 2nd of June 1915, but he escaped while being escorted by Senior Constable Allen from the gaol to the court a distance of a 100 yards, when he asked permission to speak to Mr Hooper at his grocery store not 50 yards from the court. Hope said, Hooper would be prepared to pay his fine that might be imposed upon him. The policeman allowed Hope to enter the shop by a side door, but the prisoner simply walked through the premises into another street and bolted, followed by the officer. Constable Allen, order a man in his car to stop, he climbed in and they followed Hope, closely. Hope found a bicycle which was outside a shop and rode furiously
along the footpath to avoid the capture. Hope managed reached his mothers house in Villamanta street, Geelong West were he dashed through to the back over the fence and though three houses before his disappeared into a lane. On the 7th of June Hope, was recaptured and on the following day he was charged in court with larceny, being a rogue and vagabond, and with being without lawful means of support. The first charge was dismissed, but on the second and third charges Hope was sent to gaol for 12 months.

On this day …….. 9th of December 1938

An elephant escaped from a circus at Bentleigh on this night in 1938, and walked into the yard of Mr. and Mrs. Mall. The elephant made a great mess of the garden before mounting the front verandah and tried to turn around an electric light fitting. While It stood there Mr. and Mrs. Mall made “shoo” noises and tried unsuccessfully to raise the local police. The elephant walked off and entered Mr. F. E. Humphrey’s garden next door. There it was secured and was taken home.

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 …….. 26th of October 1878

A group of four policemen from Mansfield set out to search for the Kelly brothers who they thought were hiding in the bush near Mansfield. They set up camp at Stringbark Creek on 25 October 1878, not knowing that the Kellys were living in a small hut on Bullock Creek, less than 1km away. The next day Kennedy and Scanlan went to search the nearby forest, while Lonigan and Constable Thomas McIntyre stayed at the campsite. The Kellys heard noises from the police camp and went to investigate. Ned Kelly decided to try and capture the policemen and take their guns, horses and food. He called on the two policemen to give themselves up. McIntyre raised his hands, but Lonigan attempted to run and reached for his gun. Ned Kelly shot him in the eye. The bushrangers then waited for Kennedy and Scanlan to return. When they rode into the camp, McIntyre warned them that the Kelly brothers were there, and to give themselves up. Scanlan went to unsling his rifle and was shot dead immediately. Kennedy jumped off his horse, and while shooting at the Kellys ran into the bush. Ned and Dan Kelly chased after him, shooting him twice as they hunted him for over 800 yards. Kennedy surrendered. Kelly walked up to him and shot him again in the chest and killed him. During the earlier shooting at Scanlan and Kennedy, McIntrye was able to get onto Kennedy’s horse and escaped. He reached Mansfield the next day to report the deaths. Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart were made outlaws, and a large reward was offered for their capture, either dead or alive. The three murdered policemen were taken to Mansfield and buried in the cemetery. A large memorial, funded by public donations, was built in the main street of Mansfield.


ON THIS DAY…… 3rd October 1962

Two prisoners Robert Leslie Dennis aged 26, and Donald John McCumber aged 29, escaped from the Geelong Gaol on the 3rd of October 1962. After steeling a car in Swanston st, Geelong they headed north to the boarder. An intensive hunt was made for them throughout South-West N.S.W. after sightings of the men crossing the board near Swan Hill were reported. The two men had stolen cars in Moulamein, Goolgowi and Griffith in their attempt to escape the police and road blocks. The escapees gave them selves up on the 4th of October after a 160 Km an hour car chase in which Constables West and Hunt fired shots into the fugitive car. Two shots hit the back of the car and another smashed the rear window. The two men were unarmed when arrested. Denis and McCumber were tired in the Griffith court and found guilty of being four days on the run. Both men where returned to Geelong Gaol.


On this day …….. 28th September 1860

William Haynes, a prisoner of the Crown, was charged on this day with being Illegally at Large after having escaped from Collingwood Stockade.


On this day …….. 26th September 1896

An inmate of the Lunatic Asylum at Sunbury, names John O’Brien made his escape on the 26th of September 1896, got on the railway line and walked towards Footscray. He was followed by a warder on horseback, but through the horse, breaking, down a ceed any further. A telephone message was therefore sent to the Footscray police and Senior-Constable McGrath and Constable Gierck proceeded to Victoria street, near where they met the escapee. He was detained here for the night, and sent back next morning in charge of warder. It appears that O’Brien, who is a powerful man, has been an inmate of the asylum for 9 years, and has often shown signs of violence, but although he endeavoured to avoid arrest, he submitted quietly when he saw no chance of escape.