On This Day ……. 26th of July

Mr. G. Read Murphy, P.M., paid an official visit to the Geelong gaol on this day in 1911. Amongst the generally orderly lot of old and infirm prisoners there he found few complaints of any moment, and no cases, of insubordination were brought under his notice.


On This Day ……. 25th of July 1910

Three prisoners will be transferred from tho Geelong gaol to Pentridge on this day in 1910. Two of them are for discharge, and the other, a man, who was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment for shooting, at Constable Salisbury at Portarlington
some years ago, is being taken down for medical examination.


On This Day ……. 24th of July 1910

John Williams, an elderly man, received on transfer in December last from the Ballarat Gaol, died in the Geelong Gaol on this day in 1910. On the 12th instant he had a series of paralytic fits which deprived him of speech, and pleurisy afterwards developed. Dr. Croker certified that death was due to pleurisy and debility, and Mr. Murphy, P.M., who held an inquiry, found accordingly.


On This Day ……. 23rd of July 1945

In one of Victoria’s biggest gaol break, 22 men escaped from the old Geelong gaol on this day in 1945. Tired and hungry, four of the men, including the ringleader, were captured at Werribee on the 24th. The escape, which had been well planned, occurred at 12.30pm when the men were having lunch in the gaol yard. Without warning they rushed a stone wall, and, using tins as steps, scrambled over into a store yard. The guard on the watchtower tried to raise the alarm by telephoning the gaol orderly room, but the men had cut the wires. Grabbing several ladders they scrambled over the outer 15ft stone wall and dropped into the street. They were then seen to divide into several parties. Meanwhile the guard, unaware that the telephone wires were cut, was still frantically trying to raise the orderly room, and it is believed the first intimation the orderly room had of the escape came from an outside source. Military police in Melbourne were immediately notified and all roads and railway stations were watched. Police, however, were hampered by heavy football traffic from Geelong, and it in the confusion most of the escapees had made it to Melbourne, where their homes were. The four men captured at Werribee said they had no complaint against their treatment or against conditions in gaol. They had just seen the chance to escape and had taken it. Only one of the escapees was still a member of the Army, it was stated last night. Several of the men had civil convictions, and most of them had not served outside Australia. When they escaped the men were wearing Army clothes. The remainder of the men were found in Melbourne.


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 ……. 21st of July 1923

An elderly woman Mrs Drew, who was found under filthy conditions in an outhouse in the Market Square several weeks earlier was placed under arrest by Constable Jackson and remanded to the Geelong Gaol Hospital, she died suddenly at 9pm on this day in 1923. The matter has been reported to the police with a view to the facts being placed before the coroner.


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 – July 18, 1859

Yesterday morning at ten o’clock was the time fixed for the execution of Chew-a-Key, the Chinaman convicted of the murder of the late Mr. M’Elligott, at Ironbark Gully, Bendigo, On Sunday evening however, he contrived to evade the sentence of the law by committing suicide. He was last seen alive by Mr. Winkle, the Governor of the gaol, and the turnkey in whose immediate custody he was placed, at about four o’clock on Sunday afternoon. There are two doors to the condemned cell in which Chew-a-Key was confined, the outer one similar to those in general use in the gaol, and an inner one composed of perpendicular and transverse iron bars, so as to form a sort of grating, through which the prisoners might be observed by the turnkey on duty. At a quarter to five o’clock on Sunday afternoon, the turnkey went to the cell in which the condemned prisoner was confined, for the purpose of lighting the gas. On opening the outer door, he saw him hanging from one of the transverse iron bars of the inner door. The alarm was immediately given, the prisoner cut down, and every means employed for his resuscitation, but without avail. It was apparent that Chew-a-Key must have premeditated self-destruction for some time from the particular care which he had taken that the attempt should be effectual. He had torn up one of his blankets, and twisted it into a rope for the purpose; and it was evident that he must have managed so to raise himself from the floor of the cell as to obtain a seat on one of the bars of the door, whilst he fastened the rope with which he hanged himself. He had also tied his feet together, and had then connected his hands with his feet by means of a piece of the blanket twisted into a rope in such a manner as entirely to prevent any attempts which he might have made to save himself, supposing his courage to have failed him at the last moment. The Sheriff was not informed of the occurrence until he arrived at the gaol yesterday morning, shortly before ten o’clock, to see the sentence of the law carried into effect. An inquest was held on the body yesterday, at twelve o’clock. The Coroner then drew attention to the fact, that in England, from the time sentence of death was passed on a prisoner until that sentence was carried into execution, he was never suffered to be alone, and said he thought the recent occurrence would show the authorities the necessity of adopting a similar practice in the colony.


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.


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.