ON THIS DAY…… 27th October 1902

On this day in 1902, a young man John O’Brien, who had come to Geelong, five weeks earlier from Melbourne by boat and urged a constable to lock him up, as he was too ill to provide for himself, died in the Geelong Gaol from phthisis. On a charge of vagrancy, he was sentenced to a month’s imprisonment. This term he completed a few day’s ago but as he was too ill to be removed he was allowed to remain in the Gaol Hospital. An inquiry resulted in the return of a verdict that death was due to phthisis.


ON THIS DAY…… 26th October 1902

The young man James Revell who was arrested in Melbourne charged with obtaining £3 by means of a valueless cheque from Frank Shepherd of the Union Club Hotel, Geelong, was on this day in 1902, was fined £5 and one month’s imprisonment in the Geelong Gaol.


ON THIS DAY…… 26th October 1902

Thomson Frost was brought from Camperdown to the Geelong gaol. Frost was arrester at Camperdown on this day in 1902 and charge with committing an unnatural offences. He was remanded to the Geelong gaol for a week.


ON THIS DAY…… 25th October 1871

The Ballarat Courier learned on this day in 1871, that some important evidence has been secured in Ballarat with regard to the charge of murder on which a man named
Geary is now incarcerated in the Geelong Gaol. The evidence will be given by a cabman named Wilson, and his wife, both of whom were served with the necessary
subpoenas to attend at Geelong.


ON THIS DAY…… 24th October 1902

A Chinese in the Geelong Gaol, named Ah Lee Goon, who was transferred some time, ago from the Melbourne Gaol on account of mental weakness, has developed into a violent lunatic. On this day in 1902, two magistrates attended at the local gaol and committed the Celestial to a lunatic asylum.


ON THIS DAY…… 23rd October 1904

Percy Ramage, whoso frequent branches of gaol discipline brought him into notoriety while serving a sentence for a serious assault upon Constable Luke in Melbourne some years ago, was liberated from Pentridge gaol, on this day in 1904, and arrived in Geelong by steamer. Shortly after his arrival the local police received a telegram stating that Ramage was wanted for an assault committed upon a police constable in Melbourne. A search was made for Ramage, and he was found on the beach by Plain-clothes Constable Gleeson, who, with Senior Constable Meredith and Constable O’Mara, took him to the watch house, and placed him under arrest pending the arrival of a warrant from Melbourne. The police anticipated trouble in making ‘the arrest, but Ramage surprised them by going quietly to the watch house. The original sentence which Ramage received for the assault upon Constable Luke was five years, but he served six years altogether, and in response to a petition two years of his additional imprisonment were remitted at the Geelong Gaol.


ON THIS DAY…… 22nd October 1877

The Geelong Gaol was re-proclaimed as a gaol on 22nd October 1877. In 1924, part of the gaol was set aside as a Reformatory Prison. It remained as a gaol up until the outbreak of World War 2 when it was utilised to house the Army Detention Barracks. The Unit housed in the Geelong Gaol was 8 Detention Barracks, Geelong but was generally known as Geelong Detention Barracks. At one time it held up to 192 soldiers. Although it was now an army detention, there were still some escapes!
In 1947, it was reproclaimed as a gaol. In 1958 the Gaol was proclaimed as a Training Prison and in this role was used to educate prisoners in various trades including printing, sign writing, painting, tailoring, brick laying and toy making. Capacity of the gaol was 130 and in 1960 there were 119 inmates. The tailoring workshop was originally located upstairs on the second floor, which was previously the hospital and chapel.


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.


ON THIS DAY…… 20th October 1902

Leo Peter Whelan, a gunner from Queenscliff, was charged, at the Geelong Police court on this day in 1902, with being illegally on the premises of the Royal Hotel on 12th of October. Whelan was sentenced to nine months imprisonment in Geelong gaol.


ON THIS DAY…… 19th October 1870

John Cook, on remand from Geelong, charged with fraud, was remanded for seven days, bail being allowed in two sureties of £50 each.