On this day …….. 19th of June 1932

William Augustine McEntee aged 39 was arrested in Stawell on the 1st June 1932 on a charge of unlawful possession of a car. He was also wanted in Adelaide on a charge of having absconded from Gaol. He has convictions dating back to 1915 for shop breaking, larceny, unlawful possession, false pretences, and horse stealing. McEntee was committed to the criminal ward of Ararat Asylum. On the 19th of June 1932, McEntee broke out of his cell and escaped. Staff were amazed and puzzled at the disappearance of McEntee. “God knows how he did it,” said a warden, when asked over the telephone from Melbourne how it was possible for McEntee; have got away undetected. ” One of the most amazed men was the head warden who, a quarter of an hour before, had given McEntee his lunch. At that time the cell was locked and secure, shortly afterwards, while walking along the corridor, was surprised to find the cell door open and McEntee missing. He was described as being very cunning and dangerous criminal. McEntee remained on the run for all must 12 months, before he was court and sent to the Beechworth Gaol. On the 5th of February 1940, William McEntee, made his third escape when he scaled a 15ft wall of the Beechworth Gaol and rode away on a bicycle he obtained in the town. McEntee was arrested in Sydney on the 23rd of December 1942, and charged with breaking and entering and theft of £1000 worth of properly. While being interview by police it was realised that McEntee, had escaped from Beechworth Gaol, and been on the run for nearly three years. He was sentenced to gaol again.

ON THIS DAY – June 17, 1913

A tragic affair at the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum on June 17 when a patient was killed with an axe handle as the result of a sudden attack by another inmate culminated in the presentment of Arthur Dowell at the Criminal Court charged with the murder. John Joseph Tissear, medical officer of the asylum, gave evidence that the accused was suffering from dementia and could not possibly realise his position. The jury found that prisoner was not fit to plead to the presentment, and the Chief Justice ordered that he should be detained in custody during the Governor’s pleasure. Dowell was taken back to the Asylum.


On This Day ……. 13th June 1901

An Indian, who had developed symptoms of insanity since his transfer to the Geelong gaol from Melbourne, was token to the Yarra Bend Asylum. With the Indian travelled an elderly lunatic patient who was committed to the Kew Asylum by the Geelong bench. The pair were under the care of Mounted constables Toomey and M’Phee.

On this day …….. 12th of June 1896

Information has been received by the Wodonga police that a man named
Patrick Sheridan, an inmate of the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, escaped
from that institution on the 12th of June 1896. Sheridan is described as a man of 55 years of age, 8 feet high, with beard turning grey, and was wearing a dark “paget” coat (with buttons low down on chest) and white moleskin trousers also a dark hard felt hat. He was seen a few days ago at Wooragee, making towards Indigo Creek, and was afterwards seen on the Yackandandah road, about nine miles from Wodonga, and carrying a stick in his hand. Any information as to Sheridan’s whereabout should at once be sent to the police, in order that the man, who is a religious maniac, may be re-captured.

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.

On this day …….. 5th of June 1903

On the 5th of June 1903 a patient by the name of Croker, from the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum made a daring escaped from that institution. Croker a ganger employed on the railway was arrested two months earlier while in Melbourne and charged as being a lunatic. Croker left the grounds of the hospital and walked into Beechworth were he found the train station, here he walked along the tracks until he left town. As the train left Beechworth and before the engine reached full speed, Croker was able to run beside the train and clime aboard were he sat on the buffer of a carriage. Using this method of transport Croker was able to make his way to his where his wife still resided in Alexandra. On arriving he was recognised as an escaped lunatic by the Station Master, who sent a wire to Beechworth to the effect that Croker had turned up. Senior-constable Mooney and Constable Brooker were soon on the spot, but the escapee had left, after being supplied with a change of clothing and £1 by his wife. Croker was known to beat his wife.

On this day …….. 1st of June 1903

Walter Sovereign former warden at Beechworth Lunatic Asylum now a wood cutter. Sovereign was camping not far from Bright, North East Victoria, on the 1st of June 1903 and while boiling a billy in tho darkness after work he was surprised to find a man standing behind him. The man was wearing only a canvas bag and had no shoes. Several questions were put by Sovereign to the man who gave no intelligent continually muttering ‘ Knife” Murder and when asked questions answer simply repeating the words after him . On Sovereign picking up a knife for fear of being attacked the man disappeared in the forest. Police have since scoured the country without finding any trace of the man. He is believed to be one of two escaped lunatics.

On this day …….. 9th of December 1873

Daniel Lynch a labour working in Euroa had a turn while at work and was found to be suffering insanity. Lynch was taken to Beechworth by train and transferred to Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum on the 20th of August 1871, on admission it was not known where his family was. Lynch escaped on the 9th of December 1873. Lynch remained at large until the 14th of March 1881, when he found him self incarcerated in the Beechworth Gaol on miner charges. Lynch was transferred to the Asylum where he died on the 17th of August 1882.

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…… 28th September 1890

A terrible murder was committed on this day in 1890 in Golden Square, Sandhurst, the victim being Richard Whitford, a miner, aged 60, and the perpetrator his wife, Catherine, aged 55. On the previously Saturday night Whitford, who had been drinking heavily, went to bed in a drunken sleep. Mrs Whitford get an axe from the yard and struck him a heavy blow on the head, and then quietly lay down on a sofa. Some of the children coming in found their father lying bathed in blood. The alarm was given and the man was removed to the Hospital, where it was found that his skull had been split open. He lingered till the evening and then died. Mrs Whitford was arrested. She displayed signs of mental aberration, and after medical examination was committed to the lunatic ward of the Bendigo Hospital.


On this day …….. 18th September 1954

After escaping from Ararat Mental Hospital, clothed only in his pyjamas, broke into a house where a woman was alone with her children, in the early hours of the 18th of September 1954. Many shift workers in the Ararat area were afraid to leave their families alone at night. The lady feed the man and called the police. He was taken back to Aradale.


On this day …….. 18th September 1868

Jacob Jobbles was transferred from Yarra Bend Asylum to the Beechworth Asylum on the 23rd of November 1867. Jobbles escape on the 18th of September 1868, he was on the run for 7 days.