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10TH ESCAPE FAILS

On This Day ….. 24th July 1954

A 16 year old “Houdini” managed to escape from Aradale Mental Hospital, on 24th of July 1954, by scaling a 20ft wall. This was his 10th time he has escaped from mental and other institutions in the last three years. The boy, who travelled 128 miles, was caught by police on the 28th of July, after a wild chase around Williamstown. When police went to the youth’s home in Fifth ave, Williamstown, just after 7am, he leapt from a side window and bolted toward the rear of the house. A hectic 30 minute chase followed, with the youth scrambling over fences, through barbed wire, a poultry pen, and dozens of other obstacles. Eventually at 8:30am Constables M. Keetley and E. Hancock trapped him in a backyard of a house after he had tried desperately to open a locked door. Exhausted, bleeding and covered in grime, he was taken to the City Watch house were he was charged with house breaking and stealing, he was taken to Pentridge Gaol.

 

John Curtin 14th Prime Minister of Australia, first job at the age of 14, was as a messenger boy for a magazine edited by artist Norman Lindsay. Curtin was also gaoled for three days in Pentridge Prison Melbourne in 1916 for defying government’s call-up order for military. Although holding such strong beliefs Curtin passed conscription for WWII.

On this day …….. 4th of June 1891

Moyhu in North East Victoria, revived an unexpected visitor from old time Bushranger Harry Power on this day. Power had been released from Pentridge Gaol due to ill health and was ready for a career in show bussiness. An old convict ship had been refitted to show what life was like on one of the old prison hulk on Port Phillip Bay. Harry was the official greeter of guests and was billed as “a real bushranger”. Harry had returned to Moyhu, he said to search for a plant of gold he had made some years earlier. He disappeared from the district, and reappeared in Swan Hill, where he died latter that year. Harry is buried in the Swan Hill cemetery.

ON THIS DAY – June 1, 1936

ARNOLD SODEMAN – PENTRIDGE GAOL

Arnold Karl Sodeman 39 was hanged in the Pentridge Gaol this morning for the murder of June Rushmer, aged 6½ years, at Leongatha, on December last. Asked by the Sheriff whether he had anything to say, Sodeman replied: “Nothing, sir.” He walked to the scaffold, apparently unmoved. His last words to the Governor of the Gaol last night were: “I am glad it is nearly over.” Sodeman confessed to the murders of three other girls during the last five years. He had not wanted a reprieve because of the fear that if he lived he may have committed more murders. Sodeman spent a good deal of yesterday playing draughts with Edward Cornelius, who is under sentence of death for the murder of the Rev. Cecil in Fitzroy in November of last year.

On This Day ……. 1st June 1927

Clive Frankston, aged 36 years, was charged on the 1st of the June 1926, with larceny and sentenced to two years in Pentradge. On the 28th April 1927, the Penal Authorities at Pentridge decided to transfer Frankston and another prisoner, Henry Tacke, to the Geelong Gaol. The two prisoners were escorted by Senior Constable Matthews and Constable Springfield, took the two prisoners from Pentridge Gaol to the Flinders street station in a prison van. Frankston was placed in a carriage on the Geelong train at No. 1 platform, and the two police officers returned to the van to carry Tacke, who was disabled by an injured leg, to the train. Upon reaching the carriage they found that’ Frankston was gone. Frankston seeing an opportunity to escaped from the carriage while the police escort was carring Tacke who was disabled to the police van out side the station. He dashed from the carriage and rushing through the ticket barrier and disappeared among the crowds in the street. On the 14th of May 1927, following up inquiries detectives raid a house in Napior street, Fitzroy owned by Frankstons wife. Inside Frankston was recaptured, he offered no resistance, he was so weak from illness that he could scarcely stand. He told the police that he was glad to get back to gaol and that he was suffering badly from consumption and that that he believed that the sea air at Geelong would kill him. Frankston received an extra 6 months to his sentence.

On this day …….. 15th of December 1940

A man arrested at North Sydney on this day in 1940, on a charge of stealing from the Milson’s Point Hotel was later charged with being an escapee from Pentridge gaol, Victoria. He was arrested on the stealing charge by Constables Scarfe and Edwards, of North Sydney, who discovered on consulting their files at their station that a man fitting the description of the man they had in charge was wanted for escaping from Pentridge gaol on November 30. Kenneth Raymond Jones, 20, apprentice, was later charged at North Sydney with breaking gaol in Victoria and with stealing goods and money from the Milson’s Point Hotel, where he had been a guest for several days.

ON THIS DAY…… 6th November 1908

 A draft of four prisoners from Pentridge was received at the Geelong Gaol on this day in 1908.  The prisoners were placed in the Hospital ward for a change of air and discipline. 

 

On this day …….. 10th of October 1891

Henry Johnstone alias Harry Power a notorious Victorian bushranger was born in Waterford, England, in 1819. Johnstone was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1841 for stealing shoes. During the 1850s and 1860s, he found himself in trouble with the law a number of times for horse stealing and other crimes. His bushranging career began after he escaped from Pentridge Gaol, Melbourne in 1869. Initially he worked alone, but as he set his sights on higher goals of bushranging, he decided he needed an assistant. A friend, Jack Lloyd, told Power of Lloyd’s nephew, Ned Kelly, who was just 15 at the time. Power served as mentor to Ned Kelly, taking him on as an apprentice in 1870 and teaching him the finer arts of bushranging. Jack Lloyd was the one who finally betrayed Power to the local constabulary. Enticed by the 500 pound reward, Lloyd led the police to Power’s hideout at the back of Glenmore Station’s homestead, King Valley in North East Victoria. Power was apprehended and, as his crimes were non-violent, he was sentenced to 15 years’ gaol. Six years after his release, Power drowned when he fell into the Murray River near Swan Hill, on this day in 1891.

 

10TH ESCAPE FAILS

On This Day ….. 24th July 1954

A 16 year old “Houdini” managed to escape from Aradale Mental Hospital, on 24th of July 1954, by scaling a 20ft wall. This was his 10th time he has escaped from mental and other institutions in the last three years. The boy, who travelled 128 miles, was caught by police on the 28th of July, after a wild chase around Williamstown. When police went to the youth’s home in Fifth ave, Williamstown, just after 7am, he leapt from a side window and bolted toward the rear of the house. A hectic 30 minute chase followed, with the youth scrambling over fences, through barbed wire, a poultry pen, and dozens of other obstacles. Eventually at 8:30am Constables M. Keetley and E. Hancock trapped him in a backyard of a house after he had tried desperately to open a locked door. Exhausted, bleeding and covered in grime, he was taken to the City Watch house were he was charged with house breaking and stealing, he was taken to Pentridge Gaol.

 

John Curtin 14th Prime Minister of Australia, first job at the age of 14, was as a messenger boy for a magazine edited by artist Norman Lindsay. Curtin was also gaoled for three days in Pentridge Prison Melbourne in 1916 for defying government’s call-up order for military. Although holding such strong beliefs Curtin passed conscription for WWII.

On this day …….. 4th of June 1891

Moyhu in North East Victoria, revived an unexpected visitor from old time Bushranger Harry Power on this day. Power had been released from Pentridge Gaol due to ill health and was ready for a career in show bussiness. An old convict ship had been refitted to show what life was like on one of the old prison hulk on Port Phillip Bay. Harry was the official greeter of guests and was billed as “a real bushranger”. Harry had returned to Moyhu, he said to search for a plant of gold he had made some years earlier. He disappeared from the district, and reappeared in Swan Hill, where he died latter that year. Harry is buried in the Swan Hill cemetery.

ON THIS DAY – June 1, 1936

ARNOLD SODEMAN – PENTRIDGE GAOL

Arnold Karl Sodeman 39 was hanged in the Pentridge Gaol this morning for the murder of June Rushmer, aged 6½ years, at Leongatha, on December last. Asked by the Sheriff whether he had anything to say, Sodeman replied: “Nothing, sir.” He walked to the scaffold, apparently unmoved. His last words to the Governor of the Gaol last night were: “I am glad it is nearly over.” Sodeman confessed to the murders of three other girls during the last five years. He had not wanted a reprieve because of the fear that if he lived he may have committed more murders. Sodeman spent a good deal of yesterday playing draughts with Edward Cornelius, who is under sentence of death for the murder of the Rev. Cecil in Fitzroy in November of last year.