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William George Bruhn entered the Geelong Gaol on 3 December 1930 for a 6 month imprisonment.  It is Geelong’s connection to one of the more infamous criminal families – the Bruhns

On December 2, 1930, William parked his car in a lane near the railway line in Lethbridge.  In the car was a crowbar, gelignite, fuses, detonators and blankets. The men were waiting for the goods train from Ballarat to Geelong to pass but had aroused the suspicions of the locals who called the police.  William and two other men with him were charged with loitering with intent to commit a felony and each given 6 months imprisonment.

William was the eldest son of Oscar Bruhn and Mary Ann McFarlane.  Oscar and Mary Ann had ten children, all born in Geelong – Ellen (1886), William (1888), Oscar (1890), Edward (1893), Norman (1894), Stanley (1897), Agnes (1899), Eric (1902), Roy (1905) and Catherine (1908).

Four of the sons would spend time in prison.

But Oscar himself, although with no prison time, was no stranger to the courts himself.

In 1908, Oscar was fined 10 shillings for throwing a rowdy spectator over the fence while he was umpiring a football game.  In 1909, Oscar was arrested for assaulting William after he arrived home in a foul temper, throwing a plate at his wife before picking up William up the legs and swinging him around the room before hurling him out a glass window. Then in 1911, Oscar was charged with the indecent assault of a 22 year old domestic servant.  Despite testimony from the young woman, her employer and the employer’s son, Oscar was acquitted.

William was brought up on a criminal assault charge in 1911 at Cressy but he was acquitted at trial.  In 1928, he was charged with larceny for stealing car tyres from the Railways using his position as an engine driver.  For this crime he served 18 months at Pentridge and Metropolitan prisons.

Brothers Eric and Roy also served time for various crimes such as receiving, larceny, unlicensed pistol and being a suspected person.

Roy was known for being a standover man and robber.  In 1930, he was shot in the chest because of a dispute over proceeds of a robbery.  In 1931, their father Oscar was shot in the leg with a bullet meant for Roy after a quarrel over money.  In 1937, Roy was implicated in the unsolved murder of John Demsey who was shot and buried in a shallow grave.

But perhaps the most famous brother was Norman Bruhn.  Norman came to the attention of police as a teenager with minor charges such as riding his bike without a light and offensive behaviours.  Norman enlisted in the army with his brothers and many of them were court martialled during their service.  Norman would be incarcerated for being AWOL in France for several months. It was when he returned that Norman spent time in and out of Melbourne prisons for various offences.

Norman became involved with Squizzy Taylor as a standover man with a reputation of a bad temper and a beater of women.  In 1926, when Norman shot a man and it was feared he would die, he took his wife and children and moved to Sydney becoming involved in the razor gang wars as an enforcer.  He would keep company with the likes of George Wallace the “Midnight Raper”, Snowy Cutmore, Sailor the Slasher Saidler and the albino Razor Jack Hayes.

In Sydney, Normans stay would be short lived when on the night of 22 June 1927, he would be shot and fatally wounded in a sly grog shop.  Norman never identified his killers nor did his drinking buddy, horse trainer Robert Miller.  It was believed the shooters were Tom and Siddy Kelly, Frank Green and George Gaffney but they were never identified and charged.

But the crimes continued down the family tree.  Norman’s grandsons Keith Faure and Noel Faure were imprisoned for the murder of Lewis Moran.  Keith served part of his sentence at Geelong Gaol before being moved to Barwon prison.

ON THIS DAY…… 15th November 1901

Notorious gangster Percy Ramage cuts his throat

A desperate affray occurred within the gaol walls last night, which almost ended in a tragedy. Whilst one of the warders was searching the prisoners in their cells prior to their being locked up for the night, he was startled, on entering the cell occupied by a notoriously dangerous criminal named Edwards, alias Percy Ramage, to see him endeavouring to cut his throat with a small knife, which he had managed to conceal about his clothing. The warder made a rush for him, and they closed, the prisoner, who is a powerful ruffian, lifting the warder up bodily and attempting to throw him over the railing into the corridor several feet below. The calls of the warder brought assistance just in time to prevent Edwards from carrying out his design. Even then it was only with the greatest difficulty that he was overpowered, the assistance of several prisoners being invoked in addition to the efforts of four warders. Ramage was removed to a special cell, and the gaol medical officer attended to the wounds in his throat, which were not of a very serious nature. The prisoner, who is undergoing a long sentence for a murderous assault committed on Constable Luke when he was stationed in Melbourne, will be brought before the visiting magistrates. A notorious prisoner named Cutmore committed suicide, another youthful prisoner named Gregory was overheard to express his intention of cutting his throat, and on being searched a piece of sharpened steel was found concealed in his clothing. He will found concealed in his clothing. He will also be brought before the visiting justice.

ON THIS DAY…… 4th November 1922

Concerts at Geelong Gaol

Since the escape of Angus Murray from Geelong gaol there has been a ban on the fortnightly concerts that were formerly held in the gaol for the entertainment of the prisoners. The Inspector-General has now issued instructions that the concerts may again be held , and with the object of reverting to the former practice it has been decided to hold a concert on the afternoon of Saturday, November 10. The assistance of vocal and other artists is desired. Visitors will notice that the surroundings of the gaol have been improved, as the painters and decorators have renovated and decorated the interior of the building. Angus Murray’s cell has been repaired, and peace and order seem to again prevail. The prisoners’ choir master (Angus Murrray) will be succeeded by another prisoner who shows vocal power. It is not generally known that among the prisoners are several men who can contribute an entertainment.

ON THIS DAY – October 27, 1927

Hailing a taxi-cab in Lonsdale Street at 5 o’clock on October 27, 1927, Squizzy Taylor, accompanied by two men, ordered the driver, John Hall, to go to Carlton. When he hailed the cab Taylor gave no indication of his destination beyond saying that he wished to visit a hotel in Carlton. Calls were made to several hotels in the vicinity of Rathdowne, Lygon, and Elgin streets. The movements of the men indicated that they were in search of another person or persons. Their conversation, however, gave no clue as to whom they were seeking. Eventually Taylor told the driver to go to Barkly Street. Turning from Rathdowne Street the cab had only travelled a few yards in a northerly direction along Barkly street, when the driver was told to stop. Taylor, accompanied by one of his friends left the cab, and walking some distance along the northern side of the street went into one of a terrace of houses.

The house belonged to Bridget Cutmore, mother of Snowy Cutmore.  Cutmore’s bedroom would be the scene of the final shootout with Snowy dying in his bed and Squizzy dying in St Vincents Hospital a few hours later.

 

 

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 ……. 24th of August 1923

On the 24th of August 1923, Angus Murray, who is serving a sentence of 15 years for robbery under arms, made his escape, by means of a small saw, he removed the stones at the base of his window. The bars were then loosened, leaving him sufficient room to squeeze through. Murray had 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 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 shot 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 (Squizzy) 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 were 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.

 

Labassa is an outstanding Victorian era mansion with opulent architectural features at 2 Manor Grove, Caulfield. Labassa was the filming location for the home of Squizzy Taylor and Lorna Kelly in the highly popular Underbelly series. Set between 1915–1927 in Melbourne and tells the story of one of the city’s most notorious criminals, Squizzy Taylor, who made an appearance in Underbelly: Razor, which was set in 1920s Sydney. Justin Rosniak did not reprise his role as Squizzy as Jared Daperis took over the role.

ON THIS DAY…… 15th November 1901

Notorious gangster Percy Ramage cuts his throat

A desperate affray occurred within the gaol walls last night, which almost ended in a tragedy. Whilst one of the warders was searching the prisoners in their cells prior to their being locked up for the night, he was startled, on entering the cell occupied by a notoriously dangerous criminal named Edwards, alias Percy Ramage, to see him endeavouring to cut his throat with a small knife, which he had managed to conceal about his clothing. The warder made a rush for him, and they closed, the prisoner, who is a powerful ruffian, lifting the warder up bodily and attempting to throw him over the railing into the corridor several feet below. The calls of the warder brought assistance just in time to prevent Edwards from carrying out his design. Even then it was only with the greatest difficulty that he was overpowered, the assistance of several prisoners being invoked in addition to the efforts of four warders. Ramage was removed to a special cell, and the gaol medical officer attended to the wounds in his throat, which were not of a very serious nature. The prisoner, who is undergoing a long sentence for a murderous assault committed on Constable Luke when he was stationed in Melbourne, will be brought before the visiting magistrates. A notorious prisoner named Cutmore committed suicide, another youthful prisoner named Gregory was overheard to express his intention of cutting his throat, and on being searched a piece of sharpened steel was found concealed in his clothing. He will found concealed in his clothing. He will also be brought before the visiting justice.

ON THIS DAY…… 4th November 1922

Concerts at Geelong Gaol

Since the escape of Angus Murray from Geelong gaol there has been a ban on the fortnightly concerts that were formerly held in the gaol for the entertainment of the prisoners. The Inspector-General has now issued instructions that the concerts may again be held , and with the object of reverting to the former practice it has been decided to hold a concert on the afternoon of Saturday, November 10. The assistance of vocal and other artists is desired. Visitors will notice that the surroundings of the gaol have been improved, as the painters and decorators have renovated and decorated the interior of the building. Angus Murray’s cell has been repaired, and peace and order seem to again prevail. The prisoners’ choir master (Angus Murrray) will be succeeded by another prisoner who shows vocal power. It is not generally known that among the prisoners are several men who can contribute an entertainment.

ON THIS DAY – October 27, 1927

Hailing a taxi-cab in Lonsdale Street at 5 o’clock on October 27, 1927, Squizzy Taylor, accompanied by two men, ordered the driver, John Hall, to go to Carlton. When he hailed the cab Taylor gave no indication of his destination beyond saying that he wished to visit a hotel in Carlton. Calls were made to several hotels in the vicinity of Rathdowne, Lygon, and Elgin streets. The movements of the men indicated that they were in search of another person or persons. Their conversation, however, gave no clue as to whom they were seeking. Eventually Taylor told the driver to go to Barkly Street. Turning from Rathdowne Street the cab had only travelled a few yards in a northerly direction along Barkly street, when the driver was told to stop. Taylor, accompanied by one of his friends left the cab, and walking some distance along the northern side of the street went into one of a terrace of houses.

The house belonged to Bridget Cutmore, mother of Snowy Cutmore.  Cutmore’s bedroom would be the scene of the final shootout with Snowy dying in his bed and Squizzy dying in St Vincents Hospital a few hours later.

 

 

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 ……. 24th of August 1923

On the 24th of August 1923, Angus Murray, who is serving a sentence of 15 years for robbery under arms, made his escape, by means of a small saw, he removed the stones at the base of his window. The bars were then loosened, leaving him sufficient room to squeeze through. Murray had 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 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 shot 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 (Squizzy) 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 were 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.