On This Day ……. 25th May 1901
A Remarkable Record was reported in the Geelong paper on this day in 1901. There will shortly be released from the Geelong gaol, a convict with a most remarkable record. His name is Frederick Clarke, better known as ‘Josh’ Clarke, and he has spent nearly half a century within prison walls. He was born in Leeds Yorkshire, and as far back as 1847 was transported for house breaking to Norfolk Island. From there he escaped, but he was not long at liberty in Australia, for he was soon caught offending, and since that time he has served sentences ranging from a few months to 14 years. In 1887, when he was over 60 years of age, he was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment for receiving, the judge evidently desiring that so notorious a character should end his career in prison. With another daring criminal, Christopher Farrel, he escaped from the Geelong gaol in 1888, after gagging and pinioning the warder, but the men were re-captured, and each received a further sentence of two years. The ‘Geelong Times.’ which gives these particular s. adds : — Clarke, who is close on 80 years of age, has been a constant source of anxiety to the officials since he has been in Geelong. A never ending watch has to be maintained, for it is only a short time since his cell was rushed and the discovery made that he was just on the point of removing stones from the outer wall of his cell.