On This Day……. 7th July 1910

Another patient has escaped from Yarra Bend, and has taken advantage of her liberty to end her existence in the river, placed conveniently for this purpose. The inquiry into the matter opened the eyes of the public to the fact that the lunatic asylum is as easy and accessible as an ordinary villa. Outsiders can get in, and insiders can get out just whenever they feel disposed. True, outsiders do not as a rule try to get into Yarra Bend as fervently as they strive to get into Parliament, but, insiders do try to get out. The patient mentioned above was a woman, and she had no difficulty whatever in getting over the garden wall and into the river. Possibly the policy of “the institution is that mad patients are much better out of the world but, if this is really the case, it would be wiser to extend the asylum grounds, and take in a strip of the river for the convenience of those lunatics who are ambitious to go to Heaven in a hurry.

On This Day…… 6th July 1886

Escaped Lunatic – John Fleming

John Fleming, a lunatic at Yarra Bend, escaped from the cook-house of the institution on the 6th of July, and could not be traced. The police have been apprised of the escape, and requested to forward any particulars of his whereabouts which they may obtain to the authorities.

On This Day……. 28th June 1913


It was reported to the police on the morning of the 28th June 1913, that Michael Coglilan, an inmate of Yarra Bend Asylum, who escaped from the institution. The escaper was described as 40 years of age, 5 feet 16 Inches in height, slight of build, with black whiskers. He was wearing a brown tweed- suit, with long cut coat, and a brown felt hat.


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 – October 31, 1900

Valentine Curtis Robertson, an inmate of the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, was placed in the dock of the Criminal Court to-day, and charged with the murder of Fitzroy Shanks, another inmate. It was alleged that on October 31, Shanks, who was an elderly man, was waiting near one of the cottages for his breakfast, when Robertson crept up behind him, and dealt him a blow on the head with a piece of wood, which felled him. He then battered him so savagely that death took place in two hours. The medical evidence showed that the prisoner was insane, and the jury found he was unfit to plead. Mr. Justice Hodges ordered him to be kept in strict custody until the Governor’s pleasure is known.

On this day …….. 23rd September 1863

One of the lunatics confined at the Yarra Bend Asylum escaped from his keeper on the morning 23rd Sept 1863, and threw himself into the Yarra River. The unfortunate man was not observed to rise again. Efforts were made for the recovery of the body, but up to a considerable time after the ocenrrence they were not successful.


On this day …….. 20th September 1859

An Escaped Lunatic, John Hoolahan, alias Harrington, was brought up by Police Contable Brennan as a dangerous lunatic escaped from the Yarra Bend Asylum. The prisoner had been apprehended at Kilmore. He was remanded back to the Asylum


On this day …….. 18th September 1874

A man whose Iname is unknown, and who it is believed is a lunatic escaped from the Yarra Bend Asylum, has been frightening women and children at Hawthorn and the neighbourhood by going about enveloped in a sheet and personating a ghost. One young girl named Brookfield, a servant, was so frightened by his antics and appearance that she had a succession of fits and had to be sent home. The man has since then,” it is said, been found drowned in a waterhole, at Boroondara.


On this day …….. 17th September 1859


An unfortunate woman, Eliza Brown, who was discovered at Footscray in a destitute condition, was brought up on the 17th of September 1859, at the Williamstown Police Court, and found to be a lunatic, escaped from the Yarra Bend Lunatic


On this day …….. 17th September 1909

A young man who escaped from Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum was captured on the 16th of September 1909 in Kilmore. We was brought back to Melbourne.


On this day …….. 25th of August 1896

Two lunatics have escaped from the infamous Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum in Melbourne on the 25th August 1896. This institution built on the Bend of the Yarra River coined the saying…….. “Your going around the Bend”.


On this day …….. 13th of August 1907

People living in the vicinity of the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, Melbourne are getting a bit scared owing to the frequent escapes from the Lunatic Asylum.’ The second
escape from the asylum within three weeks was reported to the police. The escaped patient was William Harrison, 35 years of age, 5ft. 5m. in height, with fair complexion and a sandy moustache. He was a stoutly built man and was dressed in blue suit and black boxer hat. Harrison was said to be a harmless lunatic.