Insane Penal Colony Escape Attempts (Australia)

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reverb’s great cause go to omaze.com simple history insane penal colony escape attempts 19th century australia being a convict at an australian penal colony in the 19th century was a harrowing experience many of the convicts didn’t even make it to the colony in the first place due to the outbreak of disease or the wreckage of their ship on the treacherous six-month journey from britain once there convicts often came up with imaginative and sometimes desperate ways to try to escape the harsh conditions of the penal colonies but escaping was a matter the convicts did not take lightly as the price of failure was brutal indeed for a failed escape meant years added on to the offender’s prison sentence in one particular prison run by a governor who was known for his cruelty it even meant 100 lashes from the cattle nine tails whip and six months in solitary confinement many of those that did escape often continued their life of crime and lived out in the wilderness commonly referred to as the bush here they survived by stealing livestock such as sheep and cattle as well as robbing travelers or caravans much like the highwaymen did back in old england these convicts were referred to as bushrangers but this term was later adopted to refer to anyone that lived out in the bush and carried out criminal practices such as armed robbery in the year 1843 one bold convict escaped from one of the penal colonies in a stolen bathtub having amazingly snuck the tub down to the beach in broad daylight without drawing any suspicion from the guards he was last seen paddling out to sea it’s not known if this convict made it to freedom as he was never seen or heard from again another desperate convict named george billy hunt attempted to disguise himself as a kangaroo in order to get past the guards he did this by killing a kangaroo and skinning it in a remarkable feat of ingenuity despite managing to create a very convincing disguise hunt’s plan failed when one of the bored and hungry guards decided to use the passing kangaroo as target practice forcing the supposed kangaroo to reveal its true identity and surrender hunt allegedly received 150 lashes as punishment then there was the unique case of a convict known as mundane joe a welsh-born trapper who was transported to a penal colony in 1853 over the next 20 years he was in and out of prison as a repeat offender for a variety of crimes particularly stealing livestock he also much to the annoyance of the authorities kept on escaping such was their frustration with him that they built him a special cell reinforced with wood paneling and extra long nails in the hopes of making it escape-proof amusingly joe nevertheless did manage to escape not from the cell but from the courtyard where he was doing hard labor breaking rocks although under constant watch from the guards he managed to create a pile of broken rocks by the courtyard wall that obscured him from the waist down this allowed him unnoticed to smash a hole in the wall and escape he was recaptured two years later but was eventually released in 1871. joe never quite shook off his criminal tendencies however and continued his cycle of imprisonment and release well into his later life during these years his mental health suffered a steady decline and he would ultimately die in the year 1900 at the age of 72 in fremantle lunatic asylum next is the case of frederick woodsworth ward a convicted horse thief who was sent to cockatoo island penal colony cockatoo island could best be compared to what we would consider a maximum security prison today in fact it wore a particular similarity to alcatraz on the basis of its location amidst the perilous straits of sydney harbor nevertheless in 1863 ward managed to slip away from his chain gang and with an accomplice made the swim to freedom safely reaching the australian mainland evading the authorities ward went on to continue his life of crime using the nickname captain thunderbolt and portrayed himself as a gentleman bushranger the story of his escape from cockatoo island became much more romanticized than the actual reality with fictitious elements of the escape no doubt circulated by ward himself the rather embellished version of the story was that ward’s girlfriend marianne bugg had swam across the shark-infested channel between the mainland and the island to bring her beloved a file so he could remove his chains it was then said that the pair swam back across the channel and escaped into the bush to live a life of crime together there are several reasons this version can’t be true however firstly ward was sent to cockatoo island for a parole violation and was therefore not required to wear chains at the time of ward’s escape bug was also known to have been working some distance away to help provide for her family meaning she was nowhere in the vicinity of the island on that particular day additionally in the weeks immediately following his escape ward was known to have pulled heists with his fellow escapee frederick britton with no accounts suggesting that bug was involved in this early phase of ward’s bushranging career finding his feet in the bush ward went on to carry out a seven-year crime spree before ultimately being killed in a gunfight with the police in 1870 it is said at the time of his death ward was too drunk to even shoot straight having grown particularly fond of australian inns during the latter years of his life even over a century later in a call back to australia’s formative years convicts are still breaking out of prison in the most imaginative and determined of ways one such incident occurred in the year 1999 when a career criminal named john killick was broken out of a high security prison by his russian girlfriend lucy dudco in a hijacked helicopter having been lifted from the silver water jail exercise yard killik managed to remain on the run with dudco for 45 days before being captured in what was truly a bizarre episode of australian criminal history you
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk-iRzLv81o

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