HM Prison Pentridge

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HM Prison Pentridge

HM Prison Pentridge was an Australian prison built in 1850 in Coburg, Victoria. The first prisoners arrived in 1851. The prison was closed on 1 May 1997.[1]

Pentridge was often known by the nicknames "The Bluestone College", "Coburg College" or the "College of Knowledge". The grounds were originally landscaped by renowned landscape gardener Hugh Linaker.[2] Since closing, much of the prison has been pulled down to make way for a housing development. Large buildings have been built and a 16 floor modern apartment block is being planned.

The northern section of the prison being developed by Valad Property Group and the other areas by Pentridge Village. The National Trust does not like the development plans approved by Heritage Victoria. These plans include taking down sections of the outside walls and building apartments between the historic prison buildings.[3]

Divisions[change | change source]

The prison was split into many divisions, named using letters of the alphabet.

  • A - Short and long-term prisoners of good behavior
  • B - Long-term prisoners with behavior problems
  • C - Vagabonds and short term prisoners, where Ned Kelly was imprisoned (Demolished in 1976)
  • D - Remand prisoners waitng for trial
  • E - A dormitory division housing short term prisoners
  • F - Remand and short-term
  • G - Mental health problems
  • H - High security, discipline and protection
  • J - Young Offenders Group- Later for long-term with record of good behavior
  • Jika Jika - maximum security risk and for protection, later renamed K Division

Jika Jika high security unit[change | change source]

Jika Jika, opened in 1980 at a cost of AU$7 million. It was a 'gaol within a gaol', designed to hold Victoria's toughest and longest serving prisoners. It was awarded the 'Excellence in Concrete Award' by the Concrete Institute of Australia. It was closed after the deaths of five prisoners in 1987.[4]

Jika Jika had six separate units each at the end of radiating spines. It had electronic doors, closed-circuit television and remote locking. This meant it could use less staff but still have maximum security. The furnishings were sparse and prisoners exercised in escape proof yards.

In 1983 four prisoners escaped from ‘escape proof’ Jika Jika. When two prison officers were disciplined in relation to the Jika Jika escape a week-long strike occurred.

1987 Jika Jika prison fire[change | change source]

Inmates Robert Wright, Jimmy Loughnan, Arthur Gallagher, David McGauley and Ricky Morris - from one side of the unit - and Craig 'Slim' Minogue and three other inmates on the other side sealed off their section doors with a tennis net. Mattresses and other bedding were then stacked against the doors and set on fire.[5] They covered windows in the day room with paper so the prison officers couldn't see which prisoners caused the damage.

Prisoners Robert Wright, Jimmy Loughnan, Arthur Gallagher, David McGauley and Ricky Morris died in the fire. Convicted Russell Street bomber Craig Minogue and three other inmates survived as they were evacuated when the fire started.

Grave sites[change | change source]

Ned Kelly the day before his execution by hanging. His remains are buried at the former Pentridge Prison site.

The graves of executed prisoners were unmarked in a corner of the prison. In 1929, 32 bodies were moved from the Melbourne Gaol during the building of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. These graves were found in 2008. The skeleton of bushranger Ned Kelly was among those discovered.[6]

Executions[change | change source]

There were 11 executions at Pentridge. The gallows beam and the trapdoor were moved from the Melbourne Gaol and put into "D" Division in 1924.

When the gaol was closed, the beam and the trapdoor were taken back to the Melbourne Gaol to be part of its historical display.[16]

Last execution[change | change source]

Ronald Ryan was the last man executed at Pentridge Prison and in Australia.[15] Ryan was hanged in "D" Division at 8.00 on 3 February 1967. He had been convicted of murdering a prison officer during an escape from the same prison. Later that day, Ryan's body was buried in an unmarked grave within the "D" Division. There is still debate about his hanging.[17]

Notorious prisoners[change | change source]

Entrance of Pentridge gaol circa 1861.

Timeline[change | change source]

  • 1850's 'F' Division opened
  • 1870's 'G' Division opened as an Industrial Reformatory School
  • 1894 Female prison at Pentridge ('D' Division)
  • 1951 Last woman executed in Australia, Jean Lee is hanged.
  • 1967 Last execution in Australia - Ronald Ryan (between 1842 and 1967, 186 prisoners were executed)
  • October 1987 - Five prisoners die in a fire in Jika Jika during riots over prison conditions. Craig Minogue and three other inmates survived the fire.
  • 1 May 1997 - Pentridge Prison is closed.
  • Present day - Redeveloped as a housing estate.

Escapes[change | change source]

  • 1899 Pierre Douar - Suicided after recapture[32]
  • 1901 Edward Sparks - never heard of again[32][33]
  • 1901 John O'Connor - Caught in Sydney two weeks later[33]
  • 1926 John Keith Monson, also known as "Stokesbury" and "Richard Morrenci", caught several weeks later in W.A.[34]
  • 1939 George Thomas Howard - caught after two days[35]
  • 1940 Kevin R. Jones - Caught in Sydney two weeks later[32]
  • 1951 Victor Franz - caught next day.[36]
  • 1952 Kevin Joiner - Shot dead during an escape[37]
  • 1952 Maxwell Skinner - pushed off prison wall while fighting with a warder and broke his leg[37]
  • 1957 Willam O'Malley - caught after 15 minutes
  • 1957 John Henry Taylor - caught after 15 minutes
  • 1961 Maurice Watson - caught next day[38]
  • 1961 Gordon Hutchinson - caught next day [38]
  • 1965 Ronald Ryan - caught in Sydney 19 days later
  • 1965 Peter Walker - caught in Sydney 19 days later
  • 1972 Dennis Denehy - [39]
  • 1972 Gary Smedley - [39]
  • 1972 Alan Mansell - [39]
  • 1972 Henry Carlson - [39]
  • 1973 Harold Peckman - [40] caught next day
  • 1974 Edward "Jockey" Smith[41]
  • 1974 Robert Hughes[42]
  • 1974 George Carter - [42]
  • 1976 John Charles Walker - [43]
  • 1977 David Keys - [44]
  • 1980 Gregory David Roberts (at the time known as Gregory Smith) - escaped in broad daylight with Trevor Jolly and subsequently went to India after a brief period in New Zealand [45]
  • 1980 Trevor Jolly - [45]
  • 1982 Harry Richard Nylander - [46]
  • 1987 Dennis Mark Quinn - [47] Recaptured in New Zealand 19 days later

Usage in media[change | change source]

  • The front gate showing the "HM Prison Pentridge" sign is featured on the cover of Australian band Airbourne's debut album Runnin' Wild.[48]
  • Episode 2, Homecomings of the 1976 ABCTV adaption of Frank Hardy's Novel Power Without Glory features John West picking his brother Frank West up from Pentridge Prison after serving 12 years for rape.
  • The 1988 John Hillcoat and Evan English film "Ghosts... Of The Civil Dead" was largely based on events which occurred in Pentridge Prison's infamous Jika Jika Maximum Security prison during the lead up to the 1987 fire.
  • The 1994 Australian film Everynight ... Everynight details prison life inside Pentridge's H Division.[49]
  • The 2000 Andrew Dominik film "Chopper" was partially filmed in H Division.

References[change | change source]

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  2. "Australian Heritage Places Inventory - Record". heritage.gov.au. 2011. http://www.heritage.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahpi/record.pl?RNE100229. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  3. Lahey, Kate (29 April 2009). "Pentridge tower gets nod". theage.com.au. http://www.theage.com.au/national/pentridge-tower-gets-nod-20090428-am2l.html. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  4. O'Toole, Sean (2006). The History of Australian Corrections. UNSW Press. pp. 84–85. ISBN 0868409154 . http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=HWqHAKxvV-cC&pg=PA85&dq=%22Jika+Jika%22#PPA85,M1.
  5. Tomazin, Farrah (16 April 2005). "Private life, public service". The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Private-life-public-service/2005/04/15/1113509922451.html. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  6. Nowell, Laurie (9 March 2008). "Ned Kelly's bones found". Herald Sun. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/ned-kellys-bones-found/story-e6frf7l6-1111115749329. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  7. "Offence against girl". Western Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA : 1916 - 1938) (Kalgoorlie, WA: National Library of Australia): p. 11. 4 October 1932. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article34606284. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  8. "Trailed Sodeman— retires soon.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia): p. 4. 5 March 1953. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23231436. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  9. "Vicarage murder". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia): p. 12. 23 June 1936. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17245109. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  10. "Murderer hanged". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia): p. 16. 24 January 1939. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17552788. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  11. "Murderer hanged". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia): p. 2. 18 April 1939. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2488689. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  12. "Alfred Bye executed". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia): p. 3. 23 December 1941. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8224206. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  13. "Leonski hanged in Melbourne". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia): p. 4. 10 November 1942. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12004306. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "Three to be hanged today". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia): p. 3. 19 February 1951. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18200020. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Evans, Chris; Braithwaite, David (29 October 2007). "Ronald Ryan, last man executed, may be exhumed". The Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/ronald-ryan-last-man-executed-may-be-exhumed/2007/10/29/1193555540796.html. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  16. Morley, Brian (25 October 2010). "Pentridge Prison Redeveloped Into Residential Village". Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/prisons-history-is-grim-but-it-fostered-a-humane-society-20101024-16z3y.html. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  17. "The Hanging of Ronald Ryan:40 Years Later" (Video). Yahoo News. http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=4257221&ch=4226714&src=news. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  18. Tame, Adrian (2011). "The Matriarch: the Kathy Pettingill story". Pan Macmillan Australia. http://www.panmacmillan.com.au/display_title.asp?ISBN=9780330363877&Author=Tame,%20Adrian. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  19. Appelbaum, Paul S. (April 2003). "Law and Psychiatry: Dangerous Persons, Moral Panic, and the Uses of Psychiatry". American Psychiatric Association. http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/54/4/441. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  20. Petrie, Andrea (19 November 2010). "Serial killer Dupas guilty of Halvagis murder". theage.com.au. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/serial-killer-dupas-guilty-of-halvagis-murder-20101119-180gb.html. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  21. Silvester, Peter (13 May 2005). "Three facing charges over Moran killing". The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/news/Crime--Corruption/Underworld-war-effectively-over/2005/05/12/1115843312487.html. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  22. "Christopher Dale Flannery: Hitman and TV fodder". smh.com.au. 2011 [last update]. http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/entertainment/tv-and-radio/christopher-dale-flannery-hitman-and-tv-fodder-20100622-ytmg.html. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  23. "Convicte murderer killed in escape bid; companion hurt". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia): p. 1. 15 April 1952. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2852912. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  24. "Prison staff commended; escape foiled". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia): p. 4. 16 April 1952. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2853050. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  25. Anderson, Paul (7 August 2007). "Hoddle St killer Julian Knight revelled in slaughter". news.com.au. http://www.news.com.au/national/killing-seven-was-an-adventure/story-e6frfkx0-1111114125819. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  26. Pierce, Peter (2000). "Leonski, Edward Joseph (1917–1942)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved on 16 October 2011. 
  27. "Warders witness daring escape from Pentridge". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia): p. 1. 19 November 1951. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2842250. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  28. "Search for gaol escapee". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia): p. 4. 20 November 1951. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2842351. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  29. "Gaol escapee says he has reformed". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia): p. 4. 23 November 1951. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2842577. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  30. "Gaol escapee recaptured". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia): p. 1. 19 December 1951. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2844456. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  31. "Gaol escapee well guarded". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954) (ACT: National Library of Australia): p. 4. 20 December 1951. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2844552. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 "They seldom stay "out" long!". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia): p. 2. 21 May 1952. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23197471. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  33. 33.0 33.1 "Escaped from Pentridge". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) (Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia): p. 1. 4 July 1901. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44282673. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  34. "Interstate". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia): p. 30. 10 July 1926. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22756065. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  35. "Cell floor holed: Gaol escape in Melbourne.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia): p. 4. 19 April 1949. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18111839. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  36. "Broke out of jail.". Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) (Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia): p. 1. 17 July 1951. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48647713. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  37. 37.0 37.1 "Man shot dead in bid to flee gaol". The Sydney Morning Herald: p. 3. 15 April 1952. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=i6cUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5rADAAAAIBAJ&pg=7111,5742812&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  38. 38.0 38.1 "Police surround house and capture escapees". The Age: p. 1. 17 January 1961. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kzMTAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ULsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5073,2135713&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 "Search on for four who escaped". The Age: p. 2. 10 May 1972. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Z8gQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=tJADAAAAIBAJ&pg=4999,1851196&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  40. Dunn, Alan (2 February 1973). "Axe murderer escapes from Pentridge gaol". The Age: p. 1. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=R50QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3pADAAAAIBAJ&pg=3019,231743&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  41. Norbury, Kevin (3 December 1989). "Jockey is back facing court again". The Age: p. 4. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TpQQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MpEDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5173,3466676&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  42. 42.0 42.1 "Mattress pile clue to gaol escape". The Age: p. 3. 5 October 1974. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=B1UQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=M5IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5186,803406&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  43. "Tighten-up order after Pentridge escape". The Age. 26 April 1976. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Zv4QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VJIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2874,6284122&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  44. "Prisoner escapes over wall". The Age: p. 3. 17 October 1977. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Z-9hAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hpIDAAAAIBAJ&dq=pentridge%20escape&pg=1305%2C5184115. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  45. 45.0 45.1 Murdoch, Lindsay (24 July 1980). "Bandit predicted escape in poem". The Age: p. 1. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=KudUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=sJIDAAAAIBAJ&dq=pentridge%20escape&pg=4014%2C3861371. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  46. Gray, Tony; Eccleston, Roy (21 July 1982). "Prison had two warnings of escape". The Age: p. 3. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=QboQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lZQDAAAAIBAJ&pg=1772,2224129&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  47. Athersmith, Fiona (30 March 1988). "Robber gets 12 more months for escaping from Pentridge". The Age: p. 18. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=_iARAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gpYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2101,6247202&dq=pentridge+escape. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  48. Airbourne's official site, accessed 1 August 2009
  49. Everynight... Everynight, National Film and Sound Archive, Accessed 8 March 2008

Other websites[change | change source]