Fremantle Prison. exercise yard


YANCHEP, Australia

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This is the scene of an escape that has gone down in the annals of Western Australia’s colourful early days One of the inmates was perhaps our most notorious bushranger, Moondyne Joe and I quote from a LONG treatise on his life story:
Moondyne Joe had became notorious and the police were determined that they would no longer put up with his antics. Extraordinary measures were put in place to stop him escaping again. Following his sentencing of an additional five years hard labour, a special “escape proof” cell was made for him at Fremantle Prison where he was to serve out his sentence. The cell was built from stone and lined with railway sleepers. As part of hard labour, Moondyne Joe spent most of his days breaking stone and piling it in the corner of the prison yard whilst under the constant supervision of a prison warder. Governor John Hampton was believed to have taunted Moondyne with the statement “If you get out again I will forgive you”. A statement that he would live to regret. Like something out of the “Shawshank Redemption” Moondyne planned his next escape with precision. He noticed that the rocks he was breaking and piling were not moved on any regular basis so they began to pile up. They piled up enough for him to be obscured (from below the waist) from the guards view. This enables him to take the occassional swing with his sledgehammer at the limestone prison wall behind him. On the 7th of March 1867, Moondyne Joe disappeared through the hole he made in the wall and out to freedom via an unlocked side door, leaving a few red faces in his wake. After an extensive manhunt no sign of Moondyne was found, he had simply vanished.

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