Colonial Gaols

The Sydney Herald

20 July 1840


In addition to the numerous instances which have often come before the public, of the efficiency with which many of the police in the interior discharge their duties, the following is, I think, deserving of notice: -

A prisoner of the Crown named Green, assigned to Mr. Cadell of the Tumut, was lately apprehended by order of the Yass Bench, charged with being accessory to a robbery; after being brought to Yass, he managed to ingratiate himself with the constables placed in charge of him, by whom he was employed to bake their damper, boil the quart-pots, &c., without any restraint.

Fancy the idea of a prisoner of the crown, charged with such an offence, being employed as cook to a batch of lazy constables, and permitted to go in and out of the confines of his prison, "ad libitum". He of course took the first opportunity to make his escape, which, under the circumstances of the case, was not difficult to effect, and again reaching the Tumut, stole a horse from Messrs. A. and H. Osborne's station, about the 17th June (thus adding another crime to his list), and then made the best of his way towards Australia Felix.

A party of the mounted police stationed near this town, five after he had got away from gaol, received instructions from the Police Magistrate to go out and endeavour to recapture him. Upon their arriving at the Police station on the Hume, they were told that he had crossed that river four or five days before riding a horse answering the description of that stolen, as before stated, and passing himself off as a man of Mr. Hudson's, going to Portland Bay on his master's business.

I have not heard of his being since taken but so long as he is enabled to run from his known character and habits, he will be a fitting auxiliary to any band of desperadoes with which the Port Phillip district may be infested.

It is a matter of surprise to many people how it happens that there are such facilities allowed to prisoners making their escape from the different gaols in the interior; witness the case of the celebrated Hall from Goulburn, and many others fresh in the recollection of the public.

So long as the colony continues to be too heavily taxed for the support of gaols and police establishments, instances of escape like the foregoing, ought to be very rare, exhibiting as they generally do, the greatest negligence on the part of some of those who are the paid conservatives of the public peace.

 I am Sir, Your most obedient servant, Curtius