HM Prison Pentridge was an Australian prison built in 1850 in Coburg, Victoria. The first prisoners arrived in 1851. The prison officially closed on 1 May 1997. Pentridge was often known by the nickname "The Bluestone College", "Coburg College" or the "College of Knowledge". The grounds were originally landscaped by renowned landscape gardiner Hugh Linaker. Since decommissioning, the prison has been partly demolished to make way for a housing development. Large buildings have been built and a 16 floor modern apartment block is being planned. The site is split in two with the northern prison being developed by Valad Property Group and the other areas by Pentridge Village. The National Trust has expressed strong concerns about the nature of the Heritage Victoria approved Master Plans which involve peppering the walls with holes and building high density high rise between the historic divisions. The front gate showing the "HM Prison Pentridge" sign is featured on the cover of Australian band Airbourne's debut album Runnin' Wild. This sign was removed by the current owners, Valads, without a permit from Heritage Victoria in early 2009. The 1994 Australian film Everynight ... Everynight details prison life inside Pentridge's H Division. The 2000 Andrew Dominik film " Chopper" was partially filmed in H Division. 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 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
  • E - A dormitory division housing short term prisoners
  • F - Remand and short-term
  • G - Psychiatric 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
Jika Jika, opened in 1980 at a cost of 7 million Australian dollars, was a 'gaol within a gaol' maximum security section, designed to house Victoria's hardest and longest serving prisoners. It was awarded the 'Excellence in Concrete Award' by the Concrete Institute of Australia before being closed in the middle of controversy after the deaths of five prisoners in 1987. The design of Jika Jika was based on the idea of six separate units at the end of radiating spines. The unit comprised electronic doors, closed-circuit TV and remote locking, designed to keep staff costs to a minimum and security to a maximum. The furnishings were sparse and prisoners exercised in aviary-like 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
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. The windows in the day room were then covered with paper so the prison officers couldn't identify which prisoners caused the ensuing damage. Prisoners Robert Wright, Jimmy Loughnan, Arthur Gallagher, David McGauley and Ricky Morris died in the fire. Convicted Russell Street bomber Craig Minogue and 3 other inmates survived as they were evacuated when the fire started.

Grave sites
The grave site of bushranger Ned Kelly lies within the former walls of Pentridge Prison while Ronald Ryan's remains have been returned to his family. Kelly was executed by hanging at the Melbourne Gaol in 1880 and his remains moved to Pentridge Prison in 1929, after his skeleton was disturbed on 12 April 1929, by workmen constructing the present Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) building. The gravesite, as of 2005, is covered in many weeds and is largely unkept by the developers, who have fenced off the area until a decision is made on its upkeep. Reverend Peter Norden, former prison chaplain at Pentridge Prison is campaigning for the site's restoration. As of 2009, most of the bodies have been exhumed by archaeologists and are either awaiting identification at the Melbourne morgue or have been returned to their families.

  • David Bennett 26 September 1932
  • Arnold Karl Sodeman 1 June 1936
  • Edward Cornelius 26 June 1936
  • Thomas Johnson 3 January 1939
  • George Green 17 April 1939
  • Alfred Bye 22 December 1941
  • Eddie Leonski (US soldier and serial killer) 9 November 1942
  • Jean Lee 19 February 1951
  • Norman Andrews 19 February 1951
  • Robert David Clayton 19 February 1951
  • Ronald Joseph Ryan 3 February 1967

Last execution
Ronald Ryan was the last man executed at Pentridge Prison and in Australia. Ryan was hanged in "D" Division at 8.00 on 3 February 1967 after being convicted of the shooting death of a prison officer during a botched escape from the same prison. Later that day, Ryan's body was buried in an unmarked grave within the "D" Division prison facility. To this day there's still debate on Ryan's conviction.

Notorious prisoners
  • Dennis Allen, oldest member of the Pettingill family. (d. 1987)
  • Garry David, (d. 1993), also known as Garry Webb, responsible for the Community Protection Act 1990
  • Peter Dupas, Australian serial killer
  • Keith Faure, Convicted of murdering Lewis Caine and Lewis Moran with Evangelos Goussis during the Melbourne gangland killings was also the basis for the character of Keithy George in the film Chopper
  • Christopher Dale Flannery, aka Mr Rent-a-Kill, hitman
  • Kevin Albert Joiner, murderer, shot dead trying to escape in 1952.
  • Ned Kelly, bushranger
  • Julian Knight, murdered 7 people in the Hoddle Street Massacre
  • Eddie Leonski, the Brownout Strangler
  • John Nicholls, Carlton footballer
  • Craig 'Slim' Minogue, Russell Street Bomber
  • Kevin Murray, Fitzroy footballer, Brownlow Medal winner
  • Clarrie O'Shea, trade unionist
  • Frank Penhalluriack
  • Victor Peirce, member of the Pettingill family, acquitted of the 1988 Walsh Street police shootings. Killed in 2002.
  • Harry Power, bushranger
  • Mark "Chopper" Read, Gang leader
  • Gregory David Roberts, Author of Shantaram, escapee of Pentridge who fled to India
  • Ronald Ryan - The last person to be executed in Australia.
  • Maxwell Carl Skinner, constant escapee, infamous for commandeering a Coburg Tram in one of his escapes
  • William Stanford, sculptor
  • Stan Taylor, actor and convicted Russell Street bomber
  • Squizzy Taylor, gangster
  • John Zarb, first person to be found guilty of having failed to comply with his call up notice during the Vietnam War

  • 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 3 other inmates survived the fire.
  • 1 May 1997 - Pentridge Prison is closed.
  • Present day - Development threatens the integrity and preservation of the sites important history

  • 1899 Pierre Douar - Suicided after recapture
  • 1901 Mr Sparks - never heard of again
  • 1901 John O'Connor - Caught in Sydney two weeks later
  • 1926 J.K. Monson - caught several weeks later in W.A.
  • 1939 George Thomas Howard - caught after two days
  • 1940 K.R. Jones - Caught in Sydney two weeks later
  • 1951 Victor Franz - caught next day.
  • 1952 Kevin Joiner - Shot dead escaping
  • 1952 Maxwell Skinner - pushed off prison wall broke leg
  • 1957 Willam O'Malley - caught after 15 minutes
  • 1957 John Henry Taylor - caught after 15 minutes
  • 1961 Maurice Watson - caught next day
  • 1961 Gordon Hutchinson - caught next day
  • 1965 Ronald Ryan - caught in Sydney 19 days later
  • 1965 Peter Walker - caught in Sydney 19 days later
  • 1972 Dennis Denehy -
  • 1972 Gary Smedley -
  • 1972 Alan Mansell -
  • 1972 Henry Carlson -
  • 1973 Harold Peckman - caught next day
  • 1974 Edward "Jockey" Smith -
  • 1974 Robert Hughes -
  • 1974 George Carter -
  • 1976 John Charles Walker -
  • 1977 David Keys -
  • 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
  • 1980 Trevor Jolly -
  • 1982 Harry Richard Nylander -
  • 1987 Dennis Mark Quinn - Recaptured in New Zealand 19 days later

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via