Author Topic: J Ward Ararat  (Read 21861 times)

Offline Christine

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J Ward Ararat
« on: February 15, 2008, 02:53:38 PM »
J Ward started its life as a goldfields prison in 1859. When the gold ran out in the mid 1880s the prison buildings were acquired by the Lunacy Department as a temporary housing for the Criminally Insane. The County Gaol then became a ward (J Ward) of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum where the most depraved and most dangerous men in Victoria were housed in horrific conditions under the highest security.

The Ward was closed in 1991. J Ward is now a museum complex within the original prison  structure dedicated to recording and preserving the history of the criminals imprisoned and hung here during the life of the goldfields gaol and later as the infamous maximum security housing for Victoria's Criminally Insane men in a ward (J Ward) of the Ararat Mental Hospital.

The best way to see and understand J Ward is to join one of the regularly conducted Guided Tours.

There is so much to see that no two tours are exactly the same. Each of the Guides is knowledgable in the basic history of J Ward but each has a wealth of favourite true stories to tell.

You will see the place where murderers breathed their last. You will see where their bodies are buried in unconsecrated ground, supposedly in unmarked graves. You might hear the story of the notorious Garry Webb or of Bill Wallace who lived here for over sixty years and died in his 108th year. You might hear how the Chapel was built due to the efforts of William Watson Carr. You might hear of escapes or suicides or of twelve year olds incarcerated here.

You might hear none of these. There are so many stories in J Ward that people have been back four and even five times. Hours can be spent in the Museum reading early case histories and gazing in wonder at the equipment of the early days of the hospital and the arts and crafts of the patients.

J Ward is truly a fascinating place. We have conducted a couple of investigation there and reaped some good results including some fantastic footage of spirit orbs interacting with the team investigating the site. Some of the areas of interest are the old kitchen downstairs, the nearby bathroom which was also a smoke house for meats. The west wing area and the cell areas.

For more information and opening hours have a look at their website http://www.jward.ararat.net.au/

Is it haunted?
Verdict: Yes
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
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Offline Salt Breeze

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2008, 04:03:03 PM »
Thanks for this Christine.   

What a name, 'The Lunacy Department'  .....


Offline Christine

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2008, 05:33:48 PM »
Yes......
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
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Offline lotsakids

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2008, 06:13:03 PM »
I am going to paint that across the front of our house in a minute..very fitting..

One day my light went out, but was blown again into flame by an encounter with some wonderful people I call friends. I owe the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light...
[inspired by Albert Schweitzer]

Offline Christine

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2008, 06:53:20 PM »
lol
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
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Offline Alison - PFI

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008, 06:53:24 AM »
Thanks for that, I have driven through Ararat many times, and never even knew it was there.  Maybe next time I will stay and take a tour.  Sounds fascinating just on the history alone.

Offline catseyes

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 08:53:03 AM »
Alison you will love the place!  I do!


Offline morbid_curiosity

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2009, 08:56:01 PM »
My husband was grabbed on the leg is J-wards old bluestone cell block in Gary David Webb's old cell. The next day he had 5 bruises in that same spot where he was grabbed, one thumb and 4 fingers. Fascinating place.
Has anyone been on the Drives underground tour of Seppelts in Great Western?

Offline Christine

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2009, 10:00:35 PM »
Yes we have been to Seppelts as well.

J Ward is interesting. I had a similar thing happen at J Ward minus the bruises.
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
Douglas Adams


Offline JulieD

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2009, 12:14:01 PM »
My husband was grabbed on the leg is J-wards old bluestone cell block in Gary David Webb's old cell. The next day he had 5 bruises in that same spot where he was grabbed, one thumb and 4 fingers.

Gary David Webb is one sick puppy.  From memory, the day he died, another one or two nasty prisoners also died and I remember thinking "the world is a nicer place without them"

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Offline catseyes

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2009, 12:17:24 PM »
For those who don't know Wikipedia says this :-

Garry David, also known as Garry Webb, was an Australian criminal. Born on 20 November 1954, to Rupert and Betty David, the former of which is said to served more time in prison than any other person in the history of the State of Victoria. His mother was an alcoholic and David and his siblings were placed in an orphanage when he was four. From that time until 1972, when he escaped from legal custody, he spent his life in a number of orphanages, boys' homes and youth training centres.

At the age of 11 he began committing various offences including larceny, making threats and offences of dishonesty. When he was 13, he was first diagnosed as having a personality disorder with psychopathic traits. David was subsequently admitted to psychiatric facilities on eight separate occasions between 1976 and 1984, and was variously diagnosed with antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders. It was during this time that he began self-mutilating to an extreme degree - swallowing razor blades, cutting off parts of his ears and his left nipple, injuring his genitals, hammering nails into his feet and swallowing corrosive liquids, among other things.

In 1982 he was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for the attempted murder of three people, during a robbery-gone-wrong at a pizza restaurant in Rye, Victoria in 1982. The robbery appeared to be an attempt to draw police into a shootout. The pizza shop owner and one of the responding police officers were severely wounded in the incident, while Webb was wounded in the legs by the partner of the injured policeman. He was arrested while fleeing the scene after being spotted by a news crew.

Whilst imprisoned, David wrote many manuscripts, one titled Blueprint for Urban Warfare, which spoke of committing massacres upon his release from prison. The "Blueprint" listed 49 "combat situations", ranging from horror movie clichés (cigarette machines dispensing severed fingers, drink machines dispensing blood) to far more disturbing scenarios, such as the bombing of bridges and public buildings, the assassination of prominent politicians, the poisoning of water supplies and indiscriminate shooting in public places. David later claimed that he had been instructed to write his more graphic fantasies down as a form of therapy. He also manifested a great deal of hostility to the police force and prison system, resorting to violence and self-mutilation whenever his requests or demands were not met. In January 1990, David was declared mentally ill by government health department officials. The Mental Health Act 1986 entitled David the right to appeal, which he did in February and March 1990. In May 1990 the board found David was not mentally ill and recommended he be discharged as an involuntary patient. This was a consequence of the Board's assertion that a personality disorder is not a mental illness as per the Mental Health Act.

The Victorian Government faced the dilemma of respecting David's right to freedom and the protection of the community upon his release from prison. The government sought to keep David imprisoned indefinitely by introducing the Community Protection Act 1990. That legislation gave Victorian Supreme Court judges the power to hold David in "preventative detention" for twelve months if the judge was convinced by evidence before them that David was still a risk to the community and likely to commit further offences if released from prison.

David was an intelligent man, with significant literary, analytical and computer skills. But as he had a long history of responding to the most minor frustrations with violence, damage to property and self-harm, and refused on principle to co-operate with attempts to reduce such behaviours prior to his re-entry to society, the Supreme Court repeatedly applied the legislation to continue his confinement.

David committed suicide by inflicting wounds upon himself. They led to peritonitis and he died on 11 June 1993. At the time of his death aged 38, David was still a prisoner and had spent a total of 33 years in various institutions.

The song, He's On The Run by Gene Bradley Fisk was written about David.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 12:21:23 PM by catseyes »


Offline catseyes

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2009, 12:18:39 PM »
Did you know him Julie or is that just an observation?  You know...its the cat/curiosity thing.  ROTFL


Offline Saturn

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2009, 01:29:36 PM »
What a charming fellow. Still up to tricks after he's dead.


Offline JulieD

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2009, 01:56:59 PM »
No I didn't know him but lived next door to Pentridge.  I read the Blueprint for Urban Warfare and at the time found it sick, but thinking about it now, I think he was just playing mind games. 

I did briefly know the man that took up with his ex-wife and was in fear for his life.

Look for the light in everyone you meet.
You may be the only person that ever sees it.

Offline morbid_curiosity

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Re: J Ward Ararat
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2009, 04:37:01 PM »
I know of another bloke who was 'squirrel gripped' in the same cell. Slightly amusing occurance :)

 


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