The great escape

In researching Stewart’s Creek Prison (Townsville) a favourite story relates to the escape from the prison confines by Frank Lionel Holloway, alias Huxtable. He is thought to be the first escapee from within the prison walls, as others had legged it while working on outside gangs previous to this.

Holloway had secreted himself in a horse-drawn cart of rubbish to make his escape. He was tipped out with everything else at the nearby dump, and made good his escape on the 17th February 1900. It wasn’t until 18 months later that he was discovered serving a sentence in a Wellington (NZ) gaol. On the 19th October 1903 he was ordered to be extradited back to Queensland to complete his three year sentence for a string of break and enter offences in Cairns.

To quote a newspaper of the day….

“… On coming out of the gaol … he told the detectives in regard to his escape at Townsville that his fellow prisoners covered him with dirt in a cart, tipping the contents of the cart over an embankment. He rolled down with the dirt and thus got away.”
– Adelaide Chronicle 24.10.1903

When I continued my research at Queensland State Archives, I was able to find a picture of Holloway in the old Police Gazettes that are available on ArchivesSearch.


I can confess that it was a real thrill to be able to put a face to the man. When you look at the picture you can see he was obviously a bit of a character. While I found much, much more than just this photo at Queensland State Archives, this picture stands out as easily my favourite record found there.

John Edwards (researcher)

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