Darcy Dugan

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Darcy Dugan
Born (1920-08-29)29 August 1920
Sydney, New South Wales
Died 22 August 1991(1991-08-22) (aged 70)
Glebe, New South Wales
Criminal penalty
Criminal status commuted to life in prison
Spouse(s) Jan Simmons
Conviction(s) Bank robbery

Darcy Ezekial Dugan (29 August 1920 – 22 August 1991) was an Australian bank robber and New South Wales' most notorious prison escape artist. [1][2]

Darcy Dugan grew up in the inner suburb of Annandale in Sydney. During his criminal career, he committed numerous armed holdups, robbing banks[2] and even a hospital.[2] However he became more famous for his daring escapes than for his initial crimes.[2][3]

On 4 March 1946, Darcy Dugan escaped from a prison tram which was transporting him between Darlinghurst Courthouse and Long Bay Gaol.[4] As the tram passed the Sydney Cricket Ground, Dugan used a kitchen knife to saw a hole through the roof, through which he escaped. The tram is still kept today at the Sydney Tramway Museum.[5]

On the 16th of December 1949, Darcy Dugan and William Mears both escaped from Central Police Station, Sydney, during a Court recess. Mears was in Court after being charged with possession of an unlicenced pistol and had subpoenaed Dugan as a witness, during an adjournment for lunch, Dugan and Mears hacksawed through an iron bar in their cell and escaped from the Police complex and onto the streets of Sydney, Police gave chase, but they were last seen as they jumped into a passing tram.[6]

After another prison escape, Dugan reportedly left behind a note scrawled on the wall of his cell which read, "Gone to Gowings." [7] Dugan served a total 35 years in prison, exactly half of his life. He served his final prison sentence at Long Bay Goal and was released on parole in 1984.

Final years[edit]

He worked as a rehabilition officer during his final years of freedom until his health declined. In 1980, Darcy married Jan Simmons, who he had met in prison while she was researching a book about her brother, Kevin Simmons. Although they separated not long after, they remained friends and Jan looked after Darcy when his health began to fail upon his final release from prison. Darcy Dugan died in Glebe, New South Wales from Parkinson's disease on 22 August 1991.[8] He was buried at Rookwood Catholic Cemetery on 29 August 1991.[9]

Dugan was sentenced to death, along with a co-offender, in 1950. An appeal against sentence failed but Cabinet later commuted the sentences to life imprisonment.


  1. ^ "Larrikin thief's last gamble marks his grave". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2002-11-06. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Celebrity criminals". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2006-01-18. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  3. ^ N.Lipson & T.Barnao. 'As Crime Goes By - The Life and Times of "Bondi" Bill Jenkings. Published 1992, Ironbark Press, Australia.(ISBN 1 875471 14 6) - Chapter 5, 'Darcy and Me'.
  4. ^ "Bakery Bulletin". Hurstville City Council. 2002. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  5. ^ "Sydney Tramway Museum". NineMSN Getaway. 2001-07-19. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  6. ^ "Two Prisoners Escape From Central Police Station". Trove. 1949-12-16. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  7. ^ "Slang - Gone to Gowings". ABC Radio Canberra. 2002-01-22. Retrieved 2007-07-29. [dead link]
  8. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, 28 August 1991. Death Notice. Darcy Ezekial Dugan.
  9. ^ Rookwood Catholic Cemetery. Mortuary 2. Area 7. Grave 1590.