Ronald Ryan: The Last Man Hanged

 Bronwyn Barnett

Ronald Ryan was the last man hanged in Australia, 50 years ago on 3 February 1967.

Ryan and his accomplice Peter Walker escaped from Pentridge Prison on 19 December 1965. The escape set in motion a chain of events which would lead to Ryan's execution and, eventually, to the abolition of the death penalty in Australia.

While there is much written about Ronald Ryan, our new curated collection The Last Man Hanged features clips from film compilations of Channel Nine news footage of the time, held in the NFSA television collection. They provide valuable snapshots of the events leading from Ryan's escape from prison through to the day of his execution.

The crowd of protesters outside Pentridge Prison on the day of Ronald Ryan’s execution, 3 February 1967. NFSA title: 1474750. Courtesy Nine Network.


Visit the curated collection for more footage, including Ryan arriving at court, interviews with eyewitnesses and a press conference with his mother.