Darcy Ezekiel Dugan was born on 29 August 1920 in Sydney. As per Ancestry he died in Glebe on 22 August 1991 at the age of almost 71 and is buried in Rookwood Cemetery.

Darcy committed numerous armed holdups, bank robbery and even robbing the hospital. He became famous for his daring escapes than for his initial crimes. Darcy gave evidence to an enquiry about the dreadful brutality regularly perpetrated against prisoners in Grafton Jail. In his evidence, he mentioned about daily brutal beatings and torture, and even throwing boiling water on prisoners. This prompted Bob Campbell to write a song about Darcy based on the evidence he gave.

Song can now be heard on You Tube

Dugan escaped from ‘escape-proof’ circumstances six times. He once went through a ceiling, the roof and sneaked over the outer wall at Sydney’s Long Bay Jail in daylight. He was located 30 metres away from an armed guard and this was the second incident in the same day 25 minutes after being imprisoned.

Darcy Dugan escaped from a prison tram on 4 March 1946, which was transporting him between Darlinghurst Courthouse and Long Bay jail. He used the kitchen knife to rip a hole and escaped as the tram passed the Sydney Cricket Ground. The tram is still kept at the Sydney Tramway Museum.


Darcy spent 43 years in jail and when he was out for a short time in the 1970s he became a social worker and began exposing police corruption involving crooked cops and gangsters. The crooked cops then framed him and put him back inside for a crime he did not commit.

Dugan worked as a rehabilitation officer during his final years of freedom until his health declined. In 1980, Darcy married Jan Simmonds, who he had met in prison while she was researching a book about her brother Kevin Simmonds, famous for being an escapee and fugitive in the late 1950s. Although they separated not long after their marriage but they remained friends and Jan looked after Darcy during his last days.








Neera Sahni, Research Services Leader, Parramatta Heritage centre, City of Parramatta, 2016