Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online




The Last Man Hanged (1993)

Synopsis

The dramatised documentary traces the events leading up to the hanging of Ronald Ryan in 1967. Ryan escaped from Pentridge prison and a warder was shot dead in the break-out. Ryan was found guilty of the warder’s death and was sentenced to be hanged, as prescribed by Victorian Law. Ryan was the last man hanged in Australia, amidst much public outcry.

The documentary features some of Australia’s best-known actors playing the roles of the principals involved, interwoven with interviews with the real-life people involved. Still photographs from the time are also shown.

Curator’s notes

The dramatised story is effectively intercut with documentary interviews with the real life people involved. The writer and director Lewis Fitz-Gerald provides the narration and plays Keith Willey, a newspaper reporter. His acting career has included roles in Out There, Blue Heelers, Farscape, Pitch Black And Stingers.