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Fremantle Prison and Brenden James Abbott- Postcard Bandit

Updated on April 16, 2014

You won't see this man for many years.

Brenden james Abbott, he is much older now
Brenden james Abbott, he is much older now
Abbott in the back of a police van, his freedom over
Abbott in the back of a police van, his freedom over
The gatehouse at Fremantle Prison from where Abbott escaped.
The gatehouse at Fremantle Prison from where Abbott escaped.
The gallows at Fremantle prison where Eric Edgar Cook was the last man hanged
The gallows at Fremantle prison where Eric Edgar Cook was the last man hanged
Fremantle Prison from the air
Fremantle Prison from the air
Inside a wing of Fremantle prison
Inside a wing of Fremantle prison

Fugitive did not visit Fremantle Prison while on the run

While visiting Fremantle Prison in 1992 I came across the visitors book when leaving, I grabbed a pen and then a devious thought hit me like a bomb.

I was visiting the prison as a tourist though, it had closed in 1988 and was now a tourist attraction, you could pay to do a tour. This was the prison where the last man hanged in Western Australia met his final days. The murderer Eric Edgar Cook took more than five lives in his murderous spree in the late 60's. At this jail you can see where he spent his last hours and the gallows where they stretched his neck

At the time Brenden James Abbott was in all the news with his exploits around Australia robbing banks as the Postcard Bandit. He was Australias most wanted man, he had robbed banks in more than four states, and stolen over 4 million dollars and their was a manhunt going on for him Australia wide. There was a legend, or rumour going around that he sent postcards to the cops from a lot of the places where he was hiding, it's not true though!

Being a fairly well known writer and musician, and a bit of a comedian, I decided to sign the visitors book "B. Abbett". In the comments section I wrote, "Great to come back and not have to escape!", in the address section I wrote, "Nowhere you'd find" all in capitals.

At the time I was not aware that Abbott had in fact escaped from Fremantle Prison earlier, when he was serving time there, by making prison guards uniforms where he worked in the tailors shop, and then jumping the wall with some other prisoners.

My prank was discovered by myself several years later, when the book and movie of the same name "The Postcard Bandit" came out. Lo and behold there is a scene in the movie where all of the heads of the armed robbery squads had got together in an office in Queensland to decide what to do about Abbott and his bank robbing exploits.

At this stage it was believed Abbott was travelling around the country and robbing banks in every state but Tasmania. Anyway all the cops are in this office, and a secretary bursts into the room with a fax and announces in a shocked tone "Abbott is in Western Australia, he has just signed the Fremantle Prison visitors book". At this news all the cops scurried off by plane back to Western Australia. Alas these shrewd and intelligent cops did not realise that the joke was on them and it was actually myself who signed the book.

Anyway, after seeing my prank appear in the book and the movie, and the effect it had on the police investigation, I contacted the producers of the movie and sent them a hand writing sample. It was confirmed it was me who did (or wrote) the hilarious deed and it was announced on Channel 10's TV comedy show "The Panel" starring Rob Sitch,Tom Gleisner, Glenn Robbins, Santo Cilauro, Steven Quartermain and Mick Molloy, that I was the funny prankster that changed history with a few pen strokes.

As they say the pen is mightier than the sword. I have contacted Abbott in prison by letter to tell him it was me but he has failed to contact me, after all I don't think he would see the funny side of it, having to serve 39 years in solitary and then when he gets out he has to face other armed robbery charges in many other states.

Ironically a few years after this I met Brenden Abbotts brother Glenn Salmon but had forgotten about the visitors book incident as the movie "Postcard Bandit" was not yet produced.

I wonder if Brenden reads this in his cell at night?

Carl Williams, Australian hitman murdered in jail

Carls wife Roberta buried Carl in a gold plated coffin


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    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Geraldton

      cobilly, sticks and stones will break my bones!

    • profile image

      dirty girl 

      6 years ago

      been there done that love them they know

    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Geraldton

      thankyou, regards Trevor Dunen

    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Geraldton

      thanks for reading and all the best, regards Trevor Dunen

    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Geraldton

      I am probably asking the wrong question, how do you know BJ, are you related or just a mate? (not offended if you won't answer this) I found Glen to be a real good bloke, he was living in unit 1 at Albany and spent a lot of time drawing guns and other things for inmates, he would tell us stories of his exploits, I worked in upholstery with him, thanks for replying and I am glad BJ got a laugh out of what I did, The cops are unreal, always keen to chalk up a holiday and do bugger all on the tax payers, tell BJ him I wish him all the best and I hope one day he is a free man!!! When he is I would like to buy him a beer.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I wouldn't worry too much, Trevor, regardless of the spin, BJ is actually a conscientiously gentle and intelligent bloke with a robust sense of humour. The letter was received and he had a good laugh at it.

      The reason all the rob squads wanted in on the PCB charade was because they could get free holidays out of it. But you're right, he was attributed as doing robberies all over the place, even on opposite sides of Australia simultaneously - to authorities it never mattered that their evidence was flawed if there was a freebie in it.

    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Geraldton

      thankyou, I have met a few other famous people, look out for more stories on this, warm regards Trevor Dune, Geraldton, West Australia

    • karwoo profile image


      6 years ago from Lake Stevens

      fun story

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting story. Just never know what will happen when you do something like signing a book as a joke. Welcome to HubPages.


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