On 3 February 1967, despite public outrage and vocal protests from wide-ranging community groups, Ronald Ryan became the last person to be legally executed in Australia. Last Words is the human story behind this historical event that aims to answer some of the remaining unanswered questions, fifty year after his death.
Ryan was found guilty of murdering prison officer George Hodson during an escape from Pentridge Prison with fellow inmate Peter Walker. But did Ryan really fire the bullet? Was Ryan executed to bolster Victorian Premier Henry Bolte’s chances of winning the upcoming Victorian election, during which he ran a campaign promoting his law-and-order agenda?
Through mesmerising prose, Barry Dickens takes readers into the last weeks of Ryan’s life and brings to life this infamous man whose personal story has gone undocumented until now.
Barry Dickins wrote the stage play Remember Ronald Ryan for the Playbox Theatre Company, which won the Louis Esson Prize for Drama at the Victorian Premier’s Awards in 1995 as well as the Amnesty Prize For Peace Through Art in the same year.