The Catalpa Escape


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On Easter Monday 1876, six Irish political prisoners were snatched from Fremantle Prison under the very noses of their British gaolers. They boarded an American whaling ship waiting for them off the coast, and four months later sailed into New York harbour to become national heroes on both sides of the Atlantic.

The story of this amazing escape began with secret meetings in New Bedford, America and the purchase of the whaling ship Catalpa. It reached its dramatic climax with the confrontation between Catalpa and the coastal steamer Georgette off Fremantle.

Mike Lefroy, co-author of The Catalpa Escape, will reveal how this dramatic international tale of intrigue and derring-do unfolded.


About Mike Lefroy

Mike Lefroy has a passion for history, in particular the history of Western Australia and his hometown of Fremantle.

He has strong family links to the early settlement of the Swan River Colony and the development of the state, particularly through his great great grandfather John Septimus Roe, the first Surveyor General, and his great grandfather Charles Yelverton O’Connor, the Chief Engineer of Fremantle Harbour and the Goldfields Pipeline.

In 1992 he joined the WA Maritime Museum as Head of Education. During the planning and construction of the new Maritime Museum on Victoria Quay, Mike was also the project manager for the Tin Canoe to Australia II Gallery.

Details of his books, junior novels and educational activities can be found on his web site