An excerpt from Rock College


‘From late 1962 the "back basement" housed a national celebrity, perhaps the best known and most widely admired criminal figure in this country's history. Then aged 25, George Wilder was a wiry whippet of a man, a skilled bushman with jug ears, a sly grin and an instinctive contempt for authority.

For a felon with such a remarkable reputation, his crime sheet was distinctly modest — a few thefts, burglaries and car conversions (he favoured Jaguars), but no suggestion of violence or other very serious offences. What distinguished Wilder from other petty criminals, and earned him a cell in the back basement, was his apparently irresistible urge to make a break for the outdoors and remain there for considerable periods undetected.’

Read the full excerpt, courtesy of The New Zealand Herald16 August 2020, here.