On this day …….. 28th of December 1908

On December the 28th, James Hudmett, a single man, who resides at Richmond, called at the Melbourne Hospital and informed the doctor there that he had swallowed his false teeth. He was admitted as an in-patient, symptoms of an alarming nature became apparent, and a few minutes before midnight Hudmett died.

ON THIS DAY – December 28, 1905

William Carey, a native of Mauritius, and a resident of Edward street, Brunswick, was found unconscious on the roadside at Alphington on December 27th 1905, suffering from a fracture of the base of the skull. Carey died in the Melbourne Hospital on the following day. Deceased was a half-caste and a married man.

An inquest on the body was opened at the Morgue. Dr. Mollison, who made a post-mortem examination of the body, deposed that death was due to extravasation of blood on the brain due to violence. The detectives are making the fullest enquiries into the outrage, and a young man named Rouse is already in custody on a charge of murdering Carey. It appears that Carey was returning home to Brunswick. He had dispatched his wife by the coach, in which, however, there was no room for him, so he obtained permission to travel on the back step of a drag containing a picnic party.

The dray pulled up at the Darebin Bridge Hotel, Alphington, and it appears that Carey got into an altercation with some one in the hotel, which resulted in a quarrel. Enquiries made by Detective Sergeant O’Donnell have disclosed the fact that the hotel on the night in question was occupied by a larrikin mob known about Northcote and Clifton as the “fiddle breaker” push. The gang was armed with pickets torn from fences, and hurled volleys of potatoes and other missiles. Before the drag containing the picnic party, which gave Carey a lift on the road arrived, the larrikin gang had been particularly rowdy and offensive, and several of them tried to pick a quarrel with the picnickers, who were respectable, peaceably inclined people. Sergeant O’Donnell now has a quantity of direct evidence inculpating thirteen members of the “push,” who will be proceeded against on serious charges.


On this day …….. 28th of December 1937

While chasing an emu on horseback at Gol Gol, John Dempsey (54), of Buronga, near Mildura fell on his head and was killed instantly. His neck was broken by the fall. Dempsey was fencing when he saw the emu and he gave chase immediately. It is believed that he was thrown from the saddle when the horse stumbled.

ON THIS DAY – December 28, 1949

John Bryan Kerr (25), former radio announcer, faced three trial on a charge of having murdered Elizabeth Maureen Williams (20), whose body was found on Albert Park beach on December 28. Two witnesses said they had seen a strange man furtively leaving Albert Park beach about 2.30 a.m. on the 28th of December, 21 hours before the body of Miss Williams was found. Kerr was not the man they had seen.

Another defence witness was Kerr’s father, Donald Wallace Kerr, a Navy Department clerk. He said he saw his son in bed at 2.45 a.m. on the 28th of December. Cross-examined by the Crown Prosecutor (Mr. F. R.Nelson) John Kerr said that some extracts from his alleged confession. However when Mr. Nelson read extracts in which Kerr was alleged to have admitted that he killed Miss Williams, Kerr replied. ‘That’s a lot of rubbish.’ Kerr said he had told a psychiatrist. Dr. H. J. Stephens, of five incidents or emotional outbursts. He could remember details or only two of them. They was an argument he had with his mother one, and a fight in which he was Involved at Tocumwal (KS.W.) Railway Station.

Kerr was found guilty of murder, but the death sentence on Kerr was commuted to life imprisonment.

ON THIS DAY – December 28, 1915

Francis Elliott (34) was, at the Criminal Court, convicted on a charge of attempting to murder Arthur Henry Mace, driver, at Box Hill on the 28th of December. It was alleged that the accused, on the evening of December 28, called at Mace’s house and a disturbance took place. He left after threatening to shoot Mace and Mrs. Mace. Mace and his wife went to bed and were aroused about midnight by the report of a gunshot. The walls of the house were marked with gunshot pellets. The accused was remanded for sentence. Elliott received 5 years hard labour.

ON THIS DAY…… 28th December 1903

Samuel Steere, charged on remand with the attempted murder of William Graham at Cobden, was on this day in 1903, released on bail from the Geelong Gaol, on an order issued by Mr. Justice Hood in chambers.

ON THIS DAY…… 28th December 1905

James Williams was charged at the Geelong Court with obtaining money by false pretences. Evidence was given that on December 28, he went to the Prince of Wales Hotel, and tendered a cheque for three pounds, signed by J. Clarke. He endorsed the cheque with the name of James O’Malley, and the licensee then cashed it. He also cashed a cheque for £2 15s at the Brewers’ Arms Hotel. Both cheques wore valueless. The accused, in defence, said that two spielers got hold of him. One showed him a cheques for £7O, and said that they had a share in a horse running at Colac races. The men persuaded accused to cash the cheques, and he handed all the money to them. The accused said his real name was Frederick Clarke. The prisoner was sentenced to three months’ detention in Geelong gaol.

On this day …….. 28th of December 1989

On this day in 1989, thirteen people were killed as Newcastle, New South Wales, is hit by an earthquake. Significant earthquakes in Australia are rare; however, on the 28th of December 1989, an exception to the norm occurred. Australia’s sixth-largest city, Newcastle, situated on the mid New South Wales coast, was hit at 10:27am by an earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale. Effects of the quake were felt throughout central-eastern New South Wales. There were reports of damage to buildings in Scone, Gladstone and Sydney, the latter some 800km away. The shaking was even felt in tall buildings, in places over 5000km away. Thirteen people were killed, and 35,000 homes, 147 schools and 3,000 other structures in the region collapsed. Most damage, and the highest death toll, occurred at the Newcastle Workers Club when walls and multiple floors collapsed, dropping 300 tonnes of concrete onto the ground-floor car park. Nine people were killed in this one location alone. A US report on the earthquake suggested that the disaster was caused by stress resulting from 200 years of underground coal mining. Australian geoscientists disagree, claiming that the Hunter Valley has been prone to minor earthquakes for years. Other evidence suggests that the hypocentre of the earthquake lay too deep underground – 12 kilometres – for it to have been caused by mining.

A great story about Queenscliff from the 1930s involves the famous Australian painter Sidney Nolan. Nolan and a friend stowed away on a ship in Melbourne in 1934 hoping they could get a free passage to France. They decided that if they were caught they would insist they were missionaries who were trying to get to Tahiti to bring the gospel to the locals. Unfortunately neither Nolan nor his friend had a working knowledge of The Bible and neither of them had much of a desire to remain teetotal for the duration of the trip. They were discovered before the ship left Port Phillip, were removed and taken to Queenscliff where they were gaoled in the wooden lockup.

On this day …….. 5th of September 1949

A strange creature reportedly seen in the Murray River on this day in 1949, may have been a trained seal or sea-lion. One escaped from a travelling menagerie in Wangaratta about two years earlier, and was believed to have slipped into a river.

On the 6th of October, 1857, two men (splitters) named, – Meeson and George Hughan, had been working as mates for some time, and that a few days ago they had had some words. They left Ballan for the purpose of bringing in some timber to complete a contract and seem to have had another quarrel on, when prisoner, Meeson, took up an axe and struck deceased (Hughan) on the head with it, causing almost instantaneous death. Being unable to remove the body he lit a large fire and commenced the operation of cutting it up with a knife which he had in his possession, for the purpose of burning it, and he had succeeded in disposing of all but the legs, when he was suddenly come upon by some men who were travelling through the bush, who rushed upon him with the intention of effecting his capture. The monster, however, was instantly upon his guard, and threatened to stab the first man who attempted to lay hands on him. He was, however, eventually overpowered and trooper Doyle, and another, coming up at the time, he was by them taken into custody, and conveyed into Ballan, on horseback. He was brought up yesterday at the Ballan Police Court, and now lies in Ballarat gaol, fully committed to take his trial for wilful murder.


ON THIS DAY…… 27th December 1906

Mr. C. S: Paterson, the governor of the Geelong Gaol return from his annual leave on this day in 1906, and will retire from the service’s on the 31st of December. Mr. Robert Patterson, deputy, governor of Pentridge, took charge of the Geelong gaol, he was stationed in Geelong some years ago as senior warder.