ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1914

The magisterial inquiry into the death of a newly-born child found buried at Elliminyt, near Colac, a fortnight ago was concluded on this day in 1915. Constable Nankervis gave evidence to the effect that he interviewed Emma Ruby Donohue, a young married woman, who at first denied giving birth to the child, but subsequently said she dug a hole in the back yard and buried it. She said the child made no sound, and she did not feel it move. The body was buried a foot below the surface of the yard. A post mortem examination did not reveal external marks of violence, but the doctor was of opinion the child was born alive and had breathed. Death was due to suffocation. Mr. Walter Selwood, the acting coroner, found the child had been wilfully murdered, and committed Emma Donohue for trial on a charge of murder at the February sittings of Geelong Supreme Court.


ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1937

The story of the shooting of Merle Maude Moss, aged 18 years, housemaid, of Bungaree, at Ballarat on the 3rd of January, and the finding of the body of a young man in Lake Wendouree next day, was told at the inquest conducted by the deputy coroner. A finding was recorded that Miss Moss had been murdered by Sydney Gordon Smart, aged 22 years, labourer, of Durham Lead, and that Smart (whose body was recovered from the lake) had committed suicide. Dulcie Jean Lumsden, housemaid, employed by Dr. Richardson, of Sturt street, said that on the 3rd of January, at 2.30 pm, she called at Dr. Salter’s place, where Merle Moss was employed, and they went for a walk. Smart followed them, and persisted in his request that Miss Moss should meet him, but she declined to do so. Near Albert street at 7pm, Smart pulled Miss Moss by the wrist, took a revolver from his pocket, pointed at at the girl, and said something which Miss Lumsden did not catch. Miss Moss said, “Don’t be a coward.” Miss Lumsden said “I’m going to tell someone.” Smart replied, “If you do there’ll be trouble,” and he let Miss Moss go. At 7.30 pm, Miss Lumsden said, they turned into the lane off Lyons street, leading to the rear of Dr. Salter’s residence. Smart pushed Miss Moss against the fence while Miss Lumsden stood a few feet from them. Miss Moss tried to get away, but Smart pulled her back, saying “Will you meet me tonight?” Miss Moss replied, “I don’t want to meet you.” She then struggled to get away, saying. “Let me go!” Miss Lumsden, continuing, said: “I heard the first report, and saw Merle fall. She screamed as she fell. I ran in the gate. I heard four more shots fired while Merle was on the ground, and he was bending over her with his back to me. I ran inside and told Mrs. Salter and the girls.”

Incident Before Christmas

Margaret Ruth Telford, cook, residing at the residence of Mr. Salter, said that earlier Miss Moss had told her that she did not want to meet Smart, because she did not care for him. They had been keeping company for about six months. Miss Moss told her the week before Christmas that she had that night been at White Flat with Smart, and when she went to go away after an argument Smart had fired two shots from a revolver into the air, and she had gone back to him. George Searle, miner, of Chewton, said that about 7.35pm., on the 3rd of January, he saw a man with blood on his face running west along Mair street toward the lake. Constable Raper gave evidence of the finding of Smart’s body in Lake Wendouree on January 4. The seven-chambered .22 calibre Young American type revolver found in the lane after the shooting had been discharged in the seven chambers. Dr. F. Fleming said that the girl, had two bullet wounds in the head, one in the chest, and one in the hand. Smart had two head wounds, one indicating where the bullet had passed harmlessly off, and the second slightly penetrating the head without injury to the brain. Death, in his case, was due to drowning. The deputy coroner recorded a finding that the girl had died from the effects of three revolver wounds maliciously inflicted by Smart, and that Smart did murder her, and that Smart’s death was due to drowning, wilfully caused by himself.


ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1928

Following the arrest of Ernest Ambrose Kleinhert, orchard labourer, aged 20 years, of Mitcham. He was charge of having murdered Iolene Mary Sampson, married woman, also of Mitcham, on the 3rd of January. At the City Court Detective James Leonard McKeogh said: About 1030pm, in company with Senior detective McKerral, I arrested Kleinhert on a charge of having murdered Iolene Mary Sampson. Early on the morning of January 3, Mrs Sampson was found in an unconscious condition on the footpath of Mitcham road, Mitcham, a short distance from her home. She was lying in a pool of blood, and her head was badly injured. She was removed to the Melbourne Hospital, where she died at 1120am on the same day without having recovered consciousness. When Kleinhert went to the Mitcham police station to report the finding of Mrs Sampson on the roadside at 525am on the morning of January 3, there were blood stains on his face and clothes, in respect of which he could give no satisfactory explanation. During the trial he protested his innocence, claiming a motor car had hit Mrs Sampson. Kleinhert was acquitted of the charge. On the 21st of July, 1928, Kleinhert was himself attacked and stabbed in the neck just missing the jugular vein. His attacker, Edward Augustus Sampson, aged 34, an orchardist, and the husband of Mrs Iolene Mary Sampson!


ON THIS DAY…… 3rd January 1894

George Burnett was born in England in 1847. At the age of 19 he travelled to Melbourne aboard the Garonne arriving in 1886. Burnett work as an accountant in Geelong. On the 3rd of January 1894, Burnett shot and killed a youth named Walter John in Wellington street, West Geelong with a rifle, when he was in an intoxicated condition. The jury returned a verdict of guilty with a strong recommendation of mercy. The judge said he concurred with the jury, considering the great provocation given. Burnett was sentence to be executed but it was committed to 15 years hard labour. On arrived at the Geelong Gaol he was described as having a bullet wound to left breast, scare above eyes and a long scare on the front of head. Burnett was released on the 21st of September 1903.


On this day …….. 3rd of January 1989

Dolphins saved a boys life as a large shark moved in for the kill on the 3rd of January 1989. They chased off the 3.5 metre long tiger shark as it approached the hopeless teenager surfer Adam McGuire. The shark had already attacked Adam twice as he surfed off Evans Head, near Ballina, NSW. First it tore a huge chunk out of this surfboard, plunging Adam into the sea. Then it struck again and ripped his stomach, leaving a 30cm wide gash. Despite his wounds, Adam managed to swim ashore with the help of two friends as the dolphins attacked the shark. Adam survived.


On this day …….. 3rd of January 1962

On this day in 1962, Victoria and NSW were connected with a standard gauge rail connection. For over 100 years trains stopped at the Albury NSW, and passengers and goods were moved to a different train. The first Goods train from Sydney arrived in Melbourne on this day.


On this day …….. 3rd of January 1952

Government investigations will be made at Luna Park, St Kilda, where more than 40 people were hurled from their seats and two were injured in a Scenic Railway collision on Tuesday night. Mrs. Joyce Johnson (22), of Port Kembla, N.S.W., and Phillip Slavin (44), of Union Street, Surrey Hills (Melbourne) were admitted to Prince Alfred Hospital. They were carried on stretchers along a track high above the ground and then across roofs and through Noah’s Ark. Police were told the front car stopped when a red danger light showed ahead. It was struck by the following car and forced along the tracks.


What the fashionable home dressmaker was wearing in 1918!

On This Day – January 2, 1951

The battered body of Kelham Malcolm Young, 50, was found outside a hut at Camp Pell early to-day. Young lived at the camp till a few months ago. Police are searching for a man who they think, attacked Young when he went to a hut at the camp. A fight between the two men is believed to have followed a refusal by Young to leave the camp. Police took possession of, a heavy piece of timber with which they think Young was battered to death. They are also working on the theory that a pistol was used to scare Young away. Camp residents were awakened by a shot about 5 a.m., and later Young’s body was found near the hut. A preliminary examination of the body failed to show any trace of a bullet wound.

On This Day –  January 2, 1951

Mrs. Shirley Rose Miller (21) and Kevin James Miller (32), of Buxton, were present in custody at an inquest to-day charged with having murdered their 12-month-old daughter at Buxton on January 2.

The Coroner (Mr. Burke. S.M.) who was inquiring into the death of Hazel Elaine Miller, adjourned the hearing until next Wednesday, after medical evidence had been heard.

Mrs. Miller was also on remand on a charge of having murdered another child, Arthur Jackson, three months, at Redcliffs on March 26, 1948.

Mr. Burke was told that the body of Hazel Miller was sewn up in a calico bag with white cotton and the legs tied with string.

Dr. Bowden, Government Pathologist, detailed the extensive injuries to Hazel Miller, alleged to have been cause by a hot-water bottle placed on the child’s stomach. The girl’s body was extensively bruised, and, in his opinion, death was due to a fractured skull. Most of the bruises could have been caused by hitting with the open hand or punching.

ON THIS DAY – January 2, 1900

On the morning of January 2 a man named Walter Doolan was found dead close to Pralma’s Hotel, at Boolarra. A magisterial inquiry was held before Mr. J. Hall, J.P., when a verdict of murder was returned against some person or persons unknown. Sergeant-detective Dungey arrived and proceeded to the scene of the supposed murder, and will be assisted in his inquiries by the local police.


ON THIS DAY…… 2nd January 1958

Three young prisoners escaped from Geelong Gaol on the 2nd of January 1958. Graham David Spence aged 23, John Charles Patrick O’Connor aged 22 and John Edward James Johnson aged 19. Inspector L. F. Wright, who assisted Superintendent W. Reid to organise the search this afternoon, said that one of the escapees could be dangerous and people who met the escaped prisoners should take precautions. The prisoners escaped after scaling a 15ft brick wall and using a plank of wood to climb the outer walls, and dropped into Little Myers Street, which is at the rear. Two of the men were captured on the same day near the Queen’s Park golf course, Geelong, after police had circled the area and closed all exits. ‘ The third man, who left his companions after they failed to break through the many road blocks around Geelong, was caught by two youths who chased him near the You Yang Range on the Melbourne side of Geelong. He was brought back to the Gaol.