On this day …….. 28th of January 1878


Joseph Hudson a Blacksmith at Stringers creek in Gippsland committed his brother Richard to the Mayday Hills Asylum on the 5th of November 1869, because he could no longer look after him. Hudson’s wife was in Pentridge at the time and had been for a while. Hudson escaped on the 7th February 1877, but was recaptured the following day. Hudson would escape once more on the January the 28th 1878, were he was at large or five days.


The Twisted Team have a couple of big tours coming up this month!

First on the 9th February, we have our first special investigation at the Blackwood Hotel from 7-10pm.  The night includes dinner, a cemetery walk and then an investigation of the haunted Blackwood Hotel.

On the 26th February, we have our first lockdown of the year at the Geelong Gaol starting at 10pm.

And not forgetting our regular tours, with Ghost and Investigation tours running 7 nights a week at the Geelong Gaol, Chinatown Murder Tours running every Friday and Saturday night in Melbourne or our Carlton Murder Tour.

You can find more information on all our tours at www.twistedhistory.net.au or by calling 1300865800


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ON THIS DAY – January 27, 1934

Following the finding of the body of a newly born child under a house in Paisley street, Malvern on January 28, a 22-year-old girl was charged in the City Court today with having murdered an infant on January 27. Mr Hauser. P.M. remanded the girl until February 13, and allowed bail in her own recognisance of £200.

ON THIS DAY – January 27, 1925

At the Richmond Court, Hannah Elizabeth Mitchell was charged with having murdered Eva Malcina Pitt on the 27th of January. Nurse Mitchell had previously been arrested on a charge of having performed an illegal operation. She was remanded for a week on bail of £1000.


ON THIS DAY – January 27, 1909

A murder was committed at the Ballarat Lunatic Asylum this afternoon. A party of inmates were working in the garden under the charge of two warders, and one of the lunatics, Charles Russell, struck another, William Bates, on the head with a pick. Bates was taken to one of the wards, but he died an hour afterwards.


Front Gates of Fairlea Women’s Prison at Yarra Bend, Fairfield.

Built for 60 female prisoners in 1956, and expanded by 1986 to accommodate 106, Fairlea was decommissioned in August of 1996. The gates depicted here (and parts of the boundary walls) were built between August and November 1849 and were thus remnant from the Colony of Port Phillip’s original lunatic asylum, the Melbourne Asylum at Merri Creek. Fairlea (unfortunately inclusive of these historic gate pillars, boundary walls and three original Yarra Bend out-buildings) was bulldozed in March of 1997. One of the gate pillars was relocated within the original asylum reserve, which is now part of the Yarra Bend National Park.


David Syme (light-shaded suit), founding editor of The Age and Ararat Lunatic Asylum Superintendent William Beattie-Smith at the front of one of the four “farm cottages” built between 1887 and 1890. In 1991 this cottage, the westernmost of the series, was then comprehensively renovated and repurposed as Unit 3 of the Ararat Forensic Psychiatry Centre.


The Clockface type traffic control signal was designed by Charles Marshall in 1936-37 and manufactured by his manufacturing engineering firm Charles Marshall Pty Ltd, of Fitzroy. This type of signal was used at about 35 Melbourne intersections between the late 1930s and the 1960s. The signal has two large discs, each approximately 3-ft (1 metre) in diameter set at right angles at the top of a 15-ft (4.57 metre) high mast with dial faces on either side of each disc designed to face the oncoming traffic on all four roads at a right-angle crossroad intersection. A large white indicator hand or pointer on each the dial face swept through red, yellow and green sectors of the face to indicate stop and go intervals. The prototype Marshalite unit was installed at the intersection of Gertrude Street and Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, in 1937, at the expense of the company with the permission of the Fitzroy City Council. It lasted only a short period before having to be dismantled after falling foul of the law. A Fitzroy councillor who had been booked for driving against the signals contested his fine in court and won on the grounds that the signals were not the property of the Fitzroy Council and therefore were operating without legal jurisdiction and so where ordered to be removed. The Second World War then intervened hampering further development and it was not until 1945 that a second example was installed (with appropriate approvals) on the corner of Johnson and Brunswick Streets, Fitzroy. Over the next 15 years a number of Marshalite signals were installed at main road intersections in Fitzroy, Clifton Hill, Northcote, Coburg, Richmond, Malvern, Camberwell and along the Neapan Highway through Chelsea. Originally the dials on the Marshalite signals had only green and red sectors, with a rotating indicator lamp instead of the pointer, but later an orange or amber sector was later added at the request of the Traffic Police to give motorists approaching the intersection at speed a warning of the impending change from green to red, and a plain white pointer was used instead of the rotating lamp, with the whole dial illuminated by an overhead lamp at night. Contrary to popular misconception, Marshalite signals always operated in conjuction with more conventional traffic lights positioned on each corner of the intersection, which were connected as slave signals controlled by the operation of the master Marshalite signal, which stood on either in the centre of the intersection or on the most prominent corner. Initially these traffic lights had only two lamps showing green and red, with a third amber lamp added when the intermediate colour was also added to the Marshalite dials.


After the official closure of the penal settlement on Sarah Island, twelve Convicts, under the supervision of several soldiers and Master Shipwright David Hoy, remained behind to complete the fitting out of the brig, Frederick. Although the specific orders concerning the fit-out had been mysteriously mislaid, the men dutifully carried out their tasks with ‘great propriety, executing Mr. Hoys’ orders with promptitude and alacrity’. The Frederick was launched in January 1834 and ten of the Convicts celebrated the occasion by seizing control. They sailed it to New Zealand and then onto South America. It was abandoned off coast of Chile and the Convicts rowed the ship’s whaleboat the remaining 80 km to shore. Passing themselves off as shipwrecked sailors, they assumed positions as shipwrights and became respected members of the community. Several married local women, while six of the men made a further escape to America and Jamaica. The four who remained in Chile were eventually caught and brought back to Hobart for trial as pirates. As the boat was seized from the harbour rather than the high seas, they escaped the charge but had to live out their days on Norfolk Island.


On this day …….. 27th of January 1868

How easy history can be changed. On this day in 1868 a young Ned Kelly, his brothers and sisters, their mother and her sister were rescued from almost certain death in a house fire, which had been deliberately lit. The culprit was Ellen’s brother in law, James Kelly. Kelly was sentenced to death by Sir Redmond Barry. The sentence was commuted to ten years. James Kelly however would die in the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum.


On This Day – January 26, 1956

A 59-year-old man was shot dead with a pea rifle during an argument at his home in Clifton Hill, on this day in 1956. The dead man is Fred Caracella, of Hodgkinson Street, Cliffton Hill. Police were told there was an argument between Caracella and his oldest son. His second son got a rifle and tried to break it up the argument. The elder son is then alleged to have seized the gun and shortly after; a shot rang out. The bullet struck Caracella in the chest and he collapsed in the passageway. Russell Street detective charged the son, Francis Caracella, 27, with the murder of his father.



On this Day  – 26 Jan 1904

Louis Seifferd, was violently attacked at the Kew Lunatic Asylum, by Richard M’Cann. A post-mortem examination showed that deceased’s heart and kidneys were badly diseased, and that a blood clot had formed on the brain. The police enquiries showed that M’Cann had struck Seifferd and knocked him down. Subsequently his peculiar conduct led to his arrest. The Crown theory was that death had been caused by a blow by M’Cann, but medical witnesses would only go so far as to say that death might have been hastened by a blow. After a few minutes’ consideration the jury gave a verdict of not guilty.