ON THIS DAY – January 26, 1892

A telegram from Nathalia states that a fearful tragedy was enacted at Yalca North, about 14 miles from there, when Robert Brown, a farmer, was shot dead by his brother John Brown, who then committed suicide. Information having been brought to Nathalia Constable Murcuit and Dr. Ellison went to the house. They had to break open the door, which was locked, when they found the two men dead, each lying in a pool of blood. A ploughman in the employ of Robert Brown says he heard a shot fired in the house this morning, and on going to see what was the matter saw Robert lying on the floor with a gunshot wound in the back, the brother having fired at him whilst he was sitting at breakfast. The brother John then seemed sorry for what he had done, and sent the workman for assistance after placing the wounded man on a bed. When a medical man was approaching the house two shots were heard, and when the police and medical man entered it was found John Brown had shot his brother a second time, the bullet entering his head and killing him instantly. John Brown then fired at his own head, and was killed immediately. A dispute about the farm is supposed to have been the cause of the tragedy.



ON THIS DAY – January 26, 1937


Evidence that she had repulsed the accused when he had tried to kiss her in a cowshed was given by Ida Reynolds, married, of Nilma North, when Jack Evison, aged 44 years, woodcutter, of Nilma North, appeared on a charge of having shot at Mrs. Reynolds on January 26 with intent to murder her. Mrs. Reynolds said that she had known Evison for two and a half years. He had worked for her husband at different times. “About a week before the shooting occurred,” she said, “I was working in the cowshed milking with my husband and Evison. My husband left the shed, and Evison tried to kiss me. He leaned on my shoulder. I objected, and he then put his arm about me, and I smacked him. He said, ‘Don’t split, or I’ll blow your brains out.’ “I told my husband, who discharged him. I saw Evison on January 23 and paid him a cheque at the gate. He asked me whether I was frightened of him, and I replied, ‘You must think I am a calf.’ On January 26 I saw Evison at 8 am. He called out ‘Ida,’ and pointed at something on the road. I went down to investigate. He was at the gate, and I was within eight yards of him. He said, ‘Come here,’ but I took several paces backward, as I became suspicious when I saw nothing on the road. “Evison was bending down and flashed a gun to his shoulder, saying, ‘I am going to shoot you dead.’ I ran to the cow-shed, but had gone only a few yards when I felt a sting in the right forearm and side, and heard the report of a gun. My husband appeared with a pitchfork and ran after Evison. I said, ‘Be careful; he has reloaded.” First-constable Derham said in evidence that he had asked Evison why he had shot Mrs. Reynolds, and Evison had replied, “It had to come to a finish ” Evison pleaded not guilty and reserved his defence. He was committed for trial at the Supreme Court, Melbourne, on February 15. Bail was refused.



ON THIS DAY…… 26th January 1914

The Chinaman, Ah Lipp, alias Poen Hoon, who was arrested at the Warrnambool railway station on the 26th of January 1914 and brought before Mr. Williams, P.M., at the Police Court, charged with having opium in his possession in a form suitable for smoking and received 12 month. Ah Lipp arrived in Australia in 1894 aboard the ship Moon Myone.



The tradition of noticing the 26th of January, began early in the nineteenth century with Sydney almanacs referring to First Landing Day or Foundation Day. That was the day in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain and the first governor of New South Wales, arrived at Sydney Cove. The raising of the Union Jack there symbolised British occupation over the Aboriginal inhabitants of the eastern half of the continent claimed by Captain James Cook on the 22nd of August in 1770.



After federation, there was a large discussion about a National Day – Anniversary Day faring as a national symbol? The introduction of the Britain-centred Empire Day and its impact in schools intensified Australian Natives’ Association discussion about finding an appropriate national day for Australia. The NSW branch, feeling that the 26th of January was the ‘day which gave us a bad start’, proposed replacing Anniversary Day with Foundation Day on the 29th April, the day Captain Cook first landed on the east coast at Botany Bay in 1770. But the Australian Natives’ Association’s interstate conference preferred to retain 26 January.

Australian Natives’ Association were active in London during the war but 26 January was no longer Foundation Day but Australia Day by 1918.



The Regatta became the greatest attraction of the anniversary. In 1838 the Sydney Gazette detailed ‘numerous crowds of gaily attired people, attended by servants and porters…bearing the supplies for the day’s refreshments… wending their way towards the water’s edge’. People crowded the decks of three steamers, ‘each decked out in their gayest colours’. Four Australians had hired one of them, the Australia, to take their friends out on the harbour. The raising of its flag drew ‘the most deafening and enthusiastic cheering’. It was the NSW ensign — a white British ensign with a blue cross bearing five white stars — which the Australian newspaper expected would become ‘the emblem of an independent and a powerful empire’ within fifty years. Though not quite in the way the paper imagined, the flag would become an important Australian symbol by the end of the nineteenth century.


The tradition of having Australia Day as a national holiday on the 26th of January is a recent one. Not until 1935 did all the Australian states and territories use that name to mark that date. Not until 1994 did they begin to celebrate Australia Day consistently as a public holiday on that date.

On this day …….. 26th of January 1954

On this day in 1954, wandering elephant, crashed its way through a Sydney church hall and broke up a meeting of Scottish pipers. According to the Rev. R. A. Hickey, of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Redfern. The pipers literally picked up their skirts and ran for their lives. The nine-year-old elephant an escapee from a nearby circus, lumbered along Cleveland Street pursued by two keepers. She saw the open doorway of St. Paul’s Hall, and made straight for it. The doorway and part of the wall were shattered as the elephant pushed her way through. But the pipers were making such a racket they did not hear the visitor until she was in their midst. To get out of the hall, ‘Topsy’ retraced her steps and took some more of the wall with her. Last week ‘Topsy’ escaped, and ambled for a mile before being caught.


On this day …….. 26th of January 1905

At the inquest was held on this day in 1905, on the body of John Thomas Brooks, a boy who was drowned in the Yarra river at Abbotsford, the evidence showed that the deceased and other boys were robbing pear trees in the Convent grounds. Some of the boys arranged to pretend that people were coming. This caused the deceased to run, and he slipped and fell into the river. As he could not swim he was drowned. A verdict of accidental death was returned.



On this day …….. 26th of January 1896

Tropical Cyclone Sigma caused destruction from Townsville to Brisbane on the 26th of January 1896. 18 people were killed, most of whom lost their lives when a storm surge caused a breach of the Ross River on 26 January, travelling 3 miles (4.8 km) upstream, and flooding parts of Townsville to a depth of 2 metres (6 ft 7 in).



On this day …….. 26th of January 1971

On 26 January 1971 a severe storm caused flash-flooding on the Woden Valley freeway when culverts became blocked with debris at either end. Several cars were swept from the road into the rushing water. Seven people were killed, 15 were injured, and 500 people were affected by the 1971 Canberra flood. Insurance damage was estimated at $9 million (1971 dollars). Significant rectification works was undertaken at Yarra Glen.



ON THIS DAY – January 25, 1936

Herbert Nelson Lane aged 30, from Collingwood, appeared on remand at the City Court and charged with the murder of James Taylor, formerly a boxer in Collingwood on this day in 1936.

Police who were investigating, the murder of James Taylor, 32, of Collingwood, are searching for a pocket knife, which, it is believed, was used by the murderer, and is thought to have been thrown away near the scene of the crime. Taylor was discovered in a billiard room in Collingwood bleeding from several wounds. He died later in hospital.