On This Day – 29th February 1864

Convict John Yates was charged with making a noise in his cell, on this day in 1864. Yates was charge by the overseer of work at the Geelong Gaol, and was given 24 hours in solitary confinement on bread and water.



On this day ………… 29th February

February is the shortest month in the Gregorian calendar, and the only month with 28 days. February has 29 days in leap years, when the year number is divisible by four, except for years that are divisible by 100 and not by 400. January and February were the last two months to be added to the Roman calendar, since the Romans originally considered winter being the northern hemisphere) a monthless period. The change was made by Numa Pompilius some time after 700 BC in order to bring the calendar in line with a standard lunar year. Numa’s Februarius contained 29 days (30 in a leap year). Augustus is alleged to have removed one day from February and added it to August, (renamed from Sextilis to honour himself), so that Julius Caesar’s July would not contain more days. However there is little historical evidence to support this claim.



On this day ………… 29th February 1932

Detectives made inquiries into the incident have ascertained that another youthful prisoner assisted Reginald James Barker (18 years) in his daring attempt to escape from the Pentride Gaol at Coburg, Melbourne on this day in 1932. It Is understood that this youth, will probably be charged with having assisted Barker to escape. Thomas O’Dowd, the warder who was shot by Barker, is still on the danger list.



On This Day – 29th February 1864

Convicts John Sullivan and Williams James were charged with fighting at Geelong Gaol on this day in 1864. Both men were charge by turnkey Bourke. Sullivan was given 21 days and James was given 7 days in solitary confinement on bread and water.



On This Day – 29th February 1868

Convict Bridget McMahon was charged with striking a fellow female prisoner at the Geelong Gaol. McMahon was charge by the female turnkey Murphy, and was given 3 days bread and water.



On this day ………… 29th February 1934

An intensive search by armed horsemen started on this day in 1934, for a mystery animal, which has been terrorising the mountain districts between Bright and Yackandandah, in North East Victoria, proved fruitless. The marauder made its last appearance near Myrtleford. The townspeople are alarmed and declare that they will not rest until he is laid by the heels. He has appeared four times since early in February. Twice he has attacked horsemen and once leapt at a jinker in which two men were driving. The animal is believed by zoo authorities, judging from footprints, to be a small American black bear, which has probably escaped from a travelling circus.




A notorious thug, now dead, is believed by Victorian police to be responsible for the disappearance of Australia’s first television celebrity chef. (who appeared on Channel Seven’s The Chef Presents) But detectives believe that there are still people alive that can provide them with information. Willi Koeppen, father of three, then 46, disappeared without trace from Olinda on February 29, 1976, and since then there has been plenty of speculation about who was responsible for the disappearance of the Cuckoo Restaurant co-owner. Alex Tsakmakis, a suspected serial killer who was convicted of two murders, was believed to have been involved in the disappearance. He was murdered in Pentridge in 1988. Russell Street bomber Craig Minogue battered Tsakmakis to death with a bagful of prison weights. There are many unanswered questions and the Homicide Squad Missing Persons Unit has appealed for anybody with any information to contact Crime Stoppers. “Ever after all these years we believe that somebody maybe could come forward with some information that could prove vital information,” Detective Inspector John Potter said. “He disappeared off the face of the earth and has never been seen since.”




The strict arm of the law was carried into effect on this day in 1864, on Alexander Davis, who was found “Guilty” in the Circuit Court of the murder of George Sims, at Smythesdale, on the 31st May, 1863. The hour of execution was fixed for 9am, and by about 8am a number of persons had began to assemble in the vicinity of the Ballarat gaol. The sheriff had adopted the precaution of allowing no one to enter, except on the production of a written order, but some extra amount of latitude must have been exercised, for a few minutes before 9am, the inner yard was occupied by about fifty persons of all classes, from professional men downwards. At 9am the inside doors were opened, and the spectators were admitted into the main corridor, where the ghastly instrument is permanently fixed. The unhappy culprit was in the upper condemned cell, attended by the Rev. Mr. Potter and the Rev. Mr. Hollis and their voices, administering the last religious services, could distinctly be heard. In a few minutes the sheriff entered the cell, and produced the Governor’s warrant. The executioner then commenced the operation of pinioning, and the unfortunate man was led to the scaffold, his face being turned away from the spectators. In the midst of prayer, to which he listened attentively, the bolt was drawn, a heavy thud was heard, and the sentence of the law had been fulfilled. A few convulsive motions could be observed, the executioner was once obliged to pull the legs of the deceased, and all was over. From the statements made by those who attended the unfortunate man in his last moments, he died perfectly calm and reconciled to his fate. He admitted his guilt and the justice of his sentence. His last words were, “I am truly happy.”


ON THIS DAY – February 29, 1916

Leslie Taylor, aged 27 years, and John Williamson aged 42 years, were both charged in the city court with having murdered on the 29th of February 1916, William Patrick Haines. Detective Glugston, stated, that on February 28 a telephone message was received by the Globe Motor taxi Company at South Melbourne, asking, for a touring car be sent to Cliveden Mansions the following morning for Mr L’Estrange. William Haines who was in-charge of the open touring car was sent. At 11am on the 29th of February, the car was found standing at the corner of Bulleen and Thompson roads, and the body of the driver was under a rug in the front portion of the car. Haines was shot.




The trial of Patrick and Margaret Geary for the murder of a shepherd in 1854, was commenced at the Old Court House, Melbourne. Mr Adamson prosecuted on behalf of the Crown, and Messrs Molesworth and Sirr represented the prisoners respectively. The presiding judge was his Honour Mr Justice Pohlman. Mr Adamson opened the case in a concise address to the jury, in which he explained the circumstances of the crime with which the prisoners were charged, and the evidence which would be called to endeavour to substantiate it. Andrew Murray was the first witness called. He stated: I am a squatter residing at St.Kilda, and had a brother named Hugh Murray. His station was situated on the Corangamite, and was north of mine. Beyond his was Mr Calvert’s station. I knew a man named Thos. Brookhouse, who was a shepherd in the employ of my brother Hugh. I know the prisoner Patrick Geary, who was also employed by my brother as a shepherd. Geary and Brookhouse were both in my brother’s employ in 1854. Geary’s hut was nearest to the home station, and about three quarters of a mile from Brook- house’s. The hut occupied by Geary was 11 or 12 miles from the home station. On the west, Lake Corangamite was about three miles from both huts. The huts are no longer in existence, but I have pointed out the site of them to constable Killen. I remember Brook- house being missing. He had a sheep dog. When Brookhbuse was reported missing, I went with others in search of him, and spent about a fortnight in the search. On the morning that we first set out, I visited Brookhouse’s hut, which then presented the appearance of his having left it with the intention of returning as usual. The breakfast things had not been removed, and the place appeared to be undis- turbed. The dog was about the hut. We followed the dog, thinking that he might lead us to where Brookhouse would be found, but he frequently stopped, and we ultimately gave up the search. My brother and myself, as well as the owners of all the neighbouring stations, lost a large number of sheep that year. On the 31st of August, 1869, constable Killen came to me, and in consequence of what he said to me I ac- companied him to the spot where Brookhouse’s hut had stood. We also went to a man named George Ball, who was engaged in building a stone wall about half a mile distant. He, and a hoy in his employ named Bayliss, took us to the place where the bones of a man had been found, and which a constable took possession of. Brookhouse was a small, natty tidy little man, having thin sharp features and a prominent chin. He was about 50, or perhaps more. John Shayp, a farmer, living near Ondit, about 12 miles from Colac, deposed: I know the two prisoners. In 1854 I was in the em- ploy of Mr John Calvert, as shepherd. I visited Brookhouse’s hut when the search was commenced, and saw a tea cup, and saucer, a basin, a teapot, and, I think, a knife on the table. The hut was swept clean, and every- thing in order, as if he had not been long ab- sent. When we approached the hut the dog ran away, I think in the direction of south. Brookhouse, I should say, was forty-eight or fifty years of age. He was about as old as I am now. I left home when I was twenty-four years of age, and have been in this country thirty-two years. I am 6ft 8in in height, and he was within an inch lower. We often com- pared our height, and I told him he would never do for a soldier. (A laugh.) He used to wear a blue serge shirt outside, and a black red- striped silk handkerchief. His hat was usually a sou’-wester. The clasp-knife produced is like one he used to have slung to his pocket. He used also to carry a similar knife. The piece of striped cotton produced is like the inside shirt he used to wear. The piece of neckerchief produced is similar, I believe, to the one he used to wear. I can observe the stripe. The bit of hat shown me appears to be a bit of a sou’-wester. At Colac I saw the skeleton found, with the boots on, and at once recognised the remains as those of Brookhouse. The boots on the bones produced I have not the slightest doubt were worn by Brookhouse. He used to have the lace-holes very close to each other. In 1854, a stranger would not pass my hut perhaps for two months. Two other witnesses were examined, and the case was not concluded when the court rose.

Patrick Geary, Margaret Geary, Old Court House, Melbourne, Molesworth, Mr Justice Pohlman, Mr Adamson, Andrew Murray, St.Kilda, Hugh Murray, Calvert’s station, Patrick Geary, Lake Corangamite, constable Killen, shot, murder, George Ball, Bayliss, John Shayp, Ondit, John Calvert, shepherd, Colac, skeleton, Brookhouse


ON THIS DAY – February 28, 2002

Kade Hall was last seen in Croydon around 10pm on the 28th of February 2002, before being picked up by an unknown person. Hall received a call from a pay phone outside Mooroolbark KFC at 10.10pm. Hall was shot and dumped on the side of Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd. His body was found 15 days later. Police believe the murder was the work of three men known to Mr Hall. Police have put a $1 million reward on the table for anyone who can help successfully prosecute the killer or killers.




Arthur Pattison, a farmer at Caniambo in North East Victoria was charged with the murder of his three children. In February 1892 Pattison, massacred his three young children, Arthur aged five, Florence aged six, and Margaret, aged eight, whilst they lay in bed. The instrument used was an axe, which was taken with difficulty from Pattison. It was shown that monetary troubles had, unhinged prisoner’s mind. In court the jury acquitted Pattison on the ground of insanity, and he was ordered to be detained in the Beechworth gaol during the Governor’s pleasure.