Michael Spereirani was murdered at Mt Martha on this day in 1984, by Serial killer John Leslie Coombes. Speirani’s remains are never found. Murder was believed to have been driving over him in a motorboat, Stabbing with knife and Strangulation. Coombes was sentenced to life with no chance of parole on the 26th of August 2011.


ON THIS DAY – February 26, 1916


In the Criminal Court, Archibald Murchison, a member of the Expeditionary Forces, was charged with the manslaughter of another soldier named John Heath, at Melbourne, on the 26th of February. The defence was that Heath rushed at Murchison and hit him, the fatal blow being then struck by accused in self defence. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.


On this day ………… 25th February 2001

Sir Donald Bradman was awarded a knighthood in 1949 and a Companion of the Order of Australia, the country’s highest civil honour, in 1979. In 1996, he was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame as one of the ten inaugural members. After his retirement, he remained heavily involved in cricket administration, serving as a selector for the national team for nearly 30 years. Sir Donald Bradman died on 25 February 2001.



On this day ………… 25th February 1834

It is also generally accepted that the Dutch were disinclined to colonise Australia, and that the first European settlement occurred with the convicts, marines and officers of the First Fleet. This, however, is not entirely the case. The first prisoners in Australia were Dutch seamen Wouter Loos and Jan Pellegrimsz de Beye who were abandoned on the mainland for their part in the murders of the passengers of the wrecked ship ‘Batavia’ in June 1629. This was not the only time that Dutch made Australia their home. It is estimated that, between 1629 and 1727, around 300 Dutch passengers and crew linked to the Dutch East India company occupied parts of Western Australia as a result of the many shipwrecks which occurred off the coast of what was then known as “New Holland”. On 25 February 1834, English newspaper ‘The Leeds Mercury’ reported on the findings of a secret English expedition to Australia which had taken place in 1832. Led by Lieutenant Nixon, the expedition claimed to have discovered a settlement of several hundred Europeans who were descendants of Dutch survivors from shipwrecks between the mid 1600s and early 1700s, such as the Vergulde Draeck (1656), the Concordia (1708), the Zuytdorp (1712), and the Zeewijck (1727). The survivors were said to have established a colony some 1500 km from the coast, in central Australia’s Palm Valley. However, although Palm Valley exists as a desert oasis in the Red Centre, no evidence of, or artifacts from, such a colony have ever been located.



Great photo of Sir Robert Menzies, 12th Prime Minister of Australia, who was a life long supporter of Carlton Football Club. In the 1970s, following a stroke the Carlton Football club made a ramp up onto the committee box at Princes Park Oval so that Menzies’s Chauffeur, Peter Pearson could drive his Bentley into the stand to watch games.

On this day ………… 25th February 1938

While fishing for Perch on the Upper Bellinger River near Thora in NSW, on this day in 1938, Mr. Targett accidentally caught a bat in mid air. He was holding up his line to see if his bait of cricket was still intact, when the bat swept down, grabbed the bait. The line ran though the started man’s fingers. By now amused, Targett reeled in his catch and found a large bat with a cricket and hook firmly in its mouth.



ON THIS DAY – February 24, 1951


Detectives charged a 15-year-old Glen Waverley boy with the manslaughter of a 12-year old shooting companion. The dead boy was Brendon Thomas, of Derna rd., Ashburton, who was hit by a richocheting bullet while shooting at Scoresby on February 24. He died in Alfred Hospital on March 15 from a wound in the abdomen.


ON THIS DAY – February 24, 1939


After inquiring into the death of Walter Insall (65), a pastrycook of East Malvern, who was fatally injured when knocked down by a motor truck near his home on February 24, the coroner committed John Wade for trial on a charge of manslaughter. Witnesses alleged that the truck failed to stop after the accident. It had no lights, they said, and appeared to be on the wrong side of the road. After the accident Wade was charged with driving under the influence of liquor.


ON THIS DAY – February 24, 1902


The trial of Richard Henry Wills for the alleged murder of Edward Woods at Dingee on February 24, commenced in Bendigo before Judge A’Beckett and a jury of twelve. All the evidence had been taken and Mr. Murphy had finished his address to the jury when the court adjourned at six o’clock. The evidence of Dr. Gaffney (who made the post-mortem) was to the effect that the blow causing death was struck while Woods was lying on the ground but Drs. Hugh, Boyd and Murphy called for the defence, are of contrary opinion, declaring it to be possible that the blow was struck as deceased was rising up. Wills has been calm in demeanour throughout. Wednesday Evening. The Dingee murder case was concluded in the Supreme Court at Bendigo today. Judge A’Beckett summed up impartially, and the jury after seven hours retirement returned a verdict of manslaughter. The prisoner was remanded for sentence.


ON THIS DAY – February 24, 1922


Mary Batty, 65, was arrested on a charge of murdering Doris Dee at Footscray on February 24. Dee died in the Women’s Hospital from alleged malpractice.




Damian Catania was the victim of a drive-by shooting about 6am on the 24th of February. Catania was waiting outside his home in Hoppers Crossing in Melbourne’s western suburbs for a regular lift to work when an early model white Commodore slowed as it cruised by. A gunman in the car, reputedly Andrew Veniamin, opened fire, hitting Catania at least four times in the legs and groin. Catania, a mid-level “player” in the underworld was an ex-boxer who had a string of minor convictions, mostly for violence. Catania almost lost a leg as a result of the shooting and spent 12 months in hospital recovering. Those in the car were never caught. On Monday 22 May 2006 Catania, then 30, was sentenced to a minimum of six years jail for pouring petrol over a man who had annoyed him and setting the victim alight, causing horrific burns. Not surprisingly, Catania told the court that on his eventual release from jail, he wanted to “pack up and travel out of Melbourne”.



On This Day – 24th February 1860

Convict William Meuct was charged with insolence to a Senior Turnkey on this day in 1860. Meuct was charged by turnkey, was given 24 hours in solitary confinement on bread and water.