ON THIS DAY – March 1, 2002

Sam Shalevski was stabbed to death with a home-made metal blade in the exercise ground of Barwon Prison, just 24 hours after he was transferred from Port Phillip Prison. The State Opposition demanded an inquiry. “It doesn’t make sense that a prisoner can be in custody for less than 24 hours after being sentenced and then be dead,” then corrections spokesman Kim Wells said



ON THIS DAY – March 1, 1999

On the 1st of March 1999, the body of Rachel Elizabeth Barber was unceremoniously dumped in the wardrobe of a second-floor flat in Trinian Street, Prahran, an inner suburb of Melbourne. A black, old-fashioned telecommunications cable was still tight around her neck. In another room were all sorts of scribblings: hate lists, catalogues, notes about Rachel, her family, her personality, her likes and dislikes – and one note in particular with the ominous words, ‘All things come to pass’. Caroline Reed Robertson a teenager and friend of the family was charged with her murder. Robertson told police that Rachel was lured to Robertsons Prahran flat with the promise of money for taking part in a secret psychological survey. She was drugged and murdered and her body placed in a wardrobe for 2 days. Rachel’s body was then taken to Robertsons father’s farm in Kilmore and buried in a shallow grave before it was discovered 2 weeks later. Robertson’s motive was to assume Rachel’s identity.



ON THIS DAY – March 1, 1992

Michelle Brown, 25, was discovered in a shed behind a Frankston gun shop two weeks after she disappeared on the 1st of March 1992. She had called her mum to pick her up at Frankston train station, but was never seen again alive.



ON THIS DAY – March 1, 1927

Arthur John Kotsiakos, aged 39, a Greek fishmonger, was found guilty of the murder of his wife, Josephine Elizabeth Mary Kotsiakos, on the 1st of March, in their home in North Melbourne at the conclusion of his trial at the Criminal Court. In passing sentence of death the Chief Justice, Sir William Irvine said that the jury had returned the only reasonable verdict on the evidence. Evidence was given that Kotsiakos, although divorced from his wife, had been living with her on account of the children. Two of the children, a boy, aged 10 1/2, and a younger girl, gave evidence that their parents had quarrelled on the night of the tragedy and they had heard the accused ask their mother “to make friends again.” When their mother replied in the negative the accused, they said, drew a revolver from his hip pocket and fired five shots at their mother. The children ran for the police, and when they returned their mother had the revolver clutched in her left hand as she lay on the stair way. Accused gave evidence that his wife attempted to shoot him and he closed with her. During the struggle which ensued, he said the revolver exploded and his wife fell dead. He said that his wife was keeping company with another man, and shortly before the tragedy he had accused her of that. She then intimated that she intended committing suicide. The jury returned to court shortly after retiring and announced the verdict of murder with a strong recommendation of mercy on the ground that Kotsiakos acted under an impulse.



ON THIS DAY – March 1, 1908

A young Wedderburn footballer named James Fanning was in the Bendigo Supreme Court charged with having murdered Albert Loch Taylor at Wedderburn on the 1st of March. Evidence was given that the prisoner had in the Royal Hotel, Wedderburn, on the night of the 29th of February, commenced a dispute with Taylor as to who should pay for liquor which had been ordered. The prisoner, though not drunk, was excitable. Taylor was sitting on a form, and the prisoner took up a billiard cue and made several hits at him. He then knocked Taylor off his seat. Taylor retaliated, and struck Fanning on the eye. Both men close and the prisoner fell on top of Taylor. When the antagonists were separated Taylor proceeded towards, the passage, when the prisoner struck him violently on the head, and he subsequently died. The jury, after a short retirement, returned a verdict of manslaughter, and the prisoner was remanded for sentence.



ON THIS DAY – March 1, 1943

Norman Searle, 27-year-old turner and fitter, was charged in the City Court with having at Richmond on the 1st of March, murdered 42 year old senior Constable Frederick Jones, of Northcote. Searle was also charged with having at Balwyn also on the 1st of March, unlawfully and maliciously shot at taxi driver George Costello with intent to murder him. In applying for a remand on a murder charge to the City Court on the 9th of March. Police Prosecutor Inspector Ainsworth said it was alleged that at 8.20pm Constable Jones was on duty at Richmond. Searle, who was in a passing taxi, fired at him with a rifle and Senior Constable Jones died shortly afterwards.



ON THIS DAY – March 1, 1912

At the Bairnsdale Supreme Court, Clara Eva Gumley was charged with the manslaughter of her stepson, aged 4 1/2 years. On the 1st of March, the accused, in a fit of anger, pushed the boy out of the back door of the house, and he fell against a post. The child died the next day in hospital. Death was due to effusion of blood on the brain, which was caused by an injury at the back of the head. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and Mrs. Gumley was sentenced to six months imprisonment



On This Day – 1st March 1854

On the 1st March 1854, Catherine Smith, female turnkey of the Geelong gaol, described a lunatic prison Ann Connelly. The Prisoner was rather violent and was very dirty in her habits, and required attendance as a child. She has been obliged to keep her bed from dysentery, and had to keep one of the female prisoners constantly in attendance upon her. She has been well and carefully treated, the doctor seeing her constantly. She has been confined to her cell for the last fortnight. Her cell was very offensive, notwithstanding all our efforts to keep it otherwise. Staff had to separate her in consequence, and place her in a private cell, which is very small, and exposed to the noise arising from a woman, who is constantly making an uproar.



On this day ………… 1st March 1881

Coles American circus arrived in Benalla, North East Victoria, bring to town not only a troupe of real live North American Red Indians, in traditional clothing, but also electric lights. It was the first time most people had seen anything so brilliant and exciting. Whatever the attraction, Coles Circus apparently made a fortune on its tour of Australia. It was reported they took back £24,000 profit, in today’s money $2,291,714.32



On this day ………… 1st March 1879

Beechworth’s second great fire started on this day in 1879. An explosion in a down factory would see the complete destruction of the entire block along Camp Steet between Ford and High Streets, reminiscent of the 1867 fire. The Empire Hotel would fall to the flames again causing the local news paper “The Ovens and Murray Advertiser” to remark that Beechworth, in it’s short history, had already witnessed the rise and fall of two Empires.