On this day …….. 29th April 1905

It was reported on the 29th April 1905, that the Melbourne city morgue was infested with rats. So bad was the problem the whoever entered the building would find rats feeding on the corpses placed there, night or day.


On this day …….. 29th April 1914

On this day in 1914, Audley Shields, aged 15, was riding a bicycle along City road, Albert Park, Melbourne. He was thrown on the road and before he could regain his feet two wheels of a waggon, weighing over a ton, passed over his right, shoulders, escaping his head by a few inches. The lad was taken to the Melbourne Hospital in a motor car that was passing at the time and admitted for treatment.


EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 29, 1857




These criminals suffered death on this day in 1857, and died with the same firmness which had been displayed by their wretched companions in the act of assassination. Previous to their execution, Branigan confessed that he was the first man to attack the late Inspector General, whom he caught in his arms and threw to the ground in the rush. He also stated that the convict Williams, who was executed, was the man who struck Mr. Price on the head with a shovel, and that the prisoner Brown, and some others of the condemned, were innocent of any direct act of violence. While the process of pinioning was going on, Branigan recognised Mr. Sub-Inspector Stoney, by whom and by Inspector Nicholson he had been apprehended in Bullarook Forest, near Ballaarat, in 1855, on the charge of highway robbery, in company with Daniel Donovan, one of the acquitted convicts. Both then obtained at the time a sentence of fifteen years on the roads, the first three in irons. Branigan, on recognising Mr. Stoney, bowed to him and wished him good morning. The fatal preparations being completed, the drop fell; Branigan and Bryant appeared to die instantly, but Brown, who was a young and slight-made man, suffered longer.


EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 29, 1912


Joseph Victor Pfeffer, 33 years of age, suffered the extreme penalty of the law in the Melbourne gaol to-day for the murder of his sister-in-law, Florence Whitley, at Albert Park. The condemned man appeared resigned to his fate, and took a farewell of his wife yesterday afternoon. He slept well during the night and walked to the scaffold calm and fearlessly. The sheriff, the governor of the gaol, Dr. Godfrey, and half a dozen others were present, in addition to the warders. When asked by the sheriff if he had anything to say, Pfeffer replied in a clear voice, “I have to thank the Rev. Kieth Forbes for his administrations to me, and also the governor of the gaol and officers for their kindness. I am sorry for what I have done, and sorry that I have to leave my wife, children, and mother to mourn my disgrace.” The hangman then adjusted the rope, the bolt was drawn, and Pfeffer, who weighed 10st. 1lb., dropped a distance of 7ft. 10in. Death was instantaneous and without any quivering of the rope. The usual formal inquest will be held this afternoon. A crowd, including a number of women, had collected about the gaol gates, but there was no demonstration.


On this day …….. 29th April 1914

A accident happened in a rope mill in Melbourne on this day in 1914 to Claud Hodgson, 17 years of age. Hodgson was employed at Miller’s Rope Works, Brunswick, and was working at a twine winder, when he somehow got his arm caught in the twine, severing his arm.


On this day …….. 28th of April 1995

A gas explosion beneath a busy city street in Taegu, South Korea, kills more than 100 people on this day in 1995. Sixty children, some on their way to school, were among the victims of the blast. Taegu was a city of 2.2 million people, located about 150 miles south of Seoul. At the time of the explosion, an underground railroad was being constructed beneath the city streets. Metal sheets were put down in place of asphalt to cover holes in certain sections of downtown roads during the construction. At about 7:30 a.m., during a busy rush hour, a large explosion rumbled beneath the streets, blasting the metal sheets high into the air. Flames shot out from underground, some 150 feet high, throughout a 300-yard area. Cars were transformed into fireballs and one was reported to have been thrown 30 feet into the air. Some pedestrians in the area were enveloped by fire; others further away were blown to the ground. Flaming debris hit people up to half of a mile away. The final death toll was 110, with hundreds injured. Rescue efforts were impeded by broken water mains that flooded the area in the aftermath. The precise cause of the explosion remains a mystery. Some believe that the gas pipe was accidentally hit by the railroad construction, while others argue that something must have sparked an existing leak.


On this day …….. 28th of April 1789

Three weeks into a journey from Tahiti to the West Indies, the HMS Bounty is seized in a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the master’s mate. Captain William Bligh and 18 of his loyal supporters were set adrift in a small, open boat, and the Bounty set course for Tubuai south of Tahiti. In December 1787, the Bounty left England for Tahiti in the South Pacific, where it was to collect a cargo of breadfruit saplings to transport to the West Indies. There, the breadfruit would serve as food for slaves. After a 10-month journey, the Bounty arrived in Tahiti in October 1788 and remained there for more than five months. On Tahiti, the crew enjoyed an idyllic life, reveling in the comfortable climate, lush surroundings, and the famous hospitality of the Tahitians. Fletcher Christian fell in love with a Tahitian woman named Mauatua. On April 4, 1789, the Bounty departed Tahiti with its store of breadfruit saplings. On April 28, near the island of Tonga, Christian and 25 petty officers and seamen seized the ship. Bligh, who eventually would fall prey to a total of three mutinies in his career, was an oppressive commander and insulted those under him. By setting him adrift in an overcrowded 23-foot-long boat in the middle of the Pacific, Christian and his conspirators had apparently handed him a death sentence. By remarkable seamanship, however, Bligh and his men reached Timor in the East Indies on June 14, 1789, after a voyage of about 3,600 miles. Bligh returned to England and soon sailed again to Tahiti, from where he successfully transported breadfruit trees to the West Indies. Meanwhile, Christian and his men attempted to establish themselves on the island of Tubuai. Unsuccessful in their colonizing effort, the Bounty sailed north to Tahiti, and 16 crewmen decided to stay there, despite the risk of capture by British authorities. Christian and eight others, together with six Tahitian men, a dozen Tahitian women, and a child, decided to search the South Pacific for a safe haven. In January 1790, the Bounty settled on Pitcairn Island, an isolated and uninhabited volcanic island more than 1,000 miles east of Tahiti. The mutineers who remained on Tahiti were captured and taken back to England where three were hanged. A British ship searched for Christian and the others but did not find them. In 1808, an American whaling vessel was drawn to Pitcairn by smoke from a cooking fire. The Americans discovered a community of children and women led by John Adams, the sole survivor of the original nine mutineers. According to Adams, after settling on Pitcairn the colonists had stripped and burned the Bounty, and internal strife and sickness had led to the death of Fletcher and all the men but him. In 1825, a British ship arrived and formally granted Adams amnesty, and he served as patriarch of the Pitcairn community until his death in 1829. In 1831, the Pitcairn islanders were resettled on Tahiti, but unsatisfied with life there they soon returned to their native island. In 1838, the Pitcairn Islands, which includes three nearby uninhabited islands, was incorporated into the British Empire. By 1855, Pitcairn’s population had grown to nearly 200, and the two-square-mile island could not sustain its residents. In 1856, the islanders were removed to Norfolk Island, a former penal colony nearly 4,000 miles to the west. However, less than two years later, 17 of the islanders returned to Pitcairn, followed by more families in 1864. Today, around 40 people live on Pitcairn Island, and all but a handful are descendants of the Bounty mutineers. About a thousand residents of Norfolk Island (half its population) trace their lineage from Fletcher Christian and the eight other Englishmen.


ON THIS DAY – April 28. 1930



Eric Harris Brockwell aged 24, at the Geelong Supreme Court was found guilty by a jury of the manslaughter of Horace Thomas Walpole, taxi-driver, on April 28. The Chief Justice, Sir William Irvine, said that the jury, by finding him guilty of manslaughter, had been very lenient. Therefore, he would impose the maximum sentence for manslaughter, 15 years.


With a bullet wound in his head. Walpole was found dead in his taxi on the Queenscliffe-road on April 28. In a statement which he read from the dock, Brockwell admitted that he had engaged Walpole to drive him, and that he had an argument with Walpole. He added that he pulled out a sawn-off rifle and tried to frighten Walpole.


“I had no intention of killing him.” said Brockwell “and I am not guiltv of murder. I was muddled with drink at the time.”


ON THIS DAY – April 28, 1926



John Rotherwood Williams, boot-maker, was sentenced to two years’ gaol for the manslaughter of William Thomas, a gardener at Greensborough, on April 28, 1926. The evidence showed that when Williams’ car collided with Thomas’s cart he left Thomas lying seriously injured on the roadway, despite his cries for help. Thomas died later.


On this day …….. 28th April 1949

Melbourne was announced as the host city for the Games of the XVI Olympiad on 28 April 1949, beating bids from Buenos Aires, Mexico City and six other American cities by a single vote. The Olympic Games commenced with an opening ceremony in November 1956. Because Melbourne is located in the southern hemisphere, the Olympics were held later in the year than those held in the northern hemisphere. Strict quarantine laws prevented Melbourne from hosting the equestrian events, and they were instead held in Stockholm on June 10, five months before the rest of the Olympic games began. Despite boycotts by several countries over international events unrelated to Australia, the games proceeded well, and earned the nickname of “The Friendly Games”. It was at the first Australian-held Olympics that the tradition began of the athletes mingling with one another, rather than marching in teams, for their final appearance around the stadium.


On This Day – April 28, 1996

Today marks the 20th anniversary of 35 people who lost their lives at the hands of a gunman at the beautiful Port Arthur Historic Site in Tasmania, Australia.  Their deaths changed Australia forever.

In Memory Of:

Winifred Aplin
Walter Bennett
Nicole Burgess
Sou Leng Chung
Elva Gaylard
Zoe Hall
Elizabeth Howard
Mary Howard
Mervyn Howard
Ronald Jary
Tony Kistan
Leslie Lever
Sarah Loughton
David Martin
Sally Martin
Pauline Masters
Alannah Mikac
Madeline Mikac
Nanette Mikac
Andrew Mills
Peter Nash
Gwenda Neander
Mo Yee William Ng
Anthony Nightingale
Mary Nixon
Glenn Pears
Russell Pollard
Janette Quin
Helene Maria Salzmann
Robert Salzmann
Kate Scott
Kevin Sharp
Raymond Sharp
Royce Thompson
Jason Winter


EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 28, 1857



Execution of Thomas Williams, Henry Smith alias Brennan, and Thomas Maloney.

On this day in 1857, at eight o’clock, Thomas Williams, Henry Smith alias Brennan, and Thomas Maloney, the first three prisoners convicted at the late Special Sessions of the murder of the late Inspector General at Williamstown, on the 20th March last, were executed in the Melbourne Gaol. The unhappy men, who were all members of the Roman Catholic Church, were attended in their last moments by two ecclesiastics, and it, will be satisfactory to the public to know that all exhibited the appearance of sincere contrition for their criminal career, find patient resignation to their fate. It is remarkable, however, that only one of them, the convict Maloney, made any reference to the crime for which he was about to suffer, and of, which he declared himself innocent to the last. The other two, Williams and Smith, maintained from the first in perfect reserve upon the subject. To those familiar with the criminal character, and its notorious and habitual cunning, this circumstance will not appear in the least subversive of the verdict, of the jury, or of the righteousness of the sentence, as it is quite probable that one or all of the three cherished to the last some faint hope that the penalty would be commuted. There is reason to believe that Smith certainly did this, in consequence of the recommendation to mercy which in his case accompanied the verdict. Of course, a confession of guilt would be incompatible with such expectations. A few minutes after eight o’clock, the condemned men were removed from their cells, and brought into the corridor. Maloney came first, then Henry Smith, and last Thomas Williams. Maloney and Smith appeared in the act of fervent and unceasing prayer. Smith hold his hands closely pressed together above his head, and his lips moved rapidly. Maloney fixed his eyes upwards and never once removed them, also continuing to pray silently, and repeatedly placing his right arm across his breast in the manner of penitential humiliation. He held a crucifix in his hand. Williams did not appear to be so devoutly inclined as the others at first, but as though even his hardened nature had become affected by their example, his lips at length moved rapidly, and he continued to pray to the last. The demeanour of the three was most becoming and reverent. As the process of pinioning was going on, Maloney leaned over and whispered some last request to his spiritual adviser. When all was ready the sad procession moved on, and as it was passing from the corridor the prisoner Smith turned round and made a low bow to the persons who were looking on, as though taking his last farewell of his fellow creatures. Smith appeared to feel his awful position very keenly, and all three betrayed the symptoms of a strong mental and physical agitation, which was with difficulty mastered. Maloney was the first to ascend the scaffold, then came Smith, who was slightly supported by one of the warders, and lastly Williams. In a few minutes the preparations were completed and the drop fell. Smith and Williams seemed to die instantly, but Maloney, who was a slightly framed man, gave a few convulsive movements, and than all was over. The prisoner Maloney came to tho colonies in the year 1840, in the ship King William, a prisoner. He was subsequently convicted of felony and had a sentence of five years hanging over him from 9th August, 1853. His age was S3. He could not read or write, and was a native of Tipperary, by trade a butcher. Henry Smith, or Brennan, came free to the colony in the Coromandel, in 1817. He was 37 years of age when executed, and had previously been convicted of horse-stealing. He was a native of Dublin, and could not read or write. A sentence of six years from 15th August, 1854, was impending over him. Thomas Williams was thirty-two years old, and came to Australia a prisoner in the year by the ship Constant, for robbery. After completing his time, he was, on the 18th November, 1832, convicted on three separate charges, and was sentenced successively to twelve years, six years, and twelve years penal servitude, in all thirty years. He could read imperfectly.