On This Day…… 25th April 1869

Margaret Johnson was brought from Howlong to Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum on the 7th of May 1868, by her brother in law William Johnson. Johnson escaped from the Asylum on this day in 1869, and was not seen again. It was believe that she crossed back over the boarded into the colony of New South Wales.


On this day …….. 25th April 1919

The whole of Wangaratta’s population turned out to welcome home the troops from overseas. A grand procession made it’s way though the streets, under the commemorative arches, led by the highly regarded band from St Augustine’s Orphanage in Geelong. The procession included 20 light horsemen, 75 returned men, 20 senior cadets, and a motley crew of people mostly in fancy dress. Bill Sykes dressed as a clown on 20ft high stilts .


EXECUTION THIS DAY – April 25, 1854


David Magee, convicted at the last Criminal Sessions at Castlemaine of murder, under the circumstances then detailed in the Argus, suffered the extreme penalty of the law yesterday morning, at the usual place of exceution, the common gaol at Melbourne. The prisoner, who was a man nearly seventy years of age, declared his innocence to the last. He was an old sailor, and had served under Lord Nelson, at Trafalgar. He was transported for smuggling in 1821. He betrayed but little fear of death; and his body was buried in the usual place in the New Cemetery. A considerable number of people assembled to witness the execution.


On This Day ……. 25th April 1925

Mr. G. N. Ashton, formerly secretary to the Returned Soldiers’ League, was appointed to the staff at the Geelong gaol, on this day in 1925.


ON THIS DAY – April 25, 1926


On April 25 William Thomas was knocked down and killed by a motor car. Since that date the police have been searching for the driver, who, they allege, did not pull up. They have arrested a man at Collingwood. John Williams (36) appeared before the court on a charge of manslaughter. The police allege that Williams admitted that it was his car which knocked down Thomas. It is alleged that he also told the police that he had burnt a bloodstained dustcoat that he was wearing when Thomas was killed, and had thrown parts of the broken windscreen into the river.


On this day …….. 25th April 1896

Women in South Australia gained the right to vote in 1894, and voted for the first time in the election of 1896. It is generally recognised that this right occurred with the passing of a Bill on 18 December 1894. However, a letter from the Attorney-General advising Governor Kintore that Royal Assent would be required to enact the Bill, is dated 21 December 1894. The Bill was enacted when Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent on 2 February 1895. The first election after women gained the right to vote was the Legislative Council election of 25 April 1896, for which women enrolled quickly and in considerable numbers. South Australia was the first colony in Australia and only the fourth place in the world where women gained the vote. The issue of women voting had been discussed since the 1860s, but gained momentum following the formation of the Women’s Suffrage League at Gawler Place in 1888. Between 1885 and 1894, six Bills were introduced into Parliament but not passed. The final, successful Bill was passed in 1894, but initially included a clause preventing women from becoming members of Parliament. Ironically, the clause was removed thanks to the efforts of Ebenezer Ward, an outspoken opponent of women’s suffrage. It seems that Ward hoped the inclusion of women in Parliament would be seen as so ridiculous that the whole Bill would be voted out. The change was accepted, however, allowing the women of South Australia to gain complete parliamentary equality with men.


On this day …….. 25th April 1809

Australia’s first postmaster was Isaac Nichols. Nichols had arrived with the Second Fleet on the Admiral Barrington in October 1791 after being found guilty of stealing and sentenced to seven years transportation. However, he was found to be a diligent worker, greatly trusted by Governor Hunter. Although accused of receiving stolen goods in New South Wales in 1799, his innocence was upheld by Hunter, who believed evidence had been planted against him. He ordered the suspension of Nichols’s fourteen-year sentence, but it was not until Philip Gidley King’s government that Nichols was awarded a free pardon, in January 1802. An enterprising man, he bought several properties and even established a shipyard, becoming quite prosperous. In 1809, Nichols was first appointed superintendent of public works and assistant to the Naval Officer. One month later, the same month that Governor Macquarie arrived in New South Wales, Nichols was appointed the colony’s first postmaster on 25 April 1809. Nichol retained this position until he died in 1819.


On This Day ……. 24th April 1911

At the City Court on this day in 1911, John Robertson pleaded guilty to betting in Moorabool street, Geelong. Robertson received two months imprisonment in Geelong Gaol.


On This Day ……. 24th April 1922

At the City Court on this day in 1922, Victor Marin was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment at Geelong gaol for having been found without sufficient lawful means of support.


On this day …….. 24th April 1804

The first cemetery in Tasmania

Hobart in Tasmania is the second oldest city in Australia, with Sydney being the oldest. The city began as a penal colony at Risdon Cove on the Derwent River in Van Diemen’s Land in 1803 to offset British concerns over the presence of French explorers. On the 24th of April 1804, the first cemetery was established on Van Diemen’s Land. Named St David’s Cemetery, it has since been transformed into St David’s Park.


On this day …….. 24th April 1858

On this day in 1858, the infamous Spider Dance arrived in Beechworth. However not pre formed by the notorious creator Lola Montez. For some reason, Lola was unable to keep her engagement in Beechworth, and the miners had to content themselves with reading about Lola’s exploits in other parts of the colony. It was not untill this day in 1858, that the Spiter Dance arrived, and danced by a beautiful young entertainer named Julia Matthews. Matthews enchanted her audiences, particularly the towns police commander and explorer Robert O’Hara Burke.


ON THIS DAY – April 24, 1934



A finding of criminal negligence amounting to manslaughter against a motor car driver was recorded by the corner (Mr McLean P M ) at the city morgue. At about 6.45 p m on April 24 in High street Prahran, Charles Duigan Naples, aged 70 years, salesman of High Street, Armadale was knocked down and killed by a motor car driven by John Reuben Beddlson, engineer, of 58 Barclay avenue Malvern. Constable William C Smith in evidence said that after the accident Beddlson smelt strongly of intoxicating liquor and had to catch the handle of the car door to steady himself. Beddlson had to be assisted to the police station and during tests there was unsteady on his feet and thick in his speech Dr R. Miller of High street Armadale said that in his opinion Beddlson, was not in a fit condition to drive a car. Beddlson he said, told him he had had four bottles of beer that afternoon. Beddlson was committed for trial at the Court of General Sessions on July 2 Bail of £150 and a similar surety was granted.