On This Day ……. 31st May 1901

An aged prisoner, who was sent from Melbourne to complete his sentence in the Geelong gaol, died in the latter institution on is day, and an inquiry was held before Mr H. Bannister, J.P. Dr Croker, the medical officer at the gaol, certified that death was due to natural causes, and a finding in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

60 years of Australian TV

Hating Alison Ashley is a 2005 Australian comedy film based upon the 1984 novel of the same name produced by Elizabeth Howatt-Jackman and directed by Geoff Bennett. It was filmed in Kinglake West,Victoria, Australia and Docklands Studios Melbourne.The film stars Saskia Burmeister, as Erica “Yuk” Yurken, an adolescent brunette who fantasises about a better life and stardom; and Delta Goodrem as her school rival Alison Ashley. At school, Erica is not very popular. She sits alone in class, but when Alison arrives, it all changes. Erica at first is desperate to be Alison’s friend but soon changes her mind, and they then become rivals. However, when a school camp comes up, Erica realises Alison doesn’t have the perfect life as she imagined. Erica house was filmed at 46 Leslie Street Richmond.

On This Day ……. 31st May 1980

On 31 May, an auction was held to sell everything in Sydney’s Luna Park that could be removed. Two days later, everything that had not been sold (with the exception of the Face, Crystal Palace, and Coney Island) was bulldozed to the ground and burnt. The park was rebuilt by Australian Amusements, following design advice from Texas-based LARC International.

On This Day ……. 31st May 1943

Ernst Schneider, 83, who died at Dubbo, NSW, completed some years ago all arrangements for his funeral. He selected the casket, and even engraved the nameplate for his own coffin. The undertaker had only to insert the date of his death. “He was more concerned with the hereafter than this world,” said a friend who knew him well.

On This Day ……. 31st May 1942

When the town of Darwin was bombed by the Japanese in World War II, Australians were forced to accept the reality of how close the war was. Further bombing raids continued along Australia’s northwestern coastline, and even Townsville and Mossman in far north Queensland, but the war was truly brought home to Australians living along the more populated east coast on the day that three Japanese submarines entered Sydney Harbour. On the afternoon of 31 May 1942, three Japanese submarines sat approximately thirteen kilometres out from Sydney Harbour. Each launched a midget submarine, hoping to sink an American heavy cruiser, the USS Chicago, which was anchored in the harbour. One midget was detected by harbour defences at about 8:00pm, but was not precisely located until it became entangled in the net; the two-man crew of the submarine blew up their own vessel to avoid capture. When the second midget was detected after 10:00pm, a general alarm was sounded. The third midget was damaged by depth charges, and the crew also committed suicide to avoid capture. When the second midget was detected after 11:00pm and fired upon, the submarine returned fire, hitting the naval depot ship HMAS Kuttabul, a converted harbour ferry, which served as an accommodation vessel. Nineteen Australian and two British sailors on the Kuttabul died, the only Allied deaths resulting from the attack, and survivors were pulled from the sinking vessel. The submarine presumably returned to its mother ship, known as I-24. Nine days later, on 8 June 1942, I-24 surfaced off Sydney, about 10 km off Maroubra. For four minutes, the submarine’s deck gun was fired at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Every shot landed well short of its target, with at least 10 shells hitting the residential suburbs of Rose Bay, Woollahra and Bellevue Hill. All but one of the shells failed to explode and there were no fatalities or serious injuries.

ON THIS DAY…… 31st May 1943

After having deliberated for 2 hours a jury in Ballarat Supreme Court found Kenneth Geoffrey White, of Ballarat, not guilty of having murdered his wife and having maliciously wounded a soldier, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm. A verdict of not guilty was also returned on an alternative charge of manslaughter and unlawful wounding. White collapsed on hearing the verdict, and had to be assisted from the dock. The jury considered that White had attacked in self defence. In an unsworn statement from the dock White said that after hearing certain things about his wife’s conduct he came from Geelong, where he worked, to Ballarat on May 29. Instead of returning to Geelong on this day, he stayed behind to hide in his backyard. He watched his wife and a soldier enter the bedroom after his four young daughters went to bed. Finding the bedroom door locked, White realised that the soldier had not left the house. As the door was opened he was seized by someone and, fearing that he was about to be attacked, he took a razor from his pocket and struck out with it. He had not intended to kill either his wife or the soldier.


On This Day ……. 31st May 1943

Station 6ML, which was the first commercial station established in ‘Western Australia, went off the air on the completion of its programme in this night in 1943. The suspension has been caused by war difficulties.

ON THIS DAY…… 31st May 1910

At the inquiry held into the tragedy which occurred at the Sir Walter Scott Hotel, Elizabeth street, Melbourne on this day in 1910, the Coroner found that John Tunks murdered Melanie Dean, and afterwards committed suicide.



Some curiosity has been expressed as to what would be the ultimate destination of the skull of the unfortunate Emily Mather, the victim of the Windsor murder. It will be remembered that it was an exhibit at the trial of Deeming, and now that it is not required further as evidence against the prisoner, his doom having been sealed, people have been asking whether the grave where the deceased’s body reposes would be opened, in order that it may be placed in the coffin, or whether it would be handed over to the Melbourne University for the purposes of anatomical demonstration. Neither course is to be pursued. The skull is now in the possession of the Acting District Coroner, Dr. Neild, to whom it was forwarded by Constable Davidson, the morgue orderly, on receiving a semi-official notification. As the Chief Commissioner of Police does not contemplate making any order for the interment of the skull with the other remains of Emily Mather, it is likely to remain in Dr. Neild’s surgery along with other relics of poor mortality. Its value to the University would be little, as the only remarkable feature about it is the indentation supposed to have been caused by the condemned man’s axe, which has already been fully described in these columns. Emily’s body was exhumed and her body was re buried with her head.

Hybrid Publishing and Twisted History will be presenting Janice Simpson and her new book “Murder in Mount Martha” at an event at the Royal Melbourne Hotel on June 30 at 6pm.  Details can be found here – www.trybooking.com/LOUD

The book is based upon the real life unsolved murder of 14 year old Shirley Collins in September 1953.  Below is a newspaper article from the time of the murder.

THIS special color picture shows murdered Shirley Collins as she was
on Saturday night, September 12, when she was last seen alive.
Her clothes, exactly reproduced here, are being worn by a model of Shirley’s measurements; Shirley’s last picture has been superimposed on the color print by “Argus” artists.  The picture is reproduced at the special request of Superintendent F. W. Lyon, C.I.B. chief, in the hope that it will lead to discovery of Shirley’s killer.

It Is the first time on record that newspaper color presses have helped in crime detection.  Superintendent Lyon said this lifelike resemblance to Shirley could provide detectives with a new chance of finding the murderer.

Shirley, aged 14, was battered to death at Mt. Martha.  Anyone who saw a girl like this after 7.15 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, is
asked to contact the police Immediately, at F0244.

THE most ‘ likely place! where Shirley could have been seen were near the corner of Spring and Verdun sts., Regent, or on the train in West Richmond station or near the West Richmond station.  Was she alone or in company with a man? Did she get into a car at Regent railway station, or did she travel by train to West Richmond?

These are the main questions for which homicide detectives are seeking an answer.  TO assist them in their search, police have askei
“The Argus” to supply them with 50 poster-size copies of this color picture.  Late yesterday the copies were delivered to the Police Department and immediately distributed to police stations and to the Preston and Richmond districts.  Here is a full descrlption of Shirley and the clothes she was wearing at the time of her disappearance:
Height: 5ft. 3ln.
Weight: 8st. 41b. or 51b.
Hair: Light brown.
Eyes: Blue.
Coat: Dark grey.
Skirt: Grey and black
diagonal check.
Blouse: Pale lemon.
Cardigan: Black.
Shoes: Black.
Stockings: Natural shade

Detectives yesterday concentrated their inquiries along the bus route on which Shirley travelled at 7.15 on that night.



On This Day ……. 30th May 1914

Mr. W Furnell as governor of the Geelong gaol, was promoted to Melbourne to the Governor of the Melbourne gaol (old Melbourne gaol). Until his replacement Mr Finnish arrives from Beechworth, Mr. M. Hayward will take charge.