On this day …….. 25th May 1622

Australia has a history of shipwrecks which extends back to before European settlement. Around 8000 wrecks are believed to lie off the coast in Australian waters, although only a quarter of these have been located. The coastline of the great southern continent had not been fully mapped when the earliest ships, trading vessels on their way to the Spice Islands of present-day Indonesia, met their untimely fates, and nothing was known of the rocks and reefs that lurked beneath the waves. Australia’s oldest recorded shipwreck is that of the Trial, also spelt Tryall or Tryal. The Trial was a ship of the English East India Company which was sent to the East Indies in 1621 under the command of John Brooke. The Master was following Henderik Brouwer’s recently discovered route from the Cape of Good Hope to Batavia, via the Roaring Forties; though a faster route due to the strong winds, it was also more dangerous, taking vessels into uncharted waters. The crew of the ship first sighted Point Cloates, a peninsula on Australia’s far west coast, early in May the following year but, due to a navigational error, the Trial ran aground on an unknown reef on 25 May 1622. This reef is now known as Ritchie’s Reef, in which can be found the ‘Trial Rocks’. 100 crewmen lost their lives, along with the Company’s goods the ship was carrying. The remaining crew spent a week ashore before sailing a longboat to Java. Whilst the Dutch had, by this time, already discovered the west coast by accident, this was the first time an English crew had sighted any part of the Australian coastline. Records suggest that the ship’s Master falsified the location of the rocks to hide his error. Consequently, Trial Rocks remained undiscovered for over 314 years, due to the fact that they were not where they were reported to be. The actual wreck site itself was determined only in 1969: however, no evidence has yet been found to identify the site conclusively as being that where the Trial went down.

ON THIS DAY….. 25th May 1911

On the 7th of May, a young woman, named Elizabeth Bridget Delahy, was admitted to hospital suffering from septic poisoning. Delahy died on this day in 1911. The Coroner committed Jane McKenzie to trial, on a charge of murder, and Laura Fox on charge of having been an accessory.

ON THIS DAY….. 25th May 1900

At the Sale Police Court Frederick Clark was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter. The circumstances of the case were somewhat peculiar. On this day in 1900 two men, Percy Wiliams and Samuel Weatheriy, were returning from a dance at Newry, both riding one horse. Clark came along at a fast pace in the opposite direction when they collided, from the effects of which Weatheriy died.


60 years of Australian TV

Blue Heelers is an Australian police drama series that ran for 12 years, from 1994 to 2006, and depicts the lives of police officers in Mount Thomas, a fictional small town in Victoria, which was located in Williamstown. Maggie Doyle is a fictional character portrayed by Lisa McCune in the long-running Australian police show Blue Heelers. She first appeared in 1994, and exited in 2000. Maggie arrived in Mount Thomas in the debut episode ‘A Woman’s Place’. She was driving into town and was pulled over by P.J. (Martin Sacks) and Nick (William McInnes). P.J. gave her a breathalyser test and realised she was a cop. She then went on to the Imperial Hotel, where she was staying, and finds out that Wayne Patterson (an old love of hers) was living and working in Mount Thomas. She then goes to the police station and introduced herself to Sergeant Tom Croydon. (It was shown that Tom and Maggie’s father, Pat Doyle had also once been posted at the same station.) This episode saw Maggie trying to convince a girl who had been raped to press charges. She also shoots Mick Doherty’s dog as it was going to attack and kill Wayne. The debut episode of the series showed us Maggie’s good nature and how opposed she is to sexism. Prior to her arrival in Mount Thomas, all of the police officers were men, and the town seemed to find the idea of a female police officer funny. This changed, of course, over the course of the series as more female officers were posted to Mount Thomas.She is the fourth longest character behind Tom,Chris and PJ. Cont Maggie Doyle House was filmed at 19 Verdon St, Williamstown

On this day …….. 25th May 1870

Bushranger Captain Thunderbolt was born Frederick Ward at Wilberforce near Windsor, NSW, in 1836. As an excellent horseman, his specialty was horse stealing. For this, he was sentenced in 1856 to ten years on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. On 1 July 1860, Ward was released on a ticket-of-leave to work on a farm at Mudgee. While he was on ticket-of-leave, he returned to horse-stealing, and was again sentenced to Cockatoo Island. Conditions in the gaol were harsh, and he endured solitary confinement a number of times. On the night of 11 September 1863, he and another inmate escaped from the supposedly escape-proof prison by swimming to the mainland. After his escape, Ward embarked on a life of bushranging, under the name of Captain Thunderbolt. Much of his bushranging was done around the small NSW country town of Uralla. A rock originally known as “Split Rock” became known as “Thunderbolt’s Rock”. After a six-year reign as a “gentleman bushranger”, Thunderbolt was allegedly shot dead by Constable Alexander Walker on 25 May 1870. However, there remains some contention as to whether it was actually Thunderbolt who was killed, or his brother William, also known as ‘Harry’.

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ON THIS DAY……. 24th May 1941

A Jury in the Bendigo Supreme Court found Antonio Guida (47), market gardener, of Dhurringile, near Tatura, not guilty of a charge of having murdered Angelo Carrafa (45), market gardener, on May 24. Guida was also found not guilty of manslaughter. Mr. Justice Gavan Duffy discharged him Guida, in evidence, said that when he was about to go to work he heard a quarrel Leo Carrafa, a son of the deceased, came to him and told him that his father was killing his brother Michele Carrafa. Witness took up his gun like a stick and did not know that it was loaded. As he lifted it he heard the words: “I will kill you.” He saw Angelo Carrafa with his hand raised about to strike. He did not pull the trigger with the intention of firing the gun.

Bendigo Supreme Court, Antonio Guida, Dhurringile, Tatura, murder, Angelo Carrafa, market gardener, manslaughter, Mr. Justice Gavan Duffy

ON THIS DAY……. 24th May 1935

Found guilty in the Criminal Court of the manslaughter of his wife and child, Clifford Smiles, aged 31 formerly of West Footscray, was remanded for sentence. Smiles had been presented on two charges of murder. One concerning his wife Edna on May 24 and the other concerning his daughter Norma, aged four months who was found dead in the gas-filled kitchen of their home on June 14.


On This Day ……. 24th June 1913

A valuable black Orpington pullet, nine months old, was stolen from a pen of birds belonging to Mr James Heyward, son of the senior warder at the Geelong gaol. It was securely housed. A reward of £3 was guaranteed by Mr Heyward for its recovery, and for the arrest and conviction of the offender.

On This Day ……. 24th May 1906

An inquiry was held concerning the death of a man named John Fahey, 60 years of age, who died in the Geelong gaol whilst undergoing a sentence. It transpired that, death was due to debility and a verdict to that effect was returned.

60 years of Australian TV

Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet was the filming location for the home of the Twist family. Round the Twist is an Australian children’s fantasy television series about three children and their widowed father who live in a lighthouse and become involved in many bizarre magical adventures. The show only ran for four series despite the show having an 11-year run. The first two series were based on fantasy stories written by author Paul Jennings; the latter two were based on a variety of authors’ work. Its first series was made in 1989. A second series, with many roles re-cast, was made in 1992. A third series, again re-cast, was made in 2000, followed by a fourth (with some roles again re-cast) in 2001. The show’s distinctive theme song, with the lyrics “have you ever… ever felt like this?” was sung by Tamsin West, who played the lead female role of Linda Twist in the first series. It borrowed lines from popular nursery rhymes such as “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”, “Humpty Dumpty” and “Rain Rain Go Away”.