On Friday the 29th of July 1859, the Kilmore gaol was opened for the reception of prisoners, after having taken a year and nine months to build. The buildings are surrounded by stone walls 16 feet high with half-round coping, and guard house overlooking the yards, which were also surrounded by stone walls of the same class, but even then prisoners made their escape. The dimensions of the building were 54 feet by 26 feet. The whole building was divided into eight compartments—four large and four small. There was four small cells for the prisoners, two on each side of the gaoler’s room which is in the centre.” At that time and for some

years afterwards some of the worst criminals in Victoria were sent to Kilmore for safe keeping, but from the time of the destruction of the Kelly gang of bushrangers in June, 1880, the building had been little used until the Kilmore dairy company took it over for a more peaceful purpose than keeping prisoners. The company paid pretty heavy rent for years, until they purchased the property from the Government for the small sum of £300, and paid cash down, so they secured the place for a mere song. It was intended to gradually make alterations and improvements until the place is an up-to-date butter factory, and about the first alteration will be the pulling down of the stone walls, the Kilmore shire council having agreed to purchase the stone broken into 2½ inch metal for road purposes in quantities required, at 5s per yard stacked at the factory.

Another Irish convict-turned-bushranger was ‘Bold Jack’ John Donohoe. He arrived in Sydney from Dublin as an 18-year-old in January 1825 to serve a life sentence on a settler’s farm in Parramatta. Donohoe escaped with two other convicts and together they formed a gang known as ‘The Strippers’ – named after their technique for taking everything from wealthy settlers. All three were eventually captured and sentenced to death. Donohoe escaped while being transported to the jailhouse. Eventually, he formed another gang of brazen bushrangers known as ‘The Wild Colonial Boys’. His bushranging days came to an end in a showdown with a contingent of soldiers and police on 1 September 1830. It was said that he shouted “come on” to the officers before dying from a shot fired by Trooper Michael Muggleston. “Bushranging was very common in the convict era,” says historian Hamish Maxwell-Stewart. “Australia was a prison without walls.”

 

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ON THIS DAY – July 28, 1934

After having heard evidence at an inquest today into the death of a newly-born male child, whose body was found by a railway employee while cleaning out a carriage at the Joilmont yards on July 28. The coroner (Mr. Grant) committed Edith Clyne, aged 20, formerly a nurse employed at the Queen’s Memorial Hospital, Fairfield, for trial at the Supreme Court on a charge of murder.

ON THIS DAY – July 28, 1936

 

Charged with having murdered his twin sister, Adelaide Bek, on July 28, Charles Bek, farmer, of Kooroocheang, was remanded at the Ballarat City Court to day until August 28. It was alleged that Bek had an altercation with his sister, struck her several blows on the head with a hammer and threw her body into a dam on his farm. He was arrested last night. The body was recovered from the dam on August 14. Bek is little more than five foot high, and is slightly built.

On this day …….. 28th of July 1921

On the 28th of July 1921 an employee at the railway station at Bundarra, New South Wales, placed a few loose bullets in his pocket after he had used his riffle. He kept tobacco in the same pocket and later put some into his pipe, unaware that one of the bullets had got mixed up with it. He sat down in his living room and lit his pipe to have a smoke. Heat from the tobacco exploded the bullet and the pipe was blown to pieces in the mans hands. The bullet lodged in the ceiling while the smoker was left shocked by his narrow escape but suffered only minor cuts.

 

On this day …….. 28th of July 1923

The Sydney Harbour Bridge connects the Sydney CBD with the North Shore commercial and residential areas on Sydney Harbour. It is the largest steel arch bridge in the world, though not the longest, with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. In 1912, John Bradfield was appointed chief engineer of the bridge project, which also had to include a railway. Plans were completed in 1916 but the advent of WWI delayed implementation until 1922. Workshops were set up on Milson’s Point on the North Shore where the steel was fabricated into girders. Granite for the bridge’s construction was quarried near Moruya. Construction of the bridge began on the 28th of July 1923, and took 1400 men eight years to build at a cost of £4.2 million. Sixteen lives were lost during its construction, while up to 800 families living in the path of the proposed Bridge path were relocated and their homes demolished when construction started. The Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, opened Sydney Harbour Bridge on the 19th of March 1932.

 

On This Day ……. 28th of July 1926

Royston Rennie, the young Geelong man who is awaiting death for having murdered John Greville, a bank clerk, made an unsuccessful application to
the Court of Criminal Appeal on this day in 1926, for leave to appeal against his execution.

 

ON THIS DAY – July 27, 1924

At the Detective Office yesterday afternoon a telephone message was received from the Benalla police, stating that the body of Miss Bridget Enwright, who has been missing, from her home at Staghorn Flat since July 27, was found partly covered with clay, at Staghorn Flat, in circumstances indicating foul play (says a Melbourne message in the “News”). A detective has been dispatched to investigate the matter.

Miss Enwright (as briefly reported in yesterday’s “Miner”) was 69 years of age, and lived alone on her farm, which is in the Yackandandah district, and ís 198 miles from Melbourne. Her prolonged absence from home caused concern among residents, and search parties were organised to examine the surrounding country. Until yesterday morning their efforts were unsuccessful. At one time 50 mounted men were searching. Miss Enwright was seen talking to a young man about two miles from her home on July 27, and though she is believed to have returned to the house she was not again seen alive. Two weeks ago, however, a constable from Kiewa and local residents visited her home, and found signs that a robbery had been committed. The back door was unlocked, and one of the bedrooms was in disorder. Among other things discovered were an empty purse and handbag. In the house, however, there were no signs of struggle.

ON THIS DAY – July 27, 1947

A slim, blue-eyed blonde, smartly dressed in a light brown coat, Dulcie Markham, of Fawkner Street, St. Kilda, appeared in the City Court this morning charged with conspiracy to murder. It was alleged that at St. Kilda on July 31, she conspired with Ernest Alfred James Markham to murder Valma Edith Hull, wife of Keith Kitchener Hull, who was wounded in St. Kilda on July 27. Mr. J. Galbally, who appeared for Dulcie Markham said she went voluntarily to Russell Street on Saturday and said, “If there is any charge, I am here to answer it.” Mrs. Markham was remanded to the St. Kilda Court on August 15. Bail was fixed at £300, with a £300 surety.

ON THIS DAY – July 27, 1932

Walter Henderson. (48), farmer, was charged late today with having on July 27, at Albert Park murdered his mother Mrs Sarah Henderson.

MURDER CHARGE FAILS.

The third trial of Walter William Henderson 47, farmer, on a charge of having murdered his mother at their home at Albert Park on July 27, was concluded in the Criminal Court to-night. The Jury found Henderson not guilty and he was discharged. Soon after his acquittal Henderson was arrested on a charge of bigamy.

On This Day ……. 27th of July 1907

Escaped Lunatic – James Ryan

A lunatic named James Ryan escaped from the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum some time on Friday. Ryan was found guilty of endeavouring to derail a train on the Broadmeadows line some time ago, and on the medical evidence he was ordered detention during the pleasure of His Excellency the governor. He is a criminal lunatic, and was convicted for prior offences. When he escaped he was dressed in asylum clothes, and wore a black felt hat and blucher boots. Ryan is 47 years of age, 5ft. 10in. in height, stoutly built, and is full faced, with black hair and moustache turning grey. Some teeth are missing in the upper jaw.