On This Day ……. 26th of July

Mr. G. Read Murphy, P.M., paid an official visit to the Geelong gaol on this day in 1911. Amongst the generally orderly lot of old and infirm prisoners there he found few complaints of any moment, and no cases, of insubordination were brought under his notice.

 

Bushranger ‘Black Douglas’ Charles Russell

The legendary ‘Black Douglas’ Charles Russell was an English-born bushranger who held Melbourne and its surrounding areas to ransom during the 1850s. Russell preyed on those diggers travelling to and from the goldfields between Bendigo and Melbourne. There are several accounts of victims being tied naked to a tree or fallen log with their boots full of bull ants, left to die a slow and excruciating death. He reportedly led a gang of 16 bushrangers who worked together in their marauding. Their camp was strategically located a few kilometres away from the Alma minefields in Maryborough, Victoria. Eventually, a frustrated group of nearly 200 diggers burnt their camp to the ground and overpowered Russell in May 1855. He was 75-years-old when he died in Bendigo gaol in 1892.

 

On this day …….. 27th of July 1836

Kangaroo Island is a protected and unspoilt island off the coast of South Australia. Australia’s third-largest island after Tasmania and Melville Islands, it is 112 km southwest of the state capital, Adelaide. The first European to land on the island was Matthew Flinders, doing so in 1802, and it was he who named it, after his starving crew was saved by the abundance of kangaroos they found there. The island narrowly missed becoming a French colony, as Nicolas Baudin arrived shortly after Flinders departed, and named the island L’Isle Decres. From 1803, Kangaroo Island was frequently used as a base by sealers and whalers. Escaped convicts and ship deserters also made the island their home. While farmers and other settlers established themselves on Kangaroo Island from around 1819, these were not official settlements. The South Australia Act, enabling the founding of the colony of South Australia, was passed by British Parliament in 1834. In 1835, Scottish businessman and wealthy landowner, George Fife Angas, formed the South Australian Company to assist settlers to the new colony. The first emigrants bound for South Australia left in February 1836. On the 27th of July 1836, the first of the South Australian Company’s ships, the Duke of York, arrived at Reeves Point on Kangaroo Island’s north coast. The first ‘official’ settler to step foot on the island was two-year-old Elizabeth Beare.

 

New Farm resident Carolyn Martin was hanging out a towel on her balcony in September 2011 when three flying foxes attacked her. One bat wrapped itself around an ankle and the other two flew around her face. She said that one bat scratched her foot and another spat in her face. Bats, or flying foxes to be precise, can carry the Lyssa virus and when they are aggressive to humans this is a sign they might carry that virus, and Carolyn had to get a lot of injections over the next month. The year before three men from Gladstone were also attacked and bitten by bats carrying the virus, but since the lyssa virus has become known amongst doctors nobody in Australia has died from it anymore.

 

Join the team at Twisted History as we journey back into Victorias forgotten history. From Crime and murder of Melbourne’s Chinatown, Carlton and Melbourne or ghost and Paranormal Investigation tours of Victoria’s most haunted gaol (old Geelong gaol) or have dinner and explore the paranormal one of Victorias most haunted hotels at Blackwood. For information and bookings please call 1300 865 800

No one knows when Ned Kelly was born:

True. What we do know is that Ned was the third of 12 children born to Ellen Kelly (from three different fathers). There is no clear evidence of his actual birth, but it was most likely 1854 or 1855, near Beveridge north of Melbourne, meaning he was just 25 or 26 when he died.

Ned Kelly was illiterate:
False. There are enough surviving examples of Ned’s handwriting to know that he could write. This myth most likely evolved from the belief that fellow Kelly Gang member, Joe Byrne, penned the famous Jerilderie letter. This letter has been described as Ned Kelly’s manifesto and is a direct account of the Kelly Gang and the events with which they were associated.

How did he wear such a heavy helmet?
If you have ever seen or tried on a replica of one of the Kelly gang’s helmets, you’ll be struck by how heavy they are and how much they cut into the collar bone. The fact is that the weight of the helmet was not meant to be borne on the collar bones at all. The helmets have holes punched on front, back and sides of each helmet, through which leather straps were strung, meaning most of the weight was felt on top of the wearer’s head. Ned Kelly is reported to have worn a woollen cap to pad his head.

A film about Ned Kelly was the world’s first feature film:
True. It is often reported that Charles Tait’s 1906 film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, was the world’s first full-length feature film. Its first screening was at the Athenaeum Hall on December 26, 1906, and is alleged to have prompted five children in Ballarat to hold up a group of schoolchildren at gunpoint. This resulted in the Victorian Chief Secretary banning the film in towns with strong Kelly connections. And for many years the film was thought to be lost, but segments were found in various locations, including some found on a rubbish dump.

In 2007 the film was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register for being the world’s first fill-length feature film.

Ned Kelly’s last words were “Such is life”.
Many believe that the last utterance by Ned Kelly just before his hanging were three simple word, “Such is life”. Whether uttered with weary resignation or an acceptance of misfortune, the notion that the quote is attributed to Ned Kelly survives today (even inspiring one or two tattoos).

But what Ned Kelly actually said as his last words is uncertain. Some newspapers at the time certainly reported the words “Such is life”, while a reporter standing on the jail floor wrote that Ned’s last words were, “Ah well! It’s come to this at last.” But one of the closest persons to Ned on the gallows, the gaol warden, wrote in his diary that Kelly opened his mouth and mumbled something that he couldn’t hear.

Ned Kelly courtroom curse killed the judge:
It is true that judge Sir Redmond Barry died 12 days after Ned Kelly was executed. The two men, Kelly and Barry, had been antagonists for some time, so after being sentenced to death at his trial, Ned Kelly famously replied to Sir Redmond Barry, “I will see you there where I go” or a version of that quote.

Ned Kelly was executed on the November 11, 1880, and Sir Redmond Barry died on the 23rd of the same month. However Barry’s certificate did not list the cause of death as “curse”, rather it is more likely that the judge died from a combination of pneumonia and septicaemia from an untreated carbuncle.

If you have a Ned Kelly tattoo you are more likely to die violently:
Depending on how you interpret the forensic data, wearing a Ned Kelly tattoo can be very dangerous. A study from the University of Adelaide found that corpses with Ned Kelly tattoos were much more likely to have died by murder and suicide. But it was a pretty small sample size.

 

On This Day ….. 26th July 1955

Léonard Wigley, 19, who escaped from the Langi Kal Kal training centre, in central Victoria on this day in 1955, was recaptured in the afternoon at Learmonth by Constable O’Halloran. He appear in Ballarat City Court on a charge of having escaped from legal custody.

 

On This Day ….. 26th of July 1898

A woman named Ellis, who has been an inmate of the Lunatic Asylum at Sunbury, Victoria, for a few years, escaped from the institution, and walked to her former residence, situated between Campbell’s Creek and Fryerstown. She was found there by the police, and sent back to Sunbury.

 

On This Day ….. 28th of June 1868

Mary Ann Hall was transferred from Yarra Bend Asylum in Melbourne on the 28th of June 1868 to the Beechworth Lunatic Asylum. On the 26th of July 1876, Hall escaped and was never found. Hall was believed to have crossed the boarder into the colony of New South Wales.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – July 26, 1859

 

Richard Rowley, who was sentenced to death at the Supreme Court on the 18th instant, for a violent and premeditated assault, with intent to murder, committed by him on Denis Kilmartin, one of the overseers at the Pentridge Stockade, on the 25th of June, suffered the extreme penalty of the law at 10 o’clock yesterday morning at the Melbourne Gaol.  The unhappy man, since his conviction has been attended by the Rev. Mr. Studdert, the Gaol Chaplain, and the Rev. Mr. Bryan, the Chaplain at Pentridge. He expressed a deep contrition for the offence of which he was found guilty, and at the last moment died penitent. On being summoned by the Sheriff from his cell, precisely at 10 o’clock, he walked out, pale, but with a firm step. His arms having been pinioned by the executioner, the mournful procession walked slowly down the passage towards the scaffold, the Burial Service being read by Mr. Bryan. Rowley mounted the steps leading to the drop without hesitation or apparent fear; he had evidently braced his nerves and summoned all his resolution to meet his impending fate with firmness. On reaching the drop he knelt and prayed. When he rose his countenance was blanched, but apparently not from terror at the dreadful apparatus of death on which he stood. He turned round to his minister, and bade him good-by, and then, noticing the Governor of the Gaol, said, “Goodby, Mr. Wintle.” These were the last words he uttered. A white cap was then drawn down tightly over his face, and a few moments later — the only sound now heard being the solemn voice of the clergyman repeating the service for the dead—the bolt was drawn, and the wretched man was launched into eternity. A slight convulsive shudder ran through his frame, and in a few moments he ceased to live, death taking place in 42 seconds from the time of his fall. He was cut down at 11 o’clock. Shortly afterwards, an inquest was held on the body by the City

The deceased was a native of Greenwich, and was born in 1824. At 13 years of age, having been tried and convicted of a robbery, committed by him in London, he was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for a period of seven years. He has since repeatedly been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in this colony for numerous thefts. At the time of his committing the offence which has led to his execution he was confined in the Pentridge Stockade under cumulative sentences, altogether making a term of 32 years’ imprisonment. It would seem to be the knowledge of this fact, and despair of ever regaining his liberty, which led him to the commission of the deed for which he suffered. The unhappy man stated that he had been brutally ill-treated by his overseer Kilmartin, at the Stockade. There do not, however, appear to be any grounds for supposing such a statement to be correct, and it will also be remembered that Rowley made this statement in a moment of great excitement at his trial, but he never subsequently alluded to it in calmer moments. Kilmartin was frightfully injured in the desperate affray, in which also Mr. Mitchell, another overseer, was severely wounded by the wretched criminal.

ON THIS DAY – July 26, 1933

 

At the inquest into the death of Katherine Dorman, 24, machinist, on July 26, following an attack and injuries inflicted with an iron pipe while in her bedroom at Windsor the Coroner found John Boles murdered her and ordered a warrant for his arrest after hearing the evidence of Miss Dorman’s land-lady, Mrs. Nellie Burke, that Boles had repeatedly hit Dorman over the head with the pipe. Boles, who is a married man left a letter saying that he had lost his employment, which meant his means for getting a divorce had gone. This seemed to unhinge his overstrung nerves and then he simply wanted to die and take the dear girl with him.

ON THIS DAY – July 26, 1943

Giving evidence in his defence on a charge of murdering Pearl Oliver at Fitzroy on July 26, Harold Nugent, truck-driver, said in the Criminal Court today that he did not shoot the girl and did not have a weapon of any sort in his possession. Nugent said he was driving two other men to St. Kilda when, in Fitzroy. He saw Joseph Fanesi, a drinking acquaintance, with a girl and an American sailor. He stopped and asked Fanesi to have a drink with him. Fanesi declined, but as Nugent was walking back to the car, he heard two shots and saw Fanesi fall. He then saw his companion, Leslie Brown, and the sailor fighting. Brown joined him in the car and they drove away. He did not know the girl was shot until he read it in the paper the next day.