ON THIS DAY…… 29th August 1869

Mr. Zincke, a solicitor practising at Beechworth, defended a man named Dunstan in an affiliation case brought before the local police court. The plaintiff, Caroline Bruce who is described as a fat, bloated woman of easy virtue, was subjected to a severe cross examination by the learned gentleman as to her personal history, and particularly with regard to the various babies whom she had previously fathered on different friends at Yackandandah. The lady, who appears to be a married woman, admitted the various soft impeachments, and the case was dismissed with costs.

Mr. Zincke went on his way to the Commercial Hotel to lunch, but had not been seated long before the immaculate Mrs. Caroline Bruce bounced into the room and deposited one of the very babies sworn to in court as being Dunstan’s and her own upon the dinner-table, and after telling Mr. Zineke that the baby was his, made a rapid retreat. Here was a fix for a respectable bachelor attorney. Mr. Zineke was, however, equal to the occasion, and, amidst a severe cannonade of chaff from friends present, rang the bell and handed the helpless infant to the prim feminine Ganymede in attendance. ” But what on earth shall I do with the child?” said the dismayed waitress. “Call a policeman, and make him find the mother, if the child is really not your own,” was the stony-hearted reply.

This was not the first time Caroline appeared in court trying to get some support for her children. But she was to die at the hands of her partner, Dunstan, 2 years after this court case. Caroline Bruce, who had for some years been living with Samuel Dunstan, a miner, at the Lower Indigo, died in Beechworth Gaol on the 29th August 1869 from being violently kicked in the stomach by her lover. The fight began over the health of their two year old daughter. With help from her neighbours Caroline left her partner, but was charged by police for deserting and being a vagrant, and sentenced to three months in the Beechworth Gaol. During the trial Dr Rohner examined Caroline and claimed that she was in a dangerous state but agreed with the Judge that she should be sent to prison with her daughter. Her child was suffering malignant scarlatina and also died in the Gaol.

Dunstan was charged with manslaughter.

On This Day ……. 29th of August 1882

A magisterial inquiry was held at the Geelong gaol on this day in 1882 on the body of a prisoner 51 years of age, who was received from Melbourne on the 9th February last under sentence of 12 months’ for vagrancy. Burley died at 1pm. The police magistrate, who presided, found, ID accordance with the medical testimony, that death was caused by exhaustion from dysentery.


On this day …….. 29th of August 1941

Arthur Fadden, the second of five men who served as Australian Prime Minister during World War II, is sworn into office.

At the time that World War II began, Australia’s Prime Minister was Robert Menzies. It was Menzies who made the announcement in September 1939 that Australia was at war with Germany. However, party dissension led Menzies to resign as Prime Minister in August 1941. Menzies’ successor was Arthur Fadden. Fadden was born in Ingham, Queensland in 1895, and first entered politics as an alderman for Townsville in the State Parliament. After losing Townsville in 1935, and declaring his exit from politics permanently, he then won the Federal seat of Darling Downs in 1936. Fadden was one of five Country Party members included when Menzies reshuffled his Cabinet to form a coalition government with the Country Party in March 1939. He was given the portfolios of Air and Civil Aviation when three Country Party ministers were killed in an aeroplane crash in August 1940. He rose to the position of Deputy Leader of the Country Party and, following a leadership crisis within the party, was officially elected leader of the Country Party in March 1941. During this time, he also served as Deputy Prime Minister while Menzies was overseas for four months. Soon after Menzies’ return from overseas, party dissension caused him to resign. A joint United Australia Party – Country Party meeting resulted in Arthur Fadden being elected Prime Minister, and he was sworn in to office on 29 August 1941. However, in the federal election five weeks later, the coalition government lost majority support in the House of Representatives, and John Curtin became Prime Minister.

On This Day – August 29, 1880

An attempted double murder and suicide occurred at Echuca East on August 29 amongst the residents of the Chinese quarter, which created some sensation. The cause of the affair was a woman. A Chinaman named Georgo Cooey Foo, a well-known dangerous character, who has already served a sentence in Delinquin gaol for stabbing a man, fired at a woman named Sarah Newell and a countryman named William Ah Loon. Cooey Foo has been employed as cook on board the Lady of the Lake steamer. Ah Loon filled a like position on the South Australian steamer Cadell, and when recently at Echuca he was robbed of a £5-note by another Chinaman named James Ah Poo. Ah Loon came to Echuca to be present at the trial of Ah Poo, who, however, had absconded from his bail. Ah Loon then, in the absence of Cooey Foo, took up with the woman Newell. This enraged Cooey Foo, who purchased a revolver — six chambered pin-tire— and he went to Echuca East on August 29, and saw the woman Newell in bed. He fired two shots at her, neither of which took effect. Ah Loon then came to the rescue, and was fired at, but missed. He rushed Cooey Foo, and was shot in the head. The bullet glanced off the cheek-bone and emerged at the neck. Dr. Croker was called in, but unless erysipelas sets in danger is not apprehended. Senior-constable Nedwell arrested Cooey Foo on the capital charge of shooting with intent to murder. Cooey Foo admitted the shooting, and said he was sorry he had been baulked in his design of shooting both. He swallowed a piece of opium, but an emetic caused him to vomit, and he is now out of danger. Cooey Foo had written a letter to a countryman, in Chinese characters, saying he would be dead when the letter reached his friend, and telling the latter to get his watch, clothes, and money.

On This Day ……. 29th of August 1882

A magisterial enquiry was hold at the Geelong gaol on this day in 1882, by Mr Heron, P.M., on the body of a prisoner named Richard Bailey, aged 51 years, who died in the gaol hospital. Mr P. Dwyer, governor of the gaol, gave evidence that the deceased was received into the Geelong gaol on the 9th February, from Melbourne, for vagrancy. He was an invalid, suffering from disease of the leg, and was placed under the doctor’s care, and attended by a man told off for the purpose. He received every attention, but died at five o’clock’on the afternoon on this day. Dr. Mackin medical officer of the goal, gave evidence that the deceased had been under his care since he arrived at the gaol. Ho was suffering from several sores on The outside of the thigh. These after a time got better, and ho was attacked by dysentery. He was then removed to the gaol hospital, where he, received every attention. The cause of death was exhaustion from dysentery. A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was recorded by Mr Heron.


ON THIS DAY…… 28th August 1871

A most deliberate and cruel murder of a Chinaman was committed on the Beechworth- Myrtleford Road. Two Chinamen in a cart named Ah Woo and Ah Cow, were stopped by James Quinn who offered them a shilling for a ride, which they agreed. Not 30 yards down the track Quinn attacked Ah Cow so violently that the Chinaman passed out. Quinn then threw his lifeless body from the cart. A struggle then began between Ah Woo and Quinn until Ah Woo was also unconscious. Stopping the cart Quinn then drowned Ah Woo in a water race beside the road.

Witness watched as Quinn took 40 pounds from his victim, before running into the hills. The police under the guidance of Inspector Smith were able to find Quinn, and had him brought to the Beechworth Goal were four witnesses identified him as the killer. Quinn murder trial was on the 14th of October 1871 in the Beechworth Circuit Court. The Judge Sir Redmond Barry, known as the hanging Judge, presided over the case, which finished at midnight. On passing the death sentence Sir Redmond asked James “do you have anything to say?” Quinn replied “It’s not my fault, my wife made me do it.” On the morning of 14th of November at 9.00am Quinn was walked from the condemned man’s cell with Father Moran and Bamford the hangman. On reaching the gallows Quinn asked if he could speak, “I wish to say something. I am going to die an innocent man. I blame my wife for what has happened to me. She and her friends got me to come over from Tasmania and then they robbed me of 50 pounds.” Bamford then tied Quinn’s legs and his hands behind his back, placed a white hood over his head and a rope around his neck. Quinn said “She brought me to this, God Help Me.” The lever was pulled and Quinn dropped to his death After his execution it was discovered that the gates of the gaol had not been opened and the official witnesses, numbering 70 in total, hadn’t been let in. The gates were hastily opened but the public could only see Quinn’s lifeless body swinging from the rope. Quinn’s description after death was height 6 foot, black hair, hazel eyes, scar on left eyebrow, long scar on right shoulder and two scars on right breast


On this day …….. 28th of August 1941

Robert Gordon Menzies was born in the Victorian town of Jeparit on 20 December 1894. In 1928 he entered politics after being elected to Victoria’s Legislative Council for East Yarra. After six years in Victorian state politics as Attorney-General and Minister for Railways (1928–34), he was elected to federal parliament as member for Kooyong. On April 18, 1939, he was elected leader of the United Australia Party following the death of Joseph Lyons eleven days earlier, and became Prime Minister on 26 April 1939. On 28 August 1941, party dissension led Menzies to resign as Prime Minister. However, after forming the Liberal Party of Australia from the remnants of the UAP in 1944, Menzies regrouped to become Prime Minister for the second time on 19 December 1949 when the new Liberal Party, in coalition with the Country Party, beat Labor. He then remained as Prime Minister for another 16 years, a record which has not been broken in Australian politics. He retired in 1966, and died in 1978.


On This Day ……. 28th of August 1873

Mr. Gibson, late governor of the Geelong gaol, was transferred to the Pentridge Stockade, and is at present per- forming the duties of senior warder. Mr. William Stack, who has held the post for the last 14 years, has boon transferred to Geelong, and will have charge of thi prison until Mr. Dwyer arrives from Portland.


On This Day – August 28, 1933

A GRAPHIC story of events associated with the fatal shooting of Betty Martin, 33, of Wrexham Road, Windsor; the wounding of her husband, Henry Martin, traveller; and the suicide of Isaac John Cohen Jedwab, 57, manufacturer. of Glen Eira Road, Caulfield, was told at the inquest at the Morgue on October 3. Jedwab turned the revolver on himself after he had shot the others in the kitchen of their home on the morning of August 28.

The Coroner (Mr D. Grant, P.M.) found that Betty Martin had been murdered by Jedwab, who then committed suicide. Harry Hirsch, cutter and designer, of Fenwick Street, North Carlton, said that he had been employed by Jedwab during the past six months. The business had been failing and Jedwab had not been attending to it properly. “Jedwab had been betting on race-horses’ said Hirsch, ‘About three months ago. after a meeting of creditors at the factory, Jedwab said to me; If Martin goes again me, or into partnership with anybody else, I’ll shoot him. “Later he came to my table in the workshop and said, ‘Martin is against me, ruins me.  He told me to watch Martin, as he was thieving.”

Hella Jedwab, widow, said that about 6.30 a.m. on August 28, her husband got up, and after having had a cup of tea, he took her one. He told her that he was up early because he wanted “to go in early.” Before he left the premises he went to the bedroom window and said he would not take the car. It was usual for him to go into the city by car. He said he would be home early. He had been very worried of late and had been losing money. “He had often told me,” continued Mrs Jedwab, “that the Martins— Henry Martin and Betty Martin, the former ot whom was employed by, and had an interest in, my husband’s business— had been robbing him. “He said several times that he would kill Martin. About two years ago he took out his revolver to shoot Martin and I caused the gun to be taken away from him.”

Lawrence Reginald Hill, carpenter, of Candy Street, Westgarth, who was working on a new building near the Martins’ home on August 28, said that he could overlook the yard and kitchen of the Martins’ place. About 8.40 a.m. he heard a gunshot and a woman screamed. Two more shots followed in quick succession. He got off the scaffolding and with Jack Jones, who was working with him, ran around into Wrexham Road. When opposite the Martins’ home he saw Martin staggering down the path at the side of the house. Martin, who had his hands to his face and was bleeding freely, said: “Please help me; there has been an explosion. Get a doctor and see if my wife is all right. My uncle is in there, too. I was taking medicine and there was an explosion.”

With his face heavily bandaged, Henry Martin, husband of the dead woman, was helped into the Court. He said that he was a director of the London and Parisian Pleaters, of Brien Lane, City. Jedwab was the proprietor. On August 28 Jedwab arrived at the house about 8 a.m. It had been usual during the fortnight before the shooting for Jedwab to call and for them to go to the city together. “After he arrived,” said Martin, “I repaired a puncture in the tyre of one of the wheels of my car. Jedwab assisted me and we discussed only the job we were doing. He was quite friendly. “Then we went into the kitchen, and my wife gave him and me a cup of tea. She then poured me out a dose of medicine. “I was standing near the sink arid had raised the glass to drink it when I heard an explosion near my head.” “I seemed to go blind, and I staggered out of the kitchen. I heard another explosion just before I left, and a scream.”  Martin said that he did not know Jedwab had a gun with him that morning, although he did know that he often carried one. About three or four weeks before the tragedy witness had been warned by Hirsch that Jedwab had made a threat to shoot him (Martin). Continuing Martin said that he had been employed by Jedwab for seven years, and for the past four years had been a director of the firm. He had had several differences with Jedwab as to his manner of running the business. They were not serious differences, however.”I know the business was in a bad way,” said Martin, “the reason being that Jedwab had, during the last 12 months, withdrawn hundreds of pounds from the business to bet on horses. I used to sign cheques in blank as I was out most of the day getting orders. “I spoke to him about it and he resented it. He never accused me of robbing him. “About three weeks before the affair I was fed up with Jedwab and told him I would leave. He begged me not to go. “In June last, Mr Hirsch and I entered into an agreement that if one of us left Jedwab, the other would leave also, and we were to start in business together. Two or three days before the shooting I had an idea that Jedwab knew something about the agreement.” Martin added that he did not think that Jedwab had any quarrel with Mrs Martin. She was Jedwab’s niece. In 1925 or 1926. while in London, Jedwab had taken poison after matrimonial troubles.

A finding of murder and suicide, was recorded.

On This Day ……. 28th of August 1882

It was stated in Parliament on this day in 1882, that all Victorian Gaols should be made as far as possible self-supporting, except of course in the case of an institution like the Geelong Gaol, which is used as an invalid prison, to which are sent old and worn-out prisoners arrested for the most part to save them from abject destitution.


On this day …….. 28th of August 1811

On this day in 1811 Ralph Malkins led his wife into the streets of Windsors, New South Wales with a halter around her neck. He sold her to the highest bidder, a man named Thomas Quires, who paid £16 and a few metres of cloth. The woman declared to the assembled crowd that she was agreeable to the bargain, and on payment of the purchase money on the spot she went off with her purchaser, after telling the crowd she had no doubt her new possessor would make a better husband than the one who had sold her. The authorities were outraged by the disgraceful episode and investigated it. All the parties admitted their roles and Malkins was sentences to received 50 lashes and to be put to three months hard labour in irons in the Sydney Gaol gang. His wife was transported to the Newcastle penal colony for a indefinite period. Quire sappers to got off scot free.


ON THIS DAY…… 27th August 1934


In 1944, ten years after the body had been discovered, the forensic evidence was re-examined and the dental analysis of the victim was matched to Linda Agostini.

Tony Agostini had recently returned to Sydney after being held in internment camps at Orange, Hay and Loveday from 1940 to 1944. The police commissioner, William MacKay, who knew Agostini’s husband before the war from when Tony had worked as a waiter at the restaurant that MacKay frequented, interviewed him. Noticing that Agostini seemed to be in a nervous state, MacKay asked him what had come over him. Tony Agostini then confessed to killing his wife. In his statement, Agostini admitted that he had accidentally shot and killed his wife when they were living in Melbourne. Worried that he might be accused of murder, he had driven the body over the state border to Albury and had dumped it in the culvert. He had poured petrol over the body and set fire to it, to destroy the evidence. The identification came just as public confidence in the New South Wales Police Force began to wane at their failure to catch the decade’s most prolific killer and the circumstances under which Antonio Agostini “confessed” to killing his wife in their Melbourne townhouse are still very dubious today. The arrest of Agostini was a sensation, as it meant that the Pyjama Girl had been identified. He was charged with murder and was extradited to Melbourne, where he was tried for murder. Surprisingly, he was acquitted of murder but found guilty of manslaughter instead, and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He was released in 1948 and deported to Italy, where he died in 1969.