On this day …….. 25th of August 1909

Long Bay Correctional Centre is located at Malabar, about 12 kilometres south of Sydney, New South Wales. It is Australia’s only prison to have been planned from the start with separate prisons for men and women. It was also the first prison in New South Wales to focus on rehabilitating inmates, rather than punishing them. The site was chosen in accordance with the tenets of 1770s English prison reformer John Howard, who believed jails should be positioned away from settled areas and preferably on the rise of a hill, where they would be subject to the full force of the wind. The entire plan for the gaol was based on new and different ideals in reform, such as the ‘restricted association’ advocated by William Frederick Neitenstein, comptroller-general of prisons from 1896 to 1909. ‘restricted association’ limited contact between different groups of prisoners to avoid long-term prisoners from having a corrupting influence on young or first-time offenders. Construction on the female reformatory began in 1901, and this was the first section to be opened. The official opening occurred on 25 August 1909. The male penitentiary opened five years later, in 1914. In 1969, the women were transferred to a new facility at Silverwater. The old women’s reformatory was initially converted into a training centre, then later used for minimum security inmates.


ON THIS DAY…… 25th August 1944

A verdict of guilty of murder with a recommendation to mercy was returned against William Phibbs, 47 Ormond Street, Kensington by the jury in the Melbourne Criminal Court on this day in 1944. He was convicted of the murder of Mrs. Nellie Shears at her Kensington home on July 24. Phibbs was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Martin who said that he would forward the recommendation to mercy to the Executive Council.


ON THIS DAY…… 25th August 1902

On August 25th, 1902, the landlady of this residence, Goldar Mantel, entered the room of one of the residents, Rachael Samuels. Rachael was a young woman of “respectable parentage” who for whatever reason had been abandoned by her parents five years previously and was earning a living as a dressmaker. Rachael’s younger sister had been up to their sister’s room when one of them came down and asked Mrs Mantel for a bucket. Becoming suspicious, Mrs Mantel returned to the room and pulled back the covers on the bed to discover a newborn baby girl, who had been partially burnt. When asked what she had done, Rachael replied she could not help it! A midwife, Mary Ann Beattie, was called to examine Rachael and the baby. Rachael was described as being in a low state as she was severely haemorrhaging. Mary Ann did what she could to save the life of the baby girl but she soon passed away. The head and body of the baby girl where charred and cause of death at the post mortem was haemorrhage and shock from burns.

Rachael was charged with wilful murder and went to trial. She quite feeble during the trial and was seated on a chair for the duration. A nurse was also on standby with smelling salts and Rachael became quite distressed at times. At trial, Rachael was found not guilty and discharged.


On this day …….. 25th of August 1896

Two lunatics have escaped from the infamous Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum in Melbourne on the 25th August 1896. This institution built on the Bend of the Yarra River coined the saying…….. “Your going around the Bend”.


On This Day ……. 25th of August 1889

John Hassett was tried along with Francis De La Veillies for attempted murder of Constable Vizard on the 25th of August 1889. The two men had been having an altercation near the intersection of Lygon Street and Queensberry Street in Carlton, when Constable Vizard asked them to move along. The men did so but began arguing again and when Vizard interfered, he was set upon by the two men. Vizard had a fractured skull and his brain was so swollen that it necessitated removal of part of his skull. Hassett’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the 19th March, 1890 and he was incarcerated initially at Pentridge. In August 1898 he was transferred to the Geelong Gaol, where he was employed in the Gaol infirmary. On the 7th December 1901, Hassett had asked one of the other prisoners to say good bye to his mother for him. He returned to the infirmary and drank a poison containing belladonna, arsenic and opium. Hassett had armed himself with a lance and kept warders at bay, threatening to stab them until the poison took effect. The Doctor tried to administer a strong emetic to rid him of the poison, which at first was thought to be successful, but he succumbed to the poisoning at 6pm that evening. It was stated that Hassett had been in a melancholy state for the past few months.


Can you find the key to escape the Zombi attack at the old Geelong gaol.

Join the team at Geelong gaol this Halloween on Monday 31st October for a 60 min fright night you will want to forget. Find the key to escape and win a tick to Twisted History famous tours…… Do you have what it takes

ON THIS DAY…… 24th August 1894

James Setford was placed in the dock at the Criminal Sessions charged with the murder of his own child at Richmond on the 24th August. He wept bitterly, and was unable to plead. The Government medical experts stated that Setford was insane, and he was therefore remanded during the Governor’s pleasure.

The details of the crime for which Setford was tried are of an exceptionally painful nature. The insane man is 64 years of age, and bore an excellent reputation in Richmond, where he resided for some considerable time, carrying on business as a painter and paperhanger in Bridge-street. The first news of the murder was supplied to the police by Setford himself, but when informed of the fact they did not believe him, and thought that he was either only jesting or had become suddenly crazy, and was the victim of a terrible delusion. It was about 11 o’clock when he walked into the South Richmond station. Setford said, as he entered, “I have done something wrong, and suppose I shall suffer for it.” He went on, in answer to a question, “I have killed a child up the street, and have come to give myself up.” One constable detained the man while another proceeded to his house.

Mrs. Setford opened the door to the constable, and confirmed her husband’s confession in a remarkable narrative. ‘She said–” My husband has been peculiar in manner for the past few days, and, knowing that business and other cares had worried him considerably, I watched him closely lest he should do himself harm, I saw no indication of any desire on his part to commit suicide, and was beginning to feel easy in my mind again, when he came to me a little while ago and said, ‘I have relieved you of Frank. He is dead. I killed him. poor little chap I thought it was best. You will find him in the room at the back, I locked the door; here is the key.’ He gave me the key, and then I saw by the blood on his hands that he was telling the truth. He said he would go to the police right off, but I made him sit down and have some tea and some bread and jam. Then, when he put on his best coat, I placed some biscuits in his pocket, and sent him off to you. I have not gone into the backyard, but I have telegraphed to my sister.”

Taking the key from Mrs. Setford, the constable went into the back room, and found the body of the child Frank, a little fellow of two years, lying on a bench. The neck was cut almost from ear to ear, and a butcher’s knife all blood stained lay on the bench. In conversation with a constable Setford gave further particulars of his deed. He said …. ‘ You know business has been bad lately, and cottages would not let, and altogether, I was getting into trouble, that upset me greatly, and when I saw that my wife was ill, and than it the young children were a burden and a worry to her, I wondered what I should do if she should die and I should be left with them all on my hands, Poor little Frank he was playing in the backyard while I was thinking of those things, and I scolded him into the room and cut his throat. He was a fine little fellow, but I had 10 children, and nine are enough if not more than enough,” Setford was twice married, and had five children by each marriage. The first five are all grown up, and the ages of the second range from 14 years down to two years, the age of the poor little fellow who was killed.

Setford, who was in comfortable circumstances, has had reversed lately, and these are supposed to have affected his mind.




ON THIS DAY ……… 24th August 1940

A girl who caused a sensation in Melbourne Court by shouting ‘Good-bye Sweetheart!’ when boyfriend Frederick James Anderson was committed for trial on a charge of murder, was freed of a sentence imposed upon her on a vagrancy charge.

She appealed against the sentence of one month, and when the appeal was heard before Judge Foster the conviction was repealed. Mr. A. Sacks represented Mary Eugene, who bad been arrested on the charge of having insufficient means of support after her boyfriend was arrested. Senior Detective S. McGuffie said that while inquiring into the murder charge against Anderson he had taxed Mary with the suggestion that she was keeping Anderson on her earnings. This Mary hotly denied she insisted that she was not working and that Anderson had been keeping her. It was also stated by the police that Mary was known to be an associate of thieves and suspected thieves. In addition to which she had been seen in a house of ill fame in Fitzroy by the police.

Mary, who appeared in the Court decked with what was described as a ‘wonderful collection of gold and diamond rings’ said she had been living with Anderson for more than two years. Since they came to Melbourne about last May, Anderson had given her a regular amount each week for housekeeping and also about £30 out of a win he had at gambling. Out of that £30 she bought the rings.  In answer to the evidence of the police that they had not seen the rings in their search of the house before Anderson’s arrest, she answered that they had been there just the same. She denied the suggestion that they had been borrowed for the occasion.




ON THIS DAY…… 24th August 1942


Detectives hope to be able to say whether a man found drowned in the Yarra on Friday was associated with the murder of Mrs. Catherine Whitley aged 65, in a lane behind a hotel at the northern end of Elizabeth Street, City, near Gratten Street, Carlton. By his finger prints, the dead man was identified as James William Whitelaw aged 44.

Fingerprint experts at police head quarters in a Russell Street, used a recently developed method of taking after-death prints to fix his identity. The skin of the hands was crinkled by having been so long in the water. Fluid was forced in under the skin to fill out the fingertips to their natural shape and then readable prints were obtained.

On this day …….. 24th of August 2005

On the 24th of August 2005, 23-year-old marine biologist Jarrod Stehbens was killed while scuba diving on the Glenelg tyre reef, South Australia. He was collecting cuttlefish eggs for research and was not wearing a Shark Shield. The shark was approximately 5 metres long. Jarrod’s father said that Jarrod would not have wanted the shark involved in the attack to be killed.



On this day …….. 24th of August 1846

A young man, named M’Donald, found, on this day in 1846, a bottle on the beach, at Western Port, Victoria, in which was enclosed a slip of paper containing the latitude and longitude of the convict ship, George the Third, on her voyage to Van Diemen’s Land. This vessel was wrecked on the coast of Van Diemen’s Land shortly after the paper, dated the 1st of March, 1835, announcing that “all was well on board,” was written. The bottle must consequently have been floating on the ocean for nearly eleven years.


On This Day ……. 24th of August 1923

On the 24th of August 1923, Angus Murray, who is serving a sentence of 15 years for robbery under arms, made his escape, by means of a small saw, he removed the stones at the base of his window. The bars were then loosened, leaving him sufficient room to squeeze through. Murray had torn his bedclothes into shreds to form a rope to lower himself to the ground. He was then able to scale the outside wall were a motor car was waiting for him. A boy, passing the Gaol at the time of the escape saw Murray clamber down from his cell and spring into a car. The police scoured the district, but could not find any trace of the fugitive. On the morning of the 9th of October 1923, Murray shot Mr Berriman the manager of the Glenferrie branch of the Commercial Bank and robbed him of £1851. Berriman died the on the 22nd of October. A large force of detectives raided, a house in St, Kilda at 5am, arresting Angus Murray, Leslie (Squizzy) Taylor, and Ida Pender. Angus Murray was charged with the Glenferrie robbery and with escaping from custody. Taylor and Pender were locked up on holding charges, but were later released. A few days after Berriman’s death Murray was charged with his murder and on 14th of April 1924, he was executed in the Melbourne Gaol. Murray stood on the scaffold and made the following statement: “Never in my life have I done anything to justify the extreme penalty being passed upon me. I have prayed hard for those who have acted against me, and I hope that those whom I have injured will forgive me.” Turning to the hangman as the rope was passed around his neck, he said: “Pull it tight.” Murray’s death was instantaneous.