ON THIS DAY…… 30th November 1878

Australia’s National Anthem performed for the first time in public

Australia’s national anthem, ‘Advance Australia Fair was composed by Scottish-born composer Peter Dodds McCormick, who arrived in Sydney in 1855, taking up a position as a public school teacher in New South Wales. McCormick was heavily involved in the community as well as the Scottish Presbyterian church, and he developed a reputation for both his singing voice and his compositions. He composed around 30 patriotic songs, one of which was ‘Advance Australia Fair’. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was first performed in public on 30 November 1878. The occasion was the St Andrew’s Day concert of the Highland Society. Initially, the song was published under the pseudonym of “Amicus”, which is Latin for ‘friend. In line with its nationalistic flavour, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was performed by a 10,000-voice choir at the inauguration Federation ceremony for the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia, on 1 January 1901. McCormick was subsequently paid one hundred pounds for his composition in 1907, and he registered it for copyright in 1915. Early in the twentieth century, the song was proposed as a possible national anthem for Australia, to replace the Royal anthem ‘God Save the King’ (later ‘Queen’), but no official decision was made. The first of many competitions to find a new national anthem was held in 1840, with subsequent quests and competitions in ensuing years, including the lead-up to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Another Australia-wide national anthem quest was held in 1972-3. Following this, in 1977, the government held a referendum and attached a national plebiscite to choose a new anthem. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ won with 43% against Banjo Paterson’s ‘Waltzing Matilda’ with 28% and Carl Linger’s ‘Song of Australia’ with 10%. In favour of keeping ‘God Save the Queen were 19%. In 1984, the Australian government made the final decision to change the national anthem as it sought to reinforce its independence from England. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was adopted as the National anthem of Australia on 19 April 1984.

On This Day – November 29, 1946

A young returned soldier who is alleged to have chased and threatened to kill his former fiancee with a Japanese Samurai sword, was committed for trial in the Fourth District Court yesterday.  Charles Francis Wright (22) docker and painter. Spencer St., West Melbourne, was charged with having entered a dwelling by night with intent to commit a felony. Mr Addison, P.M., committed him to the Supreme Court on December 9 with bail of £50 and surety for the same amount.  Greta Marie Watkins, porteress, Parliament Pl., East Melbourne, to whom Wright was once engaged to be married, broke down while giving evidence and wept bitterly. She said that at 11.15 p.m. on November 29, as she was walking in Parliament Pl. Wright grabbed her by the arm and said, “I want to take you to a beautiful spot to see the Crucifix.” She refused to go with him. Wright said. “I will come back with a couple of hand grenades and I will kill you.” Later as she was sitting outside the guest house she saw Wright coming down the stairs with something in his hand. As he chased her she ran into Gisborne St. He yelled. “I’ll get you.” She ran about 200 yards before she heard someone call “stop” and a shot was fired. Wright pleaded not guilty and reserved his defence.

ON THIS DAY – November 29, 1930

Dr. David Rosenberg, a well-known practitioner at Richmond, appeared at the Criminal Court on Friday, before the Chief Justice, having been committed from the Coroner’s Court on a charge of manslaughter, arising out of the death of a child, 5 1/2 years of age, named Ruby May Clementine Kerrison, daughter of John Ernest Kerrison, of Tennyson street, Richmond, such death, it being alleged, having resulted from accused’s negligent driving of a motor car. Mr T. C. Brennan prosecuted for the Crown, and Mr. G. A. Maxwell and Mr C. H. A. Eager appeared for the defence, The case for the prosecution was that at 5.30 p.m. on November 29 accused drove his car under the railway viaduct near the Richmond railway station at a speed of about 15 miles per hour. The roadway beneath the bridge is in deep shadow and the Crown contended that such a speed was it was said accused maintained at that point was highly dangerous to pedestrians. In this instance the child, whose parents live close at hand, was crossing the roadway and was knocked down. Accused was hailed by persons in the vicinity, and promptly pulled up, and took the child into a nearby chemist’s shop where he examined her, and rendered what immediate aid was possible, afterwards removing: her to the Children’s Hospital, where she died shortly after admission.  Accused giving evidence on own behalf, denied that he was driving at the rate alleged, and asserted that the car was travelling at only a moderate pace. There was very little traffic, and when his car. entered the shadow of the bridge he was able, by reason of the bright daylight at the exit, to see that he had clear passage. He did not see the child, and was unaware that an accident had occurred until he was hailed by some four passengers. When he examined the child he found that she had sustained an injury to her face and head, and he found, also, that the lamp bracket on the fore part of car was bent, indicating that it was that portion by which she was struck, There were no injuries indicative of the child having been run over by the wheels. Thomas Lowe, 10 years of age, said he witnessed the accident. The car was travelling at a moderate speed. The child when he first saw her, was standing on the kerb. As the car approached, she started to cross the road, hesitated when in the centre, and was knocked down. The jury, after half an hour’s retirement, returned a verdict of not guilty, adding a rider to the effect that it was desirable that at such dangerous points warnings to motorists should be placed. Accused was discharged, and his Honor intimated that the rider would be brought to the notice of the proper authorities.

ON THIS DAY…… 29th November 1917

Australian Prime hit by Egg – starts Commonwealth Police force

Arrest those men, constable! – Prime Minister William Morris Hughes, was in Warwick, Queensland on this day in 1917, when he was hit by an egg. When the policemen refused to arrest him on the grounds that he was bound the enforce only State laws, Hughes decided to form the Commonwealth Police.

ON THIS DAY…… 29th November 1948

Australian Prime minister Ben Chifley launches the first mass-produced Australian car – the Holden FX

“Made in Australia, For Australia”.

These are the words spoken by Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley when he launched the Holden FX on 29 November 1948. The real name of the Holden FX is 48/215. ’48 was the year it started production, and 215 indicated a Standard Sedan. The name “FX” originated as an unofficial designation within Holden after 1953, and was a reference to the updated suspension of that year. The Holden company began as ‘J.A. Holden & Co’, a saddlery business in 1856, and moved into car production in 1908. By 1926, Holden had an assembly plant in each of Australia’s mainland states, but due to the repercussions of the great Depression, production fell dramatically, from 34,000 units annually in 1930 to just 1,651 units in 1931. In that year, it became a subsidiary of the US-based General Motors (GM). Post-World War II Australia was a time when only one in eight people owned an automobile, and many of these were American styled cars. Prior to the close of World War II, the Australian Government put into place initiatives to encourage an Australian automotive industry. Both GM and Ford responded to the government, making proposals for the production of the first Australian designed car. Although Ford’s outline was preferred by the government, the Holden proposal required less financial assistance. Holden’s managing director, Laurence Hartnett, wished to develop a local design, but GM wanted an American design. Compromises were made, and the final design was based on a previously rejected post-war proposed Chevrolet. Thus, in 1948, the Holden was launched – the first mass-produced Australian car. Although the automobile’s official designation was the 48/215, it was marketed as the “Holden”. This was to honour Sir Edward Holden, the company’s first chairman and grandson of J.A. Holden, who established the original Holden saddlery. Other names that were considered included the ‘Austral’, ‘Woomerah’, ‘Boomerang’, ‘Melba’, ‘GeM’, ‘Emu’ and even the ‘Canbra’, a name derived from Australia’s capital city. The original retail price was AU£760.


An inquest on the body of the five months old child, who died from a dose of spirits of salts, administered by its mother, Ellen McNabb, was formally opened today. The latter was present in custody, charged with murder.

On This Day – November 28, 1947

Following the finding by Coroner Burke, PM, yesterday that Joseph Patrick Turner, 29, of Abbotsford, had acted in self-defence because he feared he was in danger of serious bodily harm, police in the City Court today withdrew the charge against Turner of having murdered George Edward Barrett, alias John Hedley Paul, 36, of Parliament Place, City, at Fitzroy on November 28.


ON THIS DAY…… 28th November 1918

Aged 106

After reaching the extreme age of 106 years Mr. William Smith died in the Old
Colonists’ Home, North Fitzroy, on this day in 1918. Born in Devonshire in 1812, he came to Australia when 21 as a botanist with the expedition to explore the country west of Port Jackson. It is believed his real name was John Roberts, and that he was related to the late Lord Roberts.

ON THIS DAY…… 28th November 1934

Death of Dick Hart – Kelly gang

One of the most important players in the Kelly drama died on this day in 1934. Dick Hart was Steve Hart’s brother. It was he who took charge of the bodies of Steve Hart and Dan Kelly after fire at the Glenrown Inn, and deified the police to take them for an inquest. After the Siege at Glenrown, North East Victoria, Dick joined forces briefly with Wild Wright to keep the spirit of the Kelly Outbreak alive but eventually turned to more business like pursuits in hotels in Melbourne and Ballarat. Dick died at the Albion Hotel, Port Melbourne aged 78.

On This Day – November 27, 1890

A revolting murder is reported as having occurred at Mount Riddle, three miles from Healesville, where the naked trunk of a man has been discovered, slightly covered with earth and boughs. It was found beside the bank forming a waterhole in a paddock belonging to Mr. Steel, J.P. The body was terribly mutilated, as if with a tomahawk. The severed limbs were found under a hut about 300 yards from the body, which is supposed to be that of an Indian hawker. From appearance the body had been dead about a week. The Government have offered £50 reward for the arrest of the Hindu hawker named Fatta Chand, who is suspected of the murder of a fellow country man named Mull at Healesville. On the 30th of November Fatta Chand was arrested eighteen miles from Geelong while having tea. He had proceeded by steamer from Melbourne to Geelong, evidently to make his way up country.

On This Day – November 27, 1947

Charges against Thomas Gerald Buckley, 40, of Droop st, Footscray, and Clarence Gordon McGlynn, 38, of Moore st, Footscray, of having murdered Malcolm Appleby at Footscray on November 27, were struck out in the City Court yesterday. An open finding was recorded at the inquest on Monday.

ON THIS DAY…… 27th November 1937


The State Censor has decided to remove the ban on the exhibition of the Australian film, “The Haunted Barn.” Holding that it was liable to frighten children between the ages of six and 16, the censor previously directed it not to be exhibited to children between these ages.