ON THIS DAY…… 26th November 1855

The colony of Van Diemen’s Land becomes known as Tasmania

Fears that the French would colonise Van Diemen’s Land caused the British to establish a small settlement on the Derwent River in 1803. 33 of the 49 people in the group were convicts, and the settlement continued to receive convicts re-shipped from New South Wales or Norfolk Island up until 1812. Regular shipments of convicts directly from Britain began in 1818. A second penal colony was established at Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Van Diemen’s Land in 1822, and three years later, the British Government separated Van Dieman’s Land from New South Wales. Macquarie Harbour was eventually closed down, to be replaced by Port Arthur. Transportation of convicts to Van Diemen’s Land ended in 1853. On 26 November 1855, the colony officially became known as Tasmania and elections for parliament were held the following year.

On This Day – November 26, 1924

Albert James Barter, aged 44, was committed for trial on a charge of murdering Mrs Catherine Lanson, aged 68, his mother-ln-law in Melbourne on the 8th November 1924. Mrs Lawson was killed by blows from a tomahawk. Barter was sent to Geelong gaol, so he could be mentally examined.

On This Day – November 26, 1857

George Dyer, self-accused, after the lapse of 13 years of a murder committed in 1857 on George Wilson, was tried at the Castlemaine Circuit on Tuesday, on the capital charge. Although the prisoner retracted his confession made in England, shortly after he had made it, there can be little doubt of the truth of the main portion of it but one part of it left it doubtful whether he had killed Wilson in self-defence or not. Taking his own statement and the other evidence, the facts were that in November 1857, Dyer and Wilson were mates at the Mia-Mia diggings. Wilson was suddenly missed, and soon afterwards prisoner left the place, taking with him the tent. He then went to live at a place now called Vaughan, about seven or eight miles from Newstead. To a person named Sinclair there he said he had just come from the Mia-mia and besides his own statement, this was the only evidence that Wilson was ever at Mia-mia, one of the witnesses who proved this at the Police Court and who was to prove it on Tuesday, had disappeared since the Police Court investigation, and could not be found. A few days after Dyer left the Mia-mia a body was found in a waterhole about 60 yards from where it was supposed his tent was pitched. It was not then identified. But an examination of it showed that the jaw had been fractured as if by a spade or axe handle, and in the back part of the skull were several large holes, as if caused by a pick. It was these, and not the fracture of the jaw, that caused death. The inference, therefore, was that Wilson had been first stunned by the blow on the jaw, and then killed by such an instrument as a pick. The body, it was contended, need not be identified as Wilson’s for the confession and the other evidence were sufficient to justify an inference that it was. The prisoner defended himself, and asserted that he must have been labouring under an hallucination when he made the confession; that he never was at Mia-Mia. He had a recollection of being partner with George Wilson for a short time, but he denied having quarrelled with him. The judge left it to the jury whether the prisoner, even if he committed the act, was guilty of murder or manslaughter, and the jury after deliberating an hour and a half, found him “Guilty” of the lesser offence. He was sentenced to eight years hard labour.

On This Day ….. 26th November 2009

In November 2009 it was reported that up to 6000 feral camels in search of water had invaded Docker River, a small Aboriginal community of about 350 people located about 500km southwest of Alice Springs. Local residents had been afraid to leave their homes for some time. The camels have torn up the main waterpipes and sewerage pipes, made the town’s airport unusable and contaminated the town’s water supply.

The Northern Territory government decided to take action and announced $49,000 in emergency funding for a cull in which helicopters will be used to herd the animals outside the town, where the camels will be shot and left to decay in the desert.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 26th November 1838

Men found guilty of Myall Creek Aborigines massacre

On 10 June 1838, a gang of stockmen, heavily armed, rounded up between 40 and 50 Aboriginal women, children and elderly men at Henry Dangar’s Myall Creek Station, not far from Inverell in New South Wales. 28 Aborigines were murdered. These were the relatives of the Aboriginal men who were working with the station manager, William Hobbs. It was believed that the massacre was payback for the killing of several colonists in the area, yet most of those massacred were women and children. At a trial held on November 15 that year, twelve Europeans were charged with murder but acquitted. Following uproar from some colonists at the aquittal of the men, another trial was held on 26 November 1838. Following the retrial, 7 men were charged with murder and sentenced to be hung in December, under the authority of Governor George Gipps.

ON THIS DAY…… 26th November 1917

A raid on the Queensland Government Printing Office is carried out, under the orders of Prime Minister Billy Hughes

Conscription, or compulsory military service, has always been a highly controversial issue in Australia. At the outbreak of World War I, Australians were keen to go to war. Many sought to serve their newly federated country as patriotic Australians, while others hoped to serve on behalf of “Mother England”. Prime Minister William ‘Billy’ Hughes was Australia’s second wartime Prime Minister, being appointed after the resignation of Andrew Fisher in October 1915. Hughes sought to introduce conscription during World War I via a referendum. The 1916 referendum failed when 51% voted against the introduction of conscription. Although Hughes won a clear majority at the Federal election in 1917, he did not bring in legislation for compulsory overseas service, but sought a second referendum in December 1917. To that end, he tried to direct public opinion in favour of conscription, and this included the removal of dissenting material which might sway public opinion against the introduction of conscription. On 26 November 1917, Hughes ordered Jeremiah Joseph Stable, an officer with the Australian Field Artillery, to conduct a raid on the Queensland Government Printing Office. Stable, along with Federal Police, was instructed to enter the printing office and seize all copies of no. 37 Queensland Parliamentary Debates, as they contained an anti-conscription speech by Premier T J Ryan. Stable had already previously censored parts of the speech from the press, but the printing office held the original copies of the parliamentary debates, and Hughes feared the speech might be circulated.

On This Day – November 25, 1930

 

Having worked with little success on the theory that jealousy was the motive for the murder of Miss Mary Dean (aged 25 years), school teacher, at Elwood, on Friday morning, the police are now seriously considering the possibility of the outrage having been committed by a pervert, who had been attacking women and girls in the Elwood district. This person, who is said to operate mostly after midnight, has assaulted two other women in streets near the scene of the attack on Miss Dean. On July 21 a man also assaulted a young woman in the front garden of a house almost opposite the home of Mrs. Dean, the mother of the murdered girl, in Milton-street. In all cases the attacker has caught his victim by the throat, and in some instances has torn off her stockings. These features of the offences are regarded as important by the police. They point out that one of Miss Dean’s stockings was removed and tied round her throat. From the description given by persons who have been attacked at night at Elwood recently the police are of the opinion that the assault had been committed by one man. The fact that he is still at large is causing serious concern in the Elwood and neighbouring districts.

On This Day – November 25, 1935

Dr. Bothamley, charged with the murder of Dr. Loughnan at Carlton on November 25, was to-day further remanded for a week, bail being extended on the same conditions, defendant reporting daily to the police.

ON THIS DAY…… 25th November 1789

Bennelong, the Aborigine, is captured, to be used as an intermediary between the Aboriginal and white cultures.

The Aborigine Bennelong was a senior man of the Eora, a Koori, people of the Port Jackson area, when the First Fleet arrived in Australia, in 1788. He was captured on 25 November 1789, for the purpose of being used as a mediary between the white and Aboriginal cultures. The Governor of New South Wales, Captain Arthur Phillip, wished to learn about the language and customs of the indigenous people. Bennelong willingly liaised between the cultures, and adopted European dress and other ways. His intervention was crucial when Phillip was speared by local Aborigines as, by persuading the Governor that the attack was caused by a misunderstanding, further violence was avoided. While Governor Phillip’s intentions were honourable, the Aborigines were not people to be captured and used for white purposes. Bennelong travelled with Phillip to England in 1792, and returned to Australia in 1795. Ultimately, he suffered ostracism from the Aborigines when he found it too difficult to integrate into the European culture, and sought to return to his own people. He died on 3 January 1813.

On This Day – November 24, 1891

The knife with with Louisa Denis accomplished the murder of Mary Conway, in Little Church-street, on Tuesday evening was discovered yesterday by G. W. Dix, a storeman in the employ of Messrs. Andrew Agnew and Co., ironmongers, upon a vacant piece of ground in Latrobe-street, between Mau’s Family Hotel and Swanston-street, and in the neighborhood of the tragedy. From information supplied to the police it appears that the prisoner took tea about 5 o’clock in the evening on which the fatal deed was committed with the family of Mr. Thornton, a hawker, residing in Francis-street. The knife in question was used at this meal for cutting a ham into slices, and it is surmised that Denis then stole it. It was not missed by the owner until it was shown to him yesterday and he was asked if it was his property. The knife, which has been hitherto used for butchering purposes, is a murderous looking weapon, and exhibits evidence of the purpose for which it was used 0n Tuesday, about 3 inchess of its point being blood stained. It is about 10 inches in length, keen edged and sharp pointed, and very much worn in the centre of the blade. The prisoner, who was intoxicated when she was arrested, says she does not remember where she obtained the knife. She professes to believe that she wrested it from Conway during the struggle with her in Little Church-street. The inquiry into the murder will continue at tho hospital at 11 o’clock this morning.

ON THIS DAY…… 24th November 1642

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman

On the 24th of November 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovered a previously unknown island on his voyage past the “Great South Land”, or “New Holland”, as the Dutch called Australia. He named it Van Diemen’s Land after the governor of Batavia. The Dutch, however, did not settle New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land. The First Fleet, which arrived in Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788 comprised eleven British ships carrying officers and convicts from England.

On This Day – November 24, 1924

Douglas Robertson, aged 33 years, a skilled Worker, who was arrested at Sydney and, later charged at Melbourne with having murdered William Frederick Charles Almeida, bank teller, at Hampton, on November 24, 1924, was to-day again remanded.

William Almeida was a teller of the Hampton agency of the Commercial Bank of Australia, when he was shot during a raid on the bank in Hampton street by three men.  He later died in the Creswick House Private Hospital from his wounds.