On the 21st November 1884, a quarrel occurred between two men named Rogers and Michael Walsh, in front of the John Crown Hotel on Packenham street. Both were the worse of liquor and Rogers, who is a young athletic fellow, seized Walsh, an elderly man, and threw him over some railings dislocating his neck. Walsh was picked up dead shortly after, and Rogers was arrested.

ON THIS DAY…… 21st November 1982

The biggest earth tremor ever recorded in Victoria

The biggest earth tremor ever recorded in Victoria shook the state on this day in 1982. Registering 5.5 on the Richter Scale, and centred on Mt Hotham in Victoria, the tremor struck at 10.36pm, and was felt as far away as Wagga, NSW in the North and Melbourne in the south. The tremor was felt most severely along the Ovens Valley, Wangaratta and Shepparton. It was enough for one Wangaratta residence watching TV at the time to report being noticeably moved – the couch had shifted on its castors.

ON THIS DAY…… 21st November 1789

Convict James Ruse establish first working farm in Australia

James Ruse was born on a farm in Cornwall around 1759. At age 22, he was convicted of burglary and, due to severe over-crowding in British gaols, spent over four years on the prison hulks in Plymouth Harbour. He was one of the convicts who was transported in the First Fleet to New South Wales, sailing on the ‘Scarborough’.
Governor Phillip was aware of the need to build a working, farming colony as soon as possible. Thus, on 21 November 1789, Phillip selected Ruse to go to Rose Hill (now Parramatta), west of Sydney Town, and establish “Experiment Farm”, the colony’s first working farm. Ruse was allocated one and a half acres of already cleared ground and assisted in clearing a further five acres. He was given two sows and six hens and a deal was made for him to be fed and clothed from the public store for 15 months. Within a year, Ruse had successfully farmed the site, proving that it was possible for new settlers to become self-sufficient, and to feed a family with relatively little assistance to begin with. As a result of the success of Ruse’s venture, he was granted another 30 acres in March 1791, in the colony’s first official, permanent land grant. This was in addition to the area he was already occupying.



Mrs. Ellen McNabb. a young woman, was placed on trial at the Criminal Court today for the murder of her infant child at Footscray on November 20. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter but strongly recommended the accused mercy on account of the provocation she had received.

The Chief Justice in passing sentence found the prisoner had been deserted by a villainous husband, who did not care what became of her or the child.  She had been illtreated and starved by her husband.  He would give full weight to the recommendation.  The prisoner was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

On This Day – November 20, 1902

In the Criminal Court to-day, before Mr. Justice Hood and a jury of 12, Emil Forsell, a young Norwegian sailor, was charged with having, on November 20 last, wilfully murdered Sophia Rigg, in Latrobe street west, near to Spencer street. An interpreter had to be sworn, as accused was not sufficiently acquainted with the English language. The evidence brought to prove the case for the Crown showed that deceased was on her way to visit her son, and was spoken to by her niece. Shortly afterwards accused was seen trying to commit an offence, and when interfered with the woman was dead. Death was caused by sudden and violent suffocation. A statement was made by the prisoner to the effect that he was so drunk that he did not know what he was doing, and he thought deceased was a woman with whom he had been in company with all day. Mr. Paul, counsel for the defence, submitted that the evidence was not clear that prisoner had caused the death of Mrs. Rigg, and that he way too drunk to know what he was doing. He asked the jury to return a verdict of manslaughter. Mr. Justice Hood said the authorities seemed to show that the conviction must be murder or nothing, and later, in addressing the jury on the point, said the law was not satisfactory in this. Juries, he pointed out, refused frequently to convict in cases of illegal operations, and persons who ought to be punished escaped. After the retirement of the jury an argument was heard whether the jury could convict for manslaughter, and Mr. Justice Hood said he would instruct the jury that they could do so, and reserve a case on the point for tho Full Court. The jury having been so instructed, almost immediately returned a verdict of not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter, and accused was remanded for sentence, pending the decision of tha Full Court on the point reserved.

ON THIS DAY…… 20th November 1905

Hand on fire

Ernest Potter from Gundagai district of New South Wales was making rabbit poison on this date in 1905 when a bottle containing phosphorous spilt over his trousers and one of his hands. The mixture flared up. Potter managed to put out the flames on his trousers and put his hand in water, but when ever he took it out of the water, the phosphorous continued to blaze. He galloped 8km to Gundagai for medial treatment.

ON THIS DAY…… 20th November 1900

Convict George Cairns Bradshaw

George Cairns Bradshaw, a married man, was charged with an unlawful assault upon Jane Bateman at Terang, on 20th October. Mr Garnet appeared to prosecute for the Crown. On being arraigned, the prisoner pleaded guilty and was returned to the cell whilst His Honour perused the Police Court depositions. On being again placed in the dock, the judge remarked that it was a fortunate circumstance for accused that the young woman had been vigorous enough to resist the attempt he had made, otherwise he might have been standing his trial for his life. The written appeal made to him by prisoner stating that the whole affair was the result of drink, was no excuse, and the fact that his wife and two children would be the sufferers of his punishment could not be allowed to weigh with him in awarding his verdict. It was as a deterrent to others, not as vengeance against accused. that he was compelled to severely deal with him. He ordered was ordered on this day in 1900 to five years’ imprisonment in the Geelong gaol, the last month but one of the sentence to be spent in solitary confinement.

On This Day – November 19, 1938 

Richard Clarence Skinner, 21, of South Melbourne, was arrested on a charge with having at Bacchus Marsh on November 19, with intent to murder, Arthur Edwards, a farm hand, of Balwyn. He had a severe wound on the chin and was unable to speak. By writing answers to questions by the detectives Edwards stated he had been shot while entering a car on the Ballarat Road at Bacchus Marsh.



In the Criminal Court to-day Ernest Arthur Sims was charged with the manslaughter of Mary Maud Whitesides, at Fitzroy on November 19. Accused pleaded not guilty. Whitesides died from burns sustained at accused’s house. At the close of the Crown’s case Justice Hodges said that there was no clear evidence to go to the jury that deceased died from any act of the accused. By direction the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and Sims was discharged.

ON THIS DAY…… 19th November 1834

Edward Henty establishes an illegal settlement at Portland Bay, Victoria.

Edward Henty is considered to be the founder of Victorian settlement. Born at West Tarring, Sussex, England, in 1809, he came to Van Diemen’s Land with his father Thomas in 1832. On 19 November 1834, he landed at Portland Bay on the southwest coast of Victoria, to found a new settlement without official permission. Very few people knew about the settlement, as it was remote from major centres. The first recognition Henty received was when Major Thomas Mitchell, seeking a possible harbour, wandered into the area in 1836 after discovering the rich, fertile farming land of western Victoria. By this time, Henty and his brothers had been established for two years, and were importing sheep and cattle from Launceston.

ON THIS DAY……19th November 1921

Death of William Henry Erwin

The deputy coroner Mr. W. R. Anderson, conducted an inquest into the death at the Geelong Gaol. William Henry Erwin who was undergoing a sentence. Dr. Croke stated that death was due to apoplexy caused by cerebral hemorrhage, and a verdict was returned accordingly.




ON THIS DAY – November 18, 1967


A Criminal Court jury found Henry Sylvester Morhun, 17, labourer, of the suburb of Doveton, guilty tonight of the murder of Veronica Ann Underwood, 16, on November 18 last.  As Morhun is under 18, Mr Justice Adam did not pronounce the death sentence but told Morhun that the only sentence he could pass was that he be kept in strict custody in Pentridge Gaol until the Governor’s pleasure was known. Veronica’s nude body, with head injuries and a stab wound in the chest, was found lying in the grounds of the Doveton North State School, a short distance from her home.