ON THIS DAY – November 9, 1937

After enquiring into the death of Edmund Robertson (44), unemployed, who died on November 9 from head injuries, the coroner today committed George Anthony Powell, postal employee, for trial on a charge of murder.  Evidence was given that after an argument in an hotel on November 5 Robertson was assaulted in a street. He fell and his head struck the pavement.



ON THIS DAY…… 9th November 1922

Geelong Gaol to be sewered

Success was at last been achieved by Mr. Y. Brownbili, M.L.A., in his decision to have the prisoners’ quarters at the Geelong gaol sewered. Communication from the Chief Secretary’s Department having been received by him to the effect that the tender of Stone Bros., of Malop strect, had been accepted, the contract price being £1010 (Price in 2016 money $34,379). For months residents living in the vicinity of the gaol petitioned the City Council to take a part in the agitation due to the bad smells airing from the gaol. Council agreed to send a strong letter to the department, together with a copy of the report submitted under instruction by the city inspector, Mr. D. Hickinbotharu. The work was started at once. Sadly the job was never finished seemed the job was expensive to add toilets to cells. The geelong gaol closed in 1991 still with not toilets in cells.

ON THIS DAY – November 9, 1930

A charge of having murdered Vera Wakeling at Windsor on November 9 was preferred against Dr. Albert Wilbur Bretherton, of Prahran, at the City Court to-day.

Bretherton was remanded. Detective Saker said he had arrested Bretherton on a charge of malpractice. Since then the girl had died, and in her dying depositions had said Bretherton had performed an operation on her.




ON THIS DAY – November 8, 1930

The inquest concerning the death of Mena Griffiths (12), a school girl who was outraged and murdered, the body being found in an unoccupied house at Ormond last month, was opened to-day by the city coroner. The court was crowded.  The mother of the dead girl created a scene in court when at the mention of the accused’s name she screamed. “Let me get at him.” She had to be assisted from the court. Robert James M’Mahon (36), a motor mechanic, who was arrested in

Sydney, was present in custody on a charge of murder. Leslie Griffiths, a brother of the murdered girl, broke down and sobbed while giving evidence of identification of his sister’s body. Dr. Mollison, who made a post-mortem examination of the body, said that the mouth was filled with a round mass of torn singlet which was fastened and tied around the neck by a piece of some material. The child had been criminally assaulted. Death was due to suffocation. William Minchin, a laborer, of Temora, said that on November 26 he found concealed under a sheet of tin a leather kitbag. It was the one produced in court.  Sergeant Stewart, of Temora, said that he arrested M’Mahon at the Temora Post Office and asked him if he had a swag. M’Mahon said he had, but later he denied that he had a swag, saying that he had thrown it away.

Later, as a result of something Minchin told him, he took possession of a kitbag which contained a pair of trousers, two shirts, two singlets, a pair of black boots, a towel, an eiderdown quilt, a black tie, a bicycle pump, a black felt hat, two collars, a girl’s waterproof hat, a tweed cap, and a skull cap. Thomas Jones, a railway porter at Temora, said that he received a case of oranges at the Temora station consigned to M’Mahon. The man who called to collect them was the accused. Charles Anthony Taylor, Government analyst, said that on examining the clothing in the leather kitbag he found human blood on a dirty shirt and singlet. The blood appeared to have been brushed against clothing. His examination of the trousers revealed that some attempt had been made to remove the bloodstains. A small quilt had a few bloodstains on one corner. M’Mahon: If bloodstains were found on my garments and you took a specimen of my blood, would it be possible to tell whether the blood on the clothing belonged to me? Witness: Yes. There is a method of doing so.  M’Mahon: How long would you say those stains have been on the articles? —I cannot say the exact time, but they are not very old.  Would you say that the bloodstains occurred at the same time or at different periods?—They had the appearance of having occurred at the same time.

Lilian Hawk said that on the afternoon of November 8 she was sitting with her daughter in a car at Fawkner Park. She took particular notice of a man who came out of the park with two little girls. That man was M’Mahon. She next saw him about two weeks ago at the police station. She had no doubt about him. Carlene Hawk, a typist, said she saw M’Mahon come out of the park with two little girls.  Henry Carlos deposed that he saw M’Mahon talking to four little girls in the park. Joyce Griffiths was one of them. He had no doubt as to his identity. The nert witness was Joyce Griffiths, who said that while Mena was at the joy wheel in the park a man came up and spoke to her. Asked bv the coroner to stand up for identification. M’Mahon said: Was it me, dear?” to which the witness replied “Yes.” Witness, continuing, said that the man said to Mena: “I want you to go a message, and don’t tell anyone you are going.” Mena said, “All right” She wanted witness to go with her. but the man said, “You cannot go. He took Mena into Paisley-street and went towards Commercial-road.

ON THIS DAY – November 8, 1895


At the Supreme Court to-day, before Mr. Justice Hodges, Charles Henry Strange, aged 22 years, was charged with the murder of his mate, Frederick Dowse, at Cunninghame on November 8. Sir Bryan O’Loghlen, instructed by Mr. David Gaunson, defended the prisoner. The particulars of the case have already been published in The Argus. The prisoner and Dowse travelled from Orbost to Cunning- hame, Dowse paying their way, and Strange subsequently confessed to the police that he killed Dowse with tomahawk, sticking a knife in him to stop his groaning. Sir Bryan O’Loghlen urged in defence that the prisoner was affected with homicidal insanity, and the case was one only of manslaughter. He called William Henry Strange, of East St. Kilda, coachsmith, father of the accused, who gave evidence as to the insanity of the grandparents of the accused and some of their relatives, who were confined in lunatic asylums in England. Prisoner was apprenticed to a bootmaker, and at 11 years of age ran away. He saw him about three months ago, when he appeared strange in his manner.  The prisoner was also sworn, and gave evidence on his own behalf. He said he had been working near Colac about January or February potato-digging, when he had an epileptic fit, and it took five men to hold him down. In regard to killing Dowse he said when they woke that morning and while lying in bed Dowse called him by a most opprobrious name, and said that a girl of his acquaintance was immoral. This so enraged him that he reached out and struck Dowse with the tomahawk. He did not remember what happened after that. In cross-examination he said that he took deceased’s money as he did not think it worth while leaving it behind. His Honour said that he could not present a plea of insanity to the jury. Insanity, in the eye of the law, must be evidence that the man was not aware of the consequences of his acts. There had been no evidence to put to them on that plea. It was for the jury to say whether the case was one of manslaughter or murder. If they believed prisoner’s story that the deceased provoked him, that might justify one blow with the hand, but not the blows with the tomahawk and the knife. The jury after about 15 minutes’ deliberation returned a verdict of guilty of murder. The prisoner had nothing to say in answer to the usual question, and sentence of death was then passed on him.




Devilled oysters – Alfred Deakin

1 pint oysters.
1/4 cup butter.
1/4 cup flour.
1/4 cup milk.
Yolk 1 egg.
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
Few grains cayenne.
1 teaspoon lemon juice.
Buttered cracker crumbs.
Clean and drain oysters, before slicing into small portions.

Make a sauce by melting butter, then adding flour and milk, while mixing well. Add egg yolk, seasonings, and oysters.

Arrange buttered scallop shells in a dripping-pan, half fill with mixture, and cover with buttered crumbs.

Bake for twelve to fifteen minutes in a warm oven, 180 degrees. Deep oyster shells may be used in place of scallop shells.

ON THIS DAY – November 8, 1930


As was anticipated by the ‘Irrigator’ after McMahon had been identified by his Leeton witnesses, the Crown Law Department entered a nolle prosequi in the case of Robert James McMahon, who was charged with the murder of Mena Griffiths at Ormond, on November 8. Mr. Justice Mann, to whom the application was made, immediately signed the order for McMahon’s release. The action came as a surprise to Melbourne police circles, as it was expected that McMahon would be brought before the court, and the witnesses; would have to give evidence on oath.




ON THIS DAY…… 8th November 1852

Gold escort

The first escort of gold from the new Ovens Goldfields in North East Victoria arrived in Melbourne. The consignment of almost two and a half thousands ounces of gold made the journey safely under mounted police escort.

ON THIS DAY…… 8th November 1929

Record broken

The man they called “the human machine”, Hubert Opperman, was in North East Victoria on this day in 1929. Opperman was seeking to set a new record time for a trip from Sydney to Melbourne. The previous best time of 47 hours and 46 mins had been set the previous year by another cyclist, George McLeod. Opperman arrived in Albury at 8:15pm and left 10mins later for Wangaratta, where a large crowd turned out to greet him on his arrival at 11.40pm. He left again and reached Seymour at 7:15am, after taking a heavy fall near Euroa. When he arrived in Melbourne at 11:40am, ten thousand people greeted him in Elizabeth st. He broke the record by eight hours.

ON THIS DAY…… 8th November 1906

Melbourne cup arrives in Wangaratta

It was not as fast as modern TV, but it was still fast enough to amaze the locals in Wangaratta, North East Victoria. On this day in 1906 Dan Barry’s World Wide Wonder Show was able to screen the running of the 1906 Melbourne Cup.

ON THIS DAY…… 8th November 1920

Warden Stewart

Mr. W. Stewart, who has left the penal department to take up business in the city, was presented by the Geelong gaol staff with a smoker’s outfit.

ON THIS DAY – November 7, 1904

Detective-sergeant O’Donnell and Detective Carey arrested in Canada place— a small street running between Cardigan and Madeline streets, Carlton, Melbourne — a young woman named Maude or Margaret Anne Woods, and charged her with vagrancy. That charge, however, was laid only to secure her identification with a girl named Maude Woods, who was wanted in Sydney on a charge of murder.

She was alleged to have murdered her 10 days old son on November 7, 1903. Senior constable F Allen arrived from Sydney, and identified the accused, and the charge of murder was then preferred against her. The woman has made a confession, giving the whole history of the crime. The story is one of dreadful callousness from beginning to end. Her statement is that on November 7 she threw the child over the fence into Ah Sang’s backyard, but then went again in search of it. She then put her hand over its mouth, and held it by the throat until it was dead. She put the body in a box, and left it in the yard all night, spending that night with her paramour. Next day she removed the body from the box and pushed it under the house (which is built on low piles) as far as she could, and the body lay there for nearly three months. In the end of January An Sang and a fellow countryman named Ah Hung were clearing away weeds from under the house, and came upon the body of the child. They drew it out, put it into a bag, and threw the bag into Botany River. Soon afterwards they came to Melbourne.

The photograph which she sent to Sydney was taken in Melbourne, and the child in her arms was one which she borrowed for the occasion from a friend, who was living with a Chinese in Commercial-lane, of Bourke street. The accused does not look more than 19 years. She is a girl below medium height, with brown hair and blue eyes. She was brought before the City Court, Melbourne, and was then taken back to Sydney