On This Day – December 31, 1912

The mystery concerning the body of a child at Lake Guthridge on December 31 was cleared up today when Sergeant Neill and Constable McCorkell arrested a young woman, aged 23 years, named Violet Daisy Jane Elizabeth Guy at the Turf Hotel this morning on a charge of wilful murder.  Accused admitted her parentage and said that on the morning following the birth of the child, she resumed her duties as a domestic servant.  She stated the child was born dead and that she kept the body in a box for two days and then put it in the lake.  Accused was brought before the Mayor and was remanded until February 24.


On This Day – December 31, 1869

The wrecks which occur on the coastof Victoria are, unfortunately, not of a kind to make any “patent” of much value. Masters of ships overrun their reckoning, or approach the coast incautiously without having had proper observations, or are embayed and caught by in-shore currents not laid down on the charts, or are unable to haul off in gales which have over-taken them when close in shore. But when wrecks occur in such cases, no patent for raising sunken ships can be of the least use. If vessels under such circumstances become stranded, whether they are reported as total wrecks, or as capable of being launched, can be of no consequence to such a company as the “Australian Salvage Company.” Their patent obviously applies to the raising of sunken vessels and not to the launching of stranded ones. Great as the loss of property in ships and merchandise has been on the coast of Victoria during the last 15 or 20 years, those who are best acquainted with the facts will admit that the waters of Port Phillip Bay afford no scope for such a company as the “Australian Salvage Company” and that from the wrecks which have occurred between Cape Otway and Cape Howe in the same period, the angry waters have left but little for the hand of man to recover. ‘

On this day …….. 31st of December 1923

On this day in Vienna, twins were registered as having been born in different years. The first was born on December 31st, 1892 the second on 1st January 1893. A curious result is that, as they both happened to be boys, they will have to do their military service in two different years, as one will be considered to have reached the age of 20 in 1912 and the other in 1913.


ON THIS DAY – December 31, 1914

Inquiries into the death of Lucy Gorman, who was found dead in her bedroom at Johnson street, Richmond on Thursday afternoon, were continued yesterday by Detectives Kiely and Smythe, and from what has been learned it is believed that the tragedy was the result of a drunken brawl early in the present week.

A post-mortem examination which was made on the body yesterday, showed that death had resulted from hemorrhage, shock, and exhaustion. The skull, which bore a wound about an inch in length, had been fractured at the base by a blow from some blunt weapon, possibly a beer bottle. From the bruises on the body it is believed that the woman was first felled by a blow, and then savagely kicked.

When last seen by a woman friend on Monday, Gorman was suffering from the effects of a drinking bout, and it is said that when in an intoxicated condition, she was subject to fits of violence.

Several men who had recently visited the dead woman have been questioned by the police, but so far no evidence has been obtained which would justify any arrest being made.

ON THIS DAY……31st December 1904

The Penal department transferred five prisoners from the Melbourne gaols to the Geelong gaol, to complete their sentences. Contrary to tho general rule, they were not all of the halt, lame or blind brigade and a larger escort of three constables was, therefore, required.


On this day …….. 31st of December 1790

The First Fleet, containing the officers and convicts who would first settle Australia, arrived in Botany Bay on the 18th of January 1788. The colony’s Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip, immediately determined that there was insufficient fresh water, an absence of usable timber, poor quality soil and no safe harbour at Botany Bay. Thus the fleet was moved to Port Jackson, arriving on the 26th of January 1788. The penal colony of New South Wales struggled, but managed to survive largely through the efforts of Governor Phillip. He was a practical man who had suggested that convicts with experience in farming, building and crafts be included in the First Fleet, but his proposal was rejected. Phillip faced many obstacles in his attempts to establish the new colony. The convicts were not skilled in farming, and unwilling to work hard in the intense heat and humidity of Australia. British farming methods, seeds and implements were unsuitable for use in the different climate and soil, and the colony faced near-starvation in its first two years. On this day in 1790, twenty-five bushels of barley were successfully harvested. This went a long way towards alleviating food shortages. The colony finally succeeded in developing a solid foundation, agriculturally and economically, thanks to the perseverance of Captain Arthur Phillip.


On This Day – December 30, 1881

The Navigation Board commenccd an enquiry into the collision of the Julia Percy and Nelson, steamers, off Cape Otway, on Saturday last. The evidence showed that the night was fine and clear and the vessels lights distinctly seen.

On This Day – December 30, 1864

The brig Margaret Thompson, from Newcastle, N.S.W., to Adelaide, passed Cape Otway

On this day …….. 30th of December 1934

A strong trouser belt saved a boy from falling beneath the wheels of a fast moving tram on this day in 1934. Jumping on the tram in George Street West, Sydney, the youngster slipped and fell on the coupling ripped through his trousers and caught his belt. He was dragged along for some distance before the tram was stopped. The boy was unharmed.


On this day …….. 30th of December 1949

Three men escaped from Ballarat gaol at three o’clock on this day in 1949, by climbing through a smell window in the gaol kitchen. The inmates are James Bretherton, labourer, Leslie Francis Carson, Labourer, and Sydney William Best. It is believed that the men joined blankets together and scaled the rear wall of the gaol. The escape was first reported by three children, who saw the prisoners running from behind the gaol. At the time, the gaol was out of communication with the police station, because of a telephone fault. All available police in the Ballarat district are searching for the men, who are thought to be heading for Melbourne.


ON THIS DAY – December 30, 1877

A most horrible murder happened in Sandhurst on this day in 1877, by a man named James Windrum, in High-street. The victim was Maud Crutchly, aged 25. It appeared that the woman was married, but at times cohabiting with Windrum and his daughter when her husband was away from home. On this day in question Windrum went to the woman’s house. On finding his daughter there he sent her to buy beer, which he and the woman drank. When the girl returned he sent her home. It was believed by police that Windrum was become jealous of the woman’s living arrangements, and during an argument struck her on the head with an axe, and she, in trying to save her head, had her fingers cut off. The axe, however, inflicted so severe a wound that she died in two hours after being admitted into the Bendigo Hospital. The men, on being arrested, presented a frightful spectacle, his clothes being covered with blood. He did not deny his guilt, but said that he committed the deed. Windrum had been drinking heavily.