ON THIS DAY – January 4, 1944

Ferdinand James Kennett, 35, of Central Avenue, Footscray, fibro-plaster worker, appeared before Mr Justice Martin in the Criminal Court on 2 charges of murder. In opening the case for the Crown, Mr M. L. Cussen said that it was alleged that early on the morning of January 4, Kennett wounded his 8 months-old son, John Thomas Kennedy, also known as Kennett, and his mother-in-law, Mrs Annie Amelia Luke, 63, with an axe. Both received injuries to the head, from which the infant died a few hours later, and Mrs Luke on January 11. Kennett and his wife lived at the home of Mrs Luke in Central ave, Footscray. The tragedy occurred there on the morning following a party at the home of Mr Patrick Bourke in Windsor st, Footscray. The Crown suggested that Kennett, if not with the intention of killing his wife, intended to harm her with the axe, Mrs Luke, in protecting her daughter got in the way of the axe and was struck with it. The infant probably received a blow intended for somebody else.


On this day …….. 11th of January 1928

On 11th of January 1928, Mr R. long of Hester, Western Australia, was grooming a horse when it kicked him in the face, knocking him out. Long had been blind in his left eye owing to the depression of a piece of bone below his eye, caused by an injury received in World War I. After the accident, Long found that the blow had freed the bone that was causing his blindness and he could see again in his left eye.



On This Day – January 4, 1916

At the Morgue the State Coroner conducted an inquiry into the circumstances, surrounding the death of Vera May Spark, 23 years, single, who was shot dead on this day in January by Raymond Victor Dawson, 25, in the Matter’s house, at 178 George-Street, Fitzroy. Dawson, who was present in custody. According to the story told by Dawson to the police shortly after the occurrence, he went into the kitchen, where Spark was preparing breakfast, he had a revolver in one hand and an alarm clock in the other. Pointing the revolver at her he said jocularly, ‘I will shoot you.’ She replied ‘Go on why, you could not shoot a maggot.’ Dawson repeated that he would shoot her. Spark opened her mouth and said, ‘Shoot that’ Dawson pulled the trigger. There was an immediate explosion. The woman fell back on the sofa, with blood pouring from her mouth. She died in a few minutes. Dawson went to Fitzroy police station and explained the circumstances of the occurrence, saying be did not know the revolver was loaded. The revolver from which the shot was fired has disappeared, and no trace of it can be found.

On this day …….. 3rd of January 1952

Government investigations will be made at Luna Park, St Kilda, where more than 40 people were hurled from their seats and two were injured in a Scenic Railway collision on Tuesday night. Mrs. Joyce Johnson (22), of Port Kembla, N.S.W., and Phillip Slavin (44), of Union Street, Surrey Hills (Melbourne) were admitted to Prince Alfred Hospital. They were carried on stretchers along a track high above the ground and then across roofs and through Noah’s Ark. Police were told the front car stopped when a red danger light showed ahead. It was struck by the following car and forced along the tracks.


ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1937

The story of the shooting of Merle Maude Moss, aged 18 years, housemaid, of Bungaree, at Ballarat on the 3rd of January, and the finding of the body of a young man in Lake Wendouree next day, was told at the inquest conducted by the deputy coroner. A finding was recorded that Miss Moss had been murdered by Sydney Gordon Smart, aged 22 years, labourer, of Durham Lead, and that Smart (whose body was recovered from the lake) had committed suicide. Dulcie Jean Lumsden, housemaid, employed by Dr. Richardson, of Sturt street, said that on the 3rd of January, at 2.30 pm, she called at Dr. Salter’s place, where Merle Moss was employed, and they went for a walk. Smart followed them, and persisted in his request that Miss Moss should meet him, but she declined to do so. Near Albert street at 7pm, Smart pulled Miss Moss by the wrist, took a revolver from his pocket, pointed at at the girl, and said something which Miss Lumsden did not catch. Miss Moss said, “Don’t be a coward.” Miss Lumsden said “I’m going to tell someone.” Smart replied, “If you do there’ll be trouble,” and he let Miss Moss go. At 7.30 pm, Miss Lumsden said, they turned into the lane off Lyons street, leading to the rear of Dr. Salter’s residence. Smart pushed Miss Moss against the fence while Miss Lumsden stood a few feet from them. Miss Moss tried to get away, but Smart pulled her back, saying “Will you meet me tonight?” Miss Moss replied, “I don’t want to meet you.” She then struggled to get away, saying. “Let me go!” Miss Lumsden, continuing, said: “I heard the first report, and saw Merle fall. She screamed as she fell. I ran in the gate. I heard four more shots fired while Merle was on the ground, and he was bending over her with his back to me. I ran inside and told Mrs. Salter and the girls.”

Incident Before Christmas

Margaret Ruth Telford, cook, residing at the residence of Mr. Salter, said that earlier Miss Moss had told her that she did not want to meet Smart, because she did not care for him. They had been keeping company for about six months. Miss Moss told her the week before Christmas that she had that night been at White Flat with Smart, and when she went to go away after an argument Smart had fired two shots from a revolver into the air, and she had gone back to him. George Searle, miner, of Chewton, said that about 7.35pm., on the 3rd of January, he saw a man with blood on his face running west along Mair street toward the lake. Constable Raper gave evidence of the finding of Smart’s body in Lake Wendouree on January 4. The seven-chambered .22 calibre Young American type revolver found in the lane after the shooting had been discharged in the seven chambers. Dr. F. Fleming said that the girl, had two bullet wounds in the head, one in the chest, and one in the hand. Smart had two head wounds, one indicating where the bullet had passed harmlessly off, and the second slightly penetrating the head without injury to the brain. Death, in his case, was due to drowning. The deputy coroner recorded a finding that the girl had died from the effects of three revolver wounds maliciously inflicted by Smart, and that Smart did murder her, and that Smart’s death was due to drowning, wilfully caused by himself.


On This Day – January 3, 1884

The Government steamer Despatch will leave Hobson’s Bay on the 10th inst., under the command of Captain Anderson, for the purpose of officially inspecting the lighthouses, buoys, and beacons on the western coast as far as Cape Otway, and along the eastern coast up to Gabo Island. The Cape Otway, Gabo Island, Wilsons Promontory,
and Cape Schanck lighthouses will be inspected, and the half yearly stores and suppiles delivered, and a careful survey will be made of the buoys, beacons, and jetties at Apollo Bay, Lorne, Blanket Bay, and the other inlets along the south and west coast.  The trip is expected to extend over a period of about 10 days.

ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1914

The magisterial inquiry into the death of a newly-born child found buried at Elliminyt, near Colac, a fortnight ago was concluded on this day in 1915. Constable Nankervis gave evidence to the effect that he interviewed Emma Ruby Donohue, a young married woman, who at first denied giving birth to the child, but subsequently said she dug a hole in the back yard and buried it. She said the child made no sound, and she did not feel it move. The body was buried a foot below the surface of the yard. A post mortem examination did not reveal external marks of violence, but the doctor was of opinion the child was born alive and had breathed. Death was due to suffocation. Mr. Walter Selwood, the acting coroner, found the child had been wilfully murdered, and committed Emma Donohue for trial on a charge of murder at the February sittings of Geelong Supreme Court.


On this day …….. 3rd of January 1962

On this day in 1962, Victoria and NSW were connected with a standard gauge rail connection. For over 100 years trains stopped at the Albury NSW, and passengers and goods were moved to a different train. The first Goods train from Sydney arrived in Melbourne on this day.


On this day …….. 3rd of January 1989

Dolphins saved a boys life as a large shark moved in for the kill on the 3rd of January 1989. They chased off the 3.5 metre long tiger shark as it approached the hopeless teenager surfer Adam McGuire. The shark had already attacked Adam twice as he surfed off Evans Head, near Ballina, NSW. First it tore a huge chunk out of this surfboard, plunging Adam into the sea. Then it struck again and ripped his stomach, leaving a 30cm wide gash. Despite his wounds, Adam managed to swim ashore with the help of two friends as the dolphins attacked the shark. Adam survived.


ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1914

The death by violence of William Henry Anstis, 61 years of age, of Tallygaroopna, towards the hour of midnight, on this day in 1914, was quickly followed by the arrest of his alleged assailant, Orville Byron Randall, aged 30, on a charge of wilful murder. The scene of the tragedy was the verandah of the Victoria Hotel, and the hour 11.30 p.m., or there abouts. During the evening four men, among others, were at the hotel, namely the deceased man, Anstis, the accused, Randall, and two others named Bolger and Wosler. Randall was very drunk, and about 10.30 p.m. he lay down under the verandah with the intention, apparently, of “sleeping off ” the effects of his too liberal potations. Towards the closing hour, 11.30pm, Bolger and the deceased turned their thoughts homewards, and they proceeded to arouse the sleeping man so as to put him on his way to his bed. They succeeded in getting him to his legs, when accused is alleged to have said, “Leavc me alone. I am all right. If you don’t, I will stouch you.” Anstis, who was a Cornishman, and, though by no means pugnacious, would assert his right, is said to have replied, “Don’t talk about that, because I can put you on the broad of your back in no time.” The reply, it is said, was a blow on the jaw or chin, which felled Anstis to the ground. There was no thought among the onlookers that a tragedy had taken place and that they were facing death. Anstis was lifted up by Randall and Bolger, and placed within the gate for a time, how long is not yet known. It was thought that, in the language of the ring, he had been merely “knocked out.” Bolger and accused then went home.


ON THIS DAY…… 3rd January 1894

George Burnett was born in England in 1847. At the age of 19 he travelled to Melbourne aboard the Garonne arriving in 1886. Burnett work as an accountant in Geelong. On the 3rd of January 1894, Burnett shot and killed a youth named Walter John in Wellington street, West Geelong with a rifle, when he was in an intoxicated condition. The jury returned a verdict of guilty with a strong recommendation of mercy. The judge said he concurred with the jury, considering the great provocation given. Burnett was sentence to be executed but it was committed to 15 years hard labour. On arrived at the Geelong Gaol he was described as having a bullet wound to left breast, scare above eyes and a long scare on the front of head. Burnett was released on the 21st of September 1903.


ON THIS DAY – January 3rd 2013

DESPITE the nickname reporters gave him, Russell “Mad Dog” Cox was cool and calm for a dangerous armed robber – and not without humour. But Australia’s once most-wanted man might not see the funny side of having his name published in newspaper In Memoriam notices yesterday. The apparently harmless notice in the Herald Sun names Cox and his wife, Helen Deane, then states: “You will both be remembered. We will definitely meet again.” It is signed “Mick”, though readers should not assume this means it was placed by colourful Carlton crane hire identity Mick Gatto. But they can assume it is an implied threat. There are two clues. One is that Cox and Deane are alive, in Queensland. The other is the subject of the notice placed directly above the one for Cox and Deane.