ON THIS DAY – February 20, 1891


The shocking and mysterious murders which were committed at Narbethong on the night of the 20th of February formed the subject of an investigation by the district coroner and a jury of seven at Healesville. The murdered persons were William Davis, an old settler of the Healesville district and his wife. The body of the former was found on the roadside half a mile from his house and that of the latter in bed in the house. Both had their heads terribly battered and their throats cut. As the bodies were found in different localities, it is necessary that two inquests shall be held. Thirty witnesses were examined. The evidence tended to clear up a good many circumstances on which erroneous theories accounting for the murders have been founded, and some new facts were revealed, which tend to inculpate more than ever the carpenter William Colston, who disappeared so suddenly and unaccountably on the day that the murders were discovered. Colston bore such a good reputation in the district that until he was found to he missing no one thought of suspecting him. He had made arrangements to go on the day following the murders to Healesville, and he had mentioned to several persons that it was his intention to proceed to Mildura, but instead of doing so he went to Marysville, leaving his personal belongings behind him at Narbethong, and made his way into the bush. Strangely enough his disappearance became known through his services being required to construct coffins for the murdered people.