On this day ………… 27th February 1788

One of the first permanent structures erected in Australia was the gallows in Sydney Town. The first person to be executed was 17 year old James Barrett on this day in 1788, one month after settlement had been established. Barrett had stolen food because he was hungry, but he had been caught in the act. Justice was swift, he was charged, convicted and sentenced to hang on the same day.



On this day ………… 27th February 1945

On the 27th of February 1945, Edward John Boreham, of Kenwood Court, Preston escaped from the Geelong Gaol with a fellow prisoner Kenneth William Radford. Boreham was killed in the bush near the timber mill, at Valley View, between Yarram and Morwell. Unaware that two fugitive soldiers were about, timber workers felled a tree on the hillside. Radford was not hurt, and was arrested when police arrived, Boreham was killed instantly.




Former South Australian horse trainer Les Samba was shot dead in what appears to be a targeted attack, on this day in 2011. The 60-year-old was shot about 9.40pm on Beaconsfield Parade, in the suburb of Middle Park, after an argument with another man. Detective Inspector John Potter from the Homicide Squad says police believed Mr Samba had parked and locked his car, a 2010 silver Hyundai sedan, and set off to attend a meeting. He was seen running down Beaconsfield Parade near his car as he was shot several times in the body and head. Mr Samba was in Melbourne for the thoroughbred yearling sales. While he trained many winners, Samba, who lived in Sydney, also enjoyed much success as an owner. He raced Gorky Park, which won the Geelong Classic and ran second behind Efficient in the 2006 Victoria Derby.



ON THIS DAY – February 27, 1927

Robert Brown, barman of the Wayside Inn, South Melbourne, was committed for trial at the Criminal Court on a charge of murder following an inquest into the death of Stanley Brockenshire, aged 47 years, of Cliff-street, Essendon, in the Melbourne Hospital, on this day in February 1927. Evidence was given that Brown attacked Brockenshire without any provocation and punched him until he fell, striking his head heavily on the pavement. Previously Brown had been charged with manslaughter.



On this day ………… 27th February 1868

As earthquake go, it wasn’t all that big, lasting only four or five seconds, but there was much shaking of building and rattling of crockery and a distant rumbling, on this day in 1868. The shock waves, which appeared to move in a north to south direction, were felt in most parts of the North East Victoria – Beechworth, Stanley, Chiltern and Wangaratta all reported tremor. Old hands weren’t overly disturbed by the incident, particularly those having experienced an earlier earthquake which rolled across from the Campaspe to the Murray in 1858. It caughtMr. maiden rowing across the river near present day Moama, and, according to stories at the time, the tidal wave generated by the quake almost overturned his boat.



On This Day – 27th February 1890

A warder who was in charge of five convicts, left the gaol on the 27th of February 1890, to escort the prisoners to the Botanical Gardens, where they were to work. When it became time to leave, the warden noticed that he was missing a prisoner. He decided that he would take the four remaining prisoners back to the gaol, he would then come return to the gardens and look for the escapee. The warden knowing that he was going to lose his job, for losing a prisoner, was worried. As they were leaving the missing prisoner run up to the group in a state of breathlessness, exclaiming ” I was awfully afraid 1 was left behind. I went to sleep behind a tree, and thought I would have awoke in time. So glad I caught you. Mother prisoner were taken back to the gaol.





William Stanley McHugh (25) was charged in the Geelong Court with having attempted to murder Edward Harris at a wedding breakfast of Ryrie street, Geelong, on the 26th of February. McHugh was remanded until the 8th of March.



On this day ………… 26th February 1606

Willem Janszoon, often known as Willem Jansz, is believed to have been born in 1570, in the Netherlands. He worked for one of the trading companies which preceded the Dutch East India Company. He sailed for the Dutch East Indies first in 1598 and again in 1601. Willem Jansz departed on his third trip to the East Indies on 18 December 1603, commanding the “Duyfken”. His task was to seek other trade possibilities. He reached the coast of western New Guinea on 18 November 1605, then crossed the Arafura Sea into the Gulf of Carpentaria. On 26 February 1606, Jansz became the first recorded European to step foot on Australia’s shores at the Pennefather River, near where the Queensland town of Weipa now stands, on the western shore of Cape York Peninsula. Encountering hostility from the indigenous people, Jansz lost ten of his crew during visits to the shore. He was uncomplimentary of the land, finding it swampy, but still charted 320 kilometres of the shore before returning to the Netherlands. However, he was of the opinion that his landing point was part of New Guinea, and Dutch maps reflected this error for many years.





Michael Spereirani was murdered at Mt Martha on this day in 1984, by Serial killer John Leslie Coombes. Speirani’s remains are never found. Murder was believed to have been driving over him in a motorboat, Stabbing with knife and Strangulation. Coombes was sentenced to life with no chance of parole on the 26th of August 2011.


On this day ………… 26th February 1872

In the early 1870s, Australia was still in the grip of “gold fever”. Visitors to New Guinea had also sent back reports of gold being found on its southern coast, while geologists declared that New Guinea was prime prospecting country. With this in mind, the New Guinea Prospecting Association was formed in Sydney in 1871. Its purpose was to buy a ship to sail to New Guinea, settle along the coast and prospect their way to fortune. The brig ‘Maria’ was an ex coal-trading ship, old and possibly not suited to the purpose of such an extended journey as from Sydney to New Guinea. It departed Sydney Harbour on 25 January 1872 with many of the members of the Association on board. The ‘Maria’, which was found to leak, was unable to withstand a tropical storm which hit the brig off the coast of Queensland between February 17th and 25th. Pumps were insufficient to keep up with the water intake sustained by the vessel, and when the Barrier Reef was sighted, the captain made for it, knowing something of the bays and safe passages within. Despite his confidence, however, the ship ran aground on Bramble Reef on the morning of 26 February 1872. There were insufficient boats to carry the passengers ashore, especially after the captain deserted in one. Rafts were quickly constructed as it was evident the Maria was breaking up. Of the estimated 75 people on board, 35 people were killed, some by drowning and some by a hostile group of Aborigines. One of the survivors was Lawrence Hargrave, the Australian who would later become the inventor of the box kite.



ON THIS DAY – February 26, 1916


In the Criminal Court, Archibald Murchison, a member of the Expeditionary Forces, was charged with the manslaughter of another soldier named John Heath, at Melbourne, on the 26th of February. The defence was that Heath rushed at Murchison and hit him, the fatal blow being then struck by accused in self defence. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.


ON THIS DAY – February 26, 1900


The inquest regarding the death of Sarah McLennan, of Kyneton, who died in the Kyneton Hospital on the 10th of March, as the result of brutal injuries inflicted on the 26th of February, was concluded. The jury found that Donald Kennedy, her brother, was guilty of murder.