On this day ………… 22nd February 1924

A prisoner, Benjamin Metcalf, alias C. Mitchell, aged 40 years, who was serving an indeterminate sentence as an habitual criminal, escaped from Boggo-road Gaol, Brisbane on this day in 1924. The escape was effected in a most ingenious manner, a rope ladder, made from strands of waxed thread secured from the cobbler’s shop, and which must have taken many weeks to manufacture, being used to scale the wall. The escape was between 8am and midday.



ON THIS DAY – February 22, 1897

The murder by Charles John Hall, of his wife at Eaglehawk, on the 22nd of February 1897, is one of the most brutal and cowardly in the annals of Victorian crime. Hall was a well-known footballer, and when he rushed away to call the neighbors to see his wife, who was lying dead in a tub of water, no suspicion of foul play was entertained against him. However, the medical evidence at the inquest went to show that death was caused by suffocation and that, coupled with the fact that Hall had told a barmaid. Eva Scott with whom he had committed adultery, that he had put his wife out of the way, led to his arrest. He was tried on the capital charge, at Bendigo, but the jury failed to agree. On the 27th of July, he was again arraigned at the Supreme Court sittings at Castlemaine charged with the murder of his wife and found guilty, although he strongly protested his innocence. Sentence of death was accordingly passed on him. His version of the crime was that he found his wife in a tub of water, into which sho had fallen when in a fit, and instead of releasing her he went and called the neighbours. A very large number of persons believed Hall’s protestations of innocence, and as he was very popular, a petition praying for the remission of the death sentence was presented to tho Executive Council. A special meeting of that body was held on the 24th of August, at which it was decided to allow the law to take its course, and the execution was fixed for the 13th of September, at the Bendigo gaol. Hall then presented a petition to the Governor, in which he admitted his guilt, but gave his version of the murder. He says that in a moment of passion, brought about by a quarrel with the unfortunate woman, he threw her into a tub of water. He attributed the marks which were on her face to her nose and teeth coming into contact with the edge of the tub, and denied having used pressure over the nostrils and mouth when she was being suffocated. He pleaded that he acted on the impulse of the moment, and not with any deliberation as stated by the Crown Prosecutor. He admitted being guilty of manslaughter but not of the more heinous crime of murder, and expressed the hope that the Executive Council would exorcise their prerogative of mercy and commute his sentence to a long term of imprisonment. Hall would become the last person executed at the Bendigo Gaol.


ON THIS DAY – February 22, 1924

William Thomas Warren Brooke, was charged with murdering David Wilson at South Melbourne on the 22nd of February. lt is alleged that Brooke knocked Wilson down outside the Silver Gate Hotel after, it was alleged, that Wilson had stolen his beer. The hotel was demolished on the 1st May 1978, in order to build the Westgate Bridge freeway, there is now a McDonalds built on the location.




Charged with the attempted murder of Constable Hutchison at Whitfield, North East Victoria, on the 22nd February, Joseph McFarlane, 38, a rabbit trapper was remanded by the City Court, Wangaratta. The prosecuting officer alleged that Constable Hutchison tried to arrest McFarlane, the latter grabbed a gun and shot him in the leg. McFarlane was handcuffed by two men, but managed to escape into the bush and was not seen again until April 28 when he was arrested at Trafalgar. The wounded was still in Wangaratta Base Hospital.

On this day ………… 22nd February 1860

The whole population of Chiltern in North East Victoria, was waiting on the arrival of the greatest Shakespearian actor of his time. The celebrated G.V. Brooke, who was on tour of the Colonies, and due to perform in Chiltern on this day in 1860, but failed to arrive. Word came though that he was sick in Beechworth. The good folk of Chiltern were sympathetic, but what they didn’t know was that Brooke had taken to his bed with a monumental hangover. When he did arrive two days later, Chiltern overwhelmed him with sympathy and cheered. Five years later, Brooke drowned in the Bay of Biscay, when the London went down in a fierce storm.



ON THIS DAY – February 22, 1953


The wife of a man committed for trial on a murder charge in the Coroner’s Court was led, screaming and crying, from the court. Her husband, George Ernest Marsden, 31, labourer, was committed for trial by the Deputy Coroner Mr. Wade, on a charge of having murdered Melbourne criminal, Leo Raymond Rouse. Rouse was found shot through the heart in Windsor, Melbourne, on the 22nd of February. Senior Constable James Joseph Ryan said he saw Marsden at the Alfred Hospital early on the 22nd. Marsden was badly upset. He said he had just had ‘blue’ with his wife and her jaw was broken in two places. Marsden said he had done that to her. Senior Detective Noel Wilby Mid Marsden had told him several different stories when he interviewed him early. Marsden covered his face with his hand and cried when the finding was announced.


On This Day – 22nd February 1902

William Hope, who is under sentence of death for the criminal offence upon a girl at Warrnambool, was brought to the Geelong gaol on this day in 1902. He does not appear to realise his grave position. He was detained pending consideration or his case by the Executive Council.



ON THIS DAY – February 22, 1934

At an inquest into the death of Mrs Gertrude May Leyshan aged 32 years formerly of Docker street Richmond at her home on the 22nd of February, the coroner (Mr D. Grant P.M.) committed May Allen, of Cremorne street Richmond for trial at the Supreme Court on the 16th of April on a charge of murder. Medical evidence was given that the cause of death was an illegal operation (abortion) . Bail was fixed at £250, with a surety of £250 inquest,


On this day ………… 22nd February 1942

On this day in 1942, two men who were arrested in Sydney, after their names were found in the address book of another gay man. They were sentenced to just 30 minutes imprisonment for their offence, as the testimony of a well respected psychiatrist led the judge to believe the men were simply acting on their natural instinct.



On this day ………… 22nd February 1928

In 1919, when the Australian Federal Government announced a race in which it was offering £10,000 prize for the first Australians to fly from England to Australia within 30 days, this signalled a new era of ‘firsts’ in Australian aviation. The race was won by brothers Ross and Keith Smith, while would-be competitors W Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness were motivated to start the air service that became Qantas when funding for their place in the race fell through. There were yet two more major players in Australian aviation history in the 1920s: Charles Kingsford-Smith and Bert Hinkler. Herbert John Louis (Bert) Hinkler was born in Bundaberg, Queensland on 8 December 1892. His father was a sugar mill worker, but Bert’s interests lay elsewhere. By the time he was 20 years old, he had already successfully built and tested his own gliders capable of carrying a man, flying them along the beach at Mon Repos, near Bundaberg. Hinkler left for England to work for the Sopwith Company the year before World War I broke out. He then served in the air force during the war, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. After the war he joined AV Roe & Co in Southampton and was Chief Test Pilot from 1921 -1926. It was from England that Hinkler launched his attempts to be the first to fly solo from the UK to Australia. War in Egypt and Syria forced Hinkler to abandon his first serious bid to fly to Australia. On his second, successful attempt, he departed England in his Avro Avian (G-EBOV) on 7 February 1929. After a trip lasting 16 days, he touched down in Darwin, Northern Territory on 22 February 1929, beating the previous record of 28 days which had been set by Ross and Keith Smith. Hinkler was killed in Italy in January 1933 while attempting another solo flight from England to Australia. His life and achievements are commemorated in the Hinkler House Memorial Museum in his home town of Bundaberg.



On this day ………… 22nd February 1914

On this day in 1914 a leopard escaped from its cage at the Melbourne Zoological Gardens, and was found prowling outside the room in which the director’s three daughters were sleeping. The director rushed at the animal, which escaped from the grounds and wandered to the suburb of Brunswick, where it got into the yard of a house and sprang at Miss Waters, who had just time to get inside the house and close the door in safety. A neighbour’s assistance was called in, and he shot the animal with a service rifle.



ON THIS DAY – February 21, 1931


William John Dashwood, 29, labourer, of Vermont, was charged with having murdered Frederick Westbury, 33, who was driving with his family at Vermont on February 21. It was stated in court that the murder was a brutal affair, a most deliberate murder. This defendant quarrelled with Westbury, and after the quarrel, met him near his place and deliberately shot him.