ON THIS DAY ……. 30th March 1891

Workmen on the railway to Mansfield, under construction at the time, unearthed a skeleton. No one was quite sure who it was but locals thought it was probably King Alfred, an aboriginal tribal leader who had been elevated to regional status by the early landholders in the area. When Alfred died, he was buried near the spot at Merton where the excavations were being made.



ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1937

The police are now in possession of a fairly reliable description of Iike physical characteristics of the woman whose arms and legs were found floating in an untied sugar bag in the Yarra, on the 30th of March 1937. Pathologists have determined the woman to have been between 30 and 40, well built, slightly over five feet in height, with probably brown. Necessarily the description is more or less a conjecture. Although nothing more dependable can be obtained from the scanty evidence available it restricts the field of identification. With this guide the police are now searching scores of files relating to women corresponding roughly with this description who have been reported missing since the beginning of the year. Dragging the Yarra in the hope , of recovering other parts of the body has been unsuccessful. Good fingerprints were secured from a skin glove taken from the light hand.


On This Day – 30th March 1897

Three boys named Bertrand Williams aged 15 years, Daniel M’Keegan aged 14 years, and Alfred Bernard Stubley aged 12 years, were charged with having on the 24th of March, feloniously broken into the shop of John C. Cox, in Pakington-street, Geelong West, and stolen therefrom a sum of 6s, a sharpening stone, a pocket knife, and about eight dozen brass rings. All three boys were remanded to Geelong Gaol.


ON THIS DAY ……. 30th March 1904

Shortly before 8pm on this day in 1904 a shocking railway accident happened at Richmond station, resulting in the death of an elderly man named George Buckham, a resident of Moonee Ponds. It appears that at the time mentioned Mr. Buckham was boarding the Essendon train, which was then in motion. He slipped and fell between the platform and footboard. The unfortunate man was dragged along the line for some distance, and when picked up it was found that he had sustained terrible injuries. The train was stopped, and the injured man was conveyed in it to Flinders street. He was removed to the Melbourne Hospital, but on his arrival life was pronounced to be extinct.



On this day ……… 30th of March 1937

Murder is suspected following the finding in the Yarra on this day in 1937 30th of two legs and two arms, severed from a human body, evidently that of a woman. The dissected limbs were in an untied sugar bag. The legs were cut off at the knees, and the arms,at the shoulders. One arm was bent inwards at the elbow and tied in that position with string. The discovery was, made by two boys who were playing on the river bank near Morell’ Bridge. One theory is the limbs are those of a woman who died as a result of an illegal operation and that the body was dissected to simplify disposal. The amputations were so cleanly made as to give rise to the belief that the dissecting was done by someone with a surgical knowledge.


ON THIS DAY ……. 30th March 1870

A wagon loaded with seventy five barrels of gun powder blew up at Martins Gap out side Mansfield, on this day in 1870. The driver, William Jewell, was literally blown to pieces. Five horses were also killed on the spot



ON THIS DAY ……. 30th March 1905

A boy of 9 years, named Arthur Leggo, was run down by a tram, in Melbourne on this day in 1905. The boy was dragged a distance before the tram was able to stop.



ON THIS DAY ……. 29th March 1876

John O’Reilly wanted to annoy the English and so he hatched a plan to rescue Irish Convicts from Western Australia. For his plan, he organised for an American boat, the Catalpa, to sail to Western Australia to rescue Convicts. On March 29, 1876 the Catalpa arrived off Western Australia. Six Irish Convicts made a dash for freedom by running into the bush where they were picked up in wagons, rode to the whaleboats and then on to the ship. A number of people witnessed the escape and reported it to the authorities. However such is the nature of grapevine communication, by the time word reached Perth, the story was not Convicts escaping, but the Irish invading. Western Australia went into war mood. Troopers were dispatched to dig trenches and the gunboat Georgette steamed out to sea to courageously confront the invading Irish fleet. But the only ship found was the Catalpa. Numerous shots were fired across its bow which brought every Irishman onto the deck. There, armed with everything from a whaling lance to meat knife, they started chanting “death, but no surrender.” The Geogettes’s captain demanded to know if any Convicts were on board. The Catalpa’s captain said no and that as an American ship outside territorial waters, he would not submit to a search. The Geogette then turned back to port while the Catalpa continued on its way to America. When it eventually arrived, O’Rielly took to the public speaking circuit where he gave a popular lecture on how he had made the English look like buffoons.


ON THIS DAY ……. 29th March 1934

F. W. Jackson, described as a soldier, who had recently returned from South Africa, was drinking in the Great Britain Hotel, Flinders street, when he created astonishment by asking those present, “‘Have you ever seen a man die?” At the same time he was mixing some white powder into a glass of soda water and asked a sailor who was present to call a policeman and an ambulance. He then drank the mixture, and in a few minutes he was dead.



ON THIS DAY ……. 29th March 1900

Sir John McEwen was born in Chiltern, on this day in 1900. His father died in 1907 and consequently McEwen was raised by his grandmother with her sister. He was educated at state schools and at 15 became a junior public service clerk. He enlisted in the Army immediately upon turning 18 but the First World War ended while he was still in training. He commenced dairy farming at Tongala (Victoria), near Shepparton, and then changed to sheep and cattle farming in nearby Stanhope. McEwen was the 18th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the last member of the Country Party to serve as prime minister. He was nicknamed “Black Jack” by Robert Menzies due to his dark ‘beetle-browed’ appearance and temper.



ON THIS DAY ……. 29th March 1886

Not Australian, but of interest. On this day in 1886, Dr. John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia.



ON THIS DAY ……. 29th March 1967

The 17th Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Harold Holt, arrived in Singapore on this day in 1967 with his left foot bandaged following a minor swimming accident. Mr Holt told guests at a Government dinner in his honour that he cut himself on rocks at Portsea, Victoria, during the weekend. His left foot and ankle were heavily bandaged and he had also cut his back, but it was not serious. The incident occurred in rough weather and shallow water when he had moved across near some rocks to warn some Sydney friends of the danger. “I managed to warn them off but instead I hit the the rocks and cut my leg and back”, Mr Holt said. On the 19th of December 1967, after swimming at the same beach Holt would disappear and was officially pronounced dead after drowning at sea.