On this day …….. 30th April 1919

New South Wales suffered half the deaths in the influenza epidemic, after worked war I. For a time, the Victorian government closed the border at Albury and other border towns. In Echuca, for example, visitors were forced to spend five day quarantine in the town. Women made gauze masks impregnated with creosote and eucalyptus and sold them for sixpence each. All churchgoers were required to wear masks. At Tambo, in western Queensland, a memorial honours Reginald Sylvester Barry, a station manager, who ‘worked unceasingly to save those people stricken with pneumonic influenza’, but died himself on 17 June, 1919, near the end of the epidemic.


On this day …….. 30th April 1933

Mrs George Deaton was playing golf at Sydney’s La Perouse course on this day in 1933 with her husband and daughter when she was hit in the left eye by a stray golf ball. Mrs Deaton was wearing. Glasses at the time and a pieces of broken glass lacerated her eyeball. Fortunately, a doctor was also playing golf on the course and gave her first aid, before moving her to the Coast Hospital for treatment. A year earlier the Deaton’s eight year old son, Leonard, was injured in a similar accident at the same course. On that occasion he was not as fortunate as his mother and lost the sight of an eye.


ON THIS DAY – April 30, 1950


Five hours after retirement, a Criminal Court jury found James Raymond O’Keefe, 58, barrister, guilty of the murder of his crippled wife at their home in North Melbourne on this day in 1950. Mr. Justice Gavan Duffy sentenced O’Keefe to death. He said he would pass on the jury’s strong recommendation for mercy, which he would second. Shortly after the jury retired, they returned to ask whether mental or emotional provocation would justify manslaughter after physical provocation. When the Judge replied, “No,” Mr. Monahan, K.C., Senior Counsel for O’Keefe, objected. The Judge said the objection would be noted. Addresses by Counsel revealed conflict between the Crown and the defence whether some words in a confession to police by O’Keefe showed it to be a “mercy killing.” O’Keefe made no effort to tell the Court the story of happenings on the Sunday when he first attacked his wife with a knife, which was wrenched from him. Evidence stated that O’Keefe used a bread knife. After a five minute struggle, he inflicted fatal wounds on her throat. Instead of putting O’Keefe into the witness box, his counsel called 16 witnesses to say that O’Keefe was a kindly, considerate husband, whose tolerance to his wife’s tantrums had collapsed when his practice was ruined and his patience exhausted.


ON THIS DAY ……. 30th April 1919


In the Supreme Court at Ballarat, Honora Sheehy was charged with the murder of a male child at Warracknabeal on this day in 1919. She Pleaded not guilty. Evidence was given that on the afternoon of the 1st of May, the body of a child was found in a settling tank, having been concealed in a bag. A piece of towel, about an inch wide, was tied tightly around the child’s neck. There were a couple of bricks in the bag. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty of manslaughter. Accused was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for the murder on the 30th.


EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 29, 1912


Joseph Victor Pfeffer, 33 years of age, suffered the extreme penalty of the law in the Melbourne gaol to-day for the murder of his sister-in-law, Florence Whitley, at Albert Park. The condemned man appeared resigned to his fate, and took a farewell of his wife yesterday afternoon. He slept well during the night and walked to the scaffold calm and fearlessly. The sheriff, the governor of the gaol, Dr. Godfrey, and half a dozen others were present, in addition to the warders. When asked by the sheriff if he had anything to say, Pfeffer replied in a clear voice, “I have to thank the Rev. Kieth Forbes for his administrations to me, and also the governor of the gaol and officers for their kindness. I am sorry for what I have done, and sorry that I have to leave my wife, children, and mother to mourn my disgrace.” The hangman then adjusted the rope, the bolt was drawn, and Pfeffer, who weighed 10st. 1lb., dropped a distance of 7ft. 10in. Death was instantaneous and without any quivering of the rope. The usual formal inquest will be held this afternoon. A crowd, including a number of women, had collected about the gaol gates, but there was no demonstration.


On This Day ……. 29th April 1894

On this day in 1894, all the female prisoners from the Geelong were transferred to Pentridge prison. There was a reduction in the staff at the Geelong Gaol from the effected through the option by the Penal department of new arrangements in regard to the disposal of female prisoners of the vagrant class, for whom special accommodation has been provided at Pentridge.


EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 29, 1857




These criminals suffered death on this day in 1857, and died with the same firmness which had been displayed by their wretched companions in the act of assassination. Previous to their execution, Branigan confessed that he was the first man to attack the late Inspector General, whom he caught in his arms and threw to the ground in the rush. He also stated that the convict Williams, who was executed, was the man who struck Mr. Price on the head with a shovel, and that the prisoner Brown, and some others of the condemned, were innocent of any direct act of violence. While the process of pinioning was going on, Branigan recognised Mr. Sub-Inspector Stoney, by whom and by Inspector Nicholson he had been apprehended in Bullarook Forest, near Ballaarat, in 1855, on the charge of highway robbery, in company with Daniel Donovan, one of the acquitted convicts. Both then obtained at the time a sentence of fifteen years on the roads, the first three in irons. Branigan, on recognising Mr. Stoney, bowed to him and wished him good morning. The fatal preparations being completed, the drop fell; Branigan and Bryant appeared to die instantly, but Brown, who was a young and slight-made man, suffered longer.


On this day …….. 29th April 1914

On this day in 1914, Audley Shields, aged 15, was riding a bicycle along City road, Albert Park, Melbourne. He was thrown on the road and before he could regain his feet two wheels of a waggon, weighing over a ton, passed over his right, shoulders, escaping his head by a few inches. The lad was taken to the Melbourne Hospital in a motor car that was passing at the time and admitted for treatment.


On this day …….. 29th April 1914

A accident happened in a rope mill in Melbourne on this day in 1914 to Claud Hodgson, 17 years of age. Hodgson was employed at Miller’s Rope Works, Brunswick, and was working at a twine winder, when he somehow got his arm caught in the twine, severing his arm.


On this day …….. 29th April 1905

It was reported on the 29th April 1905, that the Melbourne city morgue was infested with rats. So bad was the problem the whoever entered the building would find rats feeding on the corpses placed there, night or day.


On this day …….. 28th of April 1995

A gas explosion beneath a busy city street in Taegu, South Korea, kills more than 100 people on this day in 1995. Sixty children, some on their way to school, were among the victims of the blast. Taegu was a city of 2.2 million people, located about 150 miles south of Seoul. At the time of the explosion, an underground railroad was being constructed beneath the city streets. Metal sheets were put down in place of asphalt to cover holes in certain sections of downtown roads during the construction. At about 7:30 a.m., during a busy rush hour, a large explosion rumbled beneath the streets, blasting the metal sheets high into the air. Flames shot out from underground, some 150 feet high, throughout a 300-yard area. Cars were transformed into fireballs and one was reported to have been thrown 30 feet into the air. Some pedestrians in the area were enveloped by fire; others further away were blown to the ground. Flaming debris hit people up to half of a mile away. The final death toll was 110, with hundreds injured. Rescue efforts were impeded by broken water mains that flooded the area in the aftermath. The precise cause of the explosion remains a mystery. Some believe that the gas pipe was accidentally hit by the railroad construction, while others argue that something must have sparked an existing leak.


On this day …….. 28th of April 1789

Three weeks into a journey from Tahiti to the West Indies, the HMS Bounty is seized in a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the master’s mate. Captain William Bligh and 18 of his loyal supporters were set adrift in a small, open boat, and the Bounty set course for Tubuai south of Tahiti. In December 1787, the Bounty left England for Tahiti in the South Pacific, where it was to collect a cargo of breadfruit saplings to transport to the West Indies. There, the breadfruit would serve as food for slaves. After a 10-month journey, the Bounty arrived in Tahiti in October 1788 and remained there for more than five months. On Tahiti, the crew enjoyed an idyllic life, reveling in the comfortable climate, lush surroundings, and the famous hospitality of the Tahitians. Fletcher Christian fell in love with a Tahitian woman named Mauatua. On April 4, 1789, the Bounty departed Tahiti with its store of breadfruit saplings. On April 28, near the island of Tonga, Christian and 25 petty officers and seamen seized the ship. Bligh, who eventually would fall prey to a total of three mutinies in his career, was an oppressive commander and insulted those under him. By setting him adrift in an overcrowded 23-foot-long boat in the middle of the Pacific, Christian and his conspirators had apparently handed him a death sentence. By remarkable seamanship, however, Bligh and his men reached Timor in the East Indies on June 14, 1789, after a voyage of about 3,600 miles. Bligh returned to England and soon sailed again to Tahiti, from where he successfully transported breadfruit trees to the West Indies. Meanwhile, Christian and his men attempted to establish themselves on the island of Tubuai. Unsuccessful in their colonizing effort, the Bounty sailed north to Tahiti, and 16 crewmen decided to stay there, despite the risk of capture by British authorities. Christian and eight others, together with six Tahitian men, a dozen Tahitian women, and a child, decided to search the South Pacific for a safe haven. In January 1790, the Bounty settled on Pitcairn Island, an isolated and uninhabited volcanic island more than 1,000 miles east of Tahiti. The mutineers who remained on Tahiti were captured and taken back to England where three were hanged. A British ship searched for Christian and the others but did not find them. In 1808, an American whaling vessel was drawn to Pitcairn by smoke from a cooking fire. The Americans discovered a community of children and women led by John Adams, the sole survivor of the original nine mutineers. According to Adams, after settling on Pitcairn the colonists had stripped and burned the Bounty, and internal strife and sickness had led to the death of Fletcher and all the men but him. In 1825, a British ship arrived and formally granted Adams amnesty, and he served as patriarch of the Pitcairn community until his death in 1829. In 1831, the Pitcairn islanders were resettled on Tahiti, but unsatisfied with life there they soon returned to their native island. In 1838, the Pitcairn Islands, which includes three nearby uninhabited islands, was incorporated into the British Empire. By 1855, Pitcairn’s population had grown to nearly 200, and the two-square-mile island could not sustain its residents. In 1856, the islanders were removed to Norfolk Island, a former penal colony nearly 4,000 miles to the west. However, less than two years later, 17 of the islanders returned to Pitcairn, followed by more families in 1864. Today, around 40 people live on Pitcairn Island, and all but a handful are descendants of the Bounty mutineers. About a thousand residents of Norfolk Island (half its population) trace their lineage from Fletcher Christian and the eight other Englishmen.