ON THIS DAY…… 26th September 1853

Elizabeth and Michael Finnessy were married in Burra, South Australia, they had two children who had both died. The couple had moved to Victoria and lived in a small house in Chinatown. A week before Elizabeth was murdered, she had found at that her husband was married to another woman, who was still alive. With this news Elizabeth began to drink heavily and was locked up in the watch house to sober up. On being release she was taken back to her house to speak with her husband. Sitting in the lounge room Michael said “Won’t you speak to me Lizzy” and upon this the man who lived in the house with the couple left the room, thinking they would become reconciled.  Remaining just outside in the street, he heard a pistol shot. Returned to the room he saw Elizabeth stumbling across the room, she returned to the part near where she had been sitting, and falling under the table.

She was raised up and placed upon a sofa in the room, but was barely able to speak. In a soft voice she begged the man who placed her there, to fetch a priest, as she knew she was dying. So didn’t speak again and died within 10 mins.

Her husband, almost immediately after the dreadful deed, rushed into the next room, and proceeded to reload the pistol, but was stopped before he could kill himself. He was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder. Michael was executed on the 25th of October 1853, at the same time as another murderer. After hanging the usual time, one hour, the bodies were taken down and conveyed to their destination at the Melbourne Cemetery.