ON THIS DAY…… 6th September 1907

Judge Box, in the General Sessions Court on this day in 1907, passed sentences on the following persons who had been convicted or had pleaded guilty. On a charge of obtaining money by false pretence, James Murphy, 50 years of ago, a clerk, had
pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labor, at the Geelong Gaol.


On this day …….. 6th September 1952

The 12th Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies and his family were involved in a near-serious mishap when leaving Fairbairn airport, Canberra, to Melbourne on this day in 1952. The R.A.A.F. Dakota in which they were travelling blew out a tyre just before leaving the ground when travelling at about 90 m.p.h. The plane swerved to one side, ran off the airstrip and pulled up less than 50 yards from the fence at the end of the airstrip. Mr. Menzies commented after the accident: “I’m glad it happened going up and not coming down. I suppose this means I will have to miss seeing Carlton beating Fitzroy this afternoon.” This was the second accident in which Mr. Menzies was involved in approximately 500,000 miles of flying. The other occasion was during the referendum tour in 1951, when the flying boat in which he was to travel from Sydney to Hobart had to turn back twice because of engine trouble. On the third attempt to leave its moorings, a line which had not been released dragged a stanchion from the plane when it was running out to begin taxiing to take off. Carlton lost to Fitzroy by one point. Score was 68/69.


On This Day ……. 6th September 2012

Reports that lions escaped the visiting Lennon Bros Circus in Stawell, Western Victoria, have been exposed as a hoax. Social network website Facebook went into overdrive with rumours that a lion was on the loose around the town. Cheryl Lennon, manager of Lennon Bros Circus, said the reports are “far from the truth.” Mrs Lennon found out about the rumours after members of the circus were asked about the supposed escape when in the town’s main street. A caller rang Melbourne radio station 3AW’s Neil Mitchell program, claiming to be ‘Ash Lennon’ from the circus and said the lions had escaped. The caller gave out Mrs Lennon’s personal phone number to the radio station and she took the airwaves to dismiss the rumour. “I’ve clarified and confirmed that we have three lions laying here, catching a bit of sun,” Mrs Lennon said. Mrs Lennon believed the rumours had stemmed from the circus being cancelled Wednesday night due to bad weather. “What has happened is that we had a show due to start at 7pm and it was cancelled due to the wind. The wind lifted up the front entrance, the back door frame lifted off and my ticket stall fell over,” she said. “We made the call to evacuate people purely for their safety. We let people know that it was because of the weather and fully refunded their tickets.” Mrs Lennon said if a lion had escaped, the circus would have let authorities know immediately. “We certainly would be notifying authorities, such as the police and SES (State Emergency Service) first,” she said. This is not the first time the circus has had rumours about lions escaping from their enclosure. Mrs Lennon told The Stawell Times-News it had happened to her brother-in-law when they visited Cranbourne ‘but not to this extent.’ “A lady rang the council telling them a lion had escaped. It was far from the truth.” The circus re-assured members of the public the lions are not missing. “Believe me, trust me – they’re there. They’re not going anywhere,” Mrs Lennon said.


ON THIS DAY…… 6th September 1887

In the case of Mrs. Mepham, charged with the murder of her sister (Mrs. Pike), at Wangaratta, the Judge summed up, in a speech, lasting two hours, entirely against the prisoner. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty with a recommendation to mercy. His Honour, in passing sentence of death, said the recommendation of the jury would be sent to the proper quarter.

On This Day – September 5, 1876

A shocking case of homicide, which appears to have been premeditated murder, occurred on September 5 at Emerald-hill. About half-past 3 o’clock Constables M’Cormack and Ryan were attracted to the north end of Cecil-street by the noise of voices in loud dispute, and repeated cries for the police. They found that the scene of the disturbance was a small weatherboard house, tenanted by Robert Davis, a wharf labourer, and a woman named Mary Heggarty, who lived together as man and wife. A woman named Ellen Francis, about 30 years of age, was standing outside the door, and Davis was standing inside, clothed only in his shirt, and bleeding from a wound on the right side of bis chest. The woman Heggarty was also inside the door, and with her Ellen Francis was still carrying on an angry altercation. Davis was able to say, with reference to Francis, ‘She has stabbed me,’ and then becoming unable to support himself from the rapid loss of blood he was suffering, he sank down upon the floor. The police then arrested the woman Francis, and in doing so discovered that she was attempting to conceal a knife in her dress. Constable M’Cormack took possession of the knife — which was a shoemaker’s one— and, showing it to Davis, asked if that were the weapon with which be had been stabbed, and received a reply in the affirmative from the dying man. The woman then admitted having stabbed him, and said she hoped he would not die, as she did not mean to kill him Constable Ryan, in the meantime, had gone for medical assistance, and in about 15 minutes returned with Dr. Molloy, who, however, found that it was impossible to save the life of the wounded man. The knife had entered a vital part, and Davis died in about 25 minutes after he was stabbed. Ellen Francis was lodged in the local watchhouse, and on being brought before the magistrate, was remanded until next day. The characters connected with this tragedy are all of bad repute. Davis, the murdered man, was also known by the names of Noah Smart and John Taylor, and he was discharged from Pentridge in April last, after doing a sentence of five years for house-breaking. Francis came out of gaol only a fortnight ago, having been sentenced by the Kew Bench to a term of imprisonment for disorderly behaviour. On his release Davis went to live with Francis and a man named Billy Lancaster, inEmerald-hill. A few weeks ago Mary Heggarty came out of prison, to which she had been rent for a period for wilful damage to property, and Davis immediately separated from Lancaster and Francis., and took up his abode with her in Cecil-street. This seemed to have excited a great deal of jealousy on the part of Francis, and as a consequence quarrels between them were frequent. Heggarty states that about 2 o’clock on the morning of the day of the murder, Billy Lancaster came to their door and kicked it violently, saying that he wanted trousers which belonged to him, and which Davis had possession of.  Without getting satisfaction, however, Lancaster had to desist, and leave. A little after 3 o’clock they were again alarmed by Ellen Francis, who created another disturbance at the door, and demanded admission saying, ‘ Open the door, or I’ll open you.’ Davis, at the request of Heggarty, then opened the door, and as soon as he did so received the stab in the chest. The only causes known for the action of the woman Francis are that the deceased took 3s. from her man’s pocket on the previous night, and the allegation as to the detention of Lancaster’s trousers. The house in which the tragedy occurred conflicts of two small apartment, entirely destitute of furniture, with the exception of a mattress and a chair. An inquest was held by Dr. Youl on the following day. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against the woman Francis, who was committed for trial. The trial took place on September 16, when the prisoner was convicted and sentenced to death.

ON THIS DAY…… 5th September 1905

The Port Fairy General Sessions were held on this day in 1905, Judge Gaunt presiding. Charles O’Donnell was presented on a charge of larceny as a servrant from the Victorian Railways of one caddy of tobacco, missed from the Railway goods shed at Warrnarobool. Mr. Wallis appeared for the Crown, and Mr. Desmond Dunne for the accused, who pleaded not guilty. Constable Banks, who was the chief witness for the Crown, deposed that he was watching the stolen tobacco, which had been concealed. After dark on the 8th Sept., the accused came up and took a portion of the tobacco. He was then placed under arrest and when searched portion of the tobacco was found in his pockets. Accused admitted having taken three plugs when he first found it. The judge, in summing up, said that the evidence left no room for doubt, and complimented Constable Banks the very creditable manner in which he had given his evidence. The jury, after a short retirement, brought in a verdict of guilty, and prisoner was sentenced io six months’ imprisonment with hard labor in the Geelong gaol.


On This Day – September 5, 1948

A Ukranian migrant killed with a tomahawk at Broadmeadows camp on September 5 made violent love to the 18-year-old wife of another migrant, and invited her to poison her husband and run off to Tasmania, the Criminal Court was told today. This evidence was given by Mrs. Vera Kolacz, wife of Stefan Kolack, 29, former tramway employee, who is accused of having murdered Michael Motyl, 27, a PMG-employee.

On this day …….. 5th September 1949

A strange creature reportedly seen in the Murray River, Mildura on this day in 1949, may have been a trained seal or sea-lion. One escaped from a travelling menagerie in Wangaratta about two years earlier, and was believed to have slipped into a river.


On this day …….. 5th September 1880

The Salvation Army began on 2 July 1865 when William Booth preached the first of nine sermons in a tattered tent on an unused Quaker cemetery in London. Initially running under the name of the East London Christian Mission, Booth and his wife held meetings every evening and on Sundays, to offer repentance, Salvation and Christian ethics to the poorest and most needy, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. Booth and his followers practised what they preached, performing self-sacrificing Christian and social work, such as opening “Food for the Millions” shops (soup kitchens), not caring if they were scoffed at or derided for their Christian ministry work. In 1878, the organisation became known as the Salvation Army. They adopted a uniform and adapted Christian words to popular tunes sung in the public bars. The first Salvation Army meeting in Australia was conducted from the back of a greengrocer’s truck in Adelaide Botanic Park on 5 September 1880. It was initiated by Edward Saunders and John Gore, two men with no theological training, but who both had a heart for their fellow man’s physical and spiritual condition. Saunders and Gore had been converted by the Salvation Army in London. With the words “If there’s a man here who hasn’t had a square meal today, let him come home to tea with me”, the men began a ministry that was soon to expand throughout Australia.


ON THIS DAY…… 5th September 1892


On this day in 1892 a bakers carter named George Griffiths was met by a weak, emaciated woman at Kew carrying a bundle containing a dead child and enquiring the way to the tram. He told the police and she was removed to the Women’s Hospital, but is not expected to recover. The child had large wounds to the forehead. At the inquest it was stated the child had been murdered, but the mother was to ill to make a statement.

On this day …….. 5th September 1994

John Newman was born John Naumenko on 8 December 1946 to Austrian and Yugoslavian parents. He already had a strong history of involvement in the Australian Labor Party and the union movement by the time he opted to change his surname by deed poll to Newman in 1972. From 1970 to 1986, he was a State union organiser with the Federated Clerks Union, and he undertook post-graduate studies in industrial law at the University of Sydney, along with numerous Trade Union Training Authority education programs. Newman first represented Fairfield Council in 1977, a position he retained until 1986. He was Deputy Mayor in 1985–86 and also served as Acting Mayor in 1986. A by-election in the seat of Cabramatta saw Newman elected to the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales early in February 1986. Here, in an electorate populated by a wide range of southeast Asians, and in which there were underlying racial tensions, Newman undertook a protracted campaign to fight Asian organised crime and corruption: a fight for which he would pay the ultimate price. At around 9:30pm on 5 September 1994, Newman was shot twice in the driveway of his home. This was Australia’s first political murder. It was four years before an arrest was made. In 2001, after three earlier trials, two of which were aborted and another which ended in a hung jury, former Fairfield City Councillor and local club owner, Phuong Ngo, who had a history of conflict with Newman, was convicted of the assassination.


On this day …….. 4th September 2006

Stephen Robert “Steve” Irwin was born on 22 February 1962 in Essendon, Melbourne, Victoria. He moved to Queensland when he was still a child, where his parents developed and ran the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park. For his sixth birthday, young Steve received his greatest wish – his very own 3.6m long scrub python for a pet. Steve grew up learning how to catch and care for crocodiles. He used his skills to assist the Queensland Government’s East Coast Crocodile Management program, which involved, among other ventures, catching North Queensland crocodiles. In 1991, Irwin took over the running of the reptile park, which was later renamed “Australia Zoo”. As a passionate environmentalist, Irwin became known for the television program “The Crocodile Hunter”, an unconventional wildlife documentary series which he hosted with his wife Terri Irwin. Irwin’s outgoing personality, energetic vitality and outrageous antics in the series made him an international celebrity. He also starred in Animal Planet documentaries, including The Croc Files, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and New Breed Vets. Australia lost one of its most popular icons and ambassadors in the early afternoon of 4 September 2006. Steve Irwin was filming an underwater documentary off the Great Barrier Reef, when he was fatally pierced in the heart by a stingray barb. He is survived by his wife Terri, daughter Bindi, born in 1998 and son Robert (Bob), born in 2004. The family intends to continue Steve’s remarkable legacy of caring for a variety of wildlife, and raising environmental awareness across the world.