On this day …….. 31st of October 1894

Opening on 26 September 1855, the New South Wales railway, Australia, was the first government-owned railway in the British Empire. The first line ran the 22km from Sydney to Parramatta. By 1862, the western line had reached Penrith. The railway continued to expand, reaching Albury in 1881, Glen Innes in 1884 and far west New South Wales at Bourke in 1886. On 31 October 1894, a country train bound for Goulburn, New South Wales, was hit at Redfern, Sydney, by a suburban train heading from Strathfield to the city. Two engine crew and twelve passengers from the suburban train were killed, and twenty-seven people were injured. The accident was caused by an incorrectly set signal. Among those killed were Edward Lloyd Jones, Chairman of David Jones & Co and son of the founder of the David Jones department store chain. Also killed was Father Callaghan McCarthy, Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral.


On this day …….. 31st of October 1914

A total of 21 men were taken ashore on this day in 1914, for refusing to be vaccinated on board the liner, Orvieto for Pox. Another 35 sick men, aboard were suffering from syphilis reported War correspondent Charles Bean’s when arriving in Albany Western Australia on this day in October 1914.


ON THIS DAY……31st October 1889

Fredrick “Josh” Clark and Christopher “Christie” Farrell were both ex convicts transported from England to Van Demons Land. Once both men had received their tickets of leave they sailed to Victoria, arriving at the beginning of the Victorian gold rush. Both men found there way back to the lives thy once lived in England, preying upon those returning from the gold fields. By 1889 both Clark and Farrell were in there early to late 60’s and were serving 14 year sentences in Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne. Farrell was charged with the attempted murder of a police man during his arrest at Fitzroy in 1887 and Clark for being a systematic malingering. Due to the prisoners age and behaviour both prisoners were transferring Geelong Gaol. About midnight on Monday a warder named Cain commenced his shift at the Geelong gaol. At two minutes to 2am he hard a knocking, from cell 13 occupied by a prisoner named Frederick “Josh”Clarke. Cain unlocked the trap in the door and Clarke asked for a drink of water. The warder brought the water, and was handing it through the hole when he was seised from behind by Farrell. Clarke then came from his cell and seized Cain who saw that the other man was a prisoner named Christopher “Christie”Farrell who was holding a large stone in his hand. He threatened to beat out the warder’s brains if he uttered a single word. Clark had cleverly made a skeleton key, by melting coin into the shape of the key. Clark worked as a blacksmith in the confinements of the gaol. Once the warder opened the trapdoor and walked of to get a glass of water for the prisoner. Clark then simply reached his arm though the opening in the door and let him escape. Once free he quickly unlocked Farrell’s cell before returning to his own and waiting for Cain to return. The men gagged Cain and tied his hands and feet, and took off his boots and carried him to the cook’s house, and tied him to the table, and left him there. He was found just before 6am by the chief warder, who raised the alarm. The two prisoners had meanwhile scaled the gaol wall. Immediately the alarm was given the police who scoured the country in all directions without finding any trace of the escaped prisoners. Farrell was found first on the 16th of October and Clark four days later, both men were heading north to NSW. Warder Cain was confined to his bed, owing to the injuries he received. Four His throat was greatly Swollen, and he is only able to speak with difficulty. An inquiry into the escape was held on 31st October, 1889 which saw the governor of the gaol reprimanded and the warders on duty demoted – this despite Farrell’s saying that the warder Cain had fought like a lion and should not be punished for is failure to prevent their escape. In 1923 a large brass key which proved to be a master key from the era of Clark and Farrell’s escape was found when grounds west of the Geelong Supreme Court were being cleared. Its rough-cut appearance suggested that it was an illegal copy and it was widely believed that this was the key used by Clark and Farrell in their escape. A version of events described in the gaol display has an elderly Clark claiming that he threw the key into the grounds on his way to court however, it seems highly unlikely that having been found in possession of such a key, Clark would have been allowed to keep it. A report in the paper a few days after his arrest indicated that he was found with a skeleton key on his person which had been cut from a penny. At the time the authorities were quick to point out that the make of the key was not such as could have been made in the gaol. Clark died in Geelong Gaol on 4th August, 1904, at the age of 104. Clark had arrived in Tasmania in 1847 at the age of 18, he would go on to send a total of 85 years and 7 months in gaol, over half is life behind bars. Farrell also died in the gaol at the age of 70 on 1st September, 1895. Farrell was also transported to Tasmania, arriving in 1848 and by 1851 he was in Victoria” and joined up with the “Suffolk Gang” as the convict poet. The gang would held up several mail coaches and miners alike. Farrell spent 48 years in prisoned in Australia and 46 of those years were in iron changes.


On this day …….. 31st of October 1878

Proclamation by Governor George Bowen declaring Ned and Dan Kelly outlaws
In response to the public outrage at the murder of police officers, the reward was raised to £500 and, on 31 October 1878, the Victorian Parliament passed the Felons’ Apprehension Act, coming into effect on 1 November 1878, which outlawed the gang and made it possible for anyone to shoot them: There was no need for the outlaws to be arrested or for there to be a trial upon apprehension (the act was based on the 1865 act passed in New South Wales which declared Ben Hall and his gang outlaws). The act also penalized anyone who harbored, gave “any aid, shelter or sustenance” to the outlaws or withheld or gave false information about them to the authorities. Punishment was “imprisonment with or without hard labour for such period not exceeding fifteen years.” With this new act in place, on 4 November 1878, warrants were issued against the four members of the Kelly gang. The deadline for their voluntary surrender was set at 12 November 1878.


On this day …….. 31st of October 1874

A brutality displayed of cannibalism actuated by jealous rage was displayed by George Eskdale, a professional direr, lived in Nott-street Sandridge, Victoria on this day in 1874. Eskdale on discovering an opposite neighbour James Frederick Melton, a cork-cutter visiting his wife at her own house. The visit is said to have been a thoroughly, harmless one, the parties being old acquaintances from having at one time lived next door to each other, and Melton had merely gone there to tell the woman about fetching soma money due to her when the husband entered, and, crying out that he had long suspected the pair of improper intimacy, and would now have his revenge, blacked Melton’s eyes, knocked him down, and, seizing his nose between his teeth, chewed it as a dog would gnaw a bone. When at length Melton was thrown out of the house on to the sand, Eskdale repented the outrage, and has succeeded in reducing his victim’s nasal organ to a hideous pulp.


ON THIS DAY – October 31, 1928


Joseph Livingstone, aged 66 years, formerly an estate agent, was charged at the City Court to-day with having, at Frankston, on October 31, wilfully murdered Margaret Mary Fearon.  S.C. Elliott said he arrested Livingstone at Frankston on the morning of October 31. He asked for a remand until November 14, which was granted.  Margaret Mary Fearon, sister-in-law of Livingstone, was found dead at Frankston on the morning of October 31 with her throat cut. Livingstone was found in bed in the house with an injury to his throat. He appeared in Court to-day with his throat heavily bandaged.



On this day …….. 31st of October 1923

Marble Bar is a tiny town in the Pilbara region of north-western Western Australia. The discovery of gold in 1890 by Francis Jenkins led to the establishment of a town, which was officially gazetted in 1893. The town derives its name from a nearby jasper formation which was mistaken by early settlers for a bar of marble. This rock formation is also known as the Marble Bar, and the nearby Marble Bar Pool is a popular picnic and swimming area for both tourists and the people of the township. During the goldrushes, Marble Bar had over 5000 residents, but its population now is closer to 400. It is still a productive area, being mined for gold, tin, silver, lead, zinc, copper and jade deposits. Known for its excessive temperatures, Marble Bar achieved a new heat record in 1923-24. Beginning on 31 October 1923, the town experienced a heatwave which continued for 160 consecutive days, where the maximum temperature was 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher. The last day of the heatwave was 7 April 1924.


ON THIS DAY – October 31, 1900

Valentine Curtis Robertson, an inmate of the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, was placed in the dock of the Criminal Court to-day, and charged with the murder of Fitzroy Shanks, another inmate. It was alleged that on October 31, Shanks, who was an elderly man, was waiting near one of the cottages for his breakfast, when Robertson crept up behind him, and dealt him a blow on the head with a piece of wood, which felled him. He then battered him so savagely that death took place in two hours. The medical evidence showed that the prisoner was insane, and the jury found he was unfit to plead. Mr. Justice Hodges ordered him to be kept in strict custody until the Governor’s pleasure is known.

ON THIS DAY – October 30, 1955

John Kevin Seach, 26, quarry worker, was sentenced to death in the Central Criminal Court today after a jury convicted him of murder. Seach, who showed no emotion when the verdict was announced, had pleaded not guilty, on grounds of insanity, of murdering John Frederick Ward, 7, at Portland on October 30 last year. The Chief Justice (Mr. Justice Street) described Seach’s crime as an abhorrent and detestable one. The Crown Prosecutor (Mr. C. V. Rooney, KC) said that Ward and another boy, Albert Colin Spiers, 7, disappeared while they were attending a sports meeting at Portland on October 30. Their bodies were found in a cave four days later. It was alleged that Seach had lured them to a cave in a local quarry, claiming that he would show them some pigeons’ nests.



ON THIS DAY – October 30, 1992

A jealous husband who shot dead a man he mistakenly believed to be his estranged wife’s lover was found guilty yesterday of murder.  The trial heard that Frank Allan Garner, 53, an electrician, formerly of suburban Avonsleigh, had, after making threats to his ex-wife Beverley, burst into the offices where she worked armed with a loaded pump action shotgun.  Garner fired two shots before cornering his wife and two men in an office of Underwater Video Systems in outer suburban Boronia on October 30,1992. He shot dead the firm’s operations manager Graham Paul Mather, 42. The head of the firm, Russell Priest, 41, was wounded in the arm and thigh.  The court heard Garner then attacked Beverley Garner, choking her with his hands and attempting to gouge her eyes.  Garner was disarmed by the wounded Mr Priest and overpowered by workers from nearby firms.  He also was found guilty of attempting to murder Mr Priest, intentionally or recklessly causing serious injury to Mrs Garner, and threatening to kill her.

ON THIS DAY……30th October 1922

Senior Warder Rowe, of the Geelong Gaol, who has been acting officer in charge for some time, he was promoted to the charge of the gaol at Sale. Senior Warder Rowe had a splendid record of service in Geelong.


ON THIS DAY – October 30, 1921


Vivid details of the sensational nocturnal affray at Fitzroy were given by witnesses at the enquiry at the Morgue by Dr. Cole (city coroner) to-day into the death on October 30 of John Thomas Olsen (36), clerk, Joseph Lennox Cotter (28), commission agent, was present in custody, having been remanded on a charge of having connection with the death of Olson.  Henrietta Newport, a married woman, gave evidence that on October 30 she went to a house in Regent-street. Fitzroy, where her mother resided. At about noon she answered a ring of the front door bell. A man was standing at the door lighting a cigarette, and did not answer when she asked him what he wanted, but walked into the passage, and a shot was fired by Cotter, who came out of a front bedroom. Three shots were fired. A man the witness believed to be Olsen rushed out into the street, and later, the witness saw him in the he lane where he was lying, bleeding from the nose. She went back to the house and told Cotter the man was dead. Cotter said, “If I’m pinched, I’ll be pinched.” The coroner found Cottar guilty of wilful murder and committed him for trial.