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.



On this day …….. 29th of October 1952

On the 29th of October 1952 Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that ‘this is the first day in the history of the Federal Parliament in which William Morris Hughes has not sat as a member’. The day earlier Billy Hughes (William Morris Hughes) former 7th Prime Minister of Australia died at the age of 90. Over the course of his 58-year federal parliamentary career, Hughes changed parties five times: from Labor (1901–16) to National Labor (1916–17) to Nationalist (1917–30) to Australian (1930–31) to United Australia (1931–44) to Liberal (1944–52). He was the 7th Prime Minister from 1915 to 1923.


ON THIS DAY – October 29, 1927



Charge of Attempted Murder.

Walter Lew Shing (19), fruiterer, and Leslie Coe (19), labourer, were charged at the City Court to-day with having, on October 29, at North Melbourne, attempted to murder Richard Dunstan.   Senior-Detective Bruce said that it was alleged that accused are members of the ‘Wanderers’ Push,’ and that on Saturday Coe stole a motor car and went with Shing to North Melbourne. An altercation over some girls took place with some members of another ‘push’ known as the ‘Hawk Eyes’. In the course of the altercation Dunstan was shot in the stomach. Dunstan was now in the Melbourne Hospital in a serious condition. Shing and Coe were each remanded to November 7. Bail in each case was fixed at £30 and a surety of £500.



ON THIS DAY – October 29, 1893


Moonee Ponds Shooting Case.


The coroner’s inquest concerning the death of Caleb Bennett, an auctioneer, who was shot by Lieutenant William Henry Main in mistake for a burglar at Moonee Ponds on Sunday, October 29, was concluded yesterday. The jury found that deceased died from a bullet wound in the heart caused by William Main while in commission of an unlawful act, and they found that Main had committed murder. The foreman and another juryman disagreed with the verdict, for which they would have substituted one of manslaughter. The accused was committed for trial at the Criminal Court on the 15th instant. Bail was refused.



On this day …….. 29th of October 1880

Ned Kelly sentenced to execution

Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushranger, was born in December 1854 in Victoria, Australia. Kelly was twelve when his father died, and he was subsequently required to leave school to take on the new position as head of the family. Shortly after this, the Kellys moved to Glenrowan. As a teenager, Ned became involved in petty crimes, regularly targetting the wealthy landowners. He gradually progressed to crimes of increasing seriousness and violence, including bank robbery and murder, soon becoming a hunted man. Many of Ned Kelly’s peers held him in high regard for his stand of usually only ambushing wealthy landowners, and helped to keep his whereabouts from the police, despite the high reward posted for his capture. However, he was betrayed to the police whilst holding dozens of people hostage in the Glenrowan Inn in June, 1880. Wearing their famous armour, the Kelly brothers held a shootout with police. The Kelly brothers were killed, but Ned was shot twenty-eight times in the legs, being unprotected by the armour. He survived to stand trial, and was sentenced to death by hanging, by Judge Redmond Barry on 29 October 1880. Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne on 11 November 1880.

Two murders have happened in the small town of Beech Forest, in the Colac Otway Shire, of Victoria. The first was between to Russian immigrants. John Friedman, was arrested on a charge of having wilfully murdering Charles Nunn, at leaver’s Hill, Beech Forest, on the 9th May 1912. Friedman and Nunn were both new immigrants and had only recently arrived in Australia. During a fight Friedman with a butcher’s knife stabbed Nunn under the ribs on the left side. Death occurred from the wound some hours later. Friedman claimed that Nunn and he had a quarrel, and Nunn caught him by the throat. He had a knife in his hand at the time and did not know that Nunn had been stabbed until told so afterwards. The second was happened on the 14th of Match 1916. A 4 year old girl named Foley, daughter of a waitress at the Ditchley Park Hotel went missing and was found the following day behind the hotel. Foley had her throat cut from ear to ear. A man by the man of George Henry Leake was found guilty of her murder. Both men where housed in the old Beech Forest police lockup which today stands in the town park.

ON THIS DAY…… 29th October 1870

The Geelong Gaol, which for some twelve months was used as an industrial school for girls, was re-converted to the purposes for which it was built, and the children in the school, were removed to Sunbury.


On this day …….. 29th of October 1982

Lindy Chamberlain convicted of the murdering her baby at Ayers Rock.

Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock, is a huge monolith in central Australia. It has long been a popular tourist destination, but gained a new notoriety on the night of 17 August 1980, when two-month-old Azaria Chamberlain went missing from the nearby camping ground. When baby Azaria disappeared, her mother Lindy claimed that a dingo had stolen her baby. No trace of the child was ever found, although her bloodstained clothes were found a week later by another tourist. At the first inquest into her death, commencing in February 1981, it was found that the likely cause of Azaria’s disappearance was a dingo attack. Police and prosecutors, unhappy with this judgement, moved for a second inquest which began on 13 September 1981. This time, the new finding was made that Azaria had been killed with a pair of scissors and held by a small adult hand until she stopped bleeding. Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder on 29 October 1982, and her husband Michael was found guilty of being an accessory. Lindy Chamberlain’s acquittal came four years later when a matinee jacket worn by Azaria was found partially buried in a dingo’s lair at Ayers Rock. New evidence was presented showing that earlier methods of testing evidence had been unreliable, and no conviction could be made on those grounds. Both Chamberlains were officially pardoned, Lindy was released, and eventually awarded AU$1.3 million in compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

On This Day ……. 29th October 1954

Escaped Elephant – Richmond

An escaped elephant from Wirth’s Circus’ temporary camp outside Olympic Park in Richmond, Melbourne caused a mild panic on the 29th October 1954. At 9.30 p.m. a check was made by the boys guarding the elephants, and it was found that one was missing. Telephone calls started to pour into Russell St. police station from people on their way home from the city saying that they had seen an elephant walking along Batman Ave. A police car was rushed to the scene and after a two and a half hour search they found the missing elephant. It was standing under a tree about 200 yards away from the camp.

ON THIS DAY – October 28, 1933


Ellen Maud Holmes married, Grey street South Yarra was charged at the Prahran Court on Friday, with having on October 28 wounded Christopher Green with intent to commit murder. Christopher Green, painter, Simmonds street, South Yarra, said that about 9 p m on October 28, he was about to enter a house in Williams road, Toorak, when he heard a shot and a bullet entered his left arm. He ran into Woodside crescent and saw Mrs.Holmes following him, carrying a rifle. He grappled with her and she struck him on the forehead with the stock of the gun, but eventually he wrested it from her. He was admitted to the Alfred Hospital. Mrs. Holmes had been a tenant for 13 years in a house which he owned in Grey street. Detective B. H. Cavanagh of the police wireless patrol, said that with other police he interviewed Mrs. Holmes at her residence at 2 a.m on October 28. In a written statement which she signed, she said that although she had paid her rent regularly during the 13 years in which she had been a tenant of Green’s house she had fallen in arrears for one week owing to the illness of her daughter. As Green owed her a small amount, she refused to pay the week’s rent until he deducted this amount. He sent her a notice to quit, however, and she became desperate.  Mrs. Holmes who pleaded not guilty, was committed for trial at the sittings of the Supreme Court, to begin on December 4. Bail was allowed in a surety of £300 and a personal bond of £300.

ON THIS DAY – October 28, 1933


Albert Lewis (59), labourer, of Peel street, North Melbourne, was charged in the City Court to-day with having, on October 28, murdered Maurice Langley (75), pawnbroker, of Elizabeth-street. Lewis had been detained on a vagrancy charge, as he was suspected of having been one of two men alleged to have been in the pawnshop when the pawnbroker was shot Detective J. E. M’Keogh said that at 1.35 pm. on October 28, Langley was shot in his shop in Elizabeth street. Two men were seen in the shop at the time, and after a struggle a brother of the dead man captured a man named von Geyer, who was charged with murder. The second man escaped. Late that night, Lewis was arrested at West Melbourne and charged with vagrancy. He since had been identified as one of the men who were in the shop, and later was charged with murder. Lewis was remanded to appear at the City Court on November 5.



ON THIS DAY – October 28, 1917


At the Rutherglen Coroner’s Court to day Joseph Butler was committed for trial on a change of having murdered Samuel Costin, his step-father, at Gooramadda on October 28. Edward Butler, the accused’s brother, said that on the day of Costin’s death he heard a shot, and thought he heard the old man call out, “You have shot me” In the kitchen afterwards his brother Joe handed witness 8/ in silver. Joe said, “The old chap is lying out there and it is out of his pocket, and this is half of what I got” His brother said he had only given the old man a fright, and that he was always growling at him. Another witness stated that accused had come to pay the balance for the purchase of a mare with bank notes which were perforated with holes.