ON THIS DAY…… 18th November 1905

Man believes he was a motor car

The unfortunate man Keane, who created a sensation, at Colac by imagining be was a motor car and dashing head foremost into trees and buildings, is still in a demented condition in the Geelong gaol, where he was admitted a fortnight ago. He has almost recovered from the injuries received in his mad escapade, but his mental state is not improved. He has to be watched night and day by two special warders, and has been further remanded for medical treatment. Keane was transferred to Kew Lunatic Asylum.

ON THIS DAY – November 18, 1967

A Criminal Court jury found Henry Sylvester Morhun, 17, labourer, of the suburb of Doveton, guilty tonight of the murder of Veronica Ann Underwood, 16, on November 18 last.  As Morhun is under 18, Mr Justice Adam did not pronounce the death sentence but told Morhun that the only sentence he could pass was that he be kept in strict custody in Pentridge Gaol until the Governor’s pleasure was known. Veronica’s nude body, with head injuries and a stab wound in the chest, was found lying in the grounds of the Doveton North State School, a short distance from her home.




ON THIS DAY…… 18th November 1879

One of Australia’s youngest bushrangers, a fifteen-year-old member of Captain Moonlite’s gang, is shot and killed.

Augustus Wernicke was one of Australia’s youngest bushrangers, and part of Captain Moonlite’s gang. Captain Moonlite, aka Andrew George Scott, became a bushranger upon his release from gaol, eight years after robbing the bank at Mount Egerton, Victoria. He recruited several other gang members, among them 15-year-old Wernicke, and walked to New South Wales, hoping to find employment at Wantabadgery Station, well known for its hospitality. Being in the grip of a severe drought, and also having changed hands, Wantabadgery could offer them nothing. In desperation, Moonlite took 35 people hostage. In the resultant shootout with police on 18 November 1879, gang members James Nesbitt and Augustus Wernicke, together with Constable Bowen, were all shot dead. Moonlite and the surviving gang members were tried and charged with the murder of Constable Bowen. Moonlite himself was hanged on 20 January 1880 at Darlinghurst Court.

On This Day – 18th November 1896

At Albert Park on the 18th November 1896, a young man named Alexander Quinn, aged twenty-three, an ex-warder at the Ararat Lunatic Asylum, shot his wife dead, and then attempted to commit suicide, but, failing to take his own life, be gave himself up at the police station. It would appear from Quinn’s statement that, being without work or means, he and his wife proceeded to Albert Park with the intention of committing a double suicide. Mrs. Quinn who was twenty-five years of age, took a revolver, and attempted to put a bullet through her head, but failed; whereupon her husband took the weapon and shot her dead. He then tied to shot himself, but did not succeed, He then sought to drown himself in the Albert Park lake, and, again failing to put an end to his life, he proceeded to the police station and reported the matter. In his possession were found two marriage certificates.




ON THIS DAY – November 17, 1988

‘Suspect warned’ before being shot Police Special Operations Group members had repeatedly told a police shooting suspect to drop his gun before hitting him with three shotgun blasts at close range, the Melbourne Coroner’s Court heard yesterday. Jedd Houghton, 23, died almost instantly during a raid on a caravan park in Bendigo on November 17,1988.  He had been an alleged member of a gang planning an armed robbery and there was a link be tween him and the killing of two constables in Walsh Street, South Yarra, Graeme Morrish, QC, assisting Coroner Hal Hallenstein, said. Mr Morrish said Houghton’s death was linked to that of Graeme Jensen on October 11, 1988, and a shooting the following day when Constables Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre were gunned down while checking an abandoned car.  Jensen, a close associate of Houghton, had been killed while armed robbery squad detectives were trying to arrest him at Narre Warren, the hearing was told. From the outset, due to his as sociation with Jensen, police had considered Houghton a suspect in the killings of the two constables in Walsh Street, Mr Morrish said. Houghton, Jensen, and two other men were believed to be planning an armed robbery, he said. Visual and electronic surveillance had been carried out by the Bureau of Criminal Intelligence of Houghton’s movements in the period leading up to the SOG raid, he said. It had been decided to arrest Houghton as a suspect in the Walsh Street killings. Four SOG members had entered the cabin where Houghton and his girlfriend, Kim Cameron, had been staying, at 12.08pm. Mr Morrish said two had gone for Houghton and the others had placed a hood over Ms Cameron’s head before whisking her away.  Houghton had pointed a gun at SOG member Sergeant Paul Carr and had been repeatedly told 10 drop the weapon, he said. Fearing one of them would be shot, Sergeant Carr and his partner had both fired their pump action shotguns, acting in self defence. The hearing, attended by Houghton’s mother, sister and Ms Cameron, viewed a nine-minute videotape which included graphic footage of the blood-soaked body and horrific wounds.  The cause of death was a shot gun blast fired at a distance of 10cm, hitting him in the chest.  Two other blasts fired from 10cm had hit Houghton in his upper body and arm. Three revolvers and a pistol had been found in the cabin. The hearing continues.




ON THIS DAY – November 17, 1889

Constable Coffey on Friday night arrested a man named John Caffrey on a charge of wilfully murdering Ah Gayong in Market-lane on November 17. It will be remembered that the Chinaman was killed by a couple of roughs who attacked him without any provocation.



ON THIS DAY – November 17, 1924

At an inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of William Henry Rolley, who was shot in Irvine street, Footscray (V.), on November 17, a few minutes before midnight, a verdict of wilful murder against an unknown man was recorded. Dennis John Bourke, a labourer, of Albert street, Footscray, said that he met Rolley in Nicholson street, and they walked about Nicholson and Irvine streets until after 11 o’clock. Each had bottles containing beer in his pockets. Rolley entered a lane near Irvine street, and was joined by a strange man. The stranger said, “I could do a drink,” and the three men drank together. Rolley suggested obtaining pies for supper, and they walked to a shop in Nicholson street. The third man placed a bottle of beer on the supper table, but removed it at the request of the shop keeper. Outside the shop Rolley said to the stranger. “Are you going to open that beer and he replied, No, I will take if home.” Rolley said. “Better open it. We have treated you well.” The beer was then opened and handed to witness, and as they were about to drink the stranger said “There are two constables.” The three men walked towards Irvine street, and as they turned the corner the unknown man began to hurry towards the railway station. Rolley called out, “Wait a minute.” and chased him. The stranger turned and fired two shots. Rolley fell on his face, with a wound in his forehead and another in his right shoulder.




ON THIS DAY…… 17th November 1900

Notorious gangster Percy Ramage starts fight

Two of three prisoners in the local gaol, Percy Ramage and Patrick Prendergast, quarrelled on this day in 1900, and a stand up fight resulted. The pair were brought before the visiting magistrate, and each was sentenced to seven days solitary confinement.

ON THIS DAY – November 17, 1883

A most diabolical murder and supposed outrage has been committed at the township of Panmure, 16 miles from Warrnambool. The victim is a girl 10 years of age, named Margaret Nolan, the daughter of a well-to-do farmer, living about a mile and a half out of the village. The girl was sent in to the township with butter at 3 o’clock on Saturday, November 17, and then went further on to what is termed the old township over the river. From this place she was seen returning, and as she was passing up the road going in the direction of her home at about 4 o’clock, she was walking beside a man on horseback who has been identified as James Morgan, a farmer at Lake Warrnambool. At 8 o’clock in the evening, finding that the girl had not returned, her parents became uneasy, and the alarm being given, the whole township turned out in a search which was kept up all night. At 4 o’clock on Sunday morning the party, headed by the father of the child, discovered her dead body lying amongst some tall ferns about-half a mile, from the township. It was lying on its back with the arms extended, the clothes disarranged, and a fearful wound in the neck. In her left hand the child grasped some ferns, and all around her were evidences of a desperate struggle. Morgan has been arrested, and the black trackers have been sent for to follow up important traces which have been found. Morgan has been committed for trial for the murder.




ON This Day – 17th November 1895

At Bendigo on the 17th November 1895, a Spaniard named Salvador Sapana, aged 27, informed Constable Green that he had murdered a compatriot named Francois Ferrandaz by breaking his skull with a sapling. Constables Reilly and Green proceeded to a small holding occupied by the two Spaniards, on which they raised vegetables, and found the dead body of Ferrandaz behind a bush some fifty yards from the hut. The whole of the left part of the head and face was broken in, as if the deceased had been struck repeated blows. The police found an iron bar eighteen inches long covered with blood, and this u believed to have been the weapon used. In a corner of a hut was a rough mattress saturated with blood, and the police believe that Ferrandaz was lying asleep on that mattress when the murder was committed.



ON THIS DAY…… 17th November 1967

Elusive flying saucer

A Western Australian farmer said that a flying saucer landed in his paddock beside his Land Rover on the 17th of November 1967, and took off again as he stepped out to examine it. Mr Alan Pool, 43, farm manager, told police that the object was circular, about 15 to 20ft across, and about the same height as his vehicle. It stopped so close that he barely had room to open his car door. “I was near enough to touch it, before it took off in a flash”, he said. “I called out to it, and despite blustery wind conditions my own words came back to me. It was not an echo. “I only wish someone else had been with me so that people might believe me more. I am convinced of what I saw”. Mr Pool, who lives on the farm at Yericorn, 99 miles north of Perth, said that at the same time about 6.30pm his wife inside the house noticed a rolling of the picture on their television set.

ON THIS DAY – November 16, 1907

Two men, Roy Sherrin, 19 years of age, a labourer, living in Nicholson street, Abbotsford, and William Thomas, driver, of River-street, Richmond, have been arrested, charged with the wilful murder of John Bradford. Bradford sustained a fracture of the skull in a brawl in Hoddle-street, on November 16, and died in the Melbourne  Hospital on Thursday. They were present at the inquest, which was opened at the Morgue to-day. Dr. Mollison said that he had a post mortem examination. There was a bruising on the right temporal muscle, and a fracture of the skull on the right side. There was an extensive bruising of the frontal lobes of the brain. The death was caused by the fracture of the skull and bruising of the brain. The Coroner intimated that the inquiry would be adjourned toll December 10.