ON THIS DAY…… 16th November 1904

90 year old man sent to Geelong gaol

The old man John Bartram, 90 years of age, was found by Constable Zimmer in Aberdeen-street in a helpless state from illness, and was subsequently removed to the gaol hospital, was remanded for a week at Geelong West, by Mr. F. J. Bennell, J.P. Inquiries were made by the police in regard to the statement that the old man had relatives who could support, him if they would, but they have so far been resultless. The old fellow has been an inmate of several institutions, but is one “of those restless spirits who-would not content-himself.

ON THIS DAY – November 16, 1840

Thomas Leahy, cooper, at Portland Town, was then put to the bar, charged with the wilful murder of his wife Sarah Leahy, by having on the 16th of November last wounded her with a bayonet, thereby causing almost instant death.  John Horne, a native of China, sworn after the manner of his own nation, by breaking a plate, stated that he lives at Portland Bay – knows Thomas Leahy the prisoner, and knew his wife – Sarah Leahy is dead now, she was alive eight moons ago – saw no dispute between prisoner and his wife at that time – has seen them “making quarrels” – remembers working on the day of the murder outside the house – heard a noise and ran in – saw prisoner with a bayonet – would know it again – the one produced was the same, or exactly like it – prisoner had it in his hand – saw him stab his wife (describing the manner of the thrust) – she ran out of the back door with her hand up to her breast, and fell outside the house. Lovel Byus, sworn: lives at Portland Bay, is a surgeon – has seen the prisoner at Portland Bay between six and seven months ago – can’t say if he was married – remembers on the 16th November last being called in to see deceased – in passing Horne’s house heard a scream – did not go in, but was overtaken by a man of the name of Brown – from his information went to the Chinaman’s hut, and there saw a woman lying on the road, and the prisoner standing near her – he said that he would go and deliver himself up, which he did – saw a wound on the deceased’s body on the left side, and examined it – remained with the woman a quarter of an hour – after examining the wound found the woman’s pulse scarcely perceptible – spoke to her, but she was senseless – saw blood upon the bayonet – am certain it was blood – it was a weapon similar to the one produced, and the wound was such as would be produced by such a weapon – the weapon was given to Mr. Blair – had a post mortem examination on the body – found an external triangular wound on the left breast of the deceased, penetrating between the third and fourth ribs to the left ventricle of the heart – it was such a wound as would produce death – I believe that it caused death. His Honor summed up as briefly as possible; the Jury retired, and after a few minutes returned a verdict of Guilty. The prisoner was then sentenced to be executed, – time and place left to His Excellency the Governor.




ON THIS DAY…… 16th November 1824

Explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell

The explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell, on a journey of exploration from the settled areas of New South Wales to Westernport in the Port Phillip district, arrived at the Murray River. Hovell carved an inscription in a red gum on the North bank of the river. Today the tree still stands in Albury, NSW.

On This Day – 16th November 1885

John Anderson, second mate of the American barque Don Nicholas, was murdered by one of the crew named Freeland Morrell. During the voyage there had been ill blood between the parties, and Morrell had applied for his discharge on the grounds that he could not get on with the mate. Last night Morrell sharpened a knife, and told the cook he was going to do for Anderson. Shortly after this Morrell left the vessel, and meeting Anderson on the pier, stabbed him to the heart, the latter dying immediately. The murderer was instantly arrested. An inquest was held to-day, and a verdict of wilful murder was returned against Freeland Morrell, one of the crew, who was committed for trial.



ON THIS DAY – November 15, 1891

This afternoon Mr Justice Moleworth was occupied in the Criminal Court in hearing the charge of murder against Fatta Chand, the Indian hawker, whose mate, Juggo Mull, was found foully murdered at Steel’s paddocks, near Healesville, on November 15, last.




ON THIS DAY – November 15, 1892

The Governor-in-Council, acting on the advice of the Cabinet, commuted the death sentence passed upon the young woman Mary Fitzgerald, by Mr. Justice Hood, to imprisonment for three years with hard labor. The prisoner was found guilty at the Benalla sessions of the murder of her newly-born child at Wangaratta by drowning it in a waterhole.





ON THIS DAY – November 15, 1942


On a charge of having murdered a newly born baby at Carlton on November 15, Lillian Shore, 22, single, of Carlton, was to-day committed for trial by the City Coroner (Mr. Tingate). The baby was found in the front garden of a house in Carlton, with its throat cut. The body was wrapped in a newspaper.  Florence Parker, who conducted an apartment house at which Shore was staying, said she did not know Shore had given birth to her child. Shore went to bed early that night and next day had assisted in the housework.



ON THIS DAY – November 15, 1944

In chambers yesterday Mr Justice Martin granted bail in a bond of £500 and one surety of £500 each to Thomas Henry Kirwin, 55, and Henry Thomas Kirwin, 24, father and son, who have been charged with the wilful murder of Francis Frederick Kirwin, brother of Thomas Henry Kirwin, at Koo-wee-rup on November 15. A condition of bail is that the accused report on each alternate day to the police at Koo wee-rup. The application was made by Mr M. Goldberg.




ON THIS DAY – November 15, 1904

On the 15th September 1904, an accident occurred in Elizabeth Street where Sarah Ann Robins, her husband James and her 27 year old daughter, Rosina Hubbard, who was described as a dwarf were thrown from a cart. This accident set in a motion a series of events that would leave only James still alive 12 months later.

Sarah required attention for her injuries, and was nursed at home by her daughter, Rosina. However doctors became concerned by her unusual symptoms and engaged a nurse to assist the family in caring for her. Sarah continued to decline and was admitted to the Melbourne Hospital. Nurse Flower, who had been engaged to look after Sarah before she was admitted to hospital, deposed at the inquest that she witnessed Rosina administer some medicine to her mother. When the nurse rinsed the glass it turned her rings black. Sarah was heard to remark “they won’t prosecute my Rosie will they?” after doctors accused her of poisoning her mother. Rosina maintained that her mother wanted to commit suicide which was why she had given her the arsenic and quicksilver. Sarah died in the Melbourne Hospital on September 30, 1904.

Doctors asked Sarah before she died whether she had taken anything, which she denied but doctors felt she was holding something back. After her death, analysis showed arsenic in every organ that was examined. Rosina on her arrest for the wilful murder of her mother, Sarah, was heard to exclaim “me murder my mother!” And then swooned. When she recovered, Rosina stated that she did not murder her mother, that Sarah had asked for it. During the inquest, Rosina was described as a “cunning shrewd little woman” but it was not certain she had her “wits” about her. However, evidence was brought that it was James Robins who had purchased the arsenic to poison a dog who had bitten someone. The inquest concluded with a verdict of wilful murder due to arsenic poisoning, wilfully and maliciously administered by Rosina Hubbard.

During the murder trial, it was revealed that James Robins had also buried his two previous wives! One wife died in Launceston about 15 years previously and the second wife in Melbourne about 16 years previous. It was also alleged that James had fed his wife oysters sprinkled with white powder. This was denied by James which caused an outburst by Rosina, screaming that he did! It was also revealed that James did not have much money to his name when he married Sarah, who herself owned properties. James would gain the money from these properties on his wife’s death. It was also alleged that James was the father of Rosina’s infant and that there had been improper relations between the two.

In March, 1905, the Government was unhappy that Rosina had been acquitted for the matricide of her mother Sarah. They deputised Detective McManamny to make further inquiries in to the case. On re-interviewing, Rosina admitted that she had poisoned her mother using quicksilver and arsenic. Her reasoning was that her mother knocked her about and had accused her of relations with her stepfather. However, she also admitted to the detective that James Robins was the father of her child. As Rosina had been acquitted of the murder, she could not be retried!

Rosina was not to enjoy her freedom for very long. She died in the Melbourne Hospital on the 24th May 1905, after being hospitalised since the 5th. Her inquest was again sensational, as it was originally suspected that Rosina had killed herself by taking the same poisons as she had administered to her mother!

Dr Mollison, the coroner described Rosina as a congenital dwarf whose arms and legs were considerably smaller than the rest of her body. She was 3 feet 10 inches in height and her head measured 22 inches. there were no marks of violence and samples of her organs, muscles and bones were taken for further analysis. After analysis, the official cause of death was exhaustion due to ulceration of the intestines.

You would think that would be the end of the story! But there was one more twist! Rosina’s will was contested on the grounds of her sanity when it went to probate. Evidence was brought to court on how James Robins held a magnetic influence over Rosina. It was stated that Robins banned anyone from seeing her in hospital especially the “black fellow”, who was her half sister, Isabella Webster, Indian husband. Isabella had described her father as a “brute”. The Chief Justice was to dismiss the content stating there were no grounds on which to contest.



ON THIS DAY…… 15th November 1901

Notorious gangster Percy Ramage cuts his throat

A desperate affray occurred within the gaol walls last night, which almost ended in a tragedy. Whilst one of the warders was searching the prisoners in their cells prior to their being locked up for the night, he was startled, on entering the cell occupied by a notoriously dangerous criminal named Edwards, alias Percy Ramage, to see him endeavouring to cut his throat with a small knife, which he had managed to conceal about his clothing. The warder made a rush for him, and they closed, the prisoner, who is a powerful ruffian, lifting the warder up bodily and attempting to throw him over the railing into the corridor several feet below. The calls of the warder brought assistance just in time to prevent Edwards from carrying out his design. Even then it was only with the greatest difficulty that he was overpowered, the assistance of several prisoners being invoked in addition to the efforts of four warders. Ramage was removed to a special cell, and the gaol medical officer attended to the wounds in his throat, which were not of a very serious nature. The prisoner, who is undergoing a long sentence for a murderous assault committed on Constable Luke when he was stationed in Melbourne, will be brought before the visiting magistrates. A notorious prisoner named Cutmore committed suicide, another youthful prisoner named Gregory was overheard to express his intention of cutting his throat, and on being searched a piece of sharpened steel was found concealed in his clothing. He will found concealed in his clothing. He will also be brought before the visiting justice.

ON THIS DAY…… 15th November 1838

The perpetrators of the Myall Creek Massacre in New South Wales are acquitted

On 10 June 1838, a gang of stockmen, heavily armed, rounded up between 40 and 50 Aboriginal women, children and elderly men at Myall Creek Station, not far from Inverell in New South Wales. 28 Aborigines were murdered. It was believed that the massacre was payback for the killing of several colonists in the area, yet most of those massacred were women and children. At a trial held on 15 November 1838, twelve Europeans were charged with murder but acquitted. Another trial was held on November 26, during which the twelve men were charged with the murder of just one Aboriginal child. They were found guilty, and seven of the men were hanged in December under the authority of Governor George Gipps.

ON THIS DAY…… 14th November 1939

The world’s oldest dog on record dies – Blue Heeler named ‘Bluey – aged 29

The Blue Heeler is a hardy breed of dog developed in Australia. Also known as the Australian Cattle dog, the Blue Heeler was developed by colonists in the 1800s by crossing Dingo-blue merle Collies to Dalmatians and black and tan Kelpies. This produced an excellent working dog, capable of driving large herds of cattle through the harsh conditions of the outback. According to Guinness World Records, the world’s oldest known dog was a Blue Heeler, appropriately named “Bluey”, owned by Les Hall of Rochester in the Australian state of Victoria. Born on 7 June 1910, Bluey died on 14 November 1939 at the age of twenty-nine years, five months, and seven days.