ON THIS DAY – December 21, 1908


An examination by Dr. Brett has disclosed a peculiarly, revolting case of infanticide: The victim was a child who, on the 21st December, was found on a vacant allotment opposite the mint. When found the body was wrapped in a piece of towelling, and enclosed in a card board boot box. A piece of towelling had been forced into the wind pipe of the child, who had thus been choked to death. Wounds were also found upon the front portion of the head, obviously caused by some sharp instrument. There is not the slightest clue to the perpetrators.


On this day …….. 21st of December 1936

Falling from one of the cars of the ‘big dipper’ at Luna Park, St. Kilda, on this day in 1936, Harry Maltby (22), of Albert Park, was struck by another car and was so severely injured that he died. Maltby, who was accompanied by Vincent Clancy of Albert Park, was riding in one of the three cars of the ‘big dipper’ train. He stood up and fell onto another track of the ‘big dipper.’ The brakeman applied the brakes and then rushed across and tried to drag Maltby clear of the rails, but Maltby’ s clothing was entangled in the brake slides. Another train struck Maltby, and then struck the rear of the train from which he had fallen.


ON THIS DAY – December 21, 1939


Following an altercation at North Melbourne, Frederick Stringer, aged 42 years, died while being taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In the City Court James Simpson, 33, wharf labourer, of Buncle street, North Melbourne, was charged with having murdered Stringer. Asking for a remand, Sub-inspector Charlesworth said that at about 10 p.m. on the 21st December, an altercation occurred between the accused, James Simpson, and Frederick Stringer at a house in Buncle street, where both men lived. The police alleged that Simpson obtained a butcher’s knife and attacked Stringer with it, inflicting a deep wound in the front of the chest and one in the region of the heart. Simpson was remanded until the 29th December.


On this day …….. 21st of December 1903

At Snake Valley, after a lapse of some months, the ‘Tantanoola tiger’ has again made its appearance. It was first seen about three weeks ago by a resident of Haddon. The animal was apparently journeying towards the Smythesdale bush. The residents stated that they had a view of the animal, and are sure it was a tiger, although much smaller than the Bengal species. It was again seen by Mr. Hedley, the manager of the Watson’s Hill Dredging Company, when visiting one of the company’s dams in the vicinity of Ross’s Creek last week. He saw the tiger drinking only about 50 yards distant, and it was on view for fully ten minutes. Mr. Hedley says it resembled a panther rather than a tiger


ON THIS DAY – 20th December 1908

A little boy named Christian Bulguard informed his parents on this day in 1908, that there was a parcel behind some scaffolding of William St, Melbourne. The matter was brought under the notice of the police, Constable Porter, made an examination and discovered that the parcel contained the body of an infant child, with n piece of calico lightly tied round the neck. The body was removed to the morgue, where an inquest was held.


ON THIS DAY – 20th December 1890

A man Mr. James Johnston has been removed from hospital to the Ballarat gaol under a warrant for murdering his daughter. Johnston asked Dr. Scott if he was in a mad house. Sergt. Charles, who read the warrant, says that Johnston seemed bewildered, and that when he was told his children were dead his features underwent a fearful change, and he seemed stunned ” Oh, no, who says so, take me home to them”. Johnston was executed on the 18th May 1891.


ON THIS DAY – December 20, 1940


Found guilty of the murder of Alfred Thomas Atherton, 35, hotel useful, on the 20th of December, at Ferntree Gully, Morris Ansell, 19, metal polisher, of Victoria Street, Carlton, was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Martin in the Criminal Court. The Jury added a strong recommendation for mercy because of Ansell’s youth. In the course of evidence at the trial, Mrs. Atherton, wife of the murdered man, said that she had been living apart from her husband. About eight months ago she met Ansell in a house in South Yarra, and two months later went to live at Ferntree Gully, and later at Victoria Street, Carlton. She had hoped to obtain a divorce so that she could marry Ansell. According to police evidence, Ansell confessed that he shot Atherton. An sell had said that he had arranged to go with Atherton to Ferntree Gully, where he Informed Atherton that Mrs. Atherton was working. Before leaving home he had placed his pea rifle under his coat. When walking along the road to Boronia, Atherton had said to him (An sell): ‘I suppose my wife is running about with other men. If I thought that she was in trouble I would kill her.’ Ansell told the police: ‘I said to myself I will kill you first.’ Ansell then said that ‘Atherton turned his head and I shot him.’


On this day …….. 20th of December 1910

The weather in Melbourne on this day was quite wintry, and colder than has been for some time. At Ballarat such cold weather has not been experienced in December for about 40 years, snow fell.


On this day …….. 20th of December 1942

A convict who escaped from Beechworth goal three years ago was arrested in Sydney on this day in 1942. He was charged with breaking and entering and theft of £1000 worth of property. The man, William McEntee, aged 51, escaped from Beechworth prison by scaling a high wall. An old hand at goal-breaking, Beechworth was McEntee’s third prison escape. He had previously got away from Yatala prison, South Australia, and from Ararat goal. After the second escape he was at liberty for nearly 12 months. Regarded as desperate and declared an habitual criminal nine years ago, McEntee disappeared from Beechworth prison just before the midday muster one day in February, 1940. Stealing a bicycle in a street 150 yards from the gaol, he rode out of the township in his prison clothes, and vanished. After hiding for two days and two nights in the scrub to evade capture by armed warders and police, McEntee got away from the district. Last trace of him until his arrest in Sydney was the discovery on a roadside at Tarrawingee of the bicycle he had stolen.


ON THIS DAY…… 20th December 1877

A man named Edward Heyward was charged at the Geelong police court on this day in 1877 with attempting to stab another man named George Shipway, on the 17th of November. The prisoner was remanded to the Geelong Gaol.


ON THIS DAY – 20th December 1938

George Green, 38, chimney sweep, of West Heidleberg, was committed for trail on a charge of having murdered Annie Wiseman, 62, and her niece. Phyllis Wiseman, 17, at Glenroy on the 12th of November. Charles Anthony Taylor, Government analyst, gave evidence of having found soot on a bicycle pump handed to him by the police. He said he also examined the Wiseman house and articles of clothing. In a room in the house he found a hair 18 in. long on a carpet. The way the hair was embedded in the carpet indicated that a head had been violently moved from side to side on the carpet. He found human bloodstains in the carpet. On a pyjama coat worn by Phyllis Wiseman there were smears of blood and discoloured marks near the neck suggested that she had been stabbed and pulled by a dirty hand. The same type of mark was found on a pink undergarment. Detective-sergeant Sickerdick gave evidence of a conversation he had with Green before Green was charged. Witness said that when questioned Green denied having been near the Wiseman home on the 12th November. He accounted for certain money he had as money from a winning bet. He admitted that he had slept in the open on the Saturday night, but he could not show witness the place. He said he had been drunk, but had been able to ride his bicycle.


ON THIS DAY……19th December 1891

A young man named William Trask was brought up on remand on the charge of assaulting and robbing a shearer, named Robert Stewart, of £6 17s. Trask was remanded to the Geelong Gaol for three months.