On this day …….. 16th of December 1907


A sensational railway accident occurred at Dimboola on this night in 1907, resulting in the death of a valuable circus pony. The animals belonging to Wirth’s circus were being trucked when the points refused to act. This caused one of the truck to be thrown on to its side. The trick pony Fairy was thrown upon the metals, and had her neck broken. The animal was valued at £1,000. The truck was badly damaged. The elephants belonging to the circus lifted the truck back onto the line.


On this day …….. 15th of December 1905

During a performance of Wirth’s Circus at Warrnambool, on this day in 1905, a tent-pole fell and struck Doris Dunstan aged 14, the only daughter of Rev. T. D. Dunstan, Anglican clergyman. The girl was pinned to the ground as the big top partially collapsed. The girl died a couple of hours later.

On this day …….. 15th of December 1899

James Williams, who escaped from the Castlemaine gaol on the 9th of August 1889, was charged at the police court on this day in 1899, with that offence. He was described by Mr. Daly, governor of the gaol, as an incorrigible young man, and Mr. G. T. Woolley, J.P., sentenced him to 12 months’ imprisonment, with hard labour.

On this day …….. 15th of December 1940

A man arrested at North Sydney on this day in 1940, on a charge of stealing from the Milson’s Point Hotel was later charged with being an escapee from Pentridge gaol, Victoria. He was arrested on the stealing charge by Constables Scarfe and Edwards, of North Sydney, who discovered on consulting their files at their station that a man fitting the description of the man they had in charge was wanted for escaping from Pentridge gaol on November 30. Kenneth Raymond Jones, 20, apprentice, was later charged at North Sydney with breaking gaol in Victoria and with stealing goods and money from the Milson’s Point Hotel, where he had been a guest for several days.

ON THIS DAY…… 15th December 1904

Mr. C.S. Paterson, governor of the Geelong gaol, went on leave on this day in 1904, during his absence Mr H. Harvard, the chief warder, will act as officer in charge.


On this day …….. 14th of December 1935

Arrested in a police raid early in the morning, William Sylvester John Barrett, 22, labourer, of Drummond Street, Carlton, appeared in the City Court charged with having murdered, on or about December 7, William Herbert Irwine York, at St. Kilda. Barrett was remanded to December 23, and in compliance with a police request bail was refused. Having given evidence of Barrett’s arrest, Detective William Ferguson said, it is alleged, that about midnight on December 7, York was walking along Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda. Later he was found unconscious near St. Kilda Road. He was taken into the Alfred Hospital, where he was kept under observation and allowed to return home. His injuries took a serious turn on the following day and he died early on the morning of December 9, as a result, it is alleged, of injuries he received. A post-mortem examination showed that death was due to a number of fractures of the skull.’ Barrett had made a statement about the matter. Detective Ferguson concluded. Barrett, a well-built young man, was not represented by counsel.

ON THIS DAY – December 14, 1935

Someone cut through the lock on the outer door of the tower at Geelong Gaol with a hacksaw on the 14th of December 1935, to gained access to the prison yard and vegetable garden and subsequently escaping. The prison authorities were staggered on finding the door unlocked the following morning and a careful search failed to disclose anything missing or any contraband. A heavy lock, half an inch thick had been cut, and a grille gate leading from a street to the tower was forced open, giving access to a spiral stairway leading to the lookout tower over the exercise yard. The intruder used a rope to lower himself 30ft to the garden below. A black cloth bag and a bottle of vaseline were found near the tower in the Supreme Court yard, which adjoins the gaol. Some vaseline had been put on the lock to facilitate cutting. The police are perplexed at the motive for the escapade as it is the first instance in modern times of an adventurer gaining access to a gaol and making his escape. Footprints were found leading to the office window of the governor Mr. N. E. Touhill, but no attempt had been made to force the window. Recent thefts of cage birds in Geelong raised the theory that there had been an attempt to steal a valuable collection owned by the senior warder Mr. R. Thorley.

On this day …….. 14th of December 1899

A young man James Carter who escaped from the Geelong gaol a few months earlier, was recaptured at Cooma, New South Wales, where he underwent sentence for larceny, was brought back to the Geelong Gaol on this day in 1899 to complete his sentence.

ON THIS DAY…… 14th December 1900

A tragic occurrences are reported from Mortlake, one of which, the murder of an infant child, has resulted in the arrest of a girl named Bumas, who was employed at Mr Dennis’ station, ” Eeyeuk.” The child was found with its throat cut, and the young woman has confessed that she did it. The police have obtained possession of the instrument with which -the infanticide was committed, and the girl is to he brought down to the Geelong gaol hospital as soon as she is fit to travel.

On this day …….. 14th of December 1926

A meat chopper, knives, a tomahawk, lead piping, and sticks were used as weapons in a fight between two Chinese in Fitzroy, on September 23. The fight ended fatally for one of the Chinese. As a result, Chung Wah Lee, aged 36, stood on trial on this day on a charge of murder. Accused, in his defence, said he had been attacked with a ‘chopper, tomahawk and knife. life ‘was unarmed and his hands were badly cut in defending himself. The other Chinese dropped a knife, and he picked it up to defend himself. After an hour’s retirement, the Jury returned a verdict’ of “Not Guilty,” and the accused was discharged.

On this day …….. 14th of December 1949

Francis Blair, 34, a dangerous criminal lunatic, who escaped on the 14th of December 1949 from Beechworth Mental Hospital, was recaptured in a Barber’s shop in Wangaratta on the 21st. He had gone into a barber’s saloon to have a shave, and was recognised by his long growth of beard. He was identified by a garage proprietor who read the criminal’s description in the newspaper soon after he had passed him in the street. Blair was sentenced in 1937 to four years imprisonment for Robbery Under Arms, Francis Blair 21 years old at the time and his mate Ronald Blackney 22 were remanded for a week, in the South Melbourne Police Court on charges of having, on July 30th, robbed Ernest George Cooper and Phillip Cohen at 2am of their money, while armed with a revolver, with having stolen a motor car valued at £160, with having had an unregistered pistol in their possession and with having loitered with Intent to commit a felony. Since then Blair has been at Royal Park and Beechworth Mental Hospital. Blair while in the airing yard at Beechworth with other patients, he climbed a loft wall and escaped into open country. He told the police that after escaping he had walked for five hours through rugged country only to find that he had circled Beechworth from his starting point. Blair then waited until dark and after finding the Beechworth Wangaratta road he then walked the 23 miles that night into Wangaratta. Police brought him back to the Asylum. Local police searched the gorge and surrounding countryside. A month ago he wrote to the police asking for legal assistance to secure his release. He had previously been charged with robbery under arms.



The inquiry into the death of Dagmar Louisa Scott, who was found dead at Spring Gully on December 14, was resumed at Castlemaine by the coroner (Mr. S. J. Goldsmith) on Monday. The husband, Robert Scott, was present in custody on a charge of murder. The principal witness was Thomas Kaiser, brother of Mrs. Scott, Who deposed to being at Scott’s house on June 22, when a quarrel arose over Scott having gone secretly to Melbourne. He heard Mrs. Scott say, “You have been to Melbourne to see that other woman of yours, Mrs. Saunders.” Scott replied, “Whether I have been to Melbourne to see that other woman or not, if I hear any more of it I will blow your brains out, and Saunders’s, too.” Mrs. Scott then rushed out of the house, but came back later on, and she and Scott had a quarrel outside, and she fainted. Scott carried her into the house, and she soon revived, and the quarrelling recommenced. Witness was going away, but deceased implored him not to, saying, “As sure as you go he will murder me.” Scott said, “It is all right, Tom, you can go; I will not harm her. On the day of the tragedy he went to Scott’s house and saw the body. Scott said, “This is a fine thing, isn’t” it?” Witness replied, “Yes. You are at the bottom of the lot. You have well murdered her. You threatened her before in front of me. and you have done it now.” Scott made no reply. Charles Saunders, a miner employed under Scott at the Spring Gully dredge, gave evidence that immoral relations had existed between Scott and his (witness’s) wife, in consequence of which Mrs. Saunders left home early last March, and had been in Melbourne ever since. Witness had been on friendly, terms with Scott, and continued to work under him. Alice James, housekeeper for Saunders, gave evidence as to seeing: Scott and his wife going towards the tailings heap, and hearing the shot fired. Mrs. Scott appeared unwilling to go. and just as they reached the high bank Scott gave his wife a push, and they both disappeared behind the high hank, and the shot went off. The coroner found that death was due to a shot fired by Robert Scott, who was committed for trial on a charge of murder.