An accident, which we fear may prove fatal, occurred on Saturday last near the Culloden Castle.
A cow belonging to Mr Naylor of Duneed, was being driven along the street when she turned savage, rushing at the man who was driving her; he, however, was fortunate enough to get out of the way, and the enraged animal then turned upon a little girl of about four years of age named Cannell, throwing her down and fracturing her skull.
The child is now under the care of Dr. Reid at the hospital. After this the infuriated animal rushed into the dam, where her capers were soon put an end to by Constable Madden and Sergeant M’Sweeney.
Unfortunately the little girl did succumb to her injuries after being gored by the cow.  Sarah Cannell was just 4 years old when she died the following day. Sarah was admitted with a penetrating injury to the left side of her head with her brain exposed.  She developed paralysis and eventually died 24 hours later.
Sarah had been playing outside the Culloden Castle Hotel with a number of other children, when the cow came running down Latrobe Terrace followed closely by George Naylor and Angus McLean.  Donald Cameron had hidden behind a telegraph pole from the rampaging beast, when he noticed Sarah under its feet.  He picked up the little girl and took her to her parents house in Villamanta Street.
The cow was eventually chased into a dam where Sergeant McSweeney was taked with the unpleasant duty of shooting the cow.  It was not known what had set the cow on its destructive path.
Much of the inquest was taken up with the discussion on the legality of driving cattle through the town.  There was a by-law in place prohibiting the droving of cattle between the hours of 12 pm and 6am.  It was suggested that in future this law needed to be strictly enforced!

Mary Coar, bar maid, of the Imperial Hotel, was at the police court to-day charged with the larceny of £15. the property of Mrs. Pearson, the licensee of the hotel. Inspector Davies prosecuted, and Mr. S. M. Cornish defended accused.

Evidence was given that the money had been placed by the licensee of the hotel in a cupboard of the diningroom. The room was locked up, and the key was alleged to have been placed in the bar till, to which only accused, Mrs. Pearson, the licensee, and her nephew had access. On the money being missing Mrs. Pearson gave information to the police, and from information received Constable Walsh arrested the accused on suspicion.

The P.M. decided that there was no evidence against the accused to go before a jury, and dismissed the charge.

The Imperial Hotel [also known as the Town Hall Hotel, and later Beck’s Richmond Hotel and Beck’s Imperial Hotel] was built in 1861.  The two storey hotel with attic was erected for Faulder Watson who became the first licensee on 21 Dec 1861. Watson retained the licence until about 1866 when the hotel was advertised as Young’s Imperial Hotel. Watson apparently retained the ownership of the hotel until c1885 when he sold it to slaughterman Edwin Purches who is recorded as having offices in the premises. By 1887, the hotel was owned by Mrs E Pearson who held the property until at least 1903. In 1892 during Mrs Pearson’s ownership, the extant cast iron verandah and balcony to the Lyttleton St facade was constructed in place of the original first floor cantilevered balcony. In the early years of the twentieth century, the hotel had numerous publicans until about 1931 when R W S Beck acquired the hotel licence. The name Beck’s Imperial Hotel reflects Reg Beck’s long-term ownership of the hotel between about 1931 and 1942. The hotel licence was surrendered in 1968 and in the following year, C S Harrison purchased the property and re-opened the building as tea rooms and a tourist accommodation centre.

Some of you may recognise hotel being used as the exterior shots of the local Mount Thomas hotel in Blue Heelers also known as the Imperial Hotel and run by Chris Riley.

Does anyone know who owns the hotel today?

When being transferred from the Watchhouse to the Geelong Gaol on 16th of January 1903, a young man named Flowers who the previous day at Camperdown had been committed for trial for the alleged theft of money and jewellery from the Talindert Estate, made a determined attempt to escape. Senior Constable Harley was escorting Flowers to the gaol, and refrained from handcuffing him. At the intersection of Ryrie and Yarra streets, Flowers made a dash down Yarra Street, and through the Melbourne Club Hotel, with the constable in hot pursuit. Flowers managed to dodge his pursuer in the hotel, and got out through the back way into Little Malop-street, where a baker’s assistant named Milliken made after him in his cart. When Milliken came up to Flowers he dismounted and made a grab at the prisoner, who struggled violently to release himself, at the same time dealing his captor some heavy blows. As the two were struggling on the ground, Senior Constable Harley appeared on the scene, and, placing his handcuffs upon Flowers, he subsequently lodged his prisoner safely in the gaol.

The Argus, 17 January 1903

Albert Flowers was a 17 year old youth, who is listed as being a jockey by trade.  It was not the first time he had been in trouble.  He had been convicted in July 1900 of shopbreaking and was given a suspended sentence.  In September 1900, he was sent to the Ballarat Industrial School before being transferred to Royal Park Industrial School. Albert’s father Henry was living in Raglan Street, Ballarat at the time of his incarceration.

Albert only spent a short time at Geelong Gaol before being sent to Pentridge for 9 months.  He spent 48 hours in solitary confinement in August 1903 “for not being diligent in his work”.  In November 1903, Albert was sent to the Excelisor Home for Boys Reformatory School in North Brighton.

On February 5, 1904, Albert with two other boys would abscond from the Boys home.

Albert would not live a long life.  He died in August 1913 of pneumonia in the Hamilton hospital.  He was well known among the racing fraternity, was working as a fish monger and by all accounts was well liked.  Albert left behind a wife.

On January 11, 1881, the Hereford ran aground at Inglesby Reef near Port Phillip Heads, close to Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia.  The 1456 ton ship would remain stranded until she would be finally towed off the reef on March 12, 1881.

But her running aground would lead to the deaths of 2 men – Constable David Digby and Lumper Frank Wright.

On January 17, 1881, a police presence was requested aboard the wreck of the Hereford and Mounted Constable Purcell and Foot Constable Digby were transported out to the ship.  There were about 30 other persons on board looking after the safe removal of the cargo and those in charge of the ship.

Once the policemen were aboard the ship, the weather took a turn for the worst.  It was decided that the seas were too rough for the two constables to return to shore.  But overnight, the weather became tempestous! Waves were breaking over the ship and water was running into the cabins, the ship was bumping horribly against the reef.  All on board were fearful for their lives.  At 7.30am the following morning it was decided to launch the remaining boat in an attempt to find the boat that had come loose in the night and to return the policemen to the shore.

The two Constables, a crew of five and seven lumpers began the journey from the Hereford to shore.  Everything was going to plan until about 50 yards from shore the boat run onto a sandbank.  All the men were instructed to jump overboard but unfortunately a large wave capsized the boat.  Most of the men would manage to grab the upturned boat to avoid being swept out to sea by the receding wave, but Constable David Digby and Frank Wright were not so lucky.  Constable Purcell was brought to shore with great difficulty.

A search was undertaken for the missing men but was called off around 11am with no sign of the two men.  Their bodies were not recovered.

Constable David Digby was aged 50 years and left behind a wife and a large family to mourn his loss.

Constable Digby is listed on the Police Honor Roll for those who lost their lives while doing their duty.


On the 13th January, 1977, neighbours to 147 Easey Street, Collingwood entered the open backdoor of the house, seeking the two young women who lived there that had not been seen since the 10th January.  On entering the kitchen, they found a note that had been left by the boyfriend of one of the women.  The neighbour then entered the hallway and saw Susan Bartlett’s body lying at the end of the hallway.  Calling out to her friend to not come any further into the house and asking them to call the police, she entered the hallway to check if Susan was alive.  She would see the half-naked body of Suzanne Armstrong on the floor of her bedroom, again obviously dead.  She then called out to Gregory, Suzanne’s 16 month old son who began to cry in his cot in his room.  The neighbour bundled him up and took him back to their house to await the arrival of police.

Susan Bartlett was a 28 year old teacher who had been teaching at Collingwood High School at the time of her death.  Her friend and roommate, Suzanne Armstrong was 27 years old and not working, looking after her young son.  The pair had been friends for a long time, even travelling overseas together about 4 years earlier.  It was while overseas in Greece that Suzanne became pregnant and eventually gave birth to her son.  The two women had been living in Easey Street since October 1976.  The last time they had been seen alive was the on the evening of January 10th, when Susan’s brother and his girlfriend visited.  The four made plans for dinner the following week.

Throughout the day on the 11th January, Suzanne’s boyfriend made numerous attempts to ring her but to no avail.  On the 12th January, he tried again to ring but again no answer.  He then drove to Easey Street and left a note on the kitchen table for Suzanne to ring him.  He noticed that the lights were on and that the kitchen door was open but didn’t venture any further into the house.  He believed that the girls weren’t far away.  When he rang again on the morning of the 13th January, Detectives answered the phone.

The neighbours had also attempted to contact the two Sue’s over the past couple of days as they had found the girl’s puppy roaming in the street.  They had left a note to the girls on the front door to the effect that they had the puppy at their place.  But as this went unanswered, the two neighbours entered the house on the 13th and discovered the bodies.

The inquests into the two girl’s murders were held on the 12th July 1977 in the Coroner’s Court.  The official verdict was that “multiple stab wounds then and there feloniously unlawfully and maliciously inflicted by a person or persons unknown and that such person did murder the said deceased.”  Police surmised that the murderer entered the premises through Susan’s bedroom where the blind had been dislodged and there was dirt on the end of the bed.  Blood stains were found in the bathroom and a bloodstained towel was found on the couch in the lounge room.  There were smears of blood down the passage wall to where Susan’s body was found.  Suzanne’s body was found on the floor of her bedroom with a pool of blood under her and another about 60cm above her head.  She was naked from the waist down but her panties and shorts were found beside the bed.  Medical examination of the Suzanne showed a total of 29 stab wounds while Susan had 55 stab wounds.

Interestingly, the knife believed to have been used was discovered on a ramp leading to the Victoria Park Railway Station.  On the 14th January, investigations of the manhole and drains in the area discovered a blood stained facewasher and shawl two blocks from the Easey Street address.

DNA testing has been undertaken on many of the 130 original persons of interest, although 41 of those were now deceased (January 2017).  In January 2017, a one million dollar reward was offered

This murder remains unsolved today.

ABBA: The Movie is a documentary cult film about the Swedish pop group ABBA’s, Anni Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnatha Fältskog Australian tour in 1977. Directed by Lasse Hallström, who directed most of the group’s videos. Its release coincided with the release of ABBA: The Album, the group’s fifth studio album, and features many songs from that album as well as many of their earlier hits, and one, “Get on the Carousel”, unavailable anywhere else.

The film has a very thin plot which is no more than a vehicle to link together the concert footage. Hallström indicated that the film’s script and plot concept was conceived on the plane on the way to Australia.

The plot centres around the adventures of Ashley Wallace (Robert Hughes), a DJ on a Sydney Radio station 2TW, who normally presents a through-the-night country and western-themed show. In spite of this, he is sent by the station’s boss (Bruce Barry) to get an in-depth interview (“Not an interview, a dialogue”, demands his boss) with the group, which is to be aired on the day ABBA leave Australia. Ashley, who has never done an interview before, singularly fails, mainly because he has forgotten to pack his press card, and is also unable to buy a concert tickets. Armed with his trusty reel to reel tape recorder, Ashley is forced to follow the group all over Australia, beginning in Sydney, and then travelling, in order, to Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne, experiencing repeated run-ins with the group’s very protective bodyguard (Tom Oliver). For authenticity during filming, the members of ABBA were not told of the storyline involving a journalist Ashley (Robert Hughes) seeking an interview. ABBA believed that the reporter was a real newsman trying to get a scoop.

Eventually, Ashley has an unbelievably lucky chance encounter with Stig Anderson, the group’s manager, in the foyer of The Old Melbourne Motor Inn, 17 Flemington Rd, North Melbourne, where ABBA was staying, who agrees to arrange an interview, and gives him tickets to that evening’s concert. But Ashley sleeps in and misses the appointed interview time. Just as Ashley has given up, a miracle occurs: he steps into an elevator and finds himself face-to-face with ABBA. They agree to give him an interview there and then in room 604, and he leaves Melbourne just in time to meet the deadline for the radio show to go out on-air. He puts together the final edit in the back of a taxi on the way back from the airport, as ABBA depart Australia for Europe. With only minutes to go, Ashley makes it back to the radio station where, having set the tape up on the studio’s playback machine, he relaxes at his control desk to listen as the interview is broadcast.

The production shoot went for six weeks and encompassed ABBA’s 1977 Australian tour and included their live concerts, press conferences, private downtime, public receptions, meeting fans and traveling time. Mostly filmed in Australia, however additional filming was done during the of Summer 1977 in ABBA’s home country of Sweden after their concert tour of Australia had been completed. This filming included “The Name Of The Game” dream sequence and filming on streets in Sweden, doubling, ironically, for the streets of Melbourne and Sydney. Actors Tom Oliver and Robert Hughes had to fly to Sweden for these shoot. Noticeably different from Australia are the street signs and the traffic flowing on the right hand side.

Most of the concert footage used for this film came from their five Perth concerts in Western Australia. This was because the concert venue there, the Perth Entertainment Centre, was the only indoors stadium on the tour, and the conditions there were best suited for acoustic recording and would not be affected by any bad weather elements. In these screens Agnatha Fältskog was frequently filmed above the neck in close-ups due to disguise the fact that she was pregnant at the time. There is a brief scene shot at the Parmelia Hotel in Perth where a photographer asks for a smile, ABBA at the time was surrounded by various International stars that happened to be in Perth at that time of filming. They include Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Dubliners, Alice Cooper, Stephane Grappelli and British actor Robin Nedwell.

The film had three simultaneous World Premieres all held in Australia on 14 December 1977, in Paramatta and Sydney New South Wales and Melbourne, Victoria. At the time of this film’s theatrical release, Stig Anderson said ABBA’s enormous popularity in Australia, where this concert movie was filmed: “Australia is still the biggest market in the world for ABBA. People in the music industry all over the world have been stunned with what has happened here.” The film was also released Scandinavia and several Eastern Blotic Nations, including the Soviet Union where it was screened at two movie houses in Moscow.

In 2003, The Swedish Film Institute restored the film to its original soundtrack after the original stereo sound had been lost for years. The film was premiered in its new version on the 2nd of December 2003, at Stockholm’s Film House with Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson attending. Bjorn said of this film: “They wanted us to make a film in Australia, but quite honestly I don’t think that films with pop stars work very well. Of course The Beatles are an exception and Tommy (1975) was a big hit but there have been lots of other pop films that have sunk without trace. Seeing the film came as a bit of a shock. It’s hard to recognize yourself up there on a giant screen in Panavision. But then we’ve had many moments when it has been hard to accept the things that have been happening to us.”

A theatrical re-release of the film occurred across Europe during July and August 2008 in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and Austria.

Well we might be a little bit late to the new year this year!!  But nevertheless Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

In our defence we have been busy in the background finding and securing some new adventures for the Twisted History for this year, some we will be letting you know about very soon!  As well as busily providing ghost tours and paranormal investigations at Geelong Gaol and murder tours in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

Back to our blog!!  This year we will be doing things a little differently.  For the past couple of years we have been blogging snippets from history that happened “On This Day.  This year we will be doing “Sunday Spotlights” instead.  This will allow us to provide more details (where we can!) on some of the events we will be writing about.

But we would like your input!

As some of you would know we have a few different categories that we blog about – these include Murders, Goals, Hotels, Pop Culture and of course Twisted History.

This year we want to hear from you! Which Australian murder cases fascinate you?  Is there a particular Australian movie or TV show you want to know more about?  Is there an urban legend that gives you a chuckle?  Or even a good ghost story we haven’t heard?  Is your local hotel haunted?  Is there something paranormal you want to discuss?  We want to hear it all!

If you have some ideas for blog articles – get in touch!  You can email us at, you can inbox us on any of our facebook pages or give us a call on 1300865800.

We do have some stories going up starting tonight and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Welcome to 2018!!