ON THIS DAY – March 31, 2004

Masked gunmen entered the Brunswick Club on Sydney Road, Brunswick, at approximately 6.40pm on 31 March 2004, driving a Ford Falcon EF XR6 station wagon. Moran ran from his place at the bar, over a poker machine, through a glass window before the gunman caught up with him and shot him twice, the fatal bullet being fired into the back of his head from a few centimetres away. Associate Herbert “Bertie” Wrout was severely wounded but survived the attack. Keith Faure, his brother Noel Faure and associate Evangelos Goussis were charged with the murder. On 3 May 2006, Faure pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 19 years for the murders of Moran and Lewis Caine, who was killed two months after Moran. Former Kickboxing champ Goussis, 40, of Geelong was found guilty of Moran’s murder on 29 May 2008 in the Victorian Supreme Court. Goussis had stormed into the Brunswick Club and shot Moran as he cowered in a corner. Goussis and two others reportedly accepted a $150,000 contract from Tony Mokbel to kill Moran, the Victorian Supreme Court heard. After five days deliberation, the jury also found Goussis guilty of intentionally causing serious injury to Wrout, but not guilty of his attempted murder. Goussis was also convicted of murdering Caine. In February 2009, Goussis was sentenced to a minimum 30 years in prison for Moran’s murder. Lewis Moran was suspected in ordering the death of underworld Hitman Dino Dibra. On 7 May 2007, Carl Williams was convicted of commissioning Lewis Moran’s murder, and sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment. Williams died in Barwon prison, on 19 April 2010, as the result of an attack by a fellow inmate.


ON THIS DAY – March 31, 1949


Steven Kelly, 46, farm labourer, of Warragul, who had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of John Thomas Bateson, 74, pensioner, at Warragul, on March 31, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by Mr Justice O’Bryan in the Criminal Court. His Honour described Kelly’s crime as dreadful, but said that he accepted the view that Kelly was inflamed with drink, and that Bateson’s death occurred during a drunken quarrel.


ON THIS DAY – March 31, 1918


At an inquiry regarding the death of Albert Greaves (28) in the Melbourne Hospital on March 31 as the result of injuries to his head, the Coroner committed James Gibson for trial on a charge of manslaughter. It is alleged that in the course of an altercation in Swanston-street Gibson struck Greaves. Police constables gave evidence to the effect that Gibson resisted violently when he was arrested.


ON This Day – 31st March 1908

It was arranged by the Penal authorities, that Mr. R. Paterson, governor of the Geelong gaol, shall take over, the charge of the Melbourne Gaol on this day in 1908. He return to Geelong in the evening, and hand over the care of the Geelong gaol to Mr Furnell, of Beechworth, who has been appointed to succeed him. Mr. Paterson was extremely popular with his staff, who regret his departure from Geelong.


On this day ……… 31st of March 1897

Rutherglen in North East Victoria played host to the Victorian Governor Lord Brassey, who opened the district’s new Viticulture Collage. The college had been the dream of the. Rutherglen vigneron a since the 1880s. They proposed the building of an institution which could carry out practical experiments for vine culture and wine making, and also train skilled staff for the industry. Rutherglen at the time was the centre of the wine growing industry. There was 350 vigneron’s within a 35 mile radius of the town.



On this day ……… 31st of March 1908

Mrs. Jane Barwick, aged 40 years of North Brighton, Melbourne accidentally swallowed a plate containing 13 false teeth while drinking some broth for dinner on this day in 1908. A medical man ordered her removal to the Melbourne Hospital, where her neck was sliced open to have them removed.



AT the recent licensing court, Mr. Dowling, of the Australian Hotel, Little Bourke-street east, opposed the application for a renewal of the license for the Colonial Family Hotel. On Saturday evening he was waited upon by three young men, who brought him a parcel. On opening it he found a miniature coffin painted black, with an inscription on the lid as follows—”Sacred to the memory of V. Dowling,” and a small piece of paper attached informed him that it was but a sign and token of what he would soon require.

The Colonial Family Hotel became known as the death house and is one of the stops on our Chinatown Murder Tour

ON THIS DAY – March 30, 1929

Two elaborate musical productions are among the Easter attractions at Melbourne theatres. Both will open on Saturday. March 30. At His Majesty’s “The Vagabond King” will take the place of “The Desert Song.” now concluding its record run of seven months. The new musical comedy has had a long run in Sydney. Miss Strella Wilson and Mr. James Liddy are at the head of a strong company, which also includes the popular comedians. Arthur Stigant and Cecil Kellaway. The Noel Coward revue, “This Year of Grace.” will make its appearance at the Theatre Royal. Miss Maisie Gay, one of the most popular comedians in England, and a member of the original London cast, is leading lady.

ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1948

The question of justification arose in the case In which John Kenneth Donnelly (19), of Opie street, Ferntree Gully, apprenticed carpenter, was charged in the Criminal Court to-day with having murdered his step-father, John Palmer (63), laborer, of the same address, at Ferntree Gully on March 30.
The Crown prosecutor (Mr. Nolan) said the family were living unhappily. Palmer came home for his tea in an intoxicated condition and the question arose as to where the children should sleep. Palmer complained of children sleeping in his bedroom.
In a confession to the police, accused had stated: “He (Palmer) had been cruel to my mother and the children. I got home at 6.20 p.m. and he came home at 7 p.m. drunk. The children kept complaining about all sleeping in the one bedroom. I sent one of the children to his bedroom and he told her to get out. I then sent another child to the room and he threatened her. He started to swing at me. He started to belt my mother, and I went on the verandah sleepout and loaded a rifle I saw him belting my mother again as I looked through the window. I look a quick aim and pulled the trigger.
Constable Charles Light, of Ferntree Gully, said during the seven years he had been stationed there he found accused to be hard working, quiet youth. On the night of March 30 Donnelly told him that he had hit him In self defence and thought Palmer was dead. At Palmer’s four-roomed house he found the rifle, which had an empty shell in the breach.

The jury in the Criminal Court took only eight minutes to decide that John K. Donnelly, 19, apprentice carpenter, of Ferntree Gully, was not guilty of a charge of the murder or manslaughter of his stepfather, John Palmer. Donnelly told the court that he shot his stepfather on this day in 1948 when Palmer was attacking his mother. He knew his mother was going to have a baby and his only thought was to prevent Palmer from killing her or earning her such harm that she would die. Mrs Palmer, mother of the accused and nine other children, told the court that Palmer had beaten her regularly.


ON THIS DAY ……. 30th March 1891

Workmen on the railway to Mansfield, under construction at the time, unearthed a skeleton. No one was quite sure who it was but locals thought it was probably King Alfred, an aboriginal tribal leader who had been elevated to regional status by the early landholders in the area. When Alfred died, he was buried near the spot at Merton where the excavations were being made.



ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1937

The police are now in possession of a fairly reliable description of Iike physical characteristics of the woman whose arms and legs were found floating in an untied sugar bag in the Yarra, on the 30th of March 1937. Pathologists have determined the woman to have been between 30 and 40, well built, slightly over five feet in height, with probably brown. Necessarily the description is more or less a conjecture. Although nothing more dependable can be obtained from the scanty evidence available it restricts the field of identification. With this guide the police are now searching scores of files relating to women corresponding roughly with this description who have been reported missing since the beginning of the year. Dragging the Yarra in the hope , of recovering other parts of the body has been unsuccessful. Good fingerprints were secured from a skin glove taken from the right hand.


On This Day – 30th March 1897

Three boys named Bertrand Williams aged 15 years, Daniel M’Keegan aged 14 years, and Alfred Bernard Stubley aged 12 years, were charged with having on the 24th of March, feloniously broken into the shop of John C. Cox, in Pakington-street, Geelong West, and stolen therefrom a sum of 6s, a sharpening stone, a pocket knife, and about eight dozen brass rings. All three boys were remanded to Geelong Gaol.