On This Day – April 8, 1909

A boy named Sydney Reynolds, nine years of age, son of the stationmaster at West Footscray, met with a remarkable accident yesterday evening.

At about half-past 5 o’clock he was with another boy playing on the West Footscray station. He had a rope tied round his waist, and the other boy was driving him. Reynolds’s companion let go the rope when the train from Sunshine to Melbourne came in, and Reynolds went to the edge of the platform, and dangled the rope over the kerb of the platform as the train was proceeding. All went well until the last carriage came along, then the rope was caught by the carriage, and the boy was dragged about 300 yards along the track. His head was injured by violent contact with the sleepers.

At Dr. Webb’s surgery at Footscray, it was found that he had sustained a fracture of the base of the skull. He was removed to Nurse Drysdale’s private hospital, where he died at about 9 o’clock last night.

On This Day – April 8, 1939

A miscalculation while giving a sword-swallowing exhibition at Mordialloc Carnival on April 8, led to the death of Johan Lilja, 52, of Taylor Street, Yarraville, the Acting City Coroner (Mr Beers, P.M.) was told today.

He recorded a finding of accidental death.

Medical evidence showed that, when examined at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Lilja had a perforated wound in the gullet. He died from pleurisy and pneumonia on April 11.

Mrs Lilja said that she accompanied her husband to Mordialloc Carnival, where he gave an exhibition of sword-swallowing. That night he said he thought he had injured himself, and appeared to be very ill. He was examined by a doctor next day. and ordered to hospital.

ON THIS DAY ……. 8th April 1931



The mystery of a woman’s body, found in a cupboard at Thomas Garrity’s fish shop, in Bay-street, Port Melbourne, on this day in 1931, was related to the jury and Mr. Justice MaeFarlane, in the Criminal Court, when Garrity was charged with having murdered. Mrs. Rose Harvey, 51. The Crown Prosecutor said Mrs. Harvey died from severe head injuries, inflicted by a hard instrument or a kick. On the day before the murder, she had several drinks with Garrity in a city hotel, and later they went to Garrity’s shop. At midnight a man heard the voices of a man and woman in the shop, and half an hour later a constable was passing the shop when he saw shadows on the glass partition. The shadow were of a man and woman struggling. The man had hold of the woman’s throat, and he saw her tear the man’s hands away. Some hours later Garrity asked taxi-driver to dispose of a body for him. He said he had found the body dumped on his premises after two men and a woman had left his shop. The taxi-driver took Garrity to the police station, and Garrity told the police. that lie was drugged by people, who were in his shop, and found the body when he woke up. The Crown Prosecutor said the evidence pointed to Garrity striking Mrs. Harvey dragging her body upstairs, bringing it down again, placing it the washhouse, and then in the cupboard. Cross-examined. Dr. Hart, who, was called by the police to examine the body before it was moved from the cupboard, said it would have been very difficult for one man to have placed the body in the position in which it was found. The hearing was adjourned.


On This Day……… 8th April 1872

The first flogging in the Beechworth Gaol took place on this day in 1872. The victim was a chinaman call Ah King, convicted of an indecent exposure. He was tied to a wooden tripod, which was known as being married to the three sisters. The prison received 17 lashes from the cat of nine tails by a fallow prisoner. The flogging was extremely distasteful to all concerned, and when the time came for the second series of lashes, there were no volunteers. The victim had to be sent to Melbourne, where the state executioner would have no such scruples.



On This Day……… 8th April 1935

On this day in 1935, Glenelg’s Luna Parks assets were put up for auction, all of which were purchased by Atkins and Phillips. The rides were dismantled and shipped to Sydney, NSW. The rides and equipment were assembled at the Lavender Bay site, with Luna Park Milsons Point opened on the 4th of October 1935. The amusement park, now known as Luna Park Sydney, still remains in this location.



On This Day ……. 8th April 1870

James Anderson and John Rockcliffe were charged with breaking into and stealing a quantity of goods front M’Mahon’s store, at Ondit and there was a second charge of breaking into and stealing from Bell’s store at Shank Hill. Prisoners pleaded not guilty. Both men were arrested at the Anakies by mounted Constable Wilson, with a large quantity of the stolen goods in their possession, who goods were fully identified, and the jury, without retiring, returned a verdict of guilty. Both the prisoners where sentence to Geelong gaol.

ON THIS DAY …. 8th April 1912


Police investigated the death of William Hughes Parker. The tragedy was complicated by the temporary disappearance of Frederick John Parker, an elder brother of the dead man. On this day in 1912, a tall young man, dressed in a blue sac suit and a blue sweater, walked into the Detective Office and informed Detective Johnson that he was Frederick Parker. He had read an account of the death of his brother, and until that time was unaware that his brother had died. He had stayed the night at a restaurant in the city. Detective Johnson detained him until the arrival of Detective Bear, who has charge of the investigation. Parker declined to make any statement. Frederick Parker has a recent cut on his upper lip, the wound was stitched at St. Vincents Hospital, Parker was locked up by Detective Bear and Constable Brown in the city watch house on the charge of the wilful murder of his brother. Before Frederick Parker was locked up the coat he was wearing when he called at the Detective Office was taken possession of by Detective Bear, and another one was supplied to him.


On This Day……… 8th April 1865

On this day in 1865, bushranger Dan Morgan arrived at Peechelba Station near Wangaratta and held up a homestead. He demanded good and entertainment, and settled down for the night, holding the occupants of the homestead hostage. On the pretext of seeing a crying baby, one of the station staff raised the alarm. Swift messenger rode to Wangeratta to get the Police.



On This Day……… 8th April 1916

An accident, happened on this day in 1916 to Les. Martin, eldest son of Mr. J. Martin, railway employee. Martin with some other boys managed to obtained a dynamite cap, and to make it explode used a stone. The result being that young Martin was injured on both hands, and one of the other boys. Wm. Brooks, who was standing a distance off, was slightly injured on the side of the head. Martin was conveyed to the doctor at Inglewood, where it was found that the top of the thumb on one hand was blown off and the palm of the other hand injured.



On This Day – April 7, 1912

Minnie Kinsley, married, was charged at the Fitzroy Court to-day with having her premises in such a state as to be a nuisance.

Charles James Eassie (sanitary inspector) stated that the house rented by Mrs. Kingsley contained eight rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom, and 19 people were living there. The rent paid by the woman was 11/ a week, and she received 33/ from the occupants weekly.

The house was in a filthy condition, and was covered with vermin of every description. The clothing, bedding and furniture were also infested with vermin. There were too many people in the house.

Witness did not make a thorough examination of the premises, as he found it neeeasnrv to change his clothes as soon as possible and have a bath.

A fine of £3 was imposed, in default one month’s imprisonment.

On This Day ……. 7th April 1907

14 seamen who refused to return to work after the inquiry concerning their complaints as to being supplied with insufficient and inferior food by the captain of the British ship Glenelvan had been remanded for a week in the Geelong Gaol.


ON THIS DAY – April 7, 1931


Detectives inquiring into the murder of Matthias Handley, 55, an invalid pensioner, at Carlton on April 7, believe that the crime is closely associated with the attempted murder of Hugh Gulliver, 25, business agent, of Elwood, on the same night. An hour and a half later after Handley was shot an attempt was made on Gulliver.