ON THIS DAY – June 4, 1913

On the 4th of June, 1913, Arthur Dowell an inmate of the Yarra Bend Asylum inflicted with an axe handle such serious injuries on another patient John Joseph Tissear that he died on the 7th of June. At the time of he savage attack several inmates were milking in the cow yard when the Dowell suddenly jumped from his stool, grabbed an axe handle, and began fiercely attacking everybody within his reach. Most of those present were fortunate enough to get clear of the infuriated madman, but Tissear was struck heavily across the head. He fell to the ground, where he lay until picked up by attendants. Dowell then turned his attention to the carter, Michael Carlson who received the axe handle on one of his elbows. As there was nobody else to attack, Dowell then tried to escape, but was captured by George Maloney an attendants. The injured ones were taken to the asylum hospital, where it was found that Tissear had sustained a fracture of the skull and after having lingered for three days he died. Carlson’s injury was also found to be of a somewhat serious nature, Dr Stell, medical superintendent considers it necessary to put the arm under the X rays. During the seven years that he has been an inmate of the asylum the Dowell who used the axe handle conducted himself well, and the authorities had gained the impression that he was not dangerous. Dowell was 32 years of age and the deceased was years older. The coroner found that Tissear died from injuries wilfully, feloniously and maliciously inflicted by Arthur Dowell, of which he was found guilty of wilful murder. Dr Stell, medical superintendent of the Yarra Bend Asylum, made application to have Dowell removed to the criminal ward at Ararat.