On This Day ……. 5th of July 1910

A prisoner named Frank Tilker, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for larceny at Willaura, was brought from the Ballarat Gaol on this day in 1910 by Constable Hooley to serve his sentence in the Geelong Gaol.


On this day …….. 5th of July 1858

Bang went the gun and down fell the wizard. The Yackandandah audience in North East Victoria, thought it was part of the act, but it wasn’t. Exact details of the incident were not clear, but the showman, magician, was evidently performing a trick involving a weapon, trying to catch a bullet in his teeth. A member of the audience disputed the trick, claiming the gun could not have been loaded. The wizard invited the doubter to watch the process of reloading, then to fire the gun. What a silly wizard. He dropped with a wounds his body, thankfully only to the fleshy part of his arm.


On This Day…..4th July 1966

Two youths escaped from Langi Kal Kal training Prison, near Ballarat in the prison-owned station sedan this on this day in 1966. Neither the youths nor the Government vehicle had been found. Prisoners where believe to have headed to Melbourne.

On this day …….. 4th of July 1954

Women ran screaming from a Durban circus on this night in 1954, as six lions fatally mauled their tamer. The lions injured two men who went to the tamer’s aid. The tamer, Willian Coetzee, died in hospital three hours after the attack. The six lions mauled him after he had bitten him behind he ear. As he lay helpless his best friend, a juggler named Drodsky, who is frightened of animals, leapt into the cage armed only with a chair and tried to fight off the lions. The lions began to chase Drodsky around the cage and he was joined by ring master Denis Wood. Both the men grabbed clubs and helped drive back the snarling beasts. Then Wood scared a chair and held the lions at bay while Drodsky dragged Coetzee out of the cage. Both Drodsky and Wood wore wounded. As Coetzee was being rushed to hospital, Drodsky, his wounds un bandaged, went on with his juggling act. In the horror stricken audience was Drodsky’s wife. Coetzee was believed to have been apprehensive about only one lion, Caesar, which had once clawed him. The lion that started the attack was the smallest one, which was looked on as the tamest beast in the act. Circus men said Coatzee earlier that day had trained lionesses. They believed that when the lions smelt the scent of lionesses on the trainer they went mad.


ON THIS DAY – July 4, 1984


In Pentridge Prison, Alex Tsakmakis shared a cell with double murderer Barry Robert Quinn. They had a tense relationship and Quinn would often bait his hot-headed inmate to cause trouble. One day he pushed Tsakmakis too far. Quinn brought up the memory of the rape of Tsakmakis’s girlfriend, taunting him about it. Tsakmakis retaliated the next day. It was about 9am on July 4, 1984 and Quinn was in Day Room 2 watching TV soap “The Restless Years”. Tsakmakis doused him with model glue and then flicked matches at Quinn as he tried to hide behind a table. A newspaper at the time reported that it was the fourth match Tsakmakis flicked that set Quinn alight. Tsakmakis stood in the cell doorway and watched him burn, refusing to allow prison officers to get in and help. The room filled with thick black smoke and Quinn ran around the room in agony. Photos presented to the court later showed black marks on the wall from where, in complete terror and desperation, he had collided into them. When prison officers finally reached Quinn they tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher, before using a blanket to smother the flames. Quinn refused to tell police who was responsible for the assault, in fear that his family would be targeted. He died at the Alfred hospital with burns to 85 per cent of his body. Tsakmakis’s actions that day gave him the nickname “the barbecue king”. Also in 1978, Tsakmakis murdered professional runner Bruce Lindsay Walker, allegedly over a dispute involving a vintage 1935 Plymouth car. The two had gone out on a fishing boat, but only Tsakmakis returned. Walker’s body washed up at Point Lonsdale soon after with his hands and feet bound with chicken wire.

Tskamakis was murdered in Pentridge on July 22, 1988 by Russell St bomber Craig Minogue, 26. He was hit up to seven times with a pillow case full of 5kg gym weights and suffered a fractured skull and brain damage. Photo of Barry Quinn.


On this day …….. 4th of July 1889

Eugene Kneebone from Bowmans Forest in North East Victoria, was the big winner at the weight putting contest at East Melbourne Cricket Ground on this day in 1889. He won the three pound event, the fourteen pound, sixteen pound, and in the twenty eight pound event, he broke the world record by six inches.


On This Day …….. 4th July 1905


A dangerous lunatic named Smith escaped from the main building of the Ararat lunatic Asylum about 7pm on the 4th of July 1905. It is not known how Smith managed to open the front door of the Asylum but its possible he fund some wire and picked the lock. Smith has been an inmate of the Asylum for
over 20 years, and the authorities are treating his escape with much concern. Smith was never found.

On This Day ……. 4th of July 1924

The new Governor of the Geelong Gaol, Sir. T. Crotty, arrived on this day in 1924, to comment his duties. Mr. Crotty takes the place of Mr George Taylor who recently retired from the service, and who has been over 35 years in the Penal Department. Crotty had previously been at Pentridge, where he was head warden.


Billy Hughes the 7th Prime Minister of Australia established the Commonwealth Police Force, after being struck by an egg in the head at a protest. Hughes also holds two distinguished records – As Prime Minister, he had the most secretaries of all PM numbering over 100. Hughes also holds the record as longest serving parliamentarian lasting 58 years, when he died at age 90, while still serving in Parliament.

On This Day…… 4th July 1857

The Buckland riot was an anti-Chinese race riot that occurred on 4 July 1857, in the goldfields of the Buckland Valley, North East Victoria, Australia, near present-day Porepunkah. At the time approximately 2000 Chinese and 700 European migrants were living in the Buckland area. Anti-Chinese sentiment was widespread during the Victorian gold rush. This resentment manifested on the 4th July 1857 when around 100 European rioters attacked Chinese settlements. The rioters had just left a public meeting at the Buckland Hotel where the riot ringleaders decided they would attempt to expel all the Chinese in the Buckland Valley. Contemporaneous newspaper reports claim that the riot was “led by Americans ‘inflamed by liquor'”. During the riot Chinese miners were beaten and robbed then driven across the Buckland River. At least three Chinese miners died reportedly of ill-health and entire encampments and a recently constructed Joss house were destroyed. Police arrested thirteen European accused rioters, however the empaneled juries acquitted all of major offences “amid the cheers of bystanders”. The verdicts of the juries were later criticized in the press. One of the police involved in the arrests was Robert O’Hara Burke, later of the infamous Burke and Wills expedition.

Aftermath – The Chinese miners were invited to return to the Buckland Valley, however only fifty did so. The Buckland Riot has been compared to the Eureka Stockade uprising in size and intensity, but is not remembered such. A commemorative monument was unveiled in July 2007 to mark the 150th anniversary of the riot.


On This Day ……. 4th of July 1910

A postmortem examination was concluded at the Geelong gaol upon the body of a prisoner named Alexander Dickson, who was sentenced to a months imprisonment about ten days ago by the Camperdown magistrates for insulting behaviour. Death was shown to be due to a compression caused by a tumour on the brain and the coroner (Mr Read Murphy) returned a verdict accordingly.


ON THIS DAY – July 3, 1865

An inquest was held at Sunbury by the district coroner on the body of a man named Henry Junod, who met his death by violence on Sunday night. From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was found on Monday morning last by a teamster named George Hoinville, lying at his garden gate fence. His face was covered with blood, and when found
he was quite dead. A. woman named Diana Walton gave evidence to the effect that on Sunday morning she bad seen three men pass her house, and heard one of them say “I’ll give it him.” One of them had a knife in his hand, and that she saw one of them stoop, and with something he had in his hand strike at the ground. Deceased was not of the party. The three men then went away.
Mr John Shaw Miles, surgeon, made the post mortem examination, and he described the wounds on the man’s face and head, and said the cause of death was fracture of the skull and extravasation of blood on and in the brain and laceration of the brain. Two wounds above and below the right eye were made with a blunt instrument, such as the
rail of a fence, and by the exertion of great strength. Another wound near the ear was caused by a sharp instrument, such as a knife.
The inquest was adjourned till Friday for the analysis of blood on the trousers, and the production of further witnesses.