ON THIS DAY…… 3rd July 1988

A veterinary surgeon convicted of murdering his pregnant wife was gaoled for 18 years by a Supreme Court judge. Justice Nathan said Mark Campbell Neilan was an evil man who committed a cold-blooded execution, inventing an elaborate story to deflect police attention from himself. Neilan had claimed that three armed intruders shot his wife, abducted him and locked him in the boot of his car for 12 hours. A year after the killing, Neilan had used the murder gun to kill the family dog to convince police someone was trying to frighten him, the judge said. “You are a murderer who displayed an evil mind and a wicked capacity to obscure that evil behaviour from the judicial system,” he said. Neilan, 33, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Kathryn Neilan on July 3, 1988. He was convicted by a jury. The judge fixed a minimum non parole term of 15 years – a term which must be served in full under Victorian laws on murder sentences.


On this day …….. 3rd of July 1922

From the time the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788, capital punishment was a common form of punishment for both major and minor crimes. The first convict to be hanged in the new colony of New South Wales was seventeen year old Thomas Barrett. Less than a month after the colony was established, Barrett was found stealing “butter, pease and pork” and hanged in a ceremony which all convicts were forced to witness on 27 February. Capital punishment continued to be used as a deterrent to criminals, right up until the last man – Ronald Ryan – was executed in Melbourne in 1967. Two decades after Federation, Queensland became the first state to abolish capital punishment, doing so on the 3rd of July 1922. It was not until 1968 that the next state, Tasmania, abolished capital punishment.


ON THIS DAY – July 3, 1981

Nightclub singer Ms Haroula Kipouridou was found in the half-opened lift of her Richmond Housing Commission block on July 3, 1981. She had been raped and her face was so badly bashed she choked on blood. Prime suspect Barry Harding was killed in a car crash after serving time for the rape and murder of a child in the same flats as Ms Kipouridou. A work boot footprint was left at the scene. Harding wore similar boots. Police say they are “reasonably confident” he was the killer.

Australia’s 29th Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is 2nd cousin of British actress Angela Lansbury, from Murder She Wrote. Turnbull while working for Australian media mogul Kerry Packer, Turnbull visited Hugh Hefner’s Playboy headquarters in Chicago in the 1970s to obtain the rights to bring the controversial adult magazine to Australia.

On This Day ……. 3rd of July 1925

On this day in 1925, a young man, James Walker, alias Juries Lewis Welsh, who was discharged from the Geelong gaol after having served a sentence of six months for vagrancy.


ON THIS DAY – July 2, 1900

John Ferrier, charged with the murder of Alice Elizabeth Aubrey at Dawson on July 2 was before the Sale Supreme Court today. Mr. Maxwell, who appeared for accused, intimated that the defence would be insanity, and asked for an adjournment of the case till September to admit of Ferrier being observed and examined, and other enquiries being made. The application was granted.

Sweet and Sour Pork – Harold holt

Serves 5

2 cups White flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
470 ml Melbourne Bitter Beer

900gms  pork
1 yellow capsicum
440gms tin pinapple pieces

1 cup apple cider vinegar
8 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp garlic salt

1. Mix 2 cups of plain flour, 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp Pepper and 470 ml Melbourne Bitter Beer (fresh or stale). Make into a paste gradually adding more beer until you have the consistency of thin cream.

2. Cut pork into 3cm pieces and dip into batter, (without flouring beforehand) covering well.

3. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large, heavy bottom pot (I used my French oven with nice tall walls to reduce splatterage on the stove).

4. Cook pork in hot oil about 30 seconds per side or until golden. Having very hot oil is key. Cooking the pork through. Transfer pork to a 9×13 baking dish and continue dipping and sautéing remaining pork, adding more oil as necessary. Cooking tip: if you add oil to the pot, let it heat up a little before you add more pork.

5. Cut the top of the capsicum and remove the seeds. Cut in lengths and lightly sautéing with pineapple pieces. Add to pork.

5. In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 8 Tbsp tomato sauce, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp garlic salt and gently heat.

7. Pour sauce over sauteed pork, capsicum and pineapple.

Cooking tip: this recipe works well with chicken.

Harold Holt also recommended this batter for fish or apple or banana fritters.

On This Day ……. 2nd of July 1924


Six prisoners were escorted from the metropolis to Geelong by the midday train on this day in 1924. They were taken to the Geelong gaol, where the remainder of their respective sentences will probably be served. Four were from the Melbourne gaol, one from Pentridge, while the other is an indeterminate sentence prisoner. There are now six indeterminate prisoners incarcerated in the Geelong gaol.


Australia’s first Prime Minister Sir Edmond Barton was a cricket umpire when the first ever international cricket roit happened in 1878, against Australia and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

How well do you really know our Prime Ministers…….. At Twisted History we thought we would share the strange, weird and bizarre facts on our 29 PM’s!

1) Sir Edmond Barton was a cricket umpire when the first ever international cricket riot happened in 1878, against Australia and England at the SCG.

2) Alfred Deakin was almost killed in lift accident in 1887. Melbourne became the fourth city in the world to build power hydraulic lifts. When directors of the Australian Provincial Assurance Association (including future Australian Prime Minister Alfred Deakin), inspected the hydraulic lift in the new APA building on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne, for the first time. The mechanism failed and the lift shot upwards 12 floors, stopped only by some stout springs at the top. Deakin exited the building by the stairs.

3) Chris Watson was born in Chile and never became a British subject, so he was technically not eligible to sit in the Australian parliament let alone become Prime Minister.

4) Sir George Reid was the first PM to be involved in a car accident, breaking his arm and bruising his pride.

5) Andrew Fisher, left school at the age of 10, to work in the coal mines, before immigrating to Australia at the age of 13.

6) Joseph Cook was largely a self-educated man after leaving school at the age of 9 as a miner. Australian artist Tom Roberts, who recorded Cook on canvas many times, noted that Cook was 5 ft 9 ins (175 cm) in height, weighed 12 stone (76 kg) and his hat size was 7.

7) Billy Hughes 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.

8) Viscount of Melbourne, Stanley Bruce fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front. Bruce was the first PM to govern from the newly built Canberra. Bruce died in London and was cremated and his ashes were spread around Canberra. Bruce is the only PM whose remains are in the nation’s capital.

9) James Scullin was the first Prime Minister to choose the Governor-General, not the royal family. Scullin choose Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first born Australian to hold the post.

10) Joseph Lyon’s father lost the family savings at the 1887 Melbourne Cup. Lyon at the age of 9 was forced to leave school and find work.

11) Earle Christmas Page was one of the first Australians to own a car. Serving as Prime minister for only 20 days, he refused to retire at 81, and dying from lung cancer, still contested the 1961 election.

12) Sir Robert Menzies is the longest serving Prime Minister (18 years). Menzies retired on Australia Day in 1966. Menzies was a lifelong supporter of Carlton VFL Football Club. In the 1970s, following a stroke the Carlton Football club made a ramp up onto the committee box at Princes Park Oval so that Menzies’s chauffeur, Peter Pearson could drive his Bentley into the stand to watch games.

13) Arthur Fadden liked socialising, sport, and theatre. He was once a member of an acting group in Mackay called the Nigger Minstrel Troupe. Yes that’s right …..It’s pretty much white people painting on a black face and doing that racist thing.

14) John Curtin’s first job at the age of 14, was as a messenger boy for a magazine edited by artist Norman Lindsay. Curtin was also gaoled for three days in Pentridge Prison Melbourne in 1916 for defying government’s call-up order for military. Although holding such strong beliefs Curtin passed conscription for WWII.

15) Francis Forde holds the records for the shortest term as Prime Minister for a mere 8 days.

16) Ben Chifley graduated as one of the youngest first-class locomotive engine driver at 28. Chifley died of a massive heart attack on the 13th of June 1951 in Canberra, whilst parliamentarians attended State Ball at Parliament House. Once hearing the news Prime Minister Menzies told everyone to go home. Ben Chifley ghost is said to haunt Canberra.

17) Harold Holt’s father married one of his former girlfriends…… So she became his step mother. After going missing while swimming and his body never found, in good Australian humour a local Melbourne swimming pool was named in his honour.

18) Sir John McEwen at the age of 16, worked at a Crown Solicitor’s office under Frederick Whitlam, father of future PM Gough Whitlam. At the age of 67 years McEwen was the oldest ever incoming Prime Minister. Due to only being Prime Minister for two months McEwen, after his death did not want a fancy PM headstone.

19) Sir William McMahon employed young sailors in tight-fitting bell-bottom trousers to caddy for him at golf.

20) Sir John Gorton survived three flying accidents and ship being torpedoed during the Second World War. Gorton was also the only PM to voted himself out of office.

21) Gough Whitlam is only one of two Prime Ministers whose lifetime spanned the lives of all 25 Prime Ministers in Australia’s first century (John Gorton was the other) Whitlam was Australia’s longest-lived Prime Minister, dying at the age of 98 years, sadly 2 years short of receiving a 100th birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II, the woman who sacked him and his government in 1975.

22) Malcolm Fraser’s notorious incident in Memphis, Tennessee, in October 1986 is a night that would never be forgotten. After give a speech to the Memphis Economic Club Fraser decided to go for a drink at the Peabody Hotel. But for Fraser this was only the beginning of the night. He wandered into the foyer of a Memphis hotel frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers at 7am wearing nothing but a towel. He claimed to have no memory of the nights activities or were his pants where.

23) Bob Hawke was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. This record was at the same English Hotel where President Bill Clinton smoked a joint.

24) Paul Keating left school at the age of 14, and managed a rock band called The Ramrods. Keating is the only Australian PM to be on the cover of the Rolling Stones Magazine. As Prime Minister Keating asked journalists to stop photographing his bald patch.

25) John Howard is the only Liberal Party Prime Minister to have been educated in a state school. Howard also lived at his parents’ home until he was 32 years old.

26) Kevin Rudd is a descendent of transported convict Mary Wade, who had over three hundred relatives when she died and is considered as one of Australia’s ‘matriarchs’. At the age of 15, Rudd wrote to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam asking for advice on how to become involved in a diplomatic career. Whitlam suggested Rudd learn a foreign language, which he did Chinese (Mandarin).

27) Julia Gillard immigrated with her family to Adelaide in 1966 as ’£10 poms’. Gillard is the first female Prime Minister to be sworn in by the first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce. Gillard was also the first unmarried Prime Minister.

28) Tony Abbott during his student days, once saved a child who was swept out to sea. Another time, he helped save children from a burning house next to a pub where he was drinking. At the aged 26, he studied to become a Catholic priest.

29) Malcolm Turnbull is 2nd cousin of British actress Angela Lansbury, from Murder She Wrote.


ON THIS DAY – July 2, 1938

After two weeks of investigation following a tragedy outside the St. Kilda railway station on July 2, when a woman was killed, and two other persons were injured, a man was arrested early this morning and charged with murder. The man was Francis Daniel Egan, aged 36 years, car salesman, of Hennessy avenue, Elwood. Egan was charged at the South Melbourne watch-house with having murdered Mrs. Kathleen Mary Shaw, aged 55 years, of St. Kilda road, who was the woman killed when a utility truck struck three people at a tram stop In Fitzroy street, St. Kilda, at 11 p.m. on July 2.  Egan will be presented at the South Melbourne Court this morning for remand.

On This Day ……. 1st of July 1901

On this day in 1901, Nicholas Keneally, who was sentenced to death at Shepparton on the 6th of December, 1899, for an offence on his grand-daughter,’ but whoso sentence was subsequently commuted to imprisonment for life, died in the Geelong Gaol.