On this day …….. 4th of December 1886

Dangerous circus elephant

Abu, the circus elephant which crushed a 22-year-old woman to death on Thursday, will not be destroyed. The owners of Ashton’s Circus were allowed to decide Abu’s future after Victorian authorities decided that they did not have the power to order it to be destroyed. Circus clown Miss Debbie Wirth, 22, was killed when Abu grabbed her in its trunk while she was walking with the elephant at the circus site in Vermont South. Circus part-owner Mr Mervyn Ashton, said: “It is everybody’s decision, including Debbie’s parents and her fiancé, Douglas Quay, not to destroy Abu. We’ve had a great deal of support from a hell of a lot of local people who have come asking us to let Abu stay in the circus.” The Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Kent, said existing legislation did not cover incidents in which circus animals killed an attendant.

On This Day ….. 26th November 2009

In November 2009 it was reported that up to 6000 feral camels in search of water had invaded Docker River, a small Aboriginal community of about 350 people located about 500km southwest of Alice Springs. Local residents had been afraid to leave their homes for some time. The camels have torn up the main waterpipes and sewerage pipes, made the town’s airport unusable and contaminated the town’s water supply.

The Northern Territory government decided to take action and announced $49,000 in emergency funding for a cull in which helicopters will be used to herd the animals outside the town, where the camels will be shot and left to decay in the desert.


ON THIS DAY…… 23rd November 1930


Two business girls who share a flat in South Yarra were distressed when they found their pet cat dead. As their ‘yard’ consisted of a square or concrete, they could not give the body proper burial, and they did not like consigning it to the dust bin. After much debate, they decided to consign it to the sea, so they wrapped it up and put it in an old suit-case no longer required, together with a couple of bricks. On The 23rd of November 1930, they journeyed to Brighton, but the band was playing on the pier and the place was crowed with people no chance of getting rid of pussy there. So they went back to St. Kilda, determined to drop it off the end of the pier. Halfway along the pier a man spoke to one of them: ‘Excuse me, but are you Miss Jones?’ ‘No, certainly not,’ she replied, and was turning away when he snatched the suitcase and ran. The girls were too surprised to move for a moment, and then they laughed them selves to tears as they watched the man still running hard, disappear into the crowd on the Esplanade with the body.

ON THIS DAY…… 23rd November 2009

The world’s oldest sheep on record, dies.

The average life-expectancy of sheep ranges between ten and twenty years. Not so for Lucky, the world’s oldest sheep, who died at the age of 23. Lucky was a hand-reared sheep who lived on a farm at Lake Bolac, west of Ballarat, Victoria. She had been abandoned by her mother at birth, and rescued by farmer Delrae Westgarth who found her out in the paddock. Westgarth and her husband Frank cared for the lamb, feeding her in their house and then moving her to the shed until she was old enough to join the flock. Lucky produced 35 lambs of her own in the following decades. In late Spring of 2009, exceptionally hot weather weakened her and caused her health to deteriorate. Although her owners brought her back to the shed, cooling her down with air conditioners, she died on Monday 23 November 2009, aged 23 years, six months and 28 days. This was a Guinness-certified world record age for a sheep. Lucky was buried under her favourite nectarine tree.

ON THIS DAY…… 14th November 1939

The world’s oldest dog on record dies – Blue Heeler named ‘Bluey – aged 29

The Blue Heeler is a hardy breed of dog developed in Australia. Also known as the Australian Cattle dog, the Blue Heeler was developed by colonists in the 1800s by crossing Dingo-blue merle Collies to Dalmatians and black and tan Kelpies. This produced an excellent working dog, capable of driving large herds of cattle through the harsh conditions of the outback. According to Guinness World Records, the world’s oldest known dog was a Blue Heeler, appropriately named “Bluey”, owned by Les Hall of Rochester in the Australian state of Victoria. Born on 7 June 1910, Bluey died on 14 November 1939 at the age of twenty-nine years, five months, and seven days.

ON THIS DAY…… 8th November 1906

Melbourne cup arrives in Wangaratta

It was not as fast as modern TV, but it was still fast enough to amaze the locals in Wangaratta, North East Victoria. On this day in 1906 Dan Barry’s World Wide Wonder Show was able to screen the running of the 1906 Melbourne Cup.

On this day …….. 29th of October 1982

Lindy Chamberlain convicted of the murdering her baby at Ayers Rock.

Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock, is a huge monolith in central Australia. It has long been a popular tourist destination, but gained a new notoriety on the night of 17 August 1980, when two-month-old Azaria Chamberlain went missing from the nearby camping ground. When baby Azaria disappeared, her mother Lindy claimed that a dingo had stolen her baby. No trace of the child was ever found, although her bloodstained clothes were found a week later by another tourist. At the first inquest into her death, commencing in February 1981, it was found that the likely cause of Azaria’s disappearance was a dingo attack. Police and prosecutors, unhappy with this judgement, moved for a second inquest which began on 13 September 1981. This time, the new finding was made that Azaria had been killed with a pair of scissors and held by a small adult hand until she stopped bleeding. Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder on 29 October 1982, and her husband Michael was found guilty of being an accessory. Lindy Chamberlain’s acquittal came four years later when a matinee jacket worn by Azaria was found partially buried in a dingo’s lair at Ayers Rock. New evidence was presented showing that earlier methods of testing evidence had been unreliable, and no conviction could be made on those grounds. Both Chamberlains were officially pardoned, Lindy was released, and eventually awarded AU$1.3 million in compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

On This Day ……. 29th October 1954

Escaped Elephant – Richmond

An escaped elephant from Wirth’s Circus’ temporary camp outside Olympic Park in Richmond, Melbourne caused a mild panic on the 29th October 1954. At 9.30 p.m. a check was made by the boys guarding the elephants, and it was found that one was missing. Telephone calls started to pour into Russell St. police station from people on their way home from the city saying that they had seen an elephant walking along Batman Ave. A police car was rushed to the scene and after a two and a half hour search they found the missing elephant. It was standing under a tree about 200 yards away from the camp.

On this day …….. 27th of October 1872

When Mrs Gomerson of Burrangong, New South Wales, broke open an egg to fry on this day in 1872, she discovered an entire but slightly rusted needle in the centre of the yolk. There where no sign of entry in the eggshell and the content were fresh, but the portion around the needle was a little discoloured.


On this day …….. 21st of October 1941

On this day in 1941, a quick thinking fisherman saved a man Oliver Davis from drowning in Lake Macquarie, NSW. Fishing at Speers Point when he noticed a 35 year old man in trouble. With his first cast, the angler hooked the man and carefully reeled him to shore.


On this day …….. 17th of October 1903

Racegoers at the Moorefield meeting in Sydney on this day in 1903, were witness to a freak occurrence when the main race of the day ended in a triple dead heat between three horse High Flyer, Loch Lochie and Barinidi. The race was re run and amazingly the three same horse crossed the line as a dead heat again. The owners of the three horse agreed to split the prize money.


On this day …….. 9th of October 2009

Sam the koala gained notoriety in February 2009 when she was rescued during backburning operations prior to the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009. CFA volunteer firefighter David Tree approached the koala with a bottle of water, from which the animal drank; an unusual occurrence, given that koalas rarely drink water. A mobile phone video of the event was broadcast worldwide, creating an instant celebrity in the koala. Sam was subsequently taken to the Southern Ash Wildlife Centre in Rawson where she was treated for second-degree burns. After living there happily for several months, along with a young male koala who had also been rescued from bushfires, Sam was found to be stricken with the disease chlamydia. She was euthanased on 6 August 2009 when it was discovered her condition was inoperable. Dadswells Bridge, a town with a population of around 170 near the Grampians in Victoria, is home to the Giant Koala. Standing since 1988, the Giant Koala is a well-known tourist attraction in the area. It is 14 metres high, cast primarily out of bronze and weighs approximately 12 tonnes. On Saturday 10 October 2009, the Giant Koala was officially renamed “Sam” in honour of the koala. The centre aims to raise awareness of the life-threatening disease chlamydia, while offering a tribute to the hope Sam gave amidst the horrors of the Victorian bushfires.