ON THIS DAY – October 14, 1917


Bertha Silk (59), a married woman, was admitted to the Melbourne Hospital late on October 14, with two bullet wounds in the back. She was found lying near the front gate of her home, and later the dead body of Frederick Silk (74), her husband, was discovered by the police in the back yard, with a bullet through the breast, and his clothing smouldering. The attention of neighbours had then been attracted by the sound of shots. They sent for the police, who discovered the tragedy. Silk had a six-chambered revolver clutched in his hand, and four shots had been fired from it. The woman made a statement to the effect that while she was in her bedroom her husband came in, and immediately fired at her. She then ran to the front gate, where she was struck by a second shot. She added that there had been quarrels between herself and her husband in the past. He had objected to her undertaking poultry-rearing, and on the day of the tragedy there had been a dispute about a fowl which was sitting on some eggs. He threw the bird off the nest several times, and on each occasion she put it back. The couple had lived at Bayswater for several years. Silk was a Canadian by birth, and his son is on active service in France.

On This Day – October 3, 1907

The circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mr. Samuel Jones, of the Victorian Railways, in Spencer street, 0n October 3, were yesterday inquired into in the City Court, when Joseph Thomas, alais Jos. Thos. Young, was charged with shooting with intent to murder Mr. Jones. The evidence given by Samuel Jones, senior superintendent of transportation, was to the effect that while crossing Spencer street to Collins street at about 5.30 on the evening of October 3, he felt a blow in the back, as if he had been kicked. He also felt a slight sting, hearing at the same time the discharge of a revolver. Another shot was fired and the witness threw himself on the ground. As he rose to his feet he saw a man like the accused with a revolver pointing at him. The man, after placing the revolver in his pocket, walked off in the direction of Flinders street. Though he did not remember seeing the accused before he had seen the papers regarding his dismissal from the department. He was a supernumary porter and was found guilty of insubordination. Wm. Thompson, carrier, of Kyneton, told the bench that when he saw the accused fire the second shot he followed him, when he made off, and saw him arrested. The accused appeared to be silly. Evidence was given by Constable Geelan to the effect that from what he was told when at point duty at the corner of Market and Flinders streets, he went to the Queen’s Wharf, where he stopped the accused. Thompson, who came up, said the accused had shot a man and the accused was then arrested. The accused was then committed for trial.

On This Day – September 28, 1901

John Sloane charged with an attempt to murder Emma Mansfield at Horsham on September 28 by cutting her throat, was to-day committed for trial at the Ballarat Assizes.

Miss Mansfield, who fainted while giving evidence, said she never offended or encouraged accused in any way, and if it were said that he was her sweetheart it was not true.

Prisoner said that he had no recollection of the affair.

On This Day – September 9, 1916

At the City Police Court to-day Alexander McIvor was charged with having shot at Constable Frederick C Furnell at Gardenvale, on September 9, with intent to commit murder.

Sub-lnspector O’Brien said that on September 9 Constable Furnell was making some inquiries in Gardenvale. He saw a man on the verandah of a house, whose movements seemed suspicious. Furnell spoke to him, and on searching him found a chisel. Furnell them led the man away, when suddenly he fired six shots at the constable from a revolver. Each shot hit Furnell, but none caused serious injury. Furnell swooned, and the man escaped.

The accused, who denied the charge, was remanded till Monday. Bail was refused.

On This Day- September 2,1942


An extraordinary story was told to Essendon court yesterday, when a soldier, Robert Joseph Saxon was committed for trial on a charge of attempted murder.

Police evidence was given that at 2 p.m. on September 2, a man walked into a police station and said to First-Constable Mante, “I have come to give myself up, as I have just murdered my wife. I punched her in the stomach, and when she dropped I poured poison into her mouth.” Detective Sharkey said he took Saxon to a house in Maribyrnong, and through a window they saw Mrs. Saxon on a chair. Saxon said: “She is still alive. I left her for dead.” The witness said Saxon said to him, ‘She was on with another chap, and would have nothing to do with me.”

On This Day – August 29, 1880

An attempted double murder and suicide occurred at Echuca East on August 29 amongst the residents of the Chinese quarter, which created some sensation. The cause of the affair was a woman. A Chinaman named Georgo Cooey Foo, a well-known dangerous character, who has already served a sentence in Delinquin gaol for stabbing a man, fired at a woman named Sarah Newell and a countryman named William Ah Loon. Cooey Foo has been employed as cook on board the Lady of the Lake steamer. Ah Loon filled a like position on the South Australian steamer Cadell, and when recently at Echuca he was robbed of a £5-note by another Chinaman named James Ah Poo. Ah Loon came to Echuca to be present at the trial of Ah Poo, who, however, had absconded from his bail. Ah Loon then, in the absence of Cooey Foo, took up with the woman Newell. This enraged Cooey Foo, who purchased a revolver — six chambered pin-tire— and he went to Echuca East on August 29, and saw the woman Newell in bed. He fired two shots at her, neither of which took effect. Ah Loon then came to the rescue, and was fired at, but missed. He rushed Cooey Foo, and was shot in the head. The bullet glanced off the cheek-bone and emerged at the neck. Dr. Croker was called in, but unless erysipelas sets in danger is not apprehended. Senior-constable Nedwell arrested Cooey Foo on the capital charge of shooting with intent to murder. Cooey Foo admitted the shooting, and said he was sorry he had been baulked in his design of shooting both. He swallowed a piece of opium, but an emetic caused him to vomit, and he is now out of danger. Cooey Foo had written a letter to a countryman, in Chinese characters, saying he would be dead when the letter reached his friend, and telling the latter to get his watch, clothes, and money.

On this day …….. 21st of August 1869

John Darly was committed on the 3rd of October 1868. Darly managed to escaped on the 18th of November 1868, by walking out the front gate of the Asylum and down the hill into Beechworth, Victoria. Darly was recaptured and brought back to the asylum on the 20th of October only to escape again on the 21st of August 1869. This time however he was only on the large for 24 hour.


ON THIS DAY …….7th August 1886

Mary Jane Joy was married to a Chinaman and lived in Heffernan Lane.

On the 7th of August, 1886, Mary Jane was seen abusing a 10 month infant in her care. At 11pm that night she had been seen carrying the child out to the outhouse and beat him in a cruel manner. The child screamed as if in pain, and it was then that Mary Jane took the child by the legs and beat its head against the wall twice. After this the child was heard to moan. Her reasoning for the beating was that the child would not drink from the breast. It would come to light that this was a foster child and not her own. The child was removed from her by force where it was found to have a black eye and blood on its face. The infant almost died as was seen to be nearly starving and had been crying for nourishment. The child was eventually placed in the Industrial School and Mary Jane Ah Joy was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment, although she stated she was drunk at the time.


ON THIS DAY …….5th August 1947

Twin brothers were in the City Court on this day in 1947, one charged with attempted murder and the other with having conspired to murder. The charge followed the shooting of Keith Kitchener Hull, at St. Kilda on the 27th of July. The men are Charles Martin (26), of St. Kilda, who faced the charge of attempting to murder Hull, and Ernest Alfred James Martin, of South Yarra. who was charged with having conspired to murder Mrs. Thelma Hull, on the 30th of July.  George Barrett (34), of St. Kilda, was also charged with having attempted to murder Hull. Bail was refused on the attempted murder charge, but Ernest Martin was allowed bail. Detective H. R. Donnelly, in evidence, said that Hull would not tell the police who shot him. The accused were remanded to August 12.

ON THIS DAY – July 31, 1922

In the Malvern Police Court Robert Albert Scott, a French polisher, was charged with having, at Malvern, on July 31 shot Marie Dorothy Victoria Frith, a widow, aged 32 years, with intent to murder her.

Marié Dorothy Victoria Frith said that she had known Scott for about 14 months. They had been on friendly terms. On the evening of July 31 she met him by appointment at the Malvern Town Hall, and they walked along High-street until they came to a seat near the reserve at the corner of Edgar-street, where they sat down. In reply to a request by Scott that he should be allowed to continue to meet her witness said : “No, we have talked the matter over before and I am still of the same mind. I do not wish to talk about it any more.” Scott was silent for a few minutes. He then said: “Well if I can’t have you no one will. This ends it.” He drew a revolver and fired at her. The shot missed. Witness ran to the middle of the road. He then pointed the revolver at her face and fired four shots. She put up her left arm to shield her face. She thought that two shots entered her arm. She cried out: “What are you shooting me for? Stop shooting me.”

Witness noticed about half a dozen people standing on the footpath. A carrier’s van passed. The carrier looked out at the side and slowed down, but he passed on. Nobody came to her assistance. Scott said: “What are you making all this fuss about, you silly woman?” He then drew the revolver again and fired about four more shots. . He hit witness three times. One shot was in the left arm, which she had again put up to protect her face. She said to Scott: “You said that you would not shoot again” He said: “I intend to finish you.” Witness tried to run to the road again, but he grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground. Scott fired again, the bullet striking witness in the neck. Witness struggled with her arms over her face and another shot struck her in the elbow. She was trying to scream, but could not, as blood was flowing from her mouth freely. Scott took her further down the paddock and sat her down against a fence in a lane, saying: “Now don’t you move.” He then went to look for witness’s hat and glasses, and returned with the hat. Witness felt very weak and was in great pain. She was bleeding freely from the neck and arm. Scott next took her by the arm, and she said “Now let me get home. Will you stop following me any more? Will you stop shooting me?” They walked towards her home and be held her by the arm. She was holding his other hand so that he could not use the revolver. They walked up Tooronga-road to Wattle Tree-road, where witness resides. He said to her: “Will you promise me not to inform the police or tell anyone?” She said: “No, I will not tell the police.” Witness was terrified. He said “Will you meet me on Wednesday night?” Witness said “Yes,” not meaning, however, to keep her promise. He kissed her goodnight and said again. “Will you meet me on Wednesday night?” .She answered “Yes” and then said suddenly “There is your tram,” and left him. Witness complained to Mr and Mrs. M’Call, where she was boarding. Subsequently she was taken to the hospital. Scott was committed for trial.

ON THIS DAY – July 27, 1947

A slim, blue-eyed blonde, smartly dressed in a light brown coat, Dulcie Markham, of Fawkner Street, St. Kilda, appeared in the City Court this morning charged with conspiracy to murder. It was alleged that at St. Kilda on July 31, she conspired with Ernest Alfred James Markham to murder Valma Edith Hull, wife of Keith Kitchener Hull, who was wounded in St. Kilda on July 27. Mr. J. Galbally, who appeared for Dulcie Markham said she went voluntarily to Russell Street on Saturday and said, “If there is any charge, I am here to answer it.” Mrs. Markham was remanded to the St. Kilda Court on August 15. Bail was fixed at £300, with a £300 surety.

ON THIS DAY – JULY 7, 1948

CHARGED with having wounded Francis Gerald Ryan with intent to murder him, Eugene Francis Fitzpatrick, medical practitioner, of Como pde, Mentone, appeared before the Geelong City Court yesterday. He pleaded not guilty. Ryan, a fish merchant, of Derby st, Kensington, said that he and George Sevior went to Barwon Heads on July 6, and soon afterwards went to see Dr and Mrs Fitzpatrick, whom he had known for six or seven years, and who invited them to have tea with them. After tea he and Sevior, with the Fitzpatricks, went to his (Ryan’s) house and had some liquor. Later Mrs Fitzpatrick remarked that the doctor had had too much liquor, and should go to bed. Ryan offered to take the doctor home. After showing some resentment Fitzpatrick was assisted to the back door of his house. Mrs Fitzpatrick had remained behind so that her husband might drop off to sleep before she went in. Ryan returned home, and soon afterward, as he and Mrs Fitzpatrick were talking, he heard a row and a gunshot at the back of the house. He went to the back door and was shot in the right elbow.


To Mr R. V. Monahan, KC (for Fitzpatrick), Ryan said that he and the doctor were great friends, and no reason was given for the doctor wanting “to harm him.

George Francis Sevior, fish hawker, of Altona, said he went to bed about midnight. Ryan rushed into his room and said, “Get up quickly. Someone is shooting through the back door.” He heard several shots. Ryan went to the back door. A shot was fired, and Ryan was shot. He heard five shots fired.


Senior-constable Simpson said he was called at 2am on July 7 by Ryan, who was accompanied by Sevior and Mrs Fitzpatrick. Five minutes later he heard a noise on the front verandah, and Fitzpatrick called out, “Open the door. I know Ryan is here. Come out, Ryan, you aren’t going to do that to me and get away with it.” Through the door he asked Fitzpatrick what was the matter. Fitzpatrick replied, “Let me in. I’ve shot Ryan, and I’ll shoot him again.” Witness opened the door and saw Fitzpatrick holding a gun. He seized him and took the gun away. At the Geelong detective office Fitzpatrick, when told that Ryan had been shot, said he “could not remember a thing about it.” The hearing was adjourned.