The Death of Nelly Horrigan

February 10, 1870

“A disgraceful scene occurred on Friday last, in a brothel near Little Bourke street up on the occassion of a wake taking place.

It appears that a woman of the town, named Nelly Horrigan, was found dead in her bed on Friday morning by the man with whom she had been cohabitating, and it was decided by her companions to “wake” her in proper style.

Accordingly, at night the coffin containing the body was placed on trestles in the middle of the room, plenty of spirits were provided and placed on a table at the head, with pipes and tobacco in abundance at the foot.  The room was lit with candles, till everything was as light as day, and an old woman was seated at the foot of the coffin kept up an unearthly yell throughout the evening.  Towards ten o’clock, about sixty thieves and prostitutes of the lowest class assembled in the room, and commenced drinking and smoking, which finally ended in a regular melee, in which the coffin was upset, and black eyes and broken noses were freely distributed; and it was not until some of the sober neighbours interfered that the orgie was put an end to.

The funeral took place on Sunday, and it was evident from the appearance of those following the hearse, that the fight had been of a very sanguinary character, for there was hardly one of the mourners that had not either a black eye or a bandaged head.”

On this day …….. 4th of August 1860

The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ reports that gold has been found at Lambing Flat, later the scene of Australia’s largest anti-Chinese riots. The region surrounding present-day town of Young in the central southwest of New South Wales was first settled by pioneers seeking good grazing land for their stock. “Burrangong Station”, owned by J.White, was the first station beyond Sydney and the Bathurst area to be included on a colonial map. Burrangong Station included a large area for sheltering ewes during lambing: this became known as Lambing Flat. Towards the end of June 1870, a stockman camped at Lambing Flat noted how the countryside resembled the gold-bearing geography of established goldfields. Washing a few shovelfuls of dirt in a billy, he was rewarded with numerous gold flecks. The Lambing Flat goldfields were subsequently announced in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 August 1860. At the height of its popularity, the rich alluvial gold deposits attracted a population of around 20 000. While most of the diggers were from other parts of Australia, many migrants came from Europe and North America. Around 1000 miners were Chinese, and they soon became the target of violence from the “white” diggers. Due to unfounded suspicion and mistrust of the Chinese miners, within one year, Lambing Flat was to become infamous, not so much for the gold, but for being the scene of violent anti-Chinese riots.

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.

 

AT the recent licensing court, Mr. Dowling, of the Australian Hotel, Little Bourke-street east, opposed the application for a renewal of the license for the Colonial Family Hotel. On Saturday evening he was waited upon by three young men, who brought him a parcel. On opening it he found a miniature coffin painted black, with an inscription on the lid as follows—”Sacred to the memory of V. Dowling,” and a small piece of paper attached informed him that it was but a sign and token of what he would soon require.

The Colonial Family Hotel became known as the death house and is one of the stops on our Chinatown Murder Tour

Well we might be a little bit late to the new year this year!!  But nevertheless Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

In our defence we have been busy in the background finding and securing some new adventures for the Twisted History for this year, some we will be letting you know about very soon!  As well as busily providing ghost tours and paranormal investigations at Geelong Gaol and murder tours in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

Back to our blog!!  This year we will be doing things a little differently.  For the past couple of years we have been blogging snippets from history that happened “On This Day.  This year we will be doing “Sunday Spotlights” instead.  This will allow us to provide more details (where we can!) on some of the events we will be writing about.

But we would like your input!

As some of you would know we have a few different categories that we blog about – these include Murders, Goals, Hotels, Pop Culture and of course Twisted History.

This year we want to hear from you! Which Australian murder cases fascinate you?  Is there a particular Australian movie or TV show you want to know more about?  Is there an urban legend that gives you a chuckle?  Or even a good ghost story we haven’t heard?  Is your local hotel haunted?  Is there something paranormal you want to discuss?  We want to hear it all!

If you have some ideas for blog articles – get in touch!  You can email us at twistedhistoryvictoria@gmail.com, you can inbox us on any of our facebook pages or give us a call on 1300865800.

We do have some stories going up starting tonight and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Welcome to 2018!!

 

 

ON THIS DAY – November 17, 1889

Constable Coffey on Friday night arrested a man named John Caffrey on a charge of wilfully murdering Ah Gayong in Market-lane on November 17. It will be remembered that the Chinaman was killed by a couple of roughs who attacked him without any provocation.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – November 4, 1924

At an inquest into the death of William Paterson Graham, aged 38 years of age, who was fatally stabbed outside the Chinese Nationalist Club, Little Bourke street, Melbourne, on November 4, Harry Yock Kee, aged 29 years, was committed for trial for the murder or Graham.  Evidence was given by Alexander Read that he and Graham entered the club on the night of November 4 and watched some Chinese playing billiards. Roy Charles Ledow, a half-caste, requested them to leave, but Graham began to mark the game. Ledow insisted that he should leave, and they both walked to the door. Yock Kee helped to bustle them out. Read’s hat fell off in the scuffle, and when he turned round after picking it up he saw Graham wounded on the ground.

 

 

 

ON THIS DAY – October 18, 1953

 

Walter Grenfell, 57, of Gordon House, City, had been suffering from a heart disease for some time and was always “a candidate for death,” Mr. Wade, S.M., City Coroner was told yesterday.  After hearing this evidence from Dr. W. M. Keane, medical superintendent of St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Dr. K. M. Bowden, Government pathologist, the coroner found that Grenfell died of heart failure. On October 18, at the city watchhouse, Arthur Clive Byrum, 20, laborer, of Gordon House, was charged with having murdered Grenfell, who was found dead in a room at Gordon House,  Shortly after Mr Wade announced his finding yesterday, a special sitting of the City Court, under Mr. McLean, S.M., discharged Byrum. Detective – Sergeant John Adam told the coroner that on Sunday, October 18, Byrum carne to him and said he had killed a man In a room at Gordon House by placing a pillow over his face.

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 26th September 1853

Elizabeth and Michael Finnessy were married in Burra, South Australia, they had two children who had both died. The couple had moved to Victoria and lived in a small house in Chinatown. A week before Elizabeth was murdered, she had found at that her husband was married to another woman, who was still alive. With this news Elizabeth began to drink heavily and was locked up in the watch house to sober up. On being release she was taken back to her house to speak with her husband. Sitting in the lounge room Michael said “Won’t you speak to me Lizzy” and upon this the man who lived in the house with the couple left the room, thinking they would become reconciled.  Remaining just outside in the street, he heard a pistol shot. Returned to the room he saw Elizabeth stumbling across the room, she returned to the part near where she had been sitting, and falling under the table.

She was raised up and placed upon a sofa in the room, but was barely able to speak. In a soft voice she begged the man who placed her there, to fetch a priest, as she knew she was dying. So didn’t speak again and died within 10 mins.

Her husband, almost immediately after the dreadful deed, rushed into the next room, and proceeded to reload the pistol, but was stopped before he could kill himself. He was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder. Michael was executed on the 25th of October 1853, at the same time as another murderer. After hanging the usual time, one hour, the bodies were taken down and conveyed to their destination at the Melbourne Cemetery.

 

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 6th September 1884

A Chinese storekeeper named Ah Goon, of Little Bourke-Street East, was murdered in the early hours of the morning on the 6th of September 1884. The place was a gambling den, and it was found that a sum of £200 or £300 was stolen by the murderer or murderers. A post-mortem examination has been held, and the cause of death has been given as Serous apoplexy, accelerated by fright, and the result of a wound on the face. Two Chinese have been arrested on suspicion, however they we never charged with the murder due to the lack of evidence.

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 …….. 4th of August 1860

The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ reports that gold has been found at Lambing Flat, later the scene of Australia’s largest anti-Chinese riots. The region surrounding present-day town of Young in the central southwest of New South Wales was first settled by pioneers seeking good grazing land for their stock. “Burrangong Station”, owned by J.White, was the first station beyond Sydney and the Bathurst area to be included on a colonial map. Burrangong Station included a large area for sheltering ewes during lambing: this became known as Lambing Flat. Towards the end of June 1870, a stockman camped at Lambing Flat noted how the countryside resembled the gold-bearing geography of established goldfields. Washing a few shovelfuls of dirt in a billy, he was rewarded with numerous gold flecks. The Lambing Flat goldfields were subsequently announced in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 August 1860. At the height of its popularity, the rich alluvial gold deposits attracted a population of around 20 000. While most of the diggers were from other parts of Australia, many migrants came from Europe and North America. Around 1000 miners were Chinese, and they soon became the target of violence from the “white” diggers. Due to unfounded suspicion and mistrust of the Chinese miners, within one year, Lambing Flat was to become infamous, not so much for the gold, but for being the scene of violent anti-Chinese riots.