ON THIS DAY…… 18th November 1879

One of Australia’s youngest bushrangers, a fifteen-year-old member of Captain Moonlite’s gang, is shot and killed.

Augustus Wernicke was one of Australia’s youngest bushrangers, and part of Captain Moonlite’s gang. Captain Moonlite, aka Andrew George Scott, became a bushranger upon his release from gaol, eight years after robbing the bank at Mount Egerton, Victoria. He recruited several other gang members, among them 15-year-old Wernicke, and walked to New South Wales, hoping to find employment at Wantabadgery Station, well known for its hospitality. Being in the grip of a severe drought, and also having changed hands, Wantabadgery could offer them nothing. In desperation, Moonlite took 35 people hostage. In the resultant shootout with police on 18 November 1879, gang members James Nesbitt and Augustus Wernicke, together with Constable Bowen, were all shot dead. Moonlite and the surviving gang members were tried and charged with the murder of Constable Bowen. Moonlite himself was hanged on 20 January 1880 at Darlinghurst Court.

On This Day – November 12, 1894

The execution of Elijah Cockroft for the murder of Fanny Mott at Noradjura, in the Wimmera district, took place at the Ballarat Gaol this morning, when only six persons besides the gaol officials were present. Punctually at 10 o’clock, Cockroft was brought out of his cell and led to the drop, and on being asked if he had anything to say he said  “I Trust Jesus.” When the rope w s being placed round his neck he began to sob bitterly, and on the bolt being drawn death was instantaneous.

Canon Morris who attended him throughout, stated that he died repentant, and in his opinion the whole case was a lasting disgrace to the State, which was responsible for the wretched state of ignorance in which the unfortunate lad existed. Yesterday several gentlemen wired to the Attorney-General asking him to stay the execution as they believed the accused man was insane. A medical examination was subsequently made, but it was found he was perfectly sane.

On This Day – November 12, 1938

DOUBLE MURDER CHARGE

On a charge of having murdered Annie Constance Wiseman, 62, and her niece, Phyllis Wiseman,  17, at Glenroy, on November 12, George Green, 42, chimney sweep, of West Heidelberg was remanded at the City Court to-day until December 16. Miss Wiseman and her niece were found strangled in Miss Wiseman’s home at Glenroy on November 12. The inquest into their deaths will be held on December 19.

ON THIS DAY…… 11th November 1880

Ned Kelly execution

Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushranger, was born in December 1854 in Victoria, Australia. Kelly was twelve when his father died, and he was subsequently required to leave school to take on the new position as head of the family. Shortly after this, the Kellys moved to Glenrowan. As a teenager, Ned became involved in petty crimes, regularly targetting the wealthy landowners. He gradually progressed to crimes of increasing seriousness and violence, including bank robbery and murder, soon becoming a hunted man. Many of Ned Kelly’s peers held him in high regard for his stand of usually only ambushing wealthy landowners, and helped to keep his whereabouts from the police, despite the high reward posted for his capture. However, he was betrayed to the police whilst holding dozens of people hostage in the Glenrowan Inn in June, 1880. Wearing their famous armour, the Kelly brothers held a shootout with police. Gang members Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were killed, and Ned was shot twenty-eight times in the legs, which were unprotected by the armour. He survived to stand trial, and was sentenced to death by hanging, by Judge Redmond Barry on 29 October 1880. Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne on 11 November 1880.

ON THIS DAY – November 11, 1917

A sodden photograph dredged from the Goulburn gave the first clue to the identity of a murderer who used many names.   On a warm and drowsy summer Sunday afternoon – November 18,1917- a soldier on leave from Seymour Camp, four miles away, rested after a long walk. He leaned on the rail of the old wooden bridge which spans the river at this peaceful spot. He was gazing down idly at the rolling waters in a really Arcadian setting which nobody would associate with violence or murder.   As he watched the moving water he saw what he thought was a dark weed waving its strands near the surface. But then the supposed weed moved suddenly to reveal the white neck and to become the floating dark hair of a young girl. She appeared to be afloat head downwards, but it was clear that her body was held by a river snag.

When the dead girl was taken from the river she was found to have been about 12 years old. Her head had been battered savagely above the right ear, apparently by the back of a hatchet. Identification came swiftly. She was Rose Taylor, who with her widowed mother, Mrs Margaret Taylor, had arrived in Seymour from Bendigo about three weeks earlier.  A fall in the river level next exposed a mud bank, and there lay a small hatchet which proved later to be the murder weapon. The detectives felt sure that the girl had been battered to death under the bridge. There, however, all they found was litter left behind by picnic parties. They had no idea where the girl’s mother, Mrs Margaret Taylor, might be, or even whether she was still alive. All they knew about her was that she formally lived in North Melbourne.

27 November 1917

After investigations extending over seven days the detectives working on the mysterious Trawool tragedy succeeded in tracing Private Arthur Geoffrey Oldring, the machine gunner, who disappeared from the Seymour camp last Monday. He was found on Saturday afternoon, working at an orchard in the fruit growing district of Lancaster, about 15 miles from Tatura. On being arrested Oldring was hand cuffed and taken to Tatura by motor car and then on to Seymour by train. Later on in the evening two distinct charges were laid against, him of having murdered Margaret Taylor and her daughter, Rose Taylor, at Trawool on or about November 10 or 11. On Sunday afternoon Oldring was taken to Melbourne in the custody of De-tectives Naphine and Sullivan, and was lodged in the City Watch-house.

ON THIS DAY – November 7, 1949 

Pop Kent was an elderly SP Bookmaker targeted by Jean Lee, Norman Andrews and Robert Clayton because of a roll of cash Pop was seen with in the University Hotel in Carlton. Inviting the trio back to his home, he would be beaten to death.  Lee, Andrews and Clayton would be found guilty and sentenced to be executed at Pentridge prison.  Jean Lee would become the last woman executed in Australia in February 1951.

 

 

On this day …….. 29th of October 1880

Ned Kelly sentenced to execution

Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushranger, was born in December 1854 in Victoria, Australia. Kelly was twelve when his father died, and he was subsequently required to leave school to take on the new position as head of the family. Shortly after this, the Kellys moved to Glenrowan. As a teenager, Ned became involved in petty crimes, regularly targetting the wealthy landowners. He gradually progressed to crimes of increasing seriousness and violence, including bank robbery and murder, soon becoming a hunted man. Many of Ned Kelly’s peers held him in high regard for his stand of usually only ambushing wealthy landowners, and helped to keep his whereabouts from the police, despite the high reward posted for his capture. However, he was betrayed to the police whilst holding dozens of people hostage in the Glenrowan Inn in June, 1880. Wearing their famous armour, the Kelly brothers held a shootout with police. The Kelly brothers were killed, but Ned was shot twenty-eight times in the legs, being unprotected by the armour. He survived to stand trial, and was sentenced to death by hanging, by Judge Redmond Barry on 29 October 1880. Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne on 11 November 1880.

On this day …….. 28th of October 1880

Ned Kelly first stood trial on 19 October 1880 in Melbourne before the Irish-born judge Justice Sir Redmond Barry. Mr Smyth and Mr Chomley appeared for the crown and Mr Bindon for the prisoner. The trial was adjourned to 28 October, when Kelly was presented on the charge of the murder of Sergeant Kennedy, Constable Scanlan and Lonigan, the various bank robberies, the murder of Sherritt, resisting arrest at Glenrowan and with a long list of minor charges. He was convicted of the willful murder of Constable Lonigan and was sentenced to death by hanging by Justice Barry. Several unusual exchanges between Kelly and the judge included the judge’s customary words “May God have mercy on your soul”, to which Kelly replied “I will go a little further than that, and say I will see you there where I go.” At Kelly’s request, his picture was taken and he was granted farewell interviews with family members. His mother’s last words to him were reported to be “Mind you die like a Kelly.”

On this day …….. 20th October 1858

Convict Owen McQueeny was executed at the Geelong Gaol, Victoria, on this day in 1858, after being found guilty of murdering Elizabeth Lowe. After the execution an elderly woman applied for permission to have her hands stroked by the hands of the dead man to help with her arthritis.

 

ON THIS DAY – October 19, 1917

 

Alfred Edward Budd, 39 Stevedore’s labourer to-day, at the City Watch house, was formally charged with the murder of Annie Elizabeth Samson, at Princess Street, Port Melbourne, on October 19. Accused was the adopted brother of deceased, who was a married woman. He attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was to-day taken from the Melbourne Hospital and transfered to the Melbourne gaol hospital.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – October 19, 1917

 

Alfred Edward Budd, 39 Stevedore’s labourer to-day, at the City Watch house, was formally charged with the murder of Annie Elizabeth Samson, at Princess Street, Port Melbourne, on October 19. Accused was the adopted brother of deceased, who was a married woman. He attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was to-day taken from the Melbourne Hospital and transfered to the Melbourne gaol hospital.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – October 15, 1872

Living on the goldfields was hard and the threat of bush rangers was constantly on one’s mind. On the evening of the 15th of October three bushrangers named James Smith, Thomas Brady and William Heppanstein bailed up the Wooragee Post Office robbing them of their takings. They then rode to the Hotel next door. When John Watt, the publican of the Wooragee Hotel, opened the door he was confronted with three men with their faces covered. “Bail Up, Your money or your life”. When John refused he was shot, stumbling back into the kitchen where he fell on the floor, and standing back up he fell again, knocking chairs over. His wife then sat him up against the wall and sent a worker for the doctor. On the doctor’s arrival he was amazed that John was still alive. The exit wound on John’s back below his shoulder blade was large enough for a man’s clenched fist to fit into. Unbelievably, John lived for another nine days. Brady and Smith were charged with the murder and sentenced to hang on the 12th of May 1873 in the Beechworth Gaol. On the morning of the execution, Smith handed the Sheriff a hand written statement in the defence of both Smith and Brady. The hangman Bamford, bought up from Melbourne for the occasion, placed a white cape over their faces and the rope around their neck. Brady died straight away. However Smith struggled for minutes after his drop. It was a terrible sight, witnessed by sixty people.