The Murder of Rachel Currell

23 February, 1926

Henry Tacke, 65, Importer, was charged in the Criminal Court today with the murder of Rachel Currell, 34, at St Kilda on December 15th.

Frederick George Currell, barman, admitted under cross examination that he knew his wife and Tacke went to Sydney and Adelaide together and that Tacke paid 80 guineas for an operation upon Mrs Currell.  She acted in a secretarial capacity for Tacke.  Currell denied he knew Tacke paid for the upkeep of his house.

Currell said he was awakened on the night of the shooting when in bed on the front verandah.  He told Tacke he could not see Mrs Currell.  They quarrelled at the gate and Mrs Currell said; “you had better come inside instead of making a scene in the street”.  As they were going inside, Tacke hit Currell behind the ear knocking off his hat.  When asked to return it, Currell saw Tacke turn as if to go and saw something shiny in his hand which he had whipped from his pocket.  Tacke fired a shot at Currell but missed and hit Mrs Currell instead.  When Mrs Currell retreated inside, Tacke fired a number of shots into the dark hallway in an attempt to scare Mrs Currell.  Mrs Currell was shot dead and had 10 bullet wounds – 5 entry and exit wounds.

When arrested at Sorrento, Tacke said it was all an accident and he had intended to commit suicide.

In Tacke’s statement, he said he had spent 2500 pounds on Mrs Currell for dinners and theatres and by allowing her 2-10 pounds weekly for the past 3 years.

Tacke had met Mrs Currell in City Picture Theatre in February 1923.  Their friendship developed into intimacy and he fell deeply in love with her.  At the time of their meeting, he was friendly with own wife.  He had lost his whole family of 8 in infancy.  On Mrs Currell’s recovery from an operation he sent her to Daylesford and paid all her expenses.  He was also in the habit of sending out roast fowls and bottles of wine when she was in ill-health.

The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter.

Injury at Pentridge

2 April, 1927

When wardens went to Tacke’s cell as usual, to escort him to the warders library where he worked as a librarian, Tacke suddenly climbed up the bars to a height of 18 feet, then pitched headlong to the stone floor of his cell.  Tacke was conveyed to the Melbourne Hospital in an unconscious state.

Tacke was at one time a well known clubman, member of the MCG and conducted a successful business in the city.

The Death of Henry Tacke

10 September 1927

Henry Tacke, aged 65 years, who was serving a sentence of 7 years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Mrs Rachel Currell at St Kilda in December 1925, died in the Geelong Hospital last night.

Tacke was admitted to the Geelong Gaol on April 28 after he sustained a broken ankle the result of a fall from a gallery at Pentridge.

The coroner held an inquiry today.  Dr Purnell, the gaol medical officer, said Tacke’s ankle remained in splints until the middle of May when massage commenced.  On June 16, he went for a walk in the exercise yard.  Dr Purnell then formed the opinion that Tacke had no desire to get better and malingered at every possible opportunity.  He refused to try and walk and would let himself to the ground at every opportunity.

On July 30, while in the hospital, Tacke rubbed his back on the floors, producing large bed sores and feigned insanity.  Towards the end of August, he refused to take nourishment.  Death was due to heart disease.

A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was recorded.

September 7, 1869

Yesterday a prisoner named M’Henry, who at the last sittings of the General Sessions was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment
for stealing saddles, made his escape from the Geelong Gaol in a manner which leads to the presumption that he received assistance from outside.
M’Henry succeeded in changing his prison clothes in the water closet, and dolling an ordinary suit, which must have been left
there by some associates. He then eluded the eyes of the warders, and escaped from the neighborhood of the gaol, taking his way
through the town, for some of the cabmen on the Market Square stand, observed him hurrying through the streets, with a handkerchief tied over his head. They knew him, but supposed that he had served his sentence, and was discharged, and it was only on learning different an hour after, that information was given
to the police.  Chase was immediately given, and the runaway was traced as far as the Duck Ponds (Lara), where the clue was lost, and nothing more had been heard of the escaped prisoner up to a late hour last evening.
The reason of his escape would seem to be that another charge
of horse-stealing is hanging over M’Henry’s head, and he probably heard of this, for it is not likely that for the sake of two or three
months he hnd still to serve that he would expose himsslf to a further sentence for attempting to escape.
He is an old soldier, and up to th time of his conviction was the recipient of a pension for services rendered in the Crimean and Indian wars. His conviction for felony, however, had the effect of making him ineligible of receiving any further payments on
that account.

Hurstbridge murder

A memorial erected over his grave commemorates Henry Facey Hurst who was shot and killed by the bushranger Robert Burke in 1866. Henry was a pioneer settler of Hurstbridge where he built the first log bridge over the Diamond Creek so giving the township its name. On 4 October, 1866, Robert Burke, alias McClusky arrived at Allwood and asked Ellen Hurst (Henryand#39;s sister) for breakfast, and later a horse. She sent for Henry, who questioned Burke. When Henry reached for his gun, Burke shot him. Despite the wound, Henry held Burke until help arrived. He subsequently bled to death. The jury found Burke guilty of wilful murder`, with a recommendation to mercy, on account of Hurst having fired the first shot. Robert Burke was sentenced to death . A public meeting was held at the Melbourne Mechanics Institute on the evening of Monday 26th November to adopt a petition with over 2,000 signatures, for submission to the Executive Council, asking for the death sentence to be commuted to imprisonment for life. Some ten days after the trial the sentence was carried out. Robert Burke the bushranger, aged 24 years, was hanged at the Melbourne Gaol on Thursday 29th November 1866.

Actual Monument Dedication Date:

Front Inscription:
‘Sacred to the memory of Henry Facey Hurst (formerly of Hanford Dorset) who while defending his home fell near this spot by a ball fired by the bushranger Burke on October 4th 1866 aged 34 years’.

This memorial was erected by a grateful public as a memorial of his heroic self sacrfifice.

A rare photo of Ned Kelly not seen by the public in 138 years has resurfaced

A RARE photo of outlaw bushranger Ned Kelly not seen by the public for 138 years went under the hammer at auction in February 2016. The photo has only previously been seen by a select few when Lawsons auction house sold it in 1988. The photo formerly belonged to descendants of William Turner, the 1878-9 Mayor of Launceston in Tasmania and since its 1988 sale it has been kept in a private Sydney collection. It has now resurfaced and will go under the hammer once again. The photo taken in December 1878 shows a relaxed Ned Kelly, centre, standing with his brother Dan Kelly on the left and gang member Steve Hart on the right. The photo was signed by all three men but the signatures were written by Joe Byrne, a Kelly Gang member, as none of the other men could read or write. Tom Tompson, a publisher and specialist for auction houses, told News Corp Australia the photo was taken in the town of Euroa on the day the Kelly Gang robbed the local bank. This was the Kelly’s first bank robbery and a means to support themselves while in hiding from authorities. Tompson said the photo was taken as an attempt for the men to gain support from sympathisers. “Ned was compiling letters, which Joe Byrne actually wrote for him, and these were put to newspapers who in the main would not publish them because the Victorian police were coming down hard on anything that looked like sympathetic treatment of outlaws,” Tompson said. Tompson said the photo shows the three men deliberately portraying a different image of themselves having gotten rid of their old clothing. “You can see a larrikin streak which is obviously there, they’ve got their new duds (clothes), they’re making their mark and it’s a very likeable shot of the Kellys instead of the dour, dark and troubling ones that exist,” he said. The photo has been pasted on a Tasmanian photographer’s card, then glued to 1920s Kodak paper. The photo has now been published in the new edition of George Wilson Hall’s book The Kelly Gang, Or, Outlaws of the Wombat Ranges. Tompson said there is huge historic value to the photo. “The Kellys are very much part of a mythical Australia,” he said. “At the time the Irish were being treated incredibly badly, they weren’t allowed to have schooling or own horses. “They bought out the Irish police to create the Victorian police force to keep a form of class distinction,” he said. The Kelly Gang became a Robin Hood-type myth for a lot of people who were struggling with their life in Australia, he added. Tompson said photos such as this one were traded between sympathisers and photographers for years. Lawsons auction house expects the photo to sell for between $10,000 and $15,000 but Thompson predicts it could go for much more. The photo was taken just over a year before the Kelly Gang’s last stand with police at the siege at Glenrowan where Ned and others wore their homemade metal armour. Ned Kelly was the only one of his gang to survive the siege and was hung at Melbourne Gaol in 1880 where he uttered “such is life” before he was hung.

 

On This Day ……. 6th of August 1873

The notorious Emily Green, who for some time past has been diverting herself at Ballarat by getting drunk and uncontrollable, and destroying Government property when incarcerated, has again visited this town. Last evening she was found by Constable Digby, near the top of Yarra street, in the centre of a numerous group of boys and men, and apparently suffering from a fit. The constable speedily defined the cause of her illness, but although a cab was procured it was only with the utmost difficulty she was conducted to the watch house, where she subsequently made the ells melodious, before being taken to the Geelong a Gaol.

 

Frank Gardiner, born in 1830 Scotland and shipped out to Australia as a child with his parents, made an illustrious career out of horse thievery and highway robbery. On 15 June 1862, Gardiner along with Ben Hall, John Gilbert and associates held up a gold escort travelling from Forbes to Bathurst. They stole over £14,000 worth of gold and bank notes – Australia’s biggest gold robbery. In February 1864, New South Wales police traced Gardiner to his hideout in Queensland. He was arrested and sentenced to 32 years of hard labour in July. Ten years later, Governor Hercules Robinson granted him mercy and released him, subject to exile. Gardiner lived in Hong Kong and Francisco before dying in Colorado in 1903. “Colonial rule was constantly challenged by bushrangers – it was a major threat to the central administration,” says Dr Hamish Maxwell-Stewart from the University of Tasmania. “They were turning the tables on the convict state.”

 

Convict Joseph Samuels was sentenced to death for burglary in Sydney in 1803. Whoever on the day of the execution 26th of September 1803, the rope broke 3 times. As Samuels was about to be executed the 4th time, the Governor stopped the proceedings on the grounds of divine intervention. Samuels left the gallows with his life and a sore neck.

 

On This Day ……. 5th of August 1880

Two larrikins named William Worzeldine and Walter Daniels were charged at the police court on this day in 1880, with being found in a public place with intent to commit a felony. There was a second charge of vagrancy. Sergeant O’Hare stated that about 10 o’clock on the evening of the 29th of July, he observed the prisoners loitering about in a suspicious manner, and then go up the lane at the rear of Messrs. Bright and Hitchcock’s establishment. He followed them, and arrested Daniels, and Worzeldine was afterwards found in an empty packing case behind the drapery shop. He had not known the prisoners do anything for a living. Mr. Cakebread stated that on the 28th ult., his office was broken into. On the morning of the 29th he found a blank cheque on his desk with the word “bearer” written on it by one of the robbers. Sergeant O’Hare stated that he got Daniels to write the word “bearer,” and the writing was similar to that on the blank cheque. Worzeldine, in defence, stated that he was in the employment of a night man when he was arrested, and always earned an honest livelihood. Daniels made no defence. Worzeldine was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, and Daniels to nine months’, in the Geelong Gaol.

 

The headless remains of Australia’s most infamous criminal, Ned Kelly, have been identified. Victoria state Attorney General Robert Clark said that a team of forensic scientists identified Kelly’s remains among those exhumed from a mass grave at Pentridge prison in Melbourne in 2009. Kelly led a gang of bank robbers in Victoria in the 19th century. Today he is considered by many Australians to be a Robin Hood-like figure who stood up to the British colonial authorities of the time. He was executed in 1880, but his final resting place had long been a mystery. “To think a group of scientists could identify the body of a man who was executed more than 130 years ago, moved and buried in a haphazard fashion among 33 other prisoners, most of whom are not identified, is amazing,” said Victoria Attorney General Robert Clark. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that investigators revealed that an almost complete skeleton of the outlaw was found buried in a wooden ax box. Clark said DNA analysis and other tests were used to confirm the skeleton is Kelly’s. The Morning Herald said DNA samples were taken from Melbourne school teacher Leigh Olver, who is the great-grandson of Kelly’s sister Ellen. Kelly’s skull was stolen from a display case at the Old Melbourne Gaol in 1978. A 2009 claim by a West Australian farmer, Tom Baxter, that he had Kelly’s skull was eventually rejected, but led to the investigation that uncovered his bones. The Morning Herald said that investigators believed that Kelly’s remains were transferred from the Old Melbourne Gaol to the Pentridge prison in 1929, then exhumed with the remains of 33 other people during the investigation in 2009. Baxter had handed the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine what he said was the stolen skull, which featured the inscription “E. Kelly” on its side — Kelly’s actual first name was Edward. Baxter has not revealed how he got ahold of the skull. Scientists at the institute set out to determine who the skull belonged to, and to identify Kelly’s full remains among the tangle of skeletons exhumed from the Pentridge site. Through CT scans, X-rays, anthropological and historical research and DNA analysis, the team finally identified one skeleton as Kelly’s. Most of its head was missing. Stephen Cordner, the institute’s director, said the DNA left no doubt the skeleton was Kelly’s. Tests on the remains also uncovered evidence of shotgun wounds that matched those Kelly suffered during his criminal rampage. “The wear and tear of the skeleton is a little bit more than would be expected for a 25-year-old today,” Cordner said. “But such was Ned’s life, this is hardly surprising.” As for Baxter’s “E. Kelly” skull? Not Ned’s. The whereabouts of Kelly’s skull remain a mystery, Cordner said. Descendant Olver told reporters in Melbourne that he hoped his notorious ancestor will finally be laid to rest in a place of dignity. “It’s such a great relief to finally have this side of the story resolved,” Olver said. Kelly’s story has been documented in several books and movies, including a film starring Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and another starring late actor Heath Ledger. Kelly’s use of homemade armor to protect himself from police bullets was even given a nod during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when actors on stilts dressed in similar armor were featured in the opening ceremony. “I think a lot of Australians connect with Ned Kelly and they’re proud of the heritage that has developed as a result of our connection with Ned Kelly and the story of Ned Kelly,” Olver said. “In our family, he was a hero.”

herald Sun

 

On This Day ……. 4th of August 1884

A woman who wrested with a male named Oswald Brown, at Warrnambool on this day in 1884, was lodged in the Geelong gaol, to await the hearing of the charge against her at the Police Court. The man, who was also brought to Geelong, was
afterwards taken to Ballarat, to account for a buggy and pair of horses which, it is
alleged, he hired in that city and never returned. He has also to appear in Geelong
to perform a similar mission, the carriage and pair having been taken from the stables of Cobb and Co.

 

This picture was taken in the graveyard of the old Melbourne Gaol, which was demolished in 1924, to make way for the Working Men’s College. The crudely engraved initials E.K., standing for Edward Kelly, the notorious bushranger of 50 years ago, are directly over the grave, on a heavy bluestone wall which is being pulled down. The grave, which is covered with rubbish and an old ladder, is a grim reminder of the Kelly gang. The bluestone blocks and grave markers were bought from the government by the shire of Brighton and used to stop erosion along the foreshore. Today 5 Grave markers can be found at Brighton Beach, but sad not Ned’s.

 

On this day …….. 3rd of August 1914

One of the men captured at Yea by Constable Buck and Mr Grant escaped from Kilmore gaol on the morning of the 3rd August 1914. He was taken back to the gaol.