Introducing our new online livestream series – Locked Up With History!

This is our way of combating the lockdown that Victoria is currently experiencing!  Although our region is under Stage 3 restrictions, we are once again completely shut down for tours.

For a while, some of you have been asking for some more of the history of the Geelong Gaol amongst other topics and so Locked Up With History was born!

Starting August 23 on a Sunday afternoon at 2pm, these webinars will explore some of the darker history of Victoria.  Webinars will run fortnightly for an hour and cover a range of topics including the Geelong Gaol, murders and a Q & A with some of our investigators

These are paid webinars, but the cost ($12)  includes a discount code for 10% off any Twisted History tour once we can restart delivering tours in person.

Webinars can be booked through our website and will be streamed to a private Facebook group.  You will also have 7 days to rewatch the broadcast and any material that has been uploaded to the group to compliment our talks.

We have a lineup of talks through to mid December with the full schedule below.  If you have any further topics you would like to see covered, then drop us a line!

We hope you can join us!

August 23, 2020 – Geelong Gaol History and some prisoner stories
September 6, 2020 – Escapes from Geelong Gaol
September 20, 2020 – Paranormal Q & A
October 4, 2020 – Executions at Geelong Gaol
October 18, 2020 – Death Masks & Phrenology
November 1, 2020 – Pyjama Girl Murder
November 15, 2020 – Murders in Chinatown, Melbourne
November 29, 2020 – Frederick Deeming – Mad or Bad
December 13, 2020 – Paranormal Locations Q & A (to be confirmed)

On this day …….. 26th of December 1951

A young man has been charged with breaking into Pentridge gaol. The man was discovered about midday on the 26th of December 1951, in a building In the reformatory section of the gaol. He told warders he was familiar with the layout of the building, because he had recently served a long term there. Early this morning he had climbed over a 20 foot wall surrounding the gaol, and spent the morning distributing Christmas gifts of tobacco and cigarettes to his friends.

On this day …….. 25th of October 1906

The mysterious disappearance of Mr Frank Banner the schoolmaster of the at the state school in Stieglitz, Victoria. On Saturday the 29th of September Banner court the Stieglitz coach to Meredith for the purpose of catching the Ballarat train. Strangely Banner had not returned home by the late coach on Sunday night,  but not much concern was raised as there was no moon, and if there was few passengers the coach would not run for Meredith.   But when the school was not opened on Monday morning concern was raised.  Word was sent for his brother Mr. H Banner, stationmaster in Shepparton, who came to the district immediately to make enquirers. All efforts to trace the missing gentleman were fruitless, and gave fears that a serious accident may have happened to Mr Banner. His description was given as an average built man, about 5ft 7in high.  He had been in charge of the Steiglitz State School for the past 3 years.

On this day …….. 9th of October 1865

An inquest was held at Stieglitz, on this day in 1865, at the Victoria Hotel, on the body of Thomas Hatch.  The deceased a miner at the Sailor’s Reef shaft, Stieglitz was killed when he was jammed between a large rock and the side of the drive. The rock was about five feet in height, and reached to the upper part of deceased’s chest, pressing him closely to the wall.

Witnesses took pickaxes, and examined the drive, and commenced to take the body out by breaking the stone which held him in the position described.

The drive was about four and a half feet by seven feet in length. The stone was black slate and wedge shape, about a ton and a half in weignt, about eighteen inches at the base, and tapering to a point. The thick edge of the stone lay against the back of the deceased.

The body was removed to the cellar of the Victoria Hotel, Molesworth Street, where an autopsy determined a  verdict “Accidental Death, and no blame attachable to the managers of the mine.”

On this day …….. 25th of September 1861

An inquest was held on this day, at Mr. Goulden’s, the Victoria Hotel, Molesworth Street, Stieglitz on the body of Robert M’Farlane, miner killed at the Portuguese Reef.

Foster Shaw, Esq., the coroner, and a respectable jury, proceeded to a tent at the rear of the hotel where the deceased body had been placed.  On examination it was found that he had received several severe bruises on the back, of the head, the right arm was broken, and the left leg also broken, several severe cuts and bruises in other parts of his person, and fracture of the right arm and left leg.

A verdict “Accidental Death, and no blame attachable to the managers of the mine.” Due to a large sandstone block falling a distance of about eight feet crushing M’Farlane.

A very large and respectable assemblage performed the last duty in attending the deceased to his resting place in the new cemetery, Stieglitz. There being

no Presbyterian minister resident on the field, to which church the unfortunate deceased belonged, the Church of England service was read in a most impressive manner by Mr Lee.

A coincidence attended the landing at Grave Island in 1910, of a boat party from the steamer Wakefield, who were searching for the missing steamer Waratah. ⁣

Grave Island takes its name from the fact that several sailors are buried there. The boat party was in charge of the chief officer Mr. Thomas Ryan, of Dublin. Ryan was the first to approach the graves, and the first tomb stone that confronted him bore his own name, rank, and birthplace.

It had been erected in 1868 in memory of Thomas Ryan, a native of Dublin, and chief officer of the Elizabeth Jacques.⁣

 

A strange premonition happened in Swan Hill, Victoria to Mr Robert Henry Athorne, farmer aged 47, who was run over by his wagon, and died on 22nd May 1916 at the Swan Hill Hospital.

In March, Athorne dreamt that he would meet with a fatal accident, which he took such notice of the premonition, that he at once insured his life against  accident for between, £4,000 and £5000.

He left a wife and ten children, the eldest of being 21 years and the youngest nine months. ⁣

 

On Monday the 24th of May 1965, Humphrey B. Bear an icon of Australian children’s television was first broadcast on Adelaide’s NWS-9.

The show became one of the most successful programs for pre-schoolers in Australia. The part of Humphrey was played by Edwin Duryea, an actor, singer and dancer whose human identity was never revealed.  In the early days the character was known as Bear Bear and was named Humphrey B. Bear as the result of an on air competition.

The ‘B’ in Humphrey B Bear stands for Bear, but this has rarely been acknowledged on air.⁣

During the morning of May 19, 1905, Mrs. Tierney, who lived with her husband at his farm at Gymbowen, complained of a feeling of weakness and the loss of the use of her legs. Not much importance was attached to the attack, as in a few hours, Mrs. Tierney was well again, and performed her household duties as usual. During the afternoon the same feeling came over her, this time accompanied by twitchings of the body. ⁣

Her husband drove her to Dr R. K. Bird, of Natimuk, who examined her. When questioned by the doctor she stated that she had partaken of some tart for breakfast. Portions of the tart had a bitter taste, and the tea she had at that meal also had a bitter taste. The doctor suggested that some poison was in the tart and advised her not to eat anymore of it. Mrs. Tierney by this time had quite recovered, and with her husband drove home the following morning. ⁣

In the evening Mr. Tierney killed a sheep, and his wife, who had been watching him, went towards the house, but when she had gone about 50 yards she collapsed. Her husband ran to her assistance, and she died in his arms. Miss Bertram, who was employed as a domestic servant in the Tierney family, also complained of feeling ill after breakfast, but after vomiting she recovered.⁣

Mrs Tierney had only been married for 2 months and was a well loved teacher in the area.  Her friend and domestic, Mary Bertram was arrested for the death but was later discharged due to no evidence indiciating she was involved. ⁣

 

Former prime minister and world beer dinking record breaker, Bob Hawke has died at the age of 89.

The Labor legend died in his Sydney home today just two days before the May 18 federal election.

Hawke, arguably one of the most popular prime ministers in Australian history, is survived by his wife Blanche d’Alpuget, and children Susan, Stephen and Rosslyn.

Hawke was the third longest running Prime Minister in Australian history behind Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard.

A down to earth, approachable Prme Minister who was immortalised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1954 for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds.

This record was at the same English Hotel where President Bill Clinton smoked a joint.

Frederick Bayley Deeming was one of 14 children born to Thomas and Ann Deeming in Leicestershire, England.

Frederick would first get into trouble with the law aged just 15 years old  for throwing rocks at a train.  At 16 he ranaway to see and began his life of crime with stealing and obtaining money by deception – something which would be a common thread for the rest of his life.

The beginning of the end for Deeming began with the discovery of Emily Lydia Mather’s decomposing body buried beneath the hearth of the second bedroom at 57 Andrew Street, Windsor on March 3, 1892.

Emily had married Deeming, who was know as Albert Williams in Rainhill, Lancashire in 1891 before the young couple set out for Australia.  They arrived in Melbourne in November 1891 and stayed for a short time in the city of Melbourne before heading to the rented property in Windsor.  Emily was not to know that this house would become her coffin!

On Christmas Eve, Deeming murdered Emily and in a well prepared plan buried her remains within the house before heading back to Melbourne.  He had paid up the rent for a couple of months so it wasnt until a new prospective tennant inspected the property that Emily’s remains were discovered.

By this time, Deeming had headed to Sydney and enticed Kate Rounsfell to marry him and move to WA with him.  Luckily for her Deeming left first and Kate only made it as far as Melbourne before news broke of her fiancee’s evil deeds.

But Emily was not the first murder Deeming had committed.  During the investigation into the death of Emily, it came to light that Deeming had been married before and had 4 children.  Marie and the children were found murdered and cemented under the kitchen floor at the property Deeming had rented in Rainhill.

Deeming was finally caught out by clever detective work and his boasting of his accomplishments.

Deeming was sentenced to death and was executed on May 29, 1892 at the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Before his death, a telegram was sent from London, requesting that Deeming be interviewed over the Whitechapel murders of 1888.  It would join numerous requests from police forces around the world asking if he could have been responsible for as many as 18 murders.

 

Madge Connor was born in Waterford, Ireland in 1874.  She married Edward Connor at 16 years of age and the young couple made their way to Melbourne, Victoria.
Edward died in 1916 and it whilst registering his death in 1916 that she came to the attention of the Victoria Police.  Madge began working for them later that year investigating illegal gambling and going undercover to gather evidence in the boarding house of a notorious criminal.
In 1917, after a campaign by women’s groups to appoint female police members, Madge became the first police agent. In effect, a special Constable with no uniform, no powers of arrest and no weapons.
Madge would become part of a group who advocated for the appointment of female police members.  This came to fruition in November 1924, when Madge and 3 other women were sworn in as the first female Police Officers.
 Madge was forced to retire due to age regulations in 1929 and was ineligible for a pension as she hadn’t served the requisite 15 years.  She went on to become a private investigator instead.
Madge died in October 1952 and is buried at the Booroondoora Cemetery in Kew.