After a failed attempt to derail a police train, and the shootout that followed, Ned Kelly was taken into custody at Glenrowan in June 1880. To capitalise on his capture, photographer William Burman staged a re-enactment within weeks, having replicated the notorious bushranger’s homemade suit of armour. The copyright laws at the time meant that photographers could patent their images and charge for each individual use. Kelly remained a subject of intense public interest until his execution, 13 days after his trial, on November 11, 1880.


ON THIS DAY – July 21, 1943

On a charge of murdering a man who had every bone in his face broken, a soldier, Cecil John Freeman, was committed for trial in the Coroner’s Court. Freeman appeared in custody at the inquest on Ian Gordon Jeffrey, 25, who was injured in a disturbance on July 21 and died in hospital on August 4. Death was due to a fracture of the skull, acute meningitis and pneumonia. Police alleged Freeman had blood on his boots. Freeman has alleged he said he attacked Jeffrey because he was paying attention to Mrs. Freeman.

ON THIS DAY – July 20, 1889


The trial of Robert Landells for the murder of Peter Joseph Sherlock, at Ringwood, on July 20, was concluded, before Mr. Justice Hodges. The jury returned a verdict of guilty. The prisoner, in reply to the usual question, said he had nothing to say. Sentence of death was then passed upon the prisoner. Landell was executed at old Melbourne gaol on the 16th October 1889.

ON THIS DAY – July 20, 1919


David Alexander Perkin, a, sailor, appeared again at the City Police Court on a charge of having attempted to shoot James Bennett Cariton on July 20, with intent to commit murder. The charge arose out of the affray at the St. Kilda road Barracks, when an attempt was made to break through the sentries posted at the gates. It is alleged that Perkin rushed out from the crowd in front of the sentry and pointed a revolver at him. It was reported that the trigger was pulled four times on the sentry. Inspector Wardley applied for a remand to the Childrens Court, as Perkin was only 16 years of age and asked that on account of the serious nature of the offence he be kept under strict supervision. The application was granted.

After the bushranger Ned Kelly’s sister Kate drowned at Forbes NSW in 1898, historians grabbed her most treasured possession – her bed. Kate is said to have enjoyed sleeping and now visitors to a museum at Mount Victoria in NSW can stand at the foot of the bed and dream of those wild bushranger days……..


ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1904

The Coroner, Mr. Cole, concluded the inquest to-day concerning the death of Mrs. Mary Amelia Veitch, at Clifton Hill, on July 19. James Williams, the young man who was arrested on a charge of murder, was present in custody. He displayed hardly any interest in the proceedings. The evidence tendered added nothing to the facts already stated. The Coroner found that the deceased met her death at the hands of James Williams, who was committed for trial on a charge of wilful murder.

ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1890

The inquest touching the death of Donald McDonald, the murdered fisherman, near Tyntynder, was resumed on Monday morning. A number of witnesses were examined, the most important being John M’Donald and Joseph Wells. The former gave evidence respecting the ill-feeling that existed between himself and the deceased. He went to the deceased’s hut, and charged him with cheating while they were in partnership together, and asked to see the returns, but would not go inside the hut as he was frightened of the deceased doing him some injury, as he had threatened to shoot several persons whom he had a spite against. He (witness) confessed to having used threats against the deceased. A man named Thompson told witness that the deceased had said that he was not honest and that he might have replied, ” I’ll let him see whether he is honest or not if I catch him in a quiet corner.” Constable Egglestone and Sergeant Mahoney gave an account of tracking the prisoner to Oxley and finding burnt caps and cartridges in the camp fire, and the barrel of a gun a short distance off. Joseph Wells said that he found the prisoner at his camp on July 19. He told him that he had come from Donald M’Donald’s hut, and talked about the deceased and larrikin fishermen, and that he should not be surprised to hear of a fisherman being shot. The inquiry was adjourned to October 4,

ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1948

John William McRae, 19, was sentenced to death in the Sale Supreme Court today for the murder of his sister, Hazel Mary McRae, Bairnsdale beauty queen, on July 19. The jury returned a verdict of guilty after a retirement lasting exactly an hour. Some of the large crowd, which included many young women In the public gallery, gasped as Sir Charles Lowe passed the death sentence. McRae’s mother, who had been present in the court during most of the trial, was not there when the jury returned. McRae, who was described as mentally backward, and frequently fidgeted with his hair and clothing daring the trial showed no emotion. Sir Charles Lowe asked him if he had anything to say before, being sentenced, and be replied: “No, sir.” Hazel McRae’s partly-clad body was found In the back yard of her Bairnsdale home on the morning of July 20 with her head bashed and a bullet in her head.

ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1947

Melbourne Gangster James Coates who scammed £40,000 from an Australian grazier, £19,000 from an Austrian nobleman, £15,000 from the son of the Sweden’s King, and from an Indian prince, he stole £80,000 was murdered.

The weeks before Coates murder he had received anonymous phone calls, first calling him Constable Coates, second an ambulance was called to his apartment saying a man had been shoot and third a hearse had been called to collect Coates body.

Coates body was found in a vacant allotment at the corner of Punt rd and Union st, Windsor.


ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1947

DESPITE an intensive investigation, no evidence had been found to establish responsibility for the shooting of James Coates, 46, on July 19, Detective W. W. Mooney said yesterday at an inquest into Coates’ death. Coates was found dead on a vacant allotment at the corner of Punt rd and Union st, Prahran. There were three bullet wounds in his abdomen and one in his neck. Mr H. B. Wade, PM, city coroner, found that Coates had died from the effects of revolver shots feloniously inflicted by a person or persons unknown.


Chief witness at the inquest was Coates’ widow, Mrs Edith Coates, of Walsh st, South Yarra. She covered her face with a long black veil before entering and leaving the courtroom.Mrs Coates said her husband helped to wipe the dinner dishes on the night of July 19, and then left the flat saying he was going to buy a newspaper. When he did not return she thought he had gone to play cards. She believed he intended to walk and had not known he had been using a motorcar. About two weeks before her husband’s death several anonymous telephone calls had been made to their flat. On each occasion a male voice asked for “Constable Coates.” She did not remember the caller using the words “the police pimp.” On several occasions the caller said she should poison her husband, and that he was going to be shot. Her husband did not tell the police of these threats, nor did he tell her he knew the identity of the caller. Bonnie Joy Bricknell, of Glenhuntly rd, Elsternwick, said she had known Coates for several years. She owned a small sedan car which was found near the allotment where Coates’ body was found. She had frequently lent the car to Coates and lent it to him on July 18, when he said he wanted it for a few days. Louise Lambert, of Murphy st, South Yarra, said she was a shop assistant in a newsagency in Toorak rd. Coates, who was a customer, bought two newspapers in the shop about 7.40pm on July 19. Another man who was in the shop when Coates entered patted Coates on the back and said, “How are you?” They seemed friendly, and left the shop together.


Joan Holding, of Union st, Windsor, said she left home about 9pm on July 19 to exercise her dog. She turned into Punt rd when she heard a shot, which was followed by three more shots. She saw a man jump over the fence at the western end of the corner allotment. The man was wearing a long overcoat. He went into Union st. She then saw two constables run towards the allotment. First-constable Charles White said he was on duty in the police station near the allotment when he heard the shots. He approached two girls waiting at a bus stop and asked if they had heard revolver shots. They said: No, it is only some boys letting off crackers in the paddock.Witness did not see any person leave the allotment, but saw a man leave a lane off Union st and walk toward St Kilda rd.

ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1933

Evidence at Inquest

A coronial inquiry into the death of Catherine Dorman, 24, a machinist, in a boarding house at Windsor on July 19 was commenced by Dr Paull, of the Alfred Hospital, said that the girl did not die until July 26. During the time in hospital she kept murmuring “Why did you do it John” and clearly indicated ‘John’ had been responsible for her injuries, which could have been inflicted by a man wielding lead pole which had inflicted extensive injuries. Nellie Burke, said that the deceased had taken a room at her house early in June, and a man who she introduced as Boles visited her frequently. “At 11 p m on July 19,” said the witness ‘I heard screams from Dorman’s room. The door was ajar and I saw Miss Dorman standing at the foot of the bed with her hands crossed on her chest and her head bowed. Boles was standing at the foot of the bed bolting hei willi a piece of lead piping ” Witness said that she ran in and struggled with Boles who hit her on the neck and head with the piping. She began to lose her senses and called for assistance. The coroner returned a verdict of murder and directed a warrant to be issued for the arrest of Boles whose whereabouts are unknown to the police.

ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1913

A young domestic servant named Ellen Muston, was charged in the Criminal Court yesterday before Mr Justice Cussen with the wilful murder of her female child at Brighton on July 19. The Crown prosecutor (Mr Womarski, KC) conducted the case against the accused, who pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr E J Corr (of Messrs Corr and Corr) The accused gave evidence on her own behalf and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on the grounds of insanity, and Muston was ordered to be detained in strict custody at the Church of England Home, Cheltenham, until the Governor’s pleasure was known.