ON THIS DAY – January 10, 1870

On January 10, at Bow-street Police Court, Islington, England, George Dyer, forty-seven, was brought up on his own confession, with having murdered George Wilson at the gold diggings at the Loddon, Victoria, Australia. James Thomson, superintendent of E division of Metropolitan Police, stated that the prisoner, who was brought to Bow-street Station by Inspector Hubbard, stated that he wished to surrender himself on a charge of wilful murder. Witness cautioned him, and took down what he had to say. He was sober, and perfectly calm and collected. He made the following statement, which was taken down in writing. He said that his name was George Dyer, and he was forty-seven years of age, and resided at Hilliford-street, Islington. He was a clerk in the employ of Messrs. Browne, Shiplake, & Co., ship merchants. He was married and had three children by his first wife. In 1853 he left England for Melbourne, and arrive in August of the same year, and stayed there until May, 1855, when his wife died, and be sent his children home to England. He went to the gold diggings at the Loddon, Victoria, about June. He took up a claim, and worked it, and remained at Loddon. About a month before Christmas, 1857, he met a man named George Wilson, an English sailor. They were both single-handed, and as each wanted a mate, he joined him (prisoner) in working his claim. They got on very well together for nearly a month, when a quarrel arose between them in his tent as to the quantity of gold realised. It led to mutual recriminations. Wilson drew his sheathed knife. To defend himself he (prisoner) took up his spade and struck him down with it. He cut his head clean open, and he fell down dead immediately. Prisoner threw his body into a deep well. It was about ten or twelve o’clock at night when he killed him. The body was quite warm when he threw it in. He returned to the tent and went to bed. They were both perfectly sober at the time of the quarrel. The next day he went to work alone, and when asked by other mines what had became of his mate George, he answered that he had gone to the ‘ Inglewood Rush.’ Prisoner ultimately came to England, but moved from the place where the murder was committed very soon. He did no good, and he left London, went to Melbourne, and then to New Zealand. He stayed at different places, and finally left for England. He reached Liverpool about July 30th, 1866, in the Great Britain. He had been in correspondence with his children, and went to them on his arrival in England. He lived at first with his married sister, Mrs Axtor, and then with his eldest son. He lived afterwards at other places. Not a soul knew of this murder but himself. He was perfectly calm and rational, and fully realised the situation in which he was now standing. He made this statement of his own free will.

The Judge stated even assuming his statement to be correct, there were numerous discrepancies as to time and locality, and his statement was quite contrary to the circumstances connected with the murder at Mia-Mia Creek near Loddon. In his opinion, the evidence was very conclusive. The prisoner said he wished to say nothing further, except that there might be as little delay as possible in sending him over to Australia. The judge said he was sure there would be no unnecessary delay, and fully committed the prisoner under the Extradition Act to take his trial in Australia. He was sent to 4 years in Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne.


On this day …….. 10th of January 1943

Identified by two mobile traffic police while he was wheeling a new bicycle up a hill in Studley Park rd, Kew, Oscar Walter Speck, 36, a German internee, who escaped from a Goulburn valley internment camp on this day in 1943, was recaptured at 5pm. Constables F. Towns and H. C. Patterson were on patrol duty in Studley Park rd when they recognised Speck from a photograph They had in their car. At first Speck denied he was the escapee, and said his name was Schmidt. When the police said that they would take him to police headquarters Speck said that the game was up, and he admitted his identity. Speck was dressed in shorts, a dark coat, and a grey felt hat. He said that he had left his camp clothing at the camp and escaped with a working suit. He came to Melbourne by train, and purchased a bicycle and other articles. He then rode the machine to Seymour, where he had been camping, until he rode back to Melbourne after his food supplies ran out. Speck’s bicycle was laden with blankets, rug, provision bags, kitbag, and other camping gear. He told police that he intended to camp on the beach before cycle to Sydney. He spoke good English. He was in good health, but he would not explain where he obtained money to buy goods when he arrived in Melbourne, or how he had escaped. Police regarded Speck as a prisoner of ingenuity. He came to Australia from Europe in a collapsible boat, arriving in Australia before the outbreak of war, and was interned in 1939. He was handed over by police to military authorities last night, and will probably be sent to another camp hundreds of miles from the camp from which he escaped. Police will probably inquire how Speck bought his bicycle without an essential user’s permit.

The 17th Prime Minister Harold Holt had dated for a short time, Viola Thring, daughter of his father’s business partner F. W. Thring (and half-sister of the actor Frank Thring), but she ultimately rejected Holt only to marry his divorced father. Harold Holt thus acquired a step-mother who was three years his junior.

On This Day – January 9, 2013

The small town of Onslow is in the Pilbara region of Western Australia’s northwest and violent thunderstorms can be common in a region where monsoon moisture meets the heat of the land.

The summer of 2012-2013 had already been excessively hot with the  hottest day in January 2013 had reached 46.8 degrees. On 9 January 2013, a huge thunderstorm developed in the northwest of the state. At 7:30pm, winds were gusting to 102 kilometres per hour.  As the storm broke, the gusting winds picked up tonnes of red dust, carrying it out to sea over the Indian Ocean. Passing over the Indian Ocean, with wind gusts increasing to 120 kilometres per hour, the storm dumped the red sand and dust in what looked like an enormous red wave towering over the surface and extending over a wide front. The spectacular photographs appeared around the world, a showcase of the amazing displays of nature in Australia.

While being transported to Australia in 1843, a Convict secretly stowed himself away in the hold of the Maitland. He had planned to arrive in Sydney unsuspected and then assume the role of a free settler. Having been missed, it was presumed he had just fallen over board and drowned. Six weeks after his disappearance, the captain suspected his champagne stores had been tampered with. During a search to ascertain whether there was a hidden entrance to the stores, the lost Convict was discovered. Later, the man was transported to Tasmania and again he made a dash for freedom. He was last seen paddling across the ocean in a stolen washing tub.


On this day …….. 7th of January 1814

The first recorded fight in Australia happened on this day on the 7th of January 1814, at Hyde Park, Sydney. When John Berringer defeated Charles Lifton. The bout lasted two hours, with over 58 rounds. One of the conditions of the contest was that the me had to run half a mile (800m) before the fight began.


Not many Australians know the Australia – Chilean connection. John Christian Watson, third Prime Minister of Australia and first Labor Prime Minister, was born in Valparaiso, a port in Chile, in 1867. In 1886, he migrated from New Zealand where he grew up, to Sydney, and took work as a stable-hand at Government House. Michelle Bachelet, the first woman to become President of Chile, an office she held from 2006 to 2010, lived in Australia during 1975, after the Pinochet regime came to power in Chile.


On this day …….. 6th of January 1791

Australia, the land of Shark attacks. There hasn’t been many summers since records were started that there hasn’t been a fatal shark attacks some where in Australia. The first recorded shark attack happened to an aboriginal woman in Port Jackson, Sydney in 1791. She was bitten in half.


John Bellin was born in London in 1827, before travelling to Australia, arriving in the colony in 1852 a board the Dinopore as a free settler. Bellin worked as a auctioneer in Melbourne. On the 23rd of September, 1890, Belling was sentenced at the Melbourne Supreme Court to five years penal servitude on two charges of fraud as a director of a body corporate, the Fourth Investment Building Society, the sentences being two years and six months on each charge. He was transferred to Geelong gaol on the 17th February 1892 from Pentridge, as being an invalid suffering from general debility. On the 15th of March 1892 Bellin died in the Geelong gaol at the age of 65 years.

On this day …….. 19th of December 1967

On the 19th December 1967, the Australian Government made an official announcement that Prime Minister Harold Holt was thought to be dead. After going missing at Cheviot Beach on Point Nepean near Portsea on the 17th of December. The Governor-General Lord Casey sent for the Country Party leader and Coalition Deputy Prime Minister John McEwen, and he was sworn in as caretaker Prime Minister until such time as the Liberals elected a new leader.


Did you know……


Sir Edmund Barton, was an Australian politician and judge. He served as the first Prime Minister of Australia and became a founding justice of the High Court of Australia. Barton first became an MP in 1879, in the Parliament of New South Wales. He contributed solidly to the federation movement through the 1890s, eventually contesting the inaugural 1901 federal election as head of a caretaker Protectionist Party federal government. No party won a majority; however, the government was supported by the Australian Labor Party, against the opposition Free Trade Party. Barton resigned as Prime Minister in 1903 to become a judge of the High Court of Australia, serving until his death in 1920.

But did you know………

  • Edmund Barton was born in Glebe, New South Wales
  • One of nine children
  • Educated Sydney Grammar School Where he was twice dux and School Captain
  • Graduated with first-class honours University of Sydney
  • Founding member of the Sydney Rowing Club.
  • In 1879, he umpired a cricket match at SCG between New South Wales and England
  • At age 33, was the youngest person to have been chosen by the Australian legislative chamber.
  • First Prime Minister of Australia
  • Attended the coronation of King Edward VII.
  • Barton resigned as Prime Minister in 1903
  • One of the founding justices of the High Court of Australia.
  • Second Australian to receive the GCMG – the highest knighthood available in the Empire (Sir Henry Parkes was the first)
  • One of three Australian Prime Ministers to receive Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, (the others were Robert Menzies and John McEwen)
  • Nicknamed ‘Toby Tosspot’ by the Bulletin