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On this day …….. 6th of August 1906

A lunatic by the name Thomas Parker Ewing, whilst being transferred from Dr. Mailer’s home in Ballarat to the Ararat Asylum, escaped on the 6th of August 1906, from his attendant at the railway station. Ewig was found the next morning hiding in a railway carriage in the yards. On making his escape Ewing travelled as far as Warrenheip, and when darkness set in he returned to Ballarat and pawned his watch. It is said that this was the second occasion on which he had escaped from custody, Ewing was taken back to Ararat Asylum.

 

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.

 

On this day …….. 3rd of August 1856

Alfred Deakin was born on 3 August 1856 in Fitzroy, Melbourne. In 1879, Deakin gained a seat in the colonial Parliament of Victoria, and after holding office in several ministries, he began to turn his efforts towards the push for Federation. Following Federation in 1901, he was elected to the first federal Parliament as MP for Ballarat, becoming Attorney-General in Prime Minister Edmund Barton’s government. Deakin succeeded Barton as Prime Minister in 1902 when the latter retired. Deakin’s own Protectionist Party did not hold a majority in either house, and he was unwilling to accept aspects of Labor’s legislation, so he retired in 1904. Watson and Reid succeeded him, but when they proved unable to maintain a stable ministry, Deakin returned to office in 1905. He was pushed out by the Labor Party in 1908, but after forming a coalition with Reid, Deakin again returned as Prime Minister in 1909 heading up a majority government, a position he held until his defeat at the polls in 1910. Deakin retired from politics altogether in 1913, and died in 1919.

 

ON THIS DAY …….3rd August 1943

At the close of the inquest today into the death of Mrs Clarice Anasthasia White, 30, of Dawson st, Ballarat, Mr G. S. Catlow, coroner, committed the woman’s husband, Kenneth Geoffrey White, 34, fitter, for trial on a charge of murder. White was present in custody on a charge of having murdered his wife and having attempted to murder Jonathan Stephen Falla, 23, AIF soldier. Jonathan Stephen Falla said he was in bed with Mrs White, and was awakened about 5am by her saying something about getting up to see the time. She got up, and in the darkness he then heard a crash and the sound of a body falling. He sat up in bed, and next thing he knew was he was hit across the head with what he thought was a piece of wood. He did not know then nor could he identify now who it was who had hit him. He was hit several times on the face and stomach. He heard another crash, and started to walk to where he thought Mrs White must be lying on the floor, when he was confronted by a man with the razor. The man thrust at his throat. Witness lifted his left arm, which was in plaster, and the man hit the plaster with his arm at the same time as he cut the left side of his, witness’s, throat with the razor. The man, who had said nothing up till then, then said, “Lay down on the bed.” To Sup Jacobe Falla admitted that the only thing the man said to him was, “You’ll have a lot of explaining to do.” Falla said that he did not see Mrs White at all from the time she got up. He could not see what happened to her. In reply to Mr N. Boustead, Falla said he had only known Mrs White a week, and had gone to the house in response to her invitation.

ALLEGED STATEMENT TO POLICE Const M. O’Leary said that when he and Sen-const Brady went to the house at 5.20am White was in the passage. He said, “They are down there. I have done them up pretty bad. In the bedroom the dead woman was lying with her throat cut on both sides, and her body covered with a military overcoat. Falla was lying on the bed with a gash in his throat. White said, “I done it with a razor,” and produced a razor from his hip pocket. “I found them in bed together,” White continued, “and I intended to give them something to remember for life. She had been carrying on with men for several years. It has been preying on my mind, and I could not stand it any longer.” O’Leary said that White then told him he had left the house the previous afternoon to go back to his job at Ford’s at Geelong, but did not do so. He left pretending to go to the train, and his wife saw him off at the gate. He returned at 7pm, and through the kitchen window he saw his wife take a soldier in. About 9.30pm. they went into the bedroom. Then he went for a walk to try to ease his mind. He returned about 1.30am and stood in the backyard until 5 am, when he got in through the kitchen window. His wife’s bedroom door was locked. He went to the children’s room and told his daughter Carmel to call her mother, and she did so, saying, “Mummy, I’m sick.” Witness stood outside his wife’s bedroom door. The door opened and he struck the person on the head with a file. At that time he did not know who it was. He then made a swing at the soldier who was in the room. His wife caught hold of him, and he lost the grip on the file. He then turned around and slashed his wife’s throat with the razor. He then slashed the soldier with the razor on the left side of the neck, and sent his daughter for a neighbour to go for the police. Sen-det L. H. Thomas said he found the file in the bedroom. White said, “You don’t know what I have put up with. I have not been on friendly terms with my wife for 8 years. She left me and the children twice,” Witness said White told him that when he tried to strike the soldier with the file his wife caught hold of him and tried to stop him. “I could not throw her off,” White is alleged to have said, “and I took the razor from my pocket and cut her on the throat, and she dropped to the floor. Rather than see the soldier get off scot free I decided to give him a nick. I leaned over the side of the bed and gave him a nick with the razor.”  The coroner found that the woman’s death was due to the wounds inflicted by White, and committed him for trial on a charge of murder at the Ballarat Supreme Court on August 3.

 

ON THIS DAY – July 28, 1936

 

Charged with having murdered his twin sister, Adelaide Bek, on July 28, Charles Bek, farmer, of Kooroocheang, was remanded at the Ballarat City Court to day until August 28. It was alleged that Bek had an altercation with his sister, struck her several blows on the head with a hammer and threw her body into a dam on his farm. He was arrested last night. The body was recovered from the dam on August 14. Bek is little more than five foot high, and is slightly built.

ON THIS DAY….. 10th July 1910

The trial of Peter Long on a charge of murder, arising out of the death, at Ballarat, on July 10, of Florence Jelbart, was continued in the Melbourne Criminal Court, October 28. Dr. Crawford Henry Mollison, Government pathologist, said:-I heard Dr. Champion’s evidence on the previous day, and from that and from my examination of the parts I am of opinion that death was not due to air embolism, but to shock. Professor H. B. Allen (dean of the faculty of medicine in the University of Melbourne) and Dr. Frank Reginald Longden (of Buninyong) expressed a similar view. This concluded the case for the Crown. Peter Long, the accused, said his Chinese name was Lee Yee. He had been practising in and around Ballarat for 13 years. On the night of July 10, he left the deceased in his consulting-room while he went into the shop. A few minutes afterwards he heard a scream, and rushed into the consulting room. He then found her lying on the floor of the room, and she died soon after. He did nothing to the girl to cause her death. Dr. William Edward Davis, who attended the post-mortem examination conducted by Dr. Champion, said he thought the condition of the heart was inconsistent with death by shock. The wounds could have been self-inflicted. Drs. R. A. Stirling (of Melbourne) and G. E. Cussen (of Ballarat) gave evidence to a similar effect. The hearing of the case was concluded when the jury, after a retirement of two hours, found Long not guilty, and he was acquitted.

ON THIS DAY – July 5, 1910

MURDER CHARGE

Peter Long, a Chinese herbalist, of Ballarat, was placed on trial in the Supreme Court to-day on a charge of murder. The charge arose out of the death of the young woman, Florence Hill Jelbart, in Long’s house on July 5. Long was tried in Ballarat in August, when the jury disagreed. A change of the venue of the trial to Melbourne was afterwards obtained at the instance of the Crown. Accused pleaded not guilty. The case was not concluded when the court adjourned.

On This Day ……. 27th June 1910

John McDonald were taken from the Geelong Gaol to Ballarat on this day in 1910 to stand trial at the Supreme Court for alleged larceny at Shelford.

On This Day ……… 23rd June 1905

A man by the name of Alexander Allison, 26 years of age, escaped from this Windermere Hospital for the Insane in Ballarat. Allison was said to be a harmless lunatic. The police were notified of his escape.

 

On this day …….. 22nd of June 1926

An offer having been received by the Ballarat City Council from Messrs Burns, Philp and Co. for the sale of a pair of baby elephants for the Zoological Gardens, the Mayor has offered, on behalf of the council, to purchase one of the elephants for £100. The condition of the zoological account will permit of this offer being made, but the Mayor is not in a position to say whether the offer has been accepted, as the company has to cable the owner of the elephants, who resides in Rangoon.

ON THIS DAY…… 31st May 1943

After having deliberated for 2 hours a jury in Ballarat Supreme Court found Kenneth Geoffrey White, of Ballarat, not guilty of having murdered his wife and having maliciously wounded a soldier, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm. A verdict of not guilty was also returned on an alternative charge of manslaughter and unlawful wounding. White collapsed on hearing the verdict, and had to be assisted from the dock. The jury considered that White had attacked in self defence. In an unsworn statement from the dock White said that after hearing certain things about his wife’s conduct he came from Geelong, where he worked, to Ballarat on May 29. Instead of returning to Geelong on this day, he stayed behind to hide in his backyard. He watched his wife and a soldier enter the bedroom after his four young daughters went to bed. Finding the bedroom door locked, White realised that the soldier had not left the house. As the door was opened he was seized by someone and, fearing that he was about to be attacked, he took a razor from his pocket and struck out with it. He had not intended to kill either his wife or the soldier.

 

On this day …….. 20th of April 1908

On this day in 1908, a Bendigo-bound holiday train collided with another heading for Ballarat in the Sunshine rail yards, west of Melbourne. Forty-four people were killed and more than 400 hurt. The Age did not believe in sheltering the victims’ next-of-kin. Down on the rails among the piles and piles of splintered woodwork and the upholstery, their blood and brains splashing the wheels, many more dead bodies and bodies in which there was still life, mingled in frightening sickening heaps in a way that seemed to defy extrication.