ON THIS DAY – April 4, 1954


After finding a 31-year-old mother of four children not guilty of murdering her husband, a Bendigo Supreme Court jury decided that she was guilty of manslaughter. The woman, Mrs. Dorothy Beck, of Bendigo, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Mrs. Beck had pleaded not guilty to the charge of having Murdered her husband, Ivan Edward Beck, 30, a quarry worker, at their home on the 4th of April.


ON THIS DAY – April 2, 1936



In the Bendigo Supreme Court, Harry White, 55, labourer, was charged with the murder of William Chandler (40), labourer, who died in the Bendigo Hospital on the 2nd of April, as the result of a bullet wound in the stomach. Evidence showed that on the night of February 19, Chandler went home under the influence of liquor. He had an altercation with his wife and children, who left the house. Chandler followed, caught up with his wife, and kicked and punched her. When White came along Chandler punched his wife on his shoulder; then a shot was fired, and he fell. The main point raised at the trial was whether the case was one of justifiable homicide. The jury found the accused not guilty of murder, and also acquitted him of the alternative charge of manslaughter.


ON THIS DAY ……. 27th March 1892

A miner named Alfred Rogers, residing at Ironbark, whilst working in the stopos of the Golden Age mine at Bendigo Victoria on this day in 1892, sustained a painful injury. A slab came away accidentally and struck him on the head heavily. Dr. Thomas was called to the mine and found that he had a severe scalp wound, which rendered him insensible for some time. The blow had also caused concussion of the brain.



ON THIS DAY ……. 24th March 1951


Herbert Frederick Wason aged 16, of Long Gully, Bendigo, was sent to gaol for five years by for the manslaughter of his former employer. Wason, who cannot read or write and is said to have the mental age of about 9 1/2 years, was charged with the murder of George Archibald Bill aged 49, of Yarrawalla South on This day in 1851. The evidence showed that Wason missed his bus from Yarrawalla South to Bendigo and went to Bill’s home with the idea of taking Bill’s car. Wason found a rifle in the car and shot Bill when he was not looking. Bill ran to an old dairy and Wason fired again. Wason drove the car to Yarrawalla South and abandoned it. He told police he did not mean to kill Bill. Evidence also showed that Bill had taken a fatherly interest in the youth and that they got on well together. In passing sentence, Justice Hudson told Wason, “Your crime consisted of shooting at short range at a man who gave you no provocation whatever. The only semblance of reason for shooting Bill was that you wanted to take a motor vehicle to go home. Ironically enough you were taught to use a rifle by the man you killed. The jury apparently took the view on the medical evidence that mentally you did not realise the consequences of shooting, and the likelihood of killing.”


ON THIS DAY ……… 20th March 1904

James A. Milner was carting wood on this day in 1904 at Wattle Flat, near Bendigo. While putting, on the brake he was knocked down, the wheel passing over his body. He was brought to the hospital, and died on arrival.



On this day ………… 15th March 1902

A serious railway accident occurred on this day in 1902 at the level crossing north of the Harcourt railway station. When the midday goods train from Bendigo was approaching the Harcourt station, an old man, 60 years of age, named Adams, was driving a spring cart across the line, when the tran smashed into him. The horse was cut to pieces, and the vehicle smashed to atoms, the occupant being thrown out, clear of the line, and sustaining many cuts and bruises. The train was stopped, and the unfortunate man was conveyed in the guard’s van to Castlemaine, and taken to the hospital, where the resident surgeon found that besides being badly bruised and cut, he was suffering severe shock. The approach of Bendigo trains coming to Harcourt can be seen for over a quarter of a mile along the line, but as the unfortunate man was blind in one eye, that may account for him failing to observe the train.



ON THIS DAY – March 7, 1908


At the adjourned coronial enquiry, conducted by Mr. S. Risbey and a jury of five, regarding the tragedy which occurred on Saturday night, a large amount of evidence was submitted, mainly on the lines of the report that has been already published in “The Advertiser.” Constable Muir gave evidence that he arrested Thomas Arthur Thomas at Irymple on Sunday afternoon on a charge of the wilful murder of Matthew McMullen, when the accused admitted having struck him a blow. The accused, who is a young man, reserved his defence. He was represented by Mr. P. T. Park, solicitor. The jury after a retirement of 35 minutes, returned the following unanimous verdict:- “That Matthew McMullen met his death on March 7 in Deakin avenue, Mildura, the cause of death being in accord with the medical testimony, namely, laceration of blood vessels consequent on the fracture of his skull. We also find that the said fracture was caused by his falling heavily to the ground through a blow dealt him by the accused; but we find that the blow was given without malice aforethought and we therefore find the accused. Thomas Alfred Thomas, guilty of manslaughter.” The accused was committed to trial at Bendigo on April 7.



On this day ………… 4th March 1914

A painful accident happened to Master James Peatling on this day in 1914. Whilst playing at State school in Bendigo, he was accidentally hit on the back of the head with a stone. The head teacher (Mr. E. Morphy) attended the boy, and Mr. J. Pitson drove him home.



ON THIS DAY – February 24, 1902


The trial of Richard Henry Wills for the alleged murder of Edward Woods at Dingee on February 24, commenced in Bendigo before Judge A’Beckett and a jury of twelve. All the evidence had been taken and Mr. Murphy had finished his address to the jury when the court adjourned at six o’clock. The evidence of Dr. Gaffney (who made the post-mortem) was to the effect that the blow causing death was struck while Woods was lying on the ground but Drs. Hugh, Boyd and Murphy called for the defence, are of contrary opinion, declaring it to be possible that the blow was struck as deceased was rising up. Wills has been calm in demeanour throughout. Wednesday Evening. The Dingee murder case was concluded in the Supreme Court at Bendigo today. Judge A’Beckett summed up impartially, and the jury after seven hours retirement returned a verdict of manslaughter. The prisoner was remanded for sentence.


ON THIS DAY – February 23, 1935


Zillah Rowe, aged 29, domestic, of Cohuna, who was charged before the Supreme Court with the murder of an unnamed child, on February 23, was found guilty of manslaughter. The jury added a strong recommendation to mercy. Evidence was given by Plainclothes Constable Trewarne that he went to a room in the Courthouse Hotel, Bendigo where Rowe was employed on the night of February 23. Upon searching the room he found a suitcase containing the body of a newly born child. A piece of cord was tied about its neck. Rowe in evidence said she had no recollection of any of the events which followed the time when she went to bed on the afternoon on February 23 feeling ill. She did not know she had given birth to a child. Rowe was remanded for sentence.


ON THIS DAY – February 22, 1897

The murder by Charles John Hall, of his wife at Eaglehawk, on the 22nd of February 1897, is one of the most brutal and cowardly in the annals of Victorian crime. Hall was a well-known footballer, and when he rushed away to call the neighbors to see his wife, who was lying dead in a tub of water, no suspicion of foul play was entertained against him. However, the medical evidence at the inquest went to show that death was caused by suffocation and that, coupled with the fact that Hall had told a barmaid. Eva Scott with whom he had committed adultery, that he had put his wife out of the way, led to his arrest. He was tried on the capital charge, at Bendigo, but the jury failed to agree. On the 27th of July, he was again arraigned at the Supreme Court sittings at Castlemaine charged with the murder of his wife and found guilty, although he strongly protested his innocence. Sentence of death was accordingly passed on him. His version of the crime was that he found his wife in a tub of water, into which sho had fallen when in a fit, and instead of releasing her he went and called the neighbours. A very large number of persons believed Hall’s protestations of innocence, and as he was very popular, a petition praying for the remission of the death sentence was presented to tho Executive Council. A special meeting of that body was held on the 24th of August, at which it was decided to allow the law to take its course, and the execution was fixed for the 13th of September, at the Bendigo gaol. Hall then presented a petition to the Governor, in which he admitted his guilt, but gave his version of the murder. He says that in a moment of passion, brought about by a quarrel with the unfortunate woman, he threw her into a tub of water. He attributed the marks which were on her face to her nose and teeth coming into contact with the edge of the tub, and denied having used pressure over the nostrils and mouth when she was being suffocated. He pleaded that he acted on the impulse of the moment, and not with any deliberation as stated by the Crown Prosecutor. He admitted being guilty of manslaughter but not of the more heinous crime of murder, and expressed the hope that the Executive Council would exorcise their prerogative of mercy and commute his sentence to a long term of imprisonment. Hall would become the last person executed at the Bendigo Gaol.



Thomas McGee was executed at Old Melbourne Gaol on this day in 1863. M’Gee and Ellen Hoskins charged with the murder of Alexander Brown, at Maiden Gully, (Bendigo) on the 16th October. Ellen Hoskins received 2 years inprisonment.