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On This Day …….. 21st April 1858

One of the most shocking murders which has ever been seen in Beechworth occurred at Chinaman’s Flat. Luke Lyons and Patrick Saxton arrived in the Colony together and were believed to be sharing a claim. The murderer and his victim were mates and up until the time of the fatal occurrence lived next to each other on terms of great friendship. On the evening of the murder the men were drinking together, in the company of Patrick’s family. After two bottles of brandy were drunk, the conversation turned to arranging a marriage alliance between Luke and Patrick’s sister. After all the brandy was finished, Luke left the tent for the purpose of procuring more brandy. Instead of going for the liquor as he intended he loitered outside the tent, and heard himself spoken of by the Saxton’s in terms of disparagement. Rushing into the tent, Luke started a violent rant before leaving the tent. Patrick followed and the fight began. The argument was taken into Luke’s tent and whilst in the tent Patrick was stabbed by Luke. When they both struggled out together, it was discovered that a wound from a knife, or another sharp instrument, had been inflicted, and that Patrick’s entrails were protruding some inches from his stomach. A blow was also made at Patrick’s brother with a knife by Luke, but he was only slightly hurt. Patrick died in front of his tent. Luke, having run off in the bush, was apprehended about an hour afterwards by Detective Alexander. An inquest was held on the body of Patrick Saxton, and after hearing the evidence, the Jury was divided in opinion but a majority concurred in the verdict of wilful murder, and the prisoner was committed for trial. On July the 21st, Luke Lyons was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to three years hard labour on the roads.

 

On This Day – April 20, 1913

DEAD MAN RECOGNISED.

A dramatic incident occurred on April 20 on a vacant allotment at the corner of Walter and Westgarth streets, Northcote. Alexander Percy Anderson, 24 years or age, died suddenly while on the spot, and one of his brothers was among the crowd which gathered.

A constable, who came to take charge of the body, asked whether any of those present could identify it. Some person spoke, and a minute later a man stepped forward. “My God, my brother!” he said, as he approached the body. He had been among the crowd for some little time before he recognised the dead man.

Alexander Anderson had resided in Walter street, the house being near the allotment, and his mother and sisters were standing at the front gate when the news of his tragic death was broken to them. The body was then carried to the house.

ON THIS DAY ……. 8th April 1931

PORT MELBOURNE

MAN ON MURDER CHARGE.

The mystery of a woman’s body, found in a cupboard at Thomas Garrity’s fish shop, in Bay-street, Port Melbourne, on this day in 1931, was related to the jury and Mr. Justice MaeFarlane, in the Criminal Court, when Garrity was charged with having murdered. Mrs. Rose Harvey, 51. The Crown Prosecutor said Mrs. Harvey died from severe head injuries, inflicted by a hard instrument or a kick. On the day before the murder, she had several drinks with Garrity in a city hotel, and later they went to Garrity’s shop. At midnight a man heard the voices of a man and woman in the shop, and half an hour later a constable was passing the shop when he saw shadows on the glass partition. The shadow were of a man and woman struggling. The man had hold of the woman’s throat, and he saw her tear the man’s hands away. Some hours later Garrity asked taxi-driver to dispose of a body for him. He said he had found the body dumped on his premises after two men and a woman had left his shop. The taxi-driver took Garrity to the police station, and Garrity told the police. that lie was drugged by people, who were in his shop, and found the body when he woke up. The Crown Prosecutor said the evidence pointed to Garrity striking Mrs. Harvey dragging her body upstairs, bringing it down again, placing it the washhouse, and then in the cupboard. Cross-examined. Dr. Hart, who, was called by the police to examine the body before it was moved from the cupboard, said it would have been very difficult for one man to have placed the body in the position in which it was found. The hearing was adjourned.

 

ON THIS DAY – 16th December 1898

The nude body of an unknown young woman, which was found floating in a box in the Yarra River near Chapel-street Bridge on the 16th December 1898, had, it is estimated, been in the water for about a week. Deliberate murder was first suspected, but the post-mortem examination conducted by Dr. Neild indicates that death resulted from the use of chloroform administered, it is supposed, for the purpose of performing an illegal operation.

The box was first seen by some boys, one of whom, having previously had experience of a coroner’s court, had his suspicions aroused by the way it was floating, and reported the matter to the police. The box, when dragged ashore, was found weighted with a heavy stone tied on by a strong wire clothesline. In pulling the box ashore they broke a portion of the side away, revealing the foot and leg of a human being. On arrival at the morgue the body was found to be bunched into the box, the head being forced into one corner, and the whole tied parcel wise with a clothesline. There was no clothing on the body, but a flour bag was loosely wrapped round it. The bag is branded “Alex Clement, Snowdrop patent roller flour, Wangaratta.” The body was finely developed, and is that of a woman under 30. The hair is closely cropped, and the fingers covered with needlemarks. Identification is likely to prove difficult, as the features are distorted in addition to being in a decomposed state. Every indication leads to the belief that the deed was committed under the influence of chloroform, probably as an illegal operation was about to be committed, the woman being enciente. The stomach has been forwarded to Dr. Blackett, the Government Analyst, to make sure that suffocation was not caused by the action of poison.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 27th August 1934

 

Mrs Agostini disappeared from friends and family in late August 1934, around a week before the unidentified Pyjama Girl was found in Albury near Splitter’s Creek on the New South Wales side of the border with Victoria. The victim’s body was discovered by a local man named Tom Griffith. Griffith had been leading a prize bull along the side of Howlong Road near Albury when he saw the body in a culvert running under the road. Slightly concealed and badly burnt, the body would not have been visible to anybody driving by. It soon became apparent that the body was of a petite woman in her 20s, but her identity could not be established. After the initial investigation failed to identify her, the body was taken to Sydney where it was put on public exhibition. She was preserved in a bath of formalin for this purpose, at the Sydney University Medical School until 1942, when it was transferred to police headquarters where it remained until 1944. Several names were suggested for the identity of the dead woman, among them Anna Philomena Morgan and Linda Agostini. Both women were missing, both bore a likeness to the Pyjama Girl and both were of the right age. However, New South Wales police satisfied themselves that neither of the missing women was the Pyjama Girl and she remained unidentified. Contemporary belief is that Agostini was murdered around the same time as the Albury victim, and most likely in the confines of the couple’s Melbourne townhouse.

 

 

EXECUTION THIS DAY – April 25, 1854

 

David Magee, convicted at the last Criminal Sessions at Castlemaine of murder, under the circumstances then detailed in the Argus, suffered the extreme penalty of the law yesterday morning, at the usual place of exceution, the common gaol at Melbourne. The prisoner, who was a man nearly seventy years of age, declared his innocence to the last. He was an old sailor, and had served under Lord Nelson, at Trafalgar. He was transported for smuggling in 1821. He betrayed but little fear of death; and his body was buried in the usual place in the New Cemetery. A considerable number of people assembled to witness the execution.

 

On This Day …….. 21st April 1858

One of the most shocking murders which has ever been seen in Beechworth occurred at Chinaman’s Flat. Luke Lyons and Patrick Saxton arrived in the Colony together and were believed to be sharing a claim. The murderer and his victim were mates and up until the time of the fatal occurrence lived next to each other on terms of great friendship. On the evening of the murder the men were drinking together, in the company of Patrick’s family. After two bottles of brandy were drunk, the conversation turned to arranging a marriage alliance between Luke and Patrick’s sister. After all the brandy was finished, Luke left the tent for the purpose of procuring more brandy. Instead of going for the liquor as he intended he loitered outside the tent, and heard himself spoken of by the Saxton’s in terms of disparagement. Rushing into the tent, Luke started a violent rant before leaving the tent. Patrick followed and the fight began. The argument was taken into Luke’s tent and whilst in the tent Patrick was stabbed by Luke. When they both struggled out together, it was discovered that a wound from a knife, or another sharp instrument, had been inflicted, and that Patrick’s entrails were protruding some inches from his stomach. A blow was also made at Patrick’s brother with a knife by Luke, but he was only slightly hurt. Patrick died in front of his tent. Luke, having run off in the bush, was apprehended about an hour afterwards by Detective Alexander. An inquest was held on the body of Patrick Saxton, and after hearing the evidence, the Jury was divided in opinion but a majority concurred in the verdict of wilful murder, and the prisoner was committed for trial. On July the 21st, Luke Lyons was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to three years hard labour on the roads.

 

On this day …….. 15th of April 1912

Donald Samuel Campbell, was born in Geelong, Victoria in 1887. While living in London applied for a job with the White Star Liners. As a Crew member on the Titanic one of 891, he worked as a third-class clerk, (food provision). Campbell had experience and had travelled the world working on large ships. In 1904 he had a narrow escape, when working on the Nemesis, which went down with all hands in NSW. The day before Campbell had ask the Captain if he could leave and make my way overland to Melbourne. There were no survivors. Campbell died in the sinking of the Titanic on the 15th of April 1912 and his body was never recovered

ON THIS DAY ……. 8th April 1931

PORT MELBOURNE

MAN ON MURDER CHARGE.

The mystery of a woman’s body, found in a cupboard at Thomas Garrity’s fish shop, in Bay-street, Port Melbourne, on this day in 1931, was related to the jury and Mr. Justice MaeFarlane, in the Criminal Court, when Garrity was charged with having murdered. Mrs. Rose Harvey, 51. The Crown Prosecutor said Mrs. Harvey died from severe head injuries, inflicted by a hard instrument or a kick. On the day before the murder, she had several drinks with Garrity in a city hotel, and later they went to Garrity’s shop. At midnight a man heard the voices of a man and woman in the shop, and half an hour later a constable was passing the shop when he saw shadows on the glass partition. The shadow were of a man and woman struggling. The man had hold of the woman’s throat, and he saw her tear the man’s hands away. Some hours later Garrity asked taxi-driver to dispose of a body for him. He said he had found the body dumped on his premises after two men and a woman had left his shop. The taxi-driver took Garrity to the police station, and Garrity told the police. that lie was drugged by people, who were in his shop, and found the body when he woke up. The Crown Prosecutor said the evidence pointed to Garrity striking Mrs. Harvey dragging her body upstairs, bringing it down again, placing it the washhouse, and then in the cupboard. Cross-examined. Dr. Hart, who, was called by the police to examine the body before it was moved from the cupboard, said it would have been very difficult for one man to have placed the body in the position in which it was found. The hearing was adjourned.

 

ON THIS DAY – April 2, 1899

MANSFIELD

There has been a startling development In connection with the murder of the old man Butler, whose body was found in a bag at Mansfield, Victoria. The detectives arrested the daughter of deceased, Anastasia Butler, who was stated to have given her father a five-pound note on Easter Saturday to go away for a holiday. The accused is unmarried, and is 35 years of age.

 

ON THIS DAY ……. 29th March 1917

A horrible accident happened on this day to a married woman, of East Prahran. While working at the Australian Jam Works, she would lose her footing and fall into a boiling pot of jam. On admission to the Alfred Hospital she was found to have burns to most of her body.

 

 

ON THIS DAY …….. 26th March 1911

Thomas Hill, aged 72 years, an inmate of the Benevolent Asylum at North Melbourne, died on this day in 1911, under peculiar circumstances. He complained to Nurse Moroney that he was not well, and about three tablespoonful of rum in water were given to him. Subsequently he became ill, and Dr. Woinarski was telephoned for. Hill, however, died, and as there were signs of strychnine poisoning the body was removed to the morgue, and the contents of the bottle from which Nurse Moroney had obtained the rum have been forwarded to the Government analyst for examination. The officials of the asylum state that it is the custom when inmates bring in bottles of liquor to take it away from them and place it in the dispensary for medicinal purposes. This particular bottle of rum had been taken, it is alleged, from an inmate, and had been sent to the dispensary from which Nurse Moroney obtained it.