On this day …….. 20th of August 1857

The Dunbar was a first class sailing vessel, and, at 1,320 tonnes, was the largest of the time to be built at Sunderland shipyards in England. The vessel left Plymouth on 31 May 1857, carrying 63 passengers and 59 crew. On the night of 20 August 1857, the Dunbar approached the heads of Sydney Harbour. It seems that the captain, though experienced in Sydney waters, was disoriented by the driving rain and gale conditions. Possibly he mistook ‘The Gap’, a spectacular ocean cliff near South Head, for the entrance to Sydney Harbour. The swell pushed the ship into the reef at the foot of South Head and the Dunbar began to break up immediately. Only one person survived: 23 year old Irish seaman James Johnson, who was flung into the cliffs where he managed to gain a foothold, remaining there until he was noticed clinging to a ledge in the morning. A mass funeral was held on 24 September for those who died in the shipwreck, as many of them were unidentified. A monument to the victims still sits at St Stephen’s Cemetery, Camperdown.


On This Day – June 13, 1936
Alexander Memery, aged 46, was shot dead in the kitchen of his farmhouse at Bookaar, near Camperdown, Victoria, on Saturday morning.
It was stated that James Alexander Memery, aged 19, son of the dead man, returned from rabbiting during a family quarrel, and that a pea-rifle he was carrying was discharged accidentally.  Mrs Memery summoned the Camperdown police, who took James Memery to the Camperdown police station, and, after questioning him, permitted him
to return to his home.
On Saturday night the police again visited the farm, and later James Memery was charged with murder.

On this day …….. 25th May 1901

A man named Cummins, who escaped from the Ararat Lunatic Asylum was rearrested at Camperdown. Cummins was being bought by train to Ballarat by Constable’ M’Cahn on the 25th of May 1901, were he managed to escape at the Colac railway station. As the engine was pulling into the station Constable M’Cahn saw Sergeant Dowler a few yards standing on the platform, so he went to ask him to watch Cummins while he got some refreshments. Although only a few moments elapsed until both the police returned, the lunatic had disappeared, and all efforts to discover him, he could not be found. On the 8th of June 1901, Cummins was found at Skenese Creek, Apollo Bay. He was taken straight back to Ararat.

On this day …….. 16th of January 1903

When being transferred from the Watchhouse to the Geelong Gaol on 16th of January 1903, a young man named Albert Flowers who the previous day at Camperdown had been committed for trial for the alleged theft of money and jewellery from the Talindert Estate, made a determined attempt to escape Senior Constable Harley was escorting Flowers to the gaol, and refrained from handcuffing him. At the intersection of Ryrie and Yarra street, Flowers made a dash down Yarra street, and through the Melbourne Club Hotel, with the constable in hot pursuit. Flowers managed to dodge his pursuer in the hotel, and got out through the back way into Little Malop-street, where a baker’s assistant named Milliken made after him in his cart When Milliken came up to Flowers he dismounted and made a grab at the prisoner, who struggled violently to release himself, at the same time dealing his captor some heavy blows. As the two were struggling on the ground, Senior Constable Harley appeared on the scene, and, placing his handcuffs upon Flowers, he subsequently lodged his prisoner safely in the gaol.



12351067_220940641570405_1243580847_nJohn Kane was sentenced to three months imprisonment at the Geelong gaol for larceny. Kane, who was 6ft. 3in. high, and weighs 15 stone, was suspected of stealing £2 from a mate, on a station near Camperdown, and after quietly submitting to arrest, he pleaded guilty, and was summarily dealt with by the Camperdown bench.

12334274_10207411990599989_658793073_oThe first news of the sinking of the Loch Ard was sent from the Camperdown Telegraph Office, which today is the Camperdown Post Office.  It was reported in the “Argus” as follows:

“The intelligence was contained in the following brief telegram to the chief harbourmaster, Captain Payne, from Mr. M. Gibson, a resident at Glenample, Curdie’s Inlet, sent via Camperdown :- ” Camperdown, 9 a.m. The ship Loch Ard was wrecked off this coast last night. All hands and passengers are supposed to be lost, except Miss Eveline Carmichael and Tom Pearson (midshipman), who swam ashore. The place of the wreck is about one mile east from the Sherbrooke. I hope protection will be given from wreckers.” On receiving the intelligence Captain Payne lost no time in communicating with the Commissioner of Trade and Customs, and had an intention of proceeding at once in the Government steamer Pharos to the scene of the wreck to see if any help or useful service could be rendered.”

imageThe youth Herbert Elliott, was committed for trial at the Ballarat court on the 8th of December 1903, for a serious offence under the Crimes Act, was brought down from Camperdown on this day in 1903, by Senior-constable Arthur, and admitted to the Geelong gaol, where he will remain pending his trial.