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ON THIS DAY – DECEMBER 14, 1909

SPRING GULLY

The inquiry into the death of Dagmar Louisa Scott, who was found dead at Spring Gully on December 14, was resumed at Castlemaine by the coroner (Mr. S. J. Goldsmith) on Monday. The husband, Robert Scott, was present in custody on a charge of murder. The principal witness was Thomas Kaiser, brother of Mrs. Scott, Who deposed to being at Scott’s house on June 22, when a quarrel arose over Scott having gone secretly to Melbourne. He heard Mrs. Scott say, “You have been to Melbourne to see that other woman of yours, Mrs. Saunders.” Scott replied, “Whether I have been to Melbourne to see that other woman or not, if I hear any more of it I will blow your brains out, and Saunders’s, too.” Mrs. Scott then rushed out of the house, but came back later on, and she and Scott had a quarrel outside, and she fainted. Scott carried her into the house, and she soon revived, and the quarrelling recommenced. Witness was going away, but deceased implored him not to, saying, “As sure as you go he will murder me.” Scott said, “It is all right, Tom, you can go; I will not harm her. On the day of the tragedy he went to Scott’s house and saw the body. Scott said, “This is a fine thing, isn’t” it?” Witness replied, “Yes. You are at the bottom of the lot. You have well murdered her. You threatened her before in front of me. and you have done it now.” Scott made no reply. Charles Saunders, a miner employed under Scott at the Spring Gully dredge, gave evidence that immoral relations had existed between Scott and his (witness’s) wife, in consequence of which Mrs. Saunders left home early last March, and had been in Melbourne ever since. Witness had been on friendly, terms with Scott, and continued to work under him. Alice James, housekeeper for Saunders, gave evidence as to seeing: Scott and his wife going towards the tailings heap, and hearing the shot fired. Mrs. Scott appeared unwilling to go. and just as they reached the high bank Scott gave his wife a push, and they both disappeared behind the high hank, and the shot went off. The coroner found that death was due to a shot fired by Robert Scott, who was committed for trial on a charge of murder.

 

On This Day – November 26, 1857

George Dyer, self-accused, after the lapse of 13 years of a murder committed in 1857 on George Wilson, was tried at the Castlemaine Circuit on Tuesday, on the capital charge. Although the prisoner retracted his confession made in England, shortly after he had made it, there can be little doubt of the truth of the main portion of it but one part of it left it doubtful whether he had killed Wilson in self-defence or not. Taking his own statement and the other evidence, the facts were that in November 1857, Dyer and Wilson were mates at the Mia-Mia diggings. Wilson was suddenly missed, and soon afterwards prisoner left the place, taking with him the tent. He then went to live at a place now called Vaughan, about seven or eight miles from Newstead. To a person named Sinclair there he said he had just come from the Mia-mia and besides his own statement, this was the only evidence that Wilson was ever at Mia-mia, one of the witnesses who proved this at the Police Court and who was to prove it on Tuesday, had disappeared since the Police Court investigation, and could not be found. A few days after Dyer left the Mia-mia a body was found in a waterhole about 60 yards from where it was supposed his tent was pitched. It was not then identified. But an examination of it showed that the jaw had been fractured as if by a spade or axe handle, and in the back part of the skull were several large holes, as if caused by a pick. It was these, and not the fracture of the jaw, that caused death. The inference, therefore, was that Wilson had been first stunned by the blow on the jaw, and then killed by such an instrument as a pick. The body, it was contended, need not be identified as Wilson’s for the confession and the other evidence were sufficient to justify an inference that it was. The prisoner defended himself, and asserted that he must have been labouring under an hallucination when he made the confession; that he never was at Mia-Mia. He had a recollection of being partner with George Wilson for a short time, but he denied having quarrelled with him. The judge left it to the jury whether the prisoner, even if he committed the act, was guilty of murder or manslaughter, and the jury after deliberating an hour and a half, found him “Guilty” of the lesser offence. He was sentenced to eight years hard labour.

ON THIS DAY – October 10, 1943

 

After 20 minutes consideration, the jury at the Bendigo Supreme Court today acquitted Mrs. Dorothy Frances Franklin, 42. of a charge of murdering her husband. Eric Franklin. 42. rail fitter, at Castlemaine on October 10. The Crown alleged that during the quarrel at their home, Franklin struck his wife. who stabbed him with a large breadknife while they struggled.

ON THIS DAY – June 15, 1929

CASTLEMAINE

Charged with having murdered Albert Foster, 11 years, of Castlemaine, on June 15, by flogging him. Edward Bownds, 22 years, was committed for trial by the Coroner Mr. Bartold. When the inquest was concluded, Dr. Steele, in evidence, said that when he called at Bownd’s house to see Foster, Bownds said, “I completely lost my head last night, and gave the boy a terrible thrashing, as he had been stealing plum jam.” The boy was in a desperate state, and witness ordered his removal to the Castlemaine Hospital, where he died. Bownds said to witness, “I don’t want him to go to hospital as the police will get to know about it, and I might have to go to gaol.” Frederick Harcourt Nicholson, a miner, said that Bownds had asked him to see the boy after the thrashing. Bownds showed witness the strap that he said he had used. It was the side strap of a bridle, about 18in. long, and had a buckle at each end. It was enough to kill anyone with. Thomas Masterton, Army pensioner, said that he saw the boy before he was taken to hospital. His back from the neck to the hips was mutilated, and his face was unrecognisable. Bownds will come before the Criminal Court at Castlemaine on July 16.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 1, 1857

JAMES WOODLOCK – MELBOURNE GAOL

This unhappy man underwent the extreme penalty of the law yesterday morning, at eight o’clock, in the Melbourne gaol. James Woodlock formerly kept the Rose, Shamrock, and Thistle public-house, in Elizabeth-street, but at the time of his commission of the crime which led to his death, was living at Castlemaine. He had a wife and five children, and, it appears, had conceived a jealousy of a man named Charles Vick, whom he believed to be the lover of his wife, and slabbed him. Committed for trial by the coroner, he subsequently absconded from his bail, but was again arrested by the detective police in February last, at Kilmore. He died with firmness, and suffered apparently but little.  He was about forty years of age, and a member of the Catholic faith.

EXECUTION ON THIS DAY…….. 20th May 1873

The last sentence of the law was carried out at the Castlemaine Gaol, on the body of Pierre Borhuu, for the murder of Mrs. Smith, of Kangaroo Flat, Sandhurst. Which took place on the 28th April 1872. Pierre Borhuu was a native of Guernsey, his parents, who are still alive and residing at North St. Denis, being French. He was brought up on the sea, and had for some years followed his calling on the coast of England. He arrived in this colony in 1868, and shortly afterwards came onto Sandhurst, taking up his abode in Sunrise Gully, Kangaroo Flat. Here he worked as an alluvial miner, and was very successful, but generally managed to spend most of his gains in the public-House owned by Mr. Smith, the husband of the criminal’s victim. It was during one of his mad paroxysms of drink that he committed the deed for which he has suffered. Since his incarceration at Castlemaine he has behaved himself remarkably well, and frequently expressed his regret for his hasty and intemperate conduct. At 8am the Rev. Father Allen went into the condemned cell, and the irons having been struck off the criminal, the two remained in religious exercises and administering the last offices of the Roman Catholic Church till the arrival of the sheriff. At 10am precisely Mr. Colles knocked at the door of the condemned cell, and demanded the body of the murderer, who was then delivered over to the executioner William Bamford. He was at once pinioned and conducted to the scaffold, the unfortunate man walking with a firm step, and even a smile of resignation on his face. During this time the attendant priest was reciting the prayers for the dead. The white cap was then placed on Borhuu’s face as far as the eyebrows, and the rope put round his neck, but here Bamford bungled the matter considerably by running the hitch so tight as to half strangle his victim before he fell, and thus prevent the knot slipping into its proper place on the fall of the body. Having placed the man in his proper position, the bolt was drawn, and, with a dull heavy thud, the body fell, and the criminal was launched into eternity. For some minutes there was a convulsive twitching of the limbs, death not taking place instantaneously, owing no doubt to the cause abovementioned. The body swung half round, so that the features were not visible to the spectators, but beyond a swelling of the tongue, which protruded slightly, there was little disfigurement. There were about 20 spectators, most of whom were the gaol officials. After hanging the customary time, the body was cut down, and an inquest held on the remains. The usual verdict was returned, and the body then buried within the precincts of the gaol.

Photo of the Castlemaine Gaol

 

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 ……. 28th March 1908

Whilst cycling down a hill on the Castlemaine Rd, Melbourne a young man named Clifford Jubber fell, and as he was carrying an axe at the time, he could not make any effort to save himself. The right side of his face was badly lacerated, the skin being torn away from the bottom of the eye, and the bone laid bare. He also suffered other painful injuries.

 

 

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 ………… 14th March 1905

Miss Elsie Mollenhaner, aged 16, residing at Norwood Hill, Castelmaine, Victoria met with a serious cycling accident on this day in 1905. When travelling past Fitzgerald’s Brewery, at Winter’s Flat, at a good rate of speed, a young chinaman named Louey Shang, who was riding in the opposite direction, collided with her with such force that the young lady was knocked senseless to the ground. She was taken home, and was attended by Dr. Thompson. The Chinaman escaped with bruises, but his bicycle was badly damaged. Neither carried a light.

 

 

EXECUTION THIS DAY – March 10, 1857

MELBOURNE

At 8am, the condemned criminals, William Twiggem and Chu-a-luk, a Chinese, underwent the last sentence of the law in the Melbourne gaol. Twiggem, it will be recollected, was the accomplice of the notorious Gipsy Smith, in the murder of Sergeant McNally, and was sworn to on the trial as the man who actually fired the shot. He came to this colony, in the ship Joshua, in the year 1851, and was born at Wolverhampton in the year 1824. His demeanour immediately before his execution was one of hardened defiance. Chu-a-luk was convicted at the last Castlemaine Sessions of the murder of his mate A-pud, whom he stabbed during a quarrel arising out of a dispute relative to an account. He was thirty years old. Both the convicts underwent the process of being pinioned and ascended the drop with the utmost coolness, Twiggem exhibiting a total indifference to his position, and Chu-a-luk was apparently in a state of stolid resignation. Neither of them spoke a word, and both died almost instantaneously and without a struggle.

 

 

EXECUTION THIS DAY ……… March 10, 1866

CASTLEMAINE

At 10am on the 10th of March 1866, at the Castlemaine Gaol, a Chinaman named Long Poy, was executed for murder. Before the execution, the Rev Mr Allnutt attended the criminal, with James Ah Coy, interpreter of Castlemaine. Long Poy was deeply affected and resigned to his fate. He still gave the same account of the murder as at his trial. When the Sheriff entered the condemned cell, the unfortunate man gave himself up quietly, and walked out after the Sheriff and Governor of the Gaol to the drop, which is immediately outside that cell on the gallery, and whilst the funeral service was being read in the usual way (Long Poy being a Christian) and whilst the hangman tied his arms to his sides, pulled the white cap over his face, and adjusted the rope, the convict spoke several times in Chinese, chiefly about his brother caring for his young wife, a Sydney native, and infant, so long as she remained unmarried; also about sending her to her parents to Sydney, and further saying that if she wished to get married she was not to be prevented doing so. Whilst so talking, blindfolded, in a strong clear unfaltering voice, and warning his brother against quarrelling, the fatal bolt was drawn and the body fell with a shock, dislocating the neck, the feet being then suspended about two feet from the flags of the corridor, There was not much convulsion of the body perceptible, but the feet and legs trembled so as to cast off the left boot. The pulse did not cease wholly to beat for eight minutes after the fall; in Young’s case, a powerful man, he died in less than one minute, but the deceased was of slight build. MThere is little about the formation of this place of execution to give the feeling of horror connected with the old gallows. It is a simple yet perfect contrivance; a broad board forms part of the crossing of the gallery floor, with a beam above it, appearing a portion of the roofing, over which hung the rope, the only emblem of the painful scene thereto be enacted.