On This Day ….. 13th December 1898

On this day in 1898, an order for 2/6 weekly was made against a man named Robert Tough for maintenance of his children in the schools, but Tough failed to comply with the order, and a sum £63/15/7 has accumulated against him. Tough disappeared, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, which was accomplished and he was return to Geelong and sent to gaol for one month.

On This Day – 13th November 1888

An inquiry was commenced into the murder by Bridget Doyle and her two children, and then adjourned pending the mother’s recovery. She retired on the night of the 13th November 1888 apparently well, the two murdered children occupying the bed with her. The second bed in the same room was occupied by a young woman named Reed. Three other children and her own brother and sister, the latter blind, occupied the other parts of the house. Reed states that there was nothing he usual till early in the morning, when she was awakened by loud screams. She then saw the children in bed with their throats cut. The mother was crouched in a corner of the room with her throat cut and covered with blood. The other inmates had not heard anything. Medical testimony showed that the older child’s throat was cut so terribly that death wad almost instantaneous. All the principal arteries were severed. The mother was passionately fond of children especially the murdered ones. It is stated that she has shown signs of mental aberration at different times.



ON THIS DAY – October 17, 1898


At the Bendigo Assizes today, before Mr. Justice Williams, Thomas Waters, aged 39, was presented on a charge of murdering his wife at White Hills on October 17. After a long retirement the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter. Prisoner was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with hard labour.

Around Christmas last year, in consequence of the accused’s conduct towards his wife, she separated from him. On several occasions, in consequence of his conduct, the woman and children had to leave the house and sleep in the bush. Those violent fits generally occurred when accused was under the influence of liquor. Although practically separated since Christmas, accused used to go and see his wife on Saturdays and Sundays, and the children would say that when he was drunk he ill-treated her.

Coming home on Saturday night, 15th October, he was under the influence of drink, and he ill-treated his wife shamefully. On the Sunday night he left apparently to go his work at Jackass Flat, where he was mining, taking with him one of the children’s boots to repair it. He had apparently no intention of returning until the next Saturday night. However, on the Monday morning it appeared that a man took some washing to Mrs. Waters’s house for the first time. The accused also went working, and he found some gold for which he obtained £1 10s. Having got that he decided to return home.

Apparently he saw the man who had left the washing near the place, and this appeared to have aroused his jealousy and he started to drink. The drink worked on him and made him go home and beat his wife to death. The elder boy, in consequence of his father’s treatment, refused to live with him, but he used to see his mother at times and give her money. On that same night the younger boy George returned home and heard sounds of a quarrel. He looked through a window as shown in the photo of the house he produced. It was a very makeshift sort of a place and had no comforts. He saw his mother lying on the floor. Her husband was beating her, and she cried out, ” Oh, Thomas, don’t,” but he only replied by using a horrible expression. The boy was so alarmed that he went away and slept in a house nearby.

In the early morning of  Tuesday, 17th October, accused, having found his wife dead, went and alarmed some of the neighbors. They saw what, had taken place and communicated with the police. Constable Coffey came and a conversation took place between him and accused. There were no clothes upon her but a chemise, the others having been torn off her.

He told the constable that when be came home on Saturday his wife was very drunk and on Monday she was again in a state of intoxication. He went out and on his return found her lying on the floor with her face cut and injured in the manner the constable found her. He lifted her up and placed her on the bed. He thought she was dead drunk, but be found afterwards that she was dead. Shortly afterwards Dr. Gafiney arrived with  Constable Davidson. The accused told the constable that he did not strike his wife; he had never struck her in his life. The only account he could give of the marks on her face was that she received them by falling. By a post-mortem examination the doctor found that the woman had a small heart, which made her less liable to withstand violence. Her death, he said, resulted from the shock produced by violence used towards her.



On This Day ……. 24th May 1965

On Monday the 24th of May 1965, Humphrey B. Bear an icon of Australian children’s television was first broadcast on Adelaide’s NWS-9. The show became one of the most successful programs for pre-schoolers in Australia. The part of Humphrey was played by Edwin Duryea, an actor, singer and dancer whose human identity was never revealed. In the early days the character was known as Bear Bear and was named Humphrey B. Bear as the result of an on air competition.

ON THIS DAY – May 11, 1898


An inquest at Footscray on the tragedy at Yarraville on May 11, when the three children of Gerald M’Carthy and his wife were murdered, the jury returned a verdict that the children died from the result of injuries received at the hands of their mother, Margaret M’Carthy, who was guilty of wilful murder. The unfortunate woman was present in court, and appeared keenly to realise the dreadful details of the tragedy. She was committed for trial on the 16th instant.

On this day …….. 26th April 1974

Mr Doug Laing-Smith, 38, died in hospital on this day in 1974, 27 days after he was crushed by an elephant while working for Ashton’s Circus in Melbourne. He was knocked down and crushed by Abu the elephant after it was frightened by children playing on mini-bikes, Mr Laing-Smith, who is survived by his wife and five children, had been unconscious since he was admitted to the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital after the accident.


2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the annual Good Friday Appeal to raise funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital. It began in 1931 as a sports carnival for charity but has grown into a beloved yearly appeal!

Give That They May Grow!   Donate here

For the history of the appeal visit the following link: Good Friday Appeal History

“On the 3rd of September 1931, a small group of journalists from The Sporting Globe organised a sports carnival for charity.

The afternoon commenced with a Cobb & Co carriage procession followed by the competing jockeys and veterans as they wound their way through the streets of Melbourne to the MCG. In front of a delighted crowd of 20,000 people, the sports carnival began with a football match involving Victorian jockeys – Flemington verses Caulfield, where Flemington came out as the victors.

This was followed by a football game of old Veterans’ representing the North and the South of the Yarra. Any retired players from World War One onwards were encouraged to put their name forward with a call out through The Sporting Globe. North of the Yarra were the clear winners of the Veterans’ match, 10: 6 to South’s 6: 7.

During the intervals The Sporting Globe journalist Dave McNamara, who also held the record for long distance football kicking, gave an exhibition of drop kicking and a fancy dress sprint event was also included as part of the Carnival program. A total of 427 pounds was raised to support the Alfred Hospital Appeal.”


On This Day ……. 6th April 1915

Mr William Farquhar, a warder of the Geelong Gaol, died “in harness” on this day day in 1915, while on duty in one of the towers overlooking the exercise yard. The warden on duty in the opposite corner had missed Mr. Farquhar for sometime, and when he visited his tower found him dying. Deceased had been under treatment by the gaol medical officer for two years for heart, trouble, and had been always a signed tower duty because of it. His death was not unexpected, but his sticking ability to do his duty had won the admiration of his colleagues. Farquhar was a married man and native of Scotland, and left a widow and children.


ON THIS DAY ……. 28th March 1945

A cow joined a family party in a rowing boat on the Bellinger River near Kempsey, New South Wales on this day in 1945. Two cows were shoving each other and one fell over the riverbank into the boat in which Mr Martin of Fernmount and two of his children were sitting. The boat did not capsize but Martin and one of the children fell out. The cow stayed in the boat with the other child, but was unsettled and soon fell overboard. When Martin had saved his child in the water, he went back to save his other in the half swamped boat. One of the cows horns cut martins upper lip and he required medical attention.



ON THIS DAY ……… 16th March 1883

The elephant at the Melbourne Zoo is thriving splendidly, and will be ready to carry children on the 16th March 1883.



On This Day – 10th March 1854

The Geelong gaol has been set apart for female prisoners, Governor Charles Brodie stated there is no means of separating the sane from the insane prisoners, for the want of accommodation. If I was to separate them, i.e., the sane from the insane, I should place at present twenty-seven women and children in the largest ward, which is 16 x 16. There are five solitary cells, which are occupied by male lunatics, and also used for punishment. These I must keep for the males and refractory prisoners, for if they were otherwise used, I could keep no subordination. The present system is quite subversive of prison discipline.



On This Day – 13 January 1939

Colac Herald – 16 January 1939

The most terrible thing about the fires in the Colac district on Friday was the death of four children at Barongarook … The husband and wife and four other children, including a baby of six months, had a miraculous escape. Their home and all personal effects were destroyed.

The victims of the tragedy, all of them children of Mr and Mrs John Robinson, were:

TERESA ROBINSON, aged 13 years.
MARY ROBINSON, aged 12 years.
VERA ROBINSON, aged 10 years.
PAUL ROBINSON, aged 8 years.

About two o’clock, as the members of the family were in the house, with startling suddenness the fire surrounded and enveloped the building in flames. The family made a frantic dash for safety. Mr and Mrs Robinson and four children ran into the garden, while the other four children, apparently terror stricken, made for the nearby road, where they were trapped by the flames.

They were dead when the father found them, and brought their bodies in. Two of the children who were saved collapsed with the terrific heat and thick pall of smoke, but were revived by immersing them in water.

The surviving members of the family set out to walk through the blackened bush, with the flames still roaring around, toward Barongarook. They were met by Mr John Flanigan, one of a search party which went from Barongarook to reach them.

They were taken to Mr T Neale’s home, some miles away. Mrs Robinson’s feet were badly burned on the frightful journey. They were on the point of collapse and almost crazed with the awful tragedy of the loss of the other children. Everything possible for them was done at Mr Neale’s.

The bodies were brought to Colac by the police and Mr T Neale and his son, Mr W Neale.

Fathers pathetic story

Speaking on Saturday morning to a representative of the ‘Colac Herald’, Mr Robinson said the fire came around their home with the suddenness of an ‘earthquake’. He realised the danger at once, and told his wife that, although their chance of safety was exceedingly slight, if they did what he told them they might survive the terrible danger.

He got his wife and the surviving children and ran into the garden, where he found a bare patch of ground not more than three yards square. The father attempted to get the other four children, but they made a frantic dash for the track which they used to go to school.

When he later found those unfortunate children they were lying in pairs in the order they walked to school. When he told his wife of their fate she became distracted, and it was with difficulty he prevailed upon her the necessity for remaining calm.

Mr Robinson, who showed strains of the awful ordeal through which he had passed, said that he himself had to put a check upon his feelings to prevent a mad desire to rush into the flames too.

Could a more frightful situation be pictured? The little group, with a baby of six months, on that tiny patch of ground with the hot, fiery, blazing blast whipping the flames practically over them. They were almost suffocated in the sweltering fumes of the stinging furnace.

Mr Robinson had his clothes afire several times and his wife had her shoes burnt from her feet, and her clothes too were at times alight. How they managed to survive he does not know. Their mouths were parched, and the baby and the younger children suffered terribly. To relieve their distress Mr Robinson, when there was a lull in the fierce fire, went down to the creek for water to assuage their sufferings.

With a bucket in his hand he struggled down to the gully, and the smoke was so dense that he found it difficult to find his way there and back. His heroism was eventually rewarded and the precious liquid was taken back to the stricken little band.

Mr Robinson was still dazed with the awful experience in that inferno. How they got through to Neale’s seems like a nightmare. … One will never forget the ineffable sadness on this unfortunate man’s face as he spoke of his dear dead children.

…The bereaved father said that only the day before, he came home from chopping wood. He was not sick, but had a premonition that something awful was going to happen