ON THIS DAY – July 29, 1976

Three men who battered an older man to death in the course of “teaching him a lesson” were each found guilty of murder by a Criminal Court jury. Mr Justice Jenkinson sentenced each of the three to be imprisoned for the term of his natural life. They were Mr Allan Raymond Robinson, 33, invalid pensioner, of Fitzroy, Mr Kenneth Graeme Wright, 19, labourer, of Richmond, and Mr Paul Maurice Stanton, 28, assistant manager, of Abbotsford. All had pleaded not guilty to a charge of having murdered Mr Sydney Thomas Crowe, also known as Mr Peter Johnson, 54, labourer, of Collingwood, on July 29 last year.


photo of Kenneth Graeme Wright

Ellen Matthews of Collingwood, Victoria, Australia lost the uses of her voice in an accident – recovered it 7 1/2 years later. Strangely she began speaking with a Scottish accent.

ON THIS DAY – July 11, 1936

WOMAN FOR TRIAL – Intent to Murder Charge 

On a charge of having shot at Mrs J Florence Mackinlay at Clifton Hill, on July 11, with intent to murder, Emily Willmott, married, of Collingwood, to-day was committed for trial. Police evidence was to the effect thatn on the night of July 11, as Mrs. Mackinkay was leaving the accused after a meeting in a park, she was shot in the back. Mrs. Ada Wills alleged that Mrs. Willmott informed her on July 12 that she “‘got Florrie last night.” Witness further alleged that Mrs. Willmott said she did not know whether the bullets hit the woman or not. “I hid to laugh when I looked back and saw Florrie staggering down the path.” she was alleged to have added.

On this day …….. 25th of June 1875

In the obituary notices in The Argus newspaper, it appeared the death of a person
named Elizabeth Wickets, at the great age of 103 years. She was a native of Paisley, in Scotland, but at an early age went to Lancashire, where she was
employed as a cotton-weaver. At the time when steam power looms were introduced there was a great uprising of the ignorant weavers, who thought they would lose their employment, and Wickets, who was then a remarkably tall and strong young woman, joined in the disturbances and destroying of looms, and for this, with many others, was transported to Tasmania. In that colony she married a man named John Wickets, who was her second husband, and about the time of the gold fever, the pair came over to this colony of Victoria. The man was a gipsy, and earned a living as a travelling tinker and conjuror. He was very clever at legerdemain, and was well known in Melbourne and Collingwood as “Jack the
Conjuror ” His wife used to accompany him in all his rambles, and when either had
taken a little too much drink, the other would wheel him or her in a barrow
to a hut in which they resided in what was then bush, but now forms the outskirts of Collingwood. About eight years ago “Jack ‘ received a sunstroke while on a journey up country, and returned to Melbourne, where he died in the hospital. The wife, who was now getting infirm, went into the Benevolent Asylum, but could not rest there, because, as she said, her old man’s last words to her were that she should not
allow herself to be beholden to the “pariah,” and leaving the institution, she went to
Sergeant Pewtress, whose duties had made him acquainted with her, and through his good offices she was brought under the notice of Mr Sturt, P M , who allowed her a pension of 2s a week She received some aid from the Ladies’ Benevolent Society, and was provided with lodgings in Collingwood by a family who had known her in Tasmania, and thus her last days were passed in comfort. Her age was computed from accounts she had given of the minor historical facts she remembered, and the calculation agreed with her own statements. Elizabeth was born in 1772.

ON THIS DAY……… 12th June 1939

A finding that a motor-van that struck and killed Patrick White aged 55, of Otter St., Collingwood, on this day in 1939, had been driven negligently. He committed John Dingwall McGregor, dairy produce merchant, of Park Grove, Burnley, for trial on a charge of manslaughter. It was stated in evidence that after a motor-van struck White in Wellington Parade it continued towards Richmond at a fast speed. Cyril P. Drill, automobile tester, said that a van which the police had asked him to test travelled 225ft. before it stopped after an application of the brakes at 35 miles an hour. The horn was not working, the steering was bad and the hand brake was useless. Constable T. R. Lanigan said that on the night of the accident he saw McGregor, who appeared under the influence of liquor, seated in a van at Burnley. He said that he had “had a day out,” and that he had had his last drink about 5 p.m. When he stepped from the van he staggered until he steadied himself by leaning against the van. At that time witness did not know that McGregor had an artificial leg. Evidence that when he examined McGregor at 9.30 p.m. he was unable to detect a trace of alcohol on him was given by Dr. Charles Cunningham.


ON THIS DAY – June 6, 1931


In the Criminal Court to-day George Arnold Turner, (33), labourer, was charged with having murdered Edward Vincent Sheehan on June 6 at Collingwood. The Crown alleged that during a struggle Sheehan fell to the footpath, and Turner went down on top of him. Turner held Sheehan down by the throat for about a quarter of an hour. The Crown alleged also that Sheehan’s death had been brought about by pressure on the nose and throat. Turner stated that he had acted In self-defence. He was found guilty of manslaughter, and remanded for sentence.

ON THIS DAY – June 1, 1861

A lamentable catastrophe occurred in Collingwood on Saturday evening last, a man named Currie having first shot his wife, and afterwards attempted to commit suicide. The case appears to have been one arising from jealousy on the one side, and passion and drink upon the other. So far as at present known, the particulars may be briefly stated as follows — A man named George Currie, well known throughout the district from being the Inspector of Nuisances for the Fitzroy Municipality, has been living for some time in Moor street, Fitzroy, and latterly on very bad terms with his wife. Currie was a member of the local volunteer company, and formerly a sergeant in the police force. He was also an old soldier, having been engaged in the Caffre wars. His disputes with his wife arose partly from their being of different religions, and partly from her suspecting that he was keeping a mistress in the neighbourhood. During the last few weeks, Currie has taken to drink, and his quarrels with his wife became so violent that their friends endeavoured to effect a separation. Last Wednesday, matters appeared to reach a climax, as Currie then attempted his wife’s life with a loaded horse pistol, but she fortunately escaped from him. He was given into custody, and brought up the following morning, at the Fitzroy Police Court. The charge, however, was withdrawn, arrangements being made that Currie should allow his wife a separate maintenance, and go out of town until the necessary details were completed. Accordingly he went down to St. Kilda or Brighton, but returned the next day begging to be received home again. The wife consented, and to further pacify her, Currie purchased a silk dress; for which he paid seven guineas, and also gave her two gold rings, and a diamond ring. After this, Currie again became somewhat violent, and demanded money from the woman, a request which she refused to comply with Saturday, however, appealed likely to pass over quietly, although it is a fact, not without significance, that in the morning Currie made his will. During the day he was told off as one of the firing party to attend at the funeral of the volunteer who was buried on Saturday. Accordingly, about half past nine o’clock at night, after his return, he commenced to clean his rifle. There was nobody in the house at the time besides himself, his son, a lad of 13, and his wife. The lad was going to bed and his mother was passing into the bedroom, when suddenly, without speaking, Carrie, who mast previously have loaded his rifle, discharged it at her. The woman’s back was turned to him at the time, and the ball passed right through her body. She fell down, but recovering scrambled onto the bed.  Currie without displaying any alarm, picked her up in his arms, carried her out of the front door into the garden, and told his son to run for a doctor. Some men who were passing by took the woman, who was quite insensible, into the house again, and Dr Tracy, who was speedily in attendance, pronounced her case to be hopeless. Currie was of course taken into custody. He had been sitting in a chair, displaying the utmost indifference, though the room was swimming with his victim’s blood, and he freely acknowledged all the particulars of his crime. Shortly after he had been removed to the police station the son showed Dr Tracy a bottle, the contents of which he had seen his father swallow when leaving. This it was ascertained had contained laudanum, so that Currie, who had begun to show the effects of the poison, was conveyed to the Melbourne Hospital. The stomach pump was immediately applied, but it was not till, six o’clock that the surgeons were enabled to pronounce him out of danger and of course he is at present in a most exhausted condition. The unfortunate woman, his wife, became sensible during the night and her depositions were taken. They were simply that her husband had shot her without any provocation. She lingered in great pain until about 7 o’clock in the morning when she expired. Dr Tracy and Dr Featherstone made a post-mortem examination of the body. The district coroner held an inquest on it on Monday morning, and a verdict of wilful murder was returned.

ON THIS DAY – June 1, 1941

Charged with the murder of his wife, Beatrice May Stroud, aged 16 years and 10 months, Albert Edward Stroud, 20, of Wellington st. Collingwood, appeared before Sir Frederick Mann, Chief Justice, and a Jury in the Criminal Court yesterday.

In opening the Crown case, Mr. C. H. Book, KC, said that the accused had married his wife on December 21 last year. At that time he was In camp, but obtained leave for some days. After the marriage, they lived for a time with Mrs. Humphrey, mother of Mrs. Stroud, at St. Andrews, near Hurstbridge. Then they went to Mr. Whittick’s house in Wellington st., Collingwood. Stroud had told Mrs. Humphrey that if he ever saw his wife talking to another man except himself he would shoot her. On June 1 the Stroud’s were the only people In the house, as the Whitticks had gone away for the weekend. That morning accused stopped a motorist and asked him to take his wife to the hospital, as she had been accidentally shot. She died from severe internal hemorrhage due to a bullet wound.

After witnesses for the Crown had given evidence, accused gave evidence on oath. He said that up to June 1 he had never threatened to shoot his wife. On the morning of June 1 he got out of bed and went to the front room and got the rifle. His wife came into the room. He went to the dressing table and got a bullet, and she saw him put It in the rifle. He had hold of the stock and she took hold of the barrel, He went to drag the gun away from her. He told her it was loaded, and might go off.

He dragged it away from her and it swung her down on the bed. He had a finger on the trigger and one on the barrel. As he took the finger off the hammer it went off. He did not intend to shoot her, or shoot at her.

Stroud would be acquitted of all charges.

ON THIS DAY – December 21, 1941


On a charge of having murdered his wife, Beatrice May Stroud, aged 16, Albert Edward Stroud, 20, was committed for trial by the City Coroner. The mother of the dead girl said that the couple had been married for seven months. The police said that the husband made a statement that he had an argument with his wife. He had a pea-rifle, and his wife seized hold of it. He wrenched it away and stepped back. The rifle was discharged. He had forgotten that the rifle was loaded.


On this day …….. 13th of December 1858

The first balloon flight in Sydney, Australia, takes place on this day in 1858. The hot air balloon was developed in the 1700s by Frenchman Jacques Étienne Montgolfier, together with his brother Joseph-Michel. Montgolfier progressed to untethered flights until 1783 when he tested the first balloon to carry passengers, using a duck, a sheep and a rooster as his subjects. The demonstration occurred in Paris and was witnessed by King Louis XVI. The first manned, untethered balloon flight occurred on the 21st of November of that year, and carried two men. The first balloon flight in Melbourne occurred on the 1st of February 1858. Constructed in the UK, the balloon was imported into Australia by the manager of Melbourne’s Theatre Royal, George Coppin. The launch took place at Cremorne Gardens near Richmond. William Dean lifted off at 5:52pm and landed near Heidelberg at around 6:30pm. Two weeks later, Dean again lifted off, this time reaching an estimated altitude of 10,000 feet before decending onto the road between Collingwood and Brunswick Stockade. William Dean was also the first to fly in a balloon from Sydney. Together with his companion, Brown, they launched at 5:00pm on the 13th December 1858, witnessed by 7,000 people. The balloon drifted north across Sydney Harbour and landed in Neutral Bay. However, it was not until the 1870s that balloon flights became more commonplace in Australia.

ON THIS DAY – November 4, 1919

William Joseph Flynn, aged 15, of Hood street, Collingwood, and James Patrick Smith, aged 16, of Palmer street, were charged in the Children’s Court at Fitzroy on Monday with having wilfully murdered a boy named Ernest Stanley Worseldine, of Rose street, Fitzroy, on November 4. Mr. N. L. O’Connor appeared for Flynn.

Detective McKerral applied for a remand for a fortnight, pending the holding of the coroner’s inquest.. The application was granted, and the boys were removed to Melbourne Gaol.


ON THIS DAY…… 12th September 1886

An inquest was held at the Melbourne morgue by Mr. Candler, the district coroner, on the body of a male child unknown, which was found on this day in 1886, on a vacant piece of land next to Dr Singleton’s Home for Fallen Women, in Islington street, Collingwood. Dr Neild made an examination of the body, and found that death had been caused by suffocation. The body when found was in a sack, and the constable who removed it to the morgue did not believe that the body had been placed in the field by any of the inmates of Dr. Singleton’s Home. A verdict of murder against some person unknown was the result of the inquest.