On This Day – August 7, 1913

When going through the many statements taken for the information of the coroner in connection with the murder, on August 7 last, of the old woodcutter, Richard Knight, outside his hut in the bush between Lilydale and Coldstream (says the Melbourne ‘Argus’). Detective-Sergeant Arthur and Detective Keily discovered certain discrepancies in the stories of several boys living in Coldstream. Information concerning their movements around the time of the murder was proffered in such a manner that many possibilities were presented, and in order to satisfy themselves that the boys were not purposely withholding certain facts, the two detectives yesterday returned from Melbourne to Coldstream. Each of the boys was seen, and though they all presisted in their previous statements, they were not able to explain whether certain of their actions were, due to a coincidence or otherwise. They could not be shaken in their first statement that they had not seen the old man after he was shot at, though one of them admitted having been at his hut just previous to the time when two residents of the neighbouring bush heard two shots fired in the direction of the hut. The boys were questioned separately, but they showed no signs of wavering, neither did their statements contradict each other. In view of this, the detectives came to the conclusion that it was useless prolonging the examination.  Unless something unforseen happens nothing more will now be done until the inquest, the date of which the coronor (Dr. Cole) will probably fix within the next few days.  Altogether, about 20 witnesses will be subpoenaed, as the police intend having everyone present who may possibly be able to assist the coroner in determining when, how, and by whom Knight was killed.

On this day …….. 12th of July 1979

A youth told a coroner on this day in 1979, that a lion had “barged” through a fence and attacked his brother. His brother had tried to escape by climbing over a small gate at the rear of the enclosure. The Coroner, Mr Brown, was holding the inquest on Neville Craig Vance, 12, of Bacchus Marsh, who died on May 12. He found that Neville died from injuries suffered when he was attacked by the lion and that his death was due to misadventure. Mr Gordon William Vance, 18, of Mordialloc, said in a statement read to Bacchus Marsh Coroner’s Court that he had been in a breeding den at the lion park when the lion “barged” in at 11.10am. It had passed him and attacked Neville. Senior Constable Peter Ratcliffe, of Bacchus Marsh police, said the chain mesh surrounding the enclosure was 2.5 metres high and was held up by a few poles. “In my opinion the fence was not strong enough and if bumped it would fall apart easily”, he said. Mr Brown said the circumstances surrounding the death showed “a lack of care and responsibility”.


ON THIS DAY – July 3, 1865

An inquest was held at Sunbury by the district coroner on the body of a man named Henry Junod, who met his death by violence on Sunday night. From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was found on Monday morning last by a teamster named George Hoinville, lying at his garden gate fence. His face was covered with blood, and when found
he was quite dead. A. woman named Diana Walton gave evidence to the effect that on Sunday morning she bad seen three men pass her house, and heard one of them say “I’ll give it him.” One of them had a knife in his hand, and that she saw one of them stoop, and with something he had in his hand strike at the ground. Deceased was not of the party. The three men then went away.
Mr John Shaw Miles, surgeon, made the post mortem examination, and he described the wounds on the man’s face and head, and said the cause of death was fracture of the skull and extravasation of blood on and in the brain and laceration of the brain. Two wounds above and below the right eye were made with a blunt instrument, such as the
rail of a fence, and by the exertion of great strength. Another wound near the ear was caused by a sharp instrument, such as a knife.
The inquest was adjourned till Friday for the analysis of blood on the trousers, and the production of further witnesses.

ON THIS DAY – June 15, 1929


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 7, 1933

Acting Coroner on Orbost Poisoning Tragedy

An inquest was hold late last night before Mr. Allan, acting coroner at Delegate River, where particulars into the tragedy that devastated the home life of the Cullen family were furnished. Mary Kathleen Cullen, 26, residing with her husband, William Cullen at Dellicknora, poisoned herself and her three children, Gwendolyn Gloria, four years; William John Roy, three years, and Margaret Elizabeth, six months, at about 11 pm on Monday. The acting coroner found that Mrs. Cullen died of poisoning self-inflicted, and that Gwendolyn was poisoned maliciously by the mother, At the Delegate morgue the Bombala coroner opened an inquest on the bodies of the other two children, but adjourned it to allow of the Victorian authorities to complete certain investigations.

On This Day – April 21, 1926

Falling out of bed on April 21, Clarissa Miles, 60, of Roslyn street, West Melbourne, received injuries from which she died six days later. At the inquest today tho Coroner (Mr D. Berrman) found that death was accidental.

Henry John Edward Jones, engineer, Macquarie street. Prahran. said he saw his aunt in the Melbourne Hospital on April 26. and she told him she was turning over in bed when she fell out. She was a big woman 15 or 16 stone in weight.

On This Day – November 6, 1924

The tragedy which occurred at Dandenong on November 6, when Albert Markley and his wife were found dead, was inquired into by the Coroner yesterday.

Dr. Taylor stated that in his opinion Markley had cut his wife’s throat, and then cut his own. The son, Wilfred Markley, said he considered that it was worry about his mother’s mental condition and his financial difficulties that caused his father to commit the deed.

The Coroner’s verdict was that Markley had cut his wife’s throat and then taken his own life while of unsound mind.

ON THIS DAY – October 26, 1929


Eric Pike (15 1/2)was committed for trial by the Coroner on a charge of willfully murdering a farmer named John Willam Smith (36), at Werrimull on October 26. Smith’s body was found in some timber about a mile from his home. There were indications that he had been dragged some distance behind a cart. He had 11 bullet wounds in the head and body.

On this day …….. 25th September 2000

On the 25th of September 2000, 17-year-old Jevan Wright was killed while surfing at Blackfellows Point near Elliston on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. During an inquest in February 2001 the Coroner stated “All experienced surfers, particularly people who surf on the West Coast of South Australia, must be aware of the risk, however remote, of shark attack.” The coroner’s report also noted that “Mr Geoff Wright, Jevan’s father, also made some very sensible observations about the frequency of shark attacks and ways in which this phenomenon might be minimised.” His observations related to tuna farming in Boston Bay and salmon fishing.


ON THIS DAY…… 23rd September 1926

Inquiries which resulted in his death were received by a Chinese in a fight with another Chinese in Marion street, Fitzroy, on the morning of September 23. The meat choppers and two knives, as well as a piece of lead piping and a large and heavy stick, were used in the struggle and severe injuries were received by both men., At the end of an inquest the Coroner, Mr D. Berriman, P.M., found Chung Wah Lee, 56 years, a cabinetmaker, of Marion street, Fitzroy, guilty of murder. Lillian Matthews, who described herself as a domestic servant, said, “I lived with Low Jack in a house in Marion street, Fitzroy. I was seated beside the window in my front room at 11:30am on September 23rd, the day on which the fight occurred. Chung Wah Lee was seated with Florrie Jones on the door, step of a house opposite. A man passed and spoke to someone at the door. I then heard Chung Wah Lee say excitedly, ‘you think you are a Chinese king.’ Low Jack made some reply. Chung Wah Lee rushed to my house and broke in the two panels of the front door and smashed the windows. Later Low Jack staggered into the house he was covered in blood and said that he, was dying. He had been stabbed in the chest and his eye was horribly, mutilated. I ran for the police, leaving him in the front room. When I returned I saw him collapse on the front door step. I had not seen the fight but I saw Chung Wah Lee with a chopper and a stick in his hand. Low Jack had a large knife, a large chopper and a tomahawk. When the police arrived Chung Wah Lee wanted to fight Jack again and said. ‘Come I will finish now.”

To the Coroner witness said: Low Jack went to Chung Wah Lee’s house after the windows and door’s had been smashed and made him come out and fight. I could not say whether there had been trouble over Florrie Jones, but sometime before she had broken a window at my house and had been made to pay for it and there had been ill-feeling. The accused said: “I fought with him with his own knife.” The Coroner found that Low Jack’s death had resulted from in injuries inflicted by Chung Wah Lee, and committed him for trial. Senior Detective Jones objected to admitting Chung Wah Lee to bail; but he was bail on two securities of £500 each.


On This Day – August 28, 1933

A GRAPHIC story of events associated with the fatal shooting of Betty Martin, 33, of Wrexham Road, Windsor; the wounding of her husband, Henry Martin, traveller; and the suicide of Isaac John Cohen Jedwab, 57, manufacturer. of Glen Eira Road, Caulfield, was told at the inquest at the Morgue on October 3. Jedwab turned the revolver on himself after he had shot the others in the kitchen of their home on the morning of August 28.

The Coroner (Mr D. Grant, P.M.) found that Betty Martin had been murdered by Jedwab, who then committed suicide. Harry Hirsch, cutter and designer, of Fenwick Street, North Carlton, said that he had been employed by Jedwab during the past six months. The business had been failing and Jedwab had not been attending to it properly. “Jedwab had been betting on race-horses’ said Hirsch, ‘About three months ago. after a meeting of creditors at the factory, Jedwab said to me; If Martin goes again me, or into partnership with anybody else, I’ll shoot him. “Later he came to my table in the workshop and said, ‘Martin is against me, ruins me.  He told me to watch Martin, as he was thieving.”

Hella Jedwab, widow, said that about 6.30 a.m. on August 28, her husband got up, and after having had a cup of tea, he took her one. He told her that he was up early because he wanted “to go in early.” Before he left the premises he went to the bedroom window and said he would not take the car. It was usual for him to go into the city by car. He said he would be home early. He had been very worried of late and had been losing money. “He had often told me,” continued Mrs Jedwab, “that the Martins— Henry Martin and Betty Martin, the former ot whom was employed by, and had an interest in, my husband’s business— had been robbing him. “He said several times that he would kill Martin. About two years ago he took out his revolver to shoot Martin and I caused the gun to be taken away from him.”

Lawrence Reginald Hill, carpenter, of Candy Street, Westgarth, who was working on a new building near the Martins’ home on August 28, said that he could overlook the yard and kitchen of the Martins’ place. About 8.40 a.m. he heard a gunshot and a woman screamed. Two more shots followed in quick succession. He got off the scaffolding and with Jack Jones, who was working with him, ran around into Wrexham Road. When opposite the Martins’ home he saw Martin staggering down the path at the side of the house. Martin, who had his hands to his face and was bleeding freely, said: “Please help me; there has been an explosion. Get a doctor and see if my wife is all right. My uncle is in there, too. I was taking medicine and there was an explosion.”

With his face heavily bandaged, Henry Martin, husband of the dead woman, was helped into the Court. He said that he was a director of the London and Parisian Pleaters, of Brien Lane, City. Jedwab was the proprietor. On August 28 Jedwab arrived at the house about 8 a.m. It had been usual during the fortnight before the shooting for Jedwab to call and for them to go to the city together. “After he arrived,” said Martin, “I repaired a puncture in the tyre of one of the wheels of my car. Jedwab assisted me and we discussed only the job we were doing. He was quite friendly. “Then we went into the kitchen, and my wife gave him and me a cup of tea. She then poured me out a dose of medicine. “I was standing near the sink arid had raised the glass to drink it when I heard an explosion near my head.” “I seemed to go blind, and I staggered out of the kitchen. I heard another explosion just before I left, and a scream.”  Martin said that he did not know Jedwab had a gun with him that morning, although he did know that he often carried one. About three or four weeks before the tragedy witness had been warned by Hirsch that Jedwab had made a threat to shoot him (Martin). Continuing Martin said that he had been employed by Jedwab for seven years, and for the past four years had been a director of the firm. He had had several differences with Jedwab as to his manner of running the business. They were not serious differences, however.”I know the business was in a bad way,” said Martin, “the reason being that Jedwab had, during the last 12 months, withdrawn hundreds of pounds from the business to bet on horses. I used to sign cheques in blank as I was out most of the day getting orders. “I spoke to him about it and he resented it. He never accused me of robbing him. “About three weeks before the affair I was fed up with Jedwab and told him I would leave. He begged me not to go. “In June last, Mr Hirsch and I entered into an agreement that if one of us left Jedwab, the other would leave also, and we were to start in business together. Two or three days before the shooting I had an idea that Jedwab knew something about the agreement.” Martin added that he did not think that Jedwab had any quarrel with Mrs Martin. She was Jedwab’s niece. In 1925 or 1926. while in London, Jedwab had taken poison after matrimonial troubles.

A finding of murder and suicide, was recorded.

On This Day – August 26, 1936

Murder Charge in Sale

Following the death of Mrs.W. W. Armstrong at the Gippsland Base Hospital on August 26, Dr. G. A. Haganaeur, of Sale visited Dr. Arthur Lanphier’s surgery at Rosedale and found Dr. Lanphier in a state of collapse.

Police look possession of a note addressed to the coroner, alleged to have been found in the surgery.

Dr. Lanphier was admitted to the Gippsland Hospital and on his discharge on the following day was arrested on a charge of having murdered Mrs Kathleen Patricia Armstrong. He was remanded to September 5. No bail was sought.

Reporting Mrs Armstrong’s death to the police, Dr. Haganauer said he would not give a certificate. He held a post mortem and the organs were removed to be sent to the Government Analyst.

Mrs Armstrong, wife of Walter William Armstrong, railway employee, had been ill for several weeks.