ON THIS DAY ……. 10th April 1920

Following upon the Coroner’s inquiry into the death of William James Thomas, 23 years of age, at the Melbourne Hospital on this day in 1920, from gunshot wounds received on Good Friday at North Melbourne, and the verdict that the wound had been inflicted by Charles Wallace in self defence, the proceedings at the North Melbourne Police Court were of a formal character. On the application of Police-sergeant Matthews, before a bench of justices, consisting of Messrs W H Fuller (chairman), J Gardiner, T Crosbv, W. R Portingale and H Purkiss, the charge against Wallace was withdrawn.


ON THIS DAY …… 5th April 1929


On this day in 1929 a motor car driven by Arthur Harold Buckland aged 33, a postal employee, collided with a tram in Clarendon street, South Melbourne. William Samuel Deveston, aged 37, who was riding in the motor, was fatally injured. The Coroner found that Buckland was guilty of manslaughter and committed him for trial. Witnesses declared that Buckland drove at an excessive speed, but Buckland swore that he was travelling at only 15 miles an hour, and that the occurrence was purely accidental.


ON THIS DAY – April 2, 1925


On the 2nd of April, a four storied building which was being erected for the British Australasian Tobacco Company collapsed and four workmen were killed. The coroner, after an exhaustive inquiry, committed George . A. Royal (clerk of works), William Robert Astley Cooper (contractor), and Francis James Davis (architect) for trial on a charge of manslaughter.


ON THIS DAY ……… 27th March 1938


After hearing evidence the coroner Mr. T. W. Hammond found the death of Edwin McKenzie, aged 18, farm hand, of Cudgee, died from injuries inflicted by a bottle thrown by Geoffrey Roy Wilson. Wilson was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter at the Court of General Sessions, Warrnambool. Edwin McKenzie died in Warrnambool Base Hospital on this day in 1938.


ON THIS DAY – March 25, 1933


An Inquest was held by the City Coroner (Mr. Grant) into the death of Arthur John Smale, boot trade employee, aged 16 years. Smale was shot on March 25 when returning from military duty at the Williamstown rifle range. George Henry Madden, tinsmith, of Freeman Street, North Fitzroy, said that he was with a group of young men who were returning from the Williamstown Rifle Range on March 25. All had rifles which had been cleaned and inspected after firing. In Kororoit Road another party of young men, who had also been shooting, began throwing stones. He remembered some one calling out, and then he heard a shot, and Smale fell to the ground. Arthur Herbert Taylor, sergeant of militia, of East Brunswick, said that he saw two trainees with a rifle near the steam pipes on the range before the shooting. One was inserting what might have been a cartridge into the breach of the rifle. The other appeared to be shielding him. The owner of the rifle would not know that a cartridge had been inserted. William Arthur Horton, boot trader apprentice, told the Coroner that he did not know there was a live cartridge in the rifle at the time of the accident, and he had no ammunition in his possession. Mr. Grant found that Smale died from a bullet wound in the head caused by the accidental discharge of Horton’s rifle, who did not know that it was loaded. Mr. Grant recorded a finding of manslaughter against a person or persons unknown, who had unlawfully loaded a rifle on the Williamstown Rifle Range.


ON THIS DAY ………… 14th March 1933


The body of Grace Weston, aged 31, was found in a bedroom of her home on this day in 1933, with her throat cut. John McKenzie Weston, a butcher of Brunswick, was committed for trial by the Coroner, for the murder of his wife. The police alleged that in a signed statement he made to them Weston accused his wife of going out with another man. She promised to have nothing more to do with the man, but on the. 14th of March the man drove his wife home in a car. She told him she was going away with the man. That night he pushed her into the bedroom, locked the door, and cut her throat with a razor. A constable then smashed the door in and took him outside.


Murray McWilliams, a furrier, of North Melbourne, said he had known Mrs. Weston for about six months, and had seen her two or three times a week. He had taken her for drives in his car, but had done nothing improper. He promised Weston that he would not see her again, but on March 14 he saw her by chance, and offered to take her home, where she had an appointment. Later they had tea at St. Kilda, and drove to Black Rock. Mrs. Weston, did not appear to want to go home. On the way back, when they were nearing Weston’s home. Weston jumped on to the running board. Weston laid his hands on his wife. She screamed for help, and McWilliams struck Weston.



ON THIS DAY – March 9, 1911


An inquest was held concerning the death of Ettie Smith, 4 1/2 years of age, whose throat was cut by her father, William Thomas Smith, at North Melbourne, on the 9th of March 1911. The Coroner returned a verdict of wilful murder against Smith, and committed him for trial.



ON THIS DAY – March 7, 1932


An inquest was held today on the bones of an infant child which, it was alleged by the police, were found under a copper in the backyard of a house in Lisson Grove, Hawthorn, on March 7. The coroner committed Clarice Edith Mills, 23, nurse, and Sidney Wightwick, 29, for trial on a charge of murder.

Clarice Mills would be acquitted while Sidney Wightwick would be sentenced to 2 years of which he would serve 12 months


On This Day – 6th March 1854

A coroner’s inquest was held at the Geelong Gaol on this day in 1854, at 1pm. Coroner, Mr Forster Shaw and a respectable Jury, view the body of Ann Connelly, late a prisoner lunatic. George Coward, colonial assistant surgeon, being sworn. The deceased, Ann Connelly, had been in the Gaol since the 24th of January 1855, committed as a lunatic, she has been suffering from diarrhoea and dysentery the last few days of her life, with typhoid symptoms appeared.



On this day ………… 2nd March 1908

A fatal accident happened to Mr. Albert Sparks, 42 years of age, hotel keeper, of Stawell, on the 2nd of March 1908. The deceased, while proceeding to his bedroom, fell down the hotel stairs, and received such injuries that he expired soon afterwards. Sparks body was taken to his own cellar to keep cold and fresh until the coroner could arrive.



ON THIS DAY – February 1, 1980

Three men were committed for trial for the murder of missing businessman Mr Roger Wilson. After the decision one of the accused, Mr Christopher Dale Flannery, called the coroner’s inquest a “kangaroo court”. The coroner, found that Mr Wilson, 32, was murdered on the 1st of February at Pakenham, outside Melbourne. Mr Hore found that he died of gunshot wounds “unlawfully, maliciously, and feloniously” inflicted by Mr Mark Alfred Clarkson, 29, Mr Christopher Dale Flannery, 31, and Mr Kevin John Henry Williams, 39. Mr Hore agreed with counsel assisting the inquest, Mr John Hassell, that there was insufficient evidence to commit Mrs Kathleen May Flannery, 29, for trial on a charge of murder. The coroner said the six-week-old inquest had sat for 30 days and he was not troubled by his findings. Asked if he had anything to say, Mrs Flannery said: “I have nothing to say, except that I am not guilty of these charges. This has been a kangaroo court and if you want to get me for contempt, away you go”. Photo of Christopher Dale Flannery known as Mr Rent a kill.


On This Day –  January 2, 1951

Mrs. Shirley Rose Miller (21) and Kevin James Miller (32), of Buxton, were present in custody at an inquest to-day charged with having murdered their 12-month-old daughter at Buxton on January 2.

The Coroner (Mr. Burke. S.M.) who was inquiring into the death of Hazel Elaine Miller, adjourned the hearing until next Wednesday, after medical evidence had been heard.

Mrs. Miller was also on remand on a charge of having murdered another child, Arthur Jackson, three months, at Redcliffs on March 26, 1948.

Mr. Burke was told that the body of Hazel Miller was sewn up in a calico bag with white cotton and the legs tied with string.

Dr. Bowden, Government Pathologist, detailed the extensive injuries to Hazel Miller, alleged to have been cause by a hot-water bottle placed on the child’s stomach. The girl’s body was extensively bruised, and, in his opinion, death was due to a fractured skull. Most of the bruises could have been caused by hitting with the open hand or punching.