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William George Bruhn entered the Geelong Gaol on 3 December 1930 for a 6 month imprisonment.  It is Geelong’s connection to one of the more infamous criminal families – the Bruhns

On December 2, 1930, William parked his car in a lane near the railway line in Lethbridge.  In the car was a crowbar, gelignite, fuses, detonators and blankets. The men were waiting for the goods train from Ballarat to Geelong to pass but had aroused the suspicions of the locals who called the police.  William and two other men with him were charged with loitering with intent to commit a felony and each given 6 months imprisonment.

William was the eldest son of Oscar Bruhn and Mary Ann McFarlane.  Oscar and Mary Ann had ten children, all born in Geelong – Ellen (1886), William (1888), Oscar (1890), Edward (1893), Norman (1894), Stanley (1897), Agnes (1899), Eric (1902), Roy (1905) and Catherine (1908).

Four of the sons would spend time in prison.

But Oscar himself, although with no prison time, was no stranger to the courts himself.

In 1908, Oscar was fined 10 shillings for throwing a rowdy spectator over the fence while he was umpiring a football game.  In 1909, Oscar was arrested for assaulting William after he arrived home in a foul temper, throwing a plate at his wife before picking up William up the legs and swinging him around the room before hurling him out a glass window. Then in 1911, Oscar was charged with the indecent assault of a 22 year old domestic servant.  Despite testimony from the young woman, her employer and the employer’s son, Oscar was acquitted.

William was brought up on a criminal assault charge in 1911 at Cressy but he was acquitted at trial.  In 1928, he was charged with larceny for stealing car tyres from the Railways using his position as an engine driver.  For this crime he served 18 months at Pentridge and Metropolitan prisons.

Brothers Eric and Roy also served time for various crimes such as receiving, larceny, unlicensed pistol and being a suspected person.

Roy was known for being a standover man and robber.  In 1930, he was shot in the chest because of a dispute over proceeds of a robbery.  In 1931, their father Oscar was shot in the leg with a bullet meant for Roy after a quarrel over money.  In 1937, Roy was implicated in the unsolved murder of John Demsey who was shot and buried in a shallow grave.

But perhaps the most famous brother was Norman Bruhn.  Norman came to the attention of police as a teenager with minor charges such as riding his bike without a light and offensive behaviours.  Norman enlisted in the army with his brothers and many of them were court martialled during their service.  Norman would be incarcerated for being AWOL in France for several months. It was when he returned that Norman spent time in and out of Melbourne prisons for various offences.

Norman became involved with Squizzy Taylor as a standover man with a reputation of a bad temper and a beater of women.  In 1926, when Norman shot a man and it was feared he would die, he took his wife and children and moved to Sydney becoming involved in the razor gang wars as an enforcer.  He would keep company with the likes of George Wallace the “Midnight Raper”, Snowy Cutmore, Sailor the Slasher Saidler and the albino Razor Jack Hayes.

In Sydney, Normans stay would be short lived when on the night of 22 June 1927, he would be shot and fatally wounded in a sly grog shop.  Norman never identified his killers nor did his drinking buddy, horse trainer Robert Miller.  It was believed the shooters were Tom and Siddy Kelly, Frank Green and George Gaffney but they were never identified and charged.

But the crimes continued down the family tree.  Norman’s grandsons Keith Faure and Noel Faure were imprisoned for the murder of Lewis Moran.  Keith served part of his sentence at Geelong Gaol before being moved to Barwon prison.

The Shark Arm case refers to a series of incidents that began in Sydney, Australia on the 25th of April 1935 when a human arm was regurgitated by a captive 3.5-metre tiger shark, subsequently leading to a murder investigation.

The tiger shark had been caught 3 kilometres from the beach suburb of Coogee in mid-April and transferred to the Coogee Aquarium Baths, where it was put on public display. Within a week the fish became ill and vomited in front of a small crowd, leaving the left forearm of a man bearing a distinctive tattoo floating in the pool. Before it was captured, the tiger shark had devoured a smaller shark. It was this smaller shark that had originally swallowed the human arm.

Fingerprints lifted from the hand identified the arm as that of former boxer and small-time criminal James (Jim) Smith, (born England, 1890), who had been missing since April 7, 1935. Smith’s arm and tattoo were also positively identified by his wife Gladys and his brother Edward Smith. Jim Smith led a high-risk lifestyle, as he was also a police informer. Examination revealed that the limb had been severed with a knife, which led to a murder investigation. Three days later, the aquarium owners killed the shark and gutted it, hampering the initial police investigation.

Early inquiries correctly led police to a Sydney businessman named Reginald William Lloyd Holmes (1892-1935). Holmes was a fraudster and smuggler who also ran a successful family boat-building business at Lavender Bay, New South Wales. Holmes had employed Smith several times to work insurance scams, including one in 1934 in which an over-insured pleasure cruiser named Pathfinder was sunk near Terrigal, New South Wales. Shortly afterward, the pair began a racket with Patrick Francis Brady (1889-1965), a convicted forger and ex-serviceman. With specimen signatures from Holmes’ friends and clients provided by the boat-builder, Brady would forge cheques for small amounts against their bank accounts that he and Smith would then cash. Police were later able to establish that Jim Smith was blackmailing the wealthy Reginald Holmes.

 

EXECUTION THIS DAY – May 4, 1865

MELBOURNE

The execution of Joseph Brown, who at the last Criminal sitting of the Supreme Court was sentenced to death for the murder of Emanuel Jacobs on March 22, at the Whittington Tavern Bourke-street, took place at the Melbourne gaol, in presence of about twenty spectators. At an early hour the prisoner was removed from the cell which he had been occupying since sentence was passed to one adjoining the new drop, and he was attended by the gaol chaplain up to the moment of execution. At ten o’clock the deputy-sheriff (Mr. L. Ellis), accompanied by the governor of the gaol, entered the cell of the prisoner, and informed him that the hour had come. He stepped outside on to the gallery, where he was pinioned by the hangman. After he had taken his place upon the drop, and the rope had been adjusted, he asked if he might speak a few words, and being answered in the affirmative, he offered a prayer that he might be strengthened in what he had to pass through. Then addressing the persons present as “good people,” he declared that he was as guilty as ever a man was, but in so far as intention to kill the man was concerned, be was as innocent as a child unborn. He had no recollection whatever of the act, and could not think how he came to bare the knife in his hand. He was in the habit of smoking, and supposed that be had been cutting tobacco. After alluding to the statement of one of the witnesses, who at the inquest had said that he (prisoner) was not drunk at the time, a statement which he said was untrue, he hoped that he would be forgiven for what he had said. He complained that he had been represented to have had something to do with the robbery about which the quarrel arose. He had had nothing at all to do with it, although he was standing at the door, and saw what passed. The landlord saw it as well as he did, and would have told the troth about it, had he not been afraid of losing his licence. The prisoner’s manner was marked by great trepidation; he trembled very much, and at times his remarks became confused and almost inaudible. At the conclusion of his observations the chaplain repeated the burial service aloud. The bolt was immediately drawn by the executioner, and death took place instantaneously, scarcely even the slightest spasmodic action being visible after the drop fell. The body was allowed to hang for the usual time, after which the inquest was held, and the ordinary formal verdict retained. The prisoner was described in the gaol books as aged forty-three years. Ha arrived in this colony in 1842. He was a native of England and his calling was that of labourer.

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.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – March 5, 1924

KEW

Charged with having murdered Maud Ada Anderson at Studley Park, Kew, on the 5th of March, Albert Pauthenet appeared at the Criminal. There was no appearance of John Peter Hogan, an important Crown witness, who was said to have been an eyewitness to a struggle between Pauthenet and Anderson on the river bank. The Crown alleged that Pauthenet during a quarrel at a drinking party of a number of men and women, threw Anderson into the river. The jury found Pauthenet guilty of manslaughter, with a strong recommendation to mercy. The case is to be taken to the Full Court.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – March 5, 1924

At an inquiry into the death of Ethel May Devlin (38), who was knocked down by a motor car driven by Henry Ragg on March 5, Ragg was committed tor trial on a charge of manslaughter. The acting coroner found that there had been a lack of vigilance by Ragg which amounted to criminal negligence.

 

 

On This Day – 22nd February 1902

William Hope, who is under sentence of death for the criminal offence upon a girl at Warrnambool, was brought to the Geelong gaol on this day in 1902. He does not appear to realise his grave position. He was detained pending consideration or his case by the Executive Council.

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 2nd January 1895

Joseph Clark, a noted criminal, who in had attempted to escape from the Geelong gaol on two other occasion. Clark was believed to be one of the hardest convicts in the colony, and in his life of crime had been flogged 400 times with the cat of nine tales that’s a total of 3,600 cuts on his back. On the night of the 2nd of January 1895, Clark made another determined attempt to escape by smuggled a large jemmy bar into his cell. The idea was to use the bar to brake through the brick ceiling on the third floor and crawl in to the attic space. Clark almost succeeded in breaking, through the roof when he was discovered. He had another 6 months adding to his sentence.

 

The Shark Arm case refers to a series of incidents that began in Sydney, Australia on the 25th of April 1935 when a human arm was regurgitated by a captive 3.5-metre tiger shark, subsequently leading to a murder investigation.

The tiger shark had been caught 3 kilometres from the beach suburb of Coogee in mid-April and transferred to the Coogee Aquarium Baths, where it was put on public display. Within a week the fish became ill and vomited in front of a small crowd, leaving the left forearm of a man bearing a distinctive tattoo floating in the pool. Before it was captured, the tiger shark had devoured a smaller shark. It was this smaller shark that had originally swallowed the human arm.

Fingerprints lifted from the hand identified the arm as that of former boxer and small-time criminal James (Jim) Smith, (born England, 1890), who had been missing since April 7, 1935. Smith’s arm and tattoo were also positively identified by his wife Gladys and his brother Edward Smith. Jim Smith led a high-risk lifestyle, as he was also a police informer. Examination revealed that the limb had been severed with a knife, which led to a murder investigation. Three days later, the aquarium owners killed the shark and gutted it, hampering the initial police investigation.

Early inquiries correctly led police to a Sydney businessman named Reginald William Lloyd Holmes (1892-1935). Holmes was a fraudster and smuggler who also ran a successful family boat-building business at Lavender Bay, New South Wales. Holmes had employed Smith several times to work insurance scams, including one in 1934 in which an over-insured pleasure cruiser named Pathfinder was sunk near Terrigal, New South Wales. Shortly afterward, the pair began a racket with Patrick Francis Brady (1889-1965), a convicted forger and ex-serviceman. With specimen signatures from Holmes’ friends and clients provided by the boat-builder, Brady would forge cheques for small amounts against their bank accounts that he and Smith would then cash. Police were later able to establish that Jim Smith was blackmailing the wealthy Reginald Holmes.

 

EXECUTION THIS DAY – May 4, 1865

MELBOURNE

The execution of Joseph Brown, who at the last Criminal sitting of the Supreme Court was sentenced to death for the murder of Emanuel Jacobs on March 22, at the Whittington Tavern Bourke-street, took place at the Melbourne gaol, in presence of about twenty spectators. At an early hour the prisoner was removed from the cell which he had been occupying since sentence was passed to one adjoining the new drop, and he was attended by the gaol chaplain up to the moment of execution. At ten o’clock the deputy-sheriff (Mr. L. Ellis), accompanied by the governor of the gaol, entered the cell of the prisoner, and informed him that the hour had come. He stepped outside on to the gallery, where he was pinioned by the hangman. After he had taken his place upon the drop, and the rope had been adjusted, he asked if he might speak a few words, and being answered in the affirmative, he offered a prayer that he might be strengthened in what he had to pass through. Then addressing the persons present as “good people,” he declared that he was as guilty as ever a man was, but in so far as intention to kill the man was concerned, be was as innocent as a child unborn. He had no recollection whatever of the act, and could not think how he came to bare the knife in his hand. He was in the habit of smoking, and supposed that be had been cutting tobacco. After alluding to the statement of one of the witnesses, who at the inquest had said that he (prisoner) was not drunk at the time, a statement which he said was untrue, he hoped that he would be forgiven for what he had said. He complained that he had been represented to have had something to do with the robbery about which the quarrel arose. He had had nothing at all to do with it, although he was standing at the door, and saw what passed. The landlord saw it as well as he did, and would have told the troth about it, had he not been afraid of losing his licence. The prisoner’s manner was marked by great trepidation; he trembled very much, and at times his remarks became confused and almost inaudible. At the conclusion of his observations the chaplain repeated the burial service aloud. The bolt was immediately drawn by the executioner, and death took place instantaneously, scarcely even the slightest spasmodic action being visible after the drop fell. The body was allowed to hang for the usual time, after which the inquest was held, and the ordinary formal verdict retained. The prisoner was described in the gaol books as aged forty-three years. Ha arrived in this colony in 1842. He was a native of England and his calling was that of labourer.

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.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – March 5, 1924

KEW

Charged with having murdered Maud Ada Anderson at Studley Park, Kew, on the 5th of March, Albert Pauthenet appeared at the Criminal. There was no appearance of John Peter Hogan, an important Crown witness, who was said to have been an eyewitness to a struggle between Pauthenet and Anderson on the river bank. The Crown alleged that Pauthenet during a quarrel at a drinking party of a number of men and women, threw Anderson into the river. The jury found Pauthenet guilty of manslaughter, with a strong recommendation to mercy. The case is to be taken to the Full Court.