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On This Day – April 7, 1912

Minnie Kinsley, married, was charged at the Fitzroy Court to-day with having her premises in such a state as to be a nuisance.

Charles James Eassie (sanitary inspector) stated that the house rented by Mrs. Kingsley contained eight rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom, and 19 people were living there. The rent paid by the woman was 11/ a week, and she received 33/ from the occupants weekly.

The house was in a filthy condition, and was covered with vermin of every description. The clothing, bedding and furniture were also infested with vermin. There were too many people in the house.

Witness did not make a thorough examination of the premises, as he found it neeeasnrv to change his clothes as soon as possible and have a bath.

A fine of £3 was imposed, in default one month’s imprisonment.

Acropolis Now is a cult Australian television sitcom set in a fictional Greek cafe in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

The title of the show being a play on the film Apocalypse Now. Its brand of cross-cultural humour still resonates today in such shows as Pizza and Here Come The Habibs.

The show was produced by Crawford Productions and ran for 63 episodes from 1989 to 1992, airing on the Seven Network. It was created by Nick Giannopoulos, George Kapiniaris and Simon Palomares, who also starred in the series. They were already quite well known for their comedy stage show, Wogs out of Work.

Each episode was 20 minutes in length and was filmed in front of a live audience. Although the Acropolis cafè/hotel was filmed at HSV-7 Studios the exterior is still standing and looks almost identical to the show, being located at 251 Brunswick Street, and corner of Greeves St, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria Australia.

The premise of the show is based around Jim’s father Kostas “Con” Stefanidis (Warren Mitchell) asking Jim to run the family business, the Acropolis café, when he suddenly leaves Australia to return to his homeland of Greece. The series centres on the activities of the cafe staff. Greek Jim Stefanidis (Giannopoulos), is the immature owner and his best friend, Spaniard Ricky Martinez (Palomares) is the sensible manager (seasons 1-2 only). Memo (Kapiniaris) is the traditional Greek waiter, while Liz is the liberated Australian waitress. Skip is the naïve new cook from the bush and Manolis is the stubborn cook from the old cafe. ‘Hilarity’ prevails from the clash of cultures and beliefs. Jim’s hairdresser cousin Effie, played by Mary Coustas, became a hugely popular and enduring character during the run of the show. Coustas later reprised the role for several TV specials and series including Effie, Just Quietly, an SBS comedy/interview show, and Greeks on the Roof, a short-lived Greek Australian version of the British talk Show The Kumars at No. 42.

Although the show itself did not win any awards, Mary Coustas won the 1993 Logie for Most Popular Comedy Performer for her role as Effie. With the ethnic popularity of the show, Acropolis Now helped popularise the term “skippy” or “skip” to refer to Anglo Celtic Australians and others of European but non-Mediterranean descent. This term (inspired by the iconic 60’s TV series Skippy The Bush Kangaroo) became popular with Mediterranean-Australians, and to a lesser extent non-Mediterranean people, especially in Melbourne.

ON THIS DAY – December 18, 1945

YARRA RIVER

Leo Clinton Cartledge aged 23, of George Street, Fitzroy, labourer, was charged with the murder of Raymond Theodore Combs, aged 20 an American negro seaman. He was remanded until January 9. Combs’ body was found in the Yarra at Studley Park on December 24. Police allege that his skull was smashed by blows from beer bottles in an argument at a house at Fitzroy on December 18, and that he was later taken in a cab to the Yarra, where the body was thrown in. A pathologist’s report indicated that Combs was still alive when he entered the water. Combs deserted from a U.S. merchant ship in Melbourne on December 17. Motive for the crime, police say, was robbery.

On this day …….. 14th of December 1926

A meat chopper, knives, a tomahawk, lead piping, and sticks were used as weapons in a fight between two Chinese in Fitzroy, on September 23. The fight ended fatally for one of the Chinese. As a result, Chung Wah Lee, aged 36, stood on trial on this day on a charge of murder. Accused, in his defence, said he had been attacked with a ‘chopper, tomahawk and knife. life ‘was unarmed and his hands were badly cut in defending himself. The other Chinese dropped a knife, and he picked it up to defend himself. After an hour’s retirement, the Jury returned a verdict’ of “Not Guilty,” and the accused was discharged.

ON THIS DAY – DECEMBER 14, 1956

FITZROY

The finding of the battered bodies of two women in their home in North Fitzroy yesterday has provided Melbourne police with the greatest murder mystery since the killing of teenager Shirley Collins, three years ago. The dead women were Mrs, Mary Boanas, 82, and her daughter, Mrs. Rose Fisher, 52, of Brunswick st, North Fitzroy. Robbery is believed to be the motive for the killings. Det. Inspector G. Petty, in charge of homicide at Russell Street, said tonight that they had no definite lead in the case. “The crime could have been committed by anyone but it is more likely that someone who knew that the women had a lot of money in the house was responsible,” he said.Mrs. Boanas, an invalid, lived with her daughter in a neat, well-kept two bedroom house in North Fitzroy. Police said the killer missed £1,037 which had been hidden in drawers, but there may have been several thousand pounds taken by him.Detectives were told that women led a life of almost complete detachment from the neighbours and were rarely seen outside the house, The time of the killings been set between 8am, and 8 p.m. on Friday The bodies were not found until 4.30 yesterday noon. Mrs. Boanas’ sister, Mrs. R. Moss, became suspicious when she found a parcel of eggs which had been left on the doorstep by another sister on Friday. After letting herself in, Mrs. Moss found Mrs. Boanas dead in a bed in her ground floor bedroom. There was a severe wound behind Mrs, Boanas’ left ear. There were no signs of a struggle. The body of Mrs. Fisher was found face down on the floor of the kitchen, with severe head wounds. Police believe the killer had crept up on her, as there were no signs of a struggle. The murder weapon has not been found, but it is believed to be a blunt instrument, such as a wrench. The two women had lived for many years in Peking (China) but came to Australia after the Japanese attack in 1936. Mrs. Fisher’s husband, a proprietor of a newspaper, stayed there and was killed. Police do not think the killings had any association with their life in China. It is thought that the women distrusted banks, and that this was the reason for the large sum of money being hidden in the house.

 

ON THIS DAY – 12th December 1913

With his head battered shockingly by a blunt instrument, Rev. H. L. Cecil, of St. Saviour’s Church of England, at Fitzroy, was found dead in his vicarage shortly after 8pm on this night 1935. He is believed to have been the victim of thieves whom he had disturbed. The discovery was made by a number of his parishioners. Police who are investigating the matter are handicapped seriously, as the crime apparently was committee at about breakfast-time. Rev. Cecil was a bachelor and lived alone at the vicarage. Parish loners who arrived there on this night for the monthly meeting were alarmed to find the house in darkness. When they knocked at the front door there was no response, so they walked round the side of the vicarage, and opened a door which had been left unlocked. The house was in complete darkness, and switching on the light they were surprised to find the kitchen table set for breakfast with the kettle still on the stove. As they walked towards the front door they saw a jug of water standing in the passage. The water was blood-stained, and must have been used by the murderer to wash his hands before he fled from the house. The study was in disorder and showed signs of a terrific struggle having taken place. Rev. Cecil’s body was lying behind the front door. His right hand was stretched out as though he had tried to reach the door before he collapsed. His skull was badly fractured in several places but there were no signs of the instrument which the murderer had used. The murderer evidently had entered the house when the minister was about to begin breakfast. It is surmised that Rev. Cecil surprised him and that a struggle for life followed.

 

On This Day – November 28, 1947

Following the finding by Coroner Burke, PM, yesterday that Joseph Patrick Turner, 29, of Abbotsford, had acted in self-defence because he feared he was in danger of serious bodily harm, police in the City Court today withdrew the charge against Turner of having murdered George Edward Barrett, alias John Hedley Paul, 36, of Parliament Place, City, at Fitzroy on November 28.

 

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 – October 30, 1921

 

Vivid details of the sensational nocturnal affray at Fitzroy were given by witnesses at the enquiry at the Morgue by Dr. Cole (city coroner) to-day into the death on October 30 of John Thomas Olsen (36), clerk, Joseph Lennox Cotter (28), commission agent, was present in custody, having been remanded on a charge of having connection with the death of Olson.  Henrietta Newport, a married woman, gave evidence that on October 30 she went to a house in Regent-street. Fitzroy, where her mother resided. At about noon she answered a ring of the front door bell. A man was standing at the door lighting a cigarette, and did not answer when she asked him what he wanted, but walked into the passage, and a shot was fired by Cotter, who came out of a front bedroom. Three shots were fired. A man the witness believed to be Olsen rushed out into the street, and later, the witness saw him in the he lane where he was lying, bleeding from the nose. She went back to the house and told Cotter the man was dead. Cotter said, “If I’m pinched, I’ll be pinched.” The coroner found Cottar guilty of wilful murder and committed him for trial.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – October 21, 1952

Bail was refused at the City Court today when William Wallace Preston, 49, of no fixed abode, was remanded until November 6 on a charge of murder. Preston is alleged to have murdered Phyllis Rachel Kerry, at Fitzroy, on or about October 20. Det.-Sgt. C. H. Petty said that early on October 21 police visited a house in Fitzroy where they found the naked body of Phyllis Kerry, who was known also as Preston.

“Phoned police”

Phyllis Kerry had been living With Preston as his de facto wife. Death was due to blows to the head. Last night, Sgt. Petty said, Preston’s solicitor telephoned the police. Later Preston called at the CIB Office, where he made certain admissions about the killing.

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 …….. 6th September 1952

The 12th Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies and his family were involved in a near-serious mishap when leaving Fairbairn airport, Canberra, to Melbourne on this day in 1952. The R.A.A.F. Dakota in which they were travelling blew out a tyre just before leaving the ground when travelling at about 90 m.p.h. The plane swerved to one side, ran off the airstrip and pulled up less than 50 yards from the fence at the end of the airstrip. Mr. Menzies commented after the accident: “I’m glad it happened going up and not coming down. I suppose this means I will have to miss seeing Carlton beating Fitzroy this afternoon.” This was the second accident in which Mr. Menzies was involved in approximately 500,000 miles of flying. The other occasion was during the referendum tour in 1951, when the flying boat in which he was to travel from Sydney to Hobart had to turn back twice because of engine trouble. On the third attempt to leave its moorings, a line which had not been released dragged a stanchion from the plane when it was running out to begin taxiing to take off. Carlton lost to Fitzroy by one point. Score was 68/69.