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ON THIS DAY – JULY 25, 1916

Antoine Picone the Italian who shot and killed Joseph Luricella, a compatriot, in Queen Victoria Market on July 25, was hanged in Melbourne Gaol. Picone had been attended until the last minute by Father J. Donovan, and when led on to the scaffold carried his hand a small photograph and a paper containing a lock of hair. He asked that they might be buried with him. The sheriff promised him the request would be granted, and then asked him if he had anything further to say. Picone said something in a low, inaudible tone. The lever was then released, Death was instantaneous. Luricella was shot through the head with an automatic revolver as the result of a quarrel with Picone. The tragedy occurred in the early morning.

On this day …….. 3rd of July 1922

From the time the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788, capital punishment was a common form of punishment for both major and minor crimes. The first convict to be hanged in the new colony of New South Wales was seventeen year old Thomas Barrett. Less than a month after the colony was established, Barrett was found stealing “butter, pease and pork” and hanged in a ceremony which all convicts were forced to witness on 27 February. Capital punishment continued to be used as a deterrent to criminals, right up until the last man – Ronald Ryan – was executed in Melbourne in 1967. Two decades after Federation, Queensland became the first state to abolish capital punishment, doing so on the 3rd of July 1922. It was not until 1968 that the next state, Tasmania, abolished capital punishment.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 28, 1842

Charles Ellis (alias Yanky Jack), Martin Fogarty , Daniel Gepps (Jepps) and Jack Williams, were raiding farm houses and robbing people around the Dandenong area, when it became too hot there they moved over to the Plenty River area. They made a raid on Campbell Hunters house on the Plenty river. They made a mistake and stayed to have breakfast, and the Law caught up with them. Gang member Jack Williams was shot dead by Oliver Gourlay, after a hand to hand fight. After the gun battle that lasted one hour , Ellis, Fogarty and Jepps surrendered and all 3 were hanged on the hill beside the Old Melbourne Gaol north of Melbourne. All  4 buried together.

ON THIS DAY – JULY 25, 1916

Antoine Picone the Italian who shot and killed Joseph Luricella, a compatriot, in Queen Victoria Market on July 25, was hanged in Melbourne Gaol. Picone had been attended until the last minute by Father J. Donovan, and when led on to the scaffold carried his hand a small photograph and a paper containing a lock of hair. He asked that they might be buried with him. The sheriff promised him the request would be granted, and then asked him if he had anything further to say. Picone said something in a low, inaudible tone. The lever was then released, Death was instantaneous. Luricella was shot through the head with an automatic revolver as the result of a quarrel with Picone. The tragedy occurred in the early morning.

On this day …….. 3rd of July 1922

From the time the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788, capital punishment was a common form of punishment for both major and minor crimes. The first convict to be hanged in the new colony of New South Wales was seventeen year old Thomas Barrett. Less than a month after the colony was established, Barrett was found stealing “butter, pease and pork” and hanged in a ceremony which all convicts were forced to witness on 27 February. Capital punishment continued to be used as a deterrent to criminals, right up until the last man – Ronald Ryan – was executed in Melbourne in 1967. Two decades after Federation, Queensland became the first state to abolish capital punishment, doing so on the 3rd of July 1922. It was not until 1968 that the next state, Tasmania, abolished capital punishment.

 

ON THIS DAY – June 28, 1842

Charles Ellis (alias Yanky Jack), Martin Fogarty , Daniel Gepps (Jepps) and Jack Williams, were raiding farm houses and robbing people around the Dandenong area, when it became too hot there they moved over to the Plenty River area. They made a raid on Campbell Hunters house on the Plenty river. They made a mistake and stayed to have breakfast, and the Law caught up with them. Gang member Jack Williams was shot dead by Oliver Gourlay, after a hand to hand fight. After the gun battle that lasted one hour , Ellis, Fogarty and Jepps surrendered and all 3 were hanged on the hill beside the Old Melbourne Gaol north of Melbourne. All  4 buried together.

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 14th April 1902

Albert Edward McNamara, was executed at Old Melbourne Gaol

On the 5th of January 1902, Albert Edward McNamara took his wife and children for a long walk, and when they returned he gave his wife some gin and then she and the children went to bed. McNamara then set fire to his house in Carlton by soaking a number of rags in kerosene and lighting them. The motive of the crime was to secure insurance money of £350, the life of Mrs. McNamara having been insured, as McNamara was in financial difficulties. His wife, Catherine, woke up in time and managed to rescue her 6-year-old daugher, but 4-year old Albert had already been severely burnt before she could carry him outside and died a few minutes after being admitted to hospital. McNamara was charged with arson at the Criminal Court at Melbourne on the 18th of February 1902, but the jury disagreed and were discharged. A second trial was held on the 19th of March 1902, and this time the jury found McNamara guilty and he was sentenced to death. He was hanged at Melbourne on the 14th of April 1902. Shortly before his execution he attempted suicide by dashing his head against the bar of his cell.

 

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 26th of March 1900

William Robert Jones, aged under 40 was executed at Old Melbourne gaol

The charred and mutilated body of eight-year-old Olive Rita Lillian Jones was discovered at Broadford on the 28th of December 1899. She had been raped, strangled, and her skull was smashed to pulp. Rita had stayed with her grandparents and left home on the 26th of December for the purpose of buying lollies and apricots at a shop half a mile distant, but did not return. She was last seen near Doherty’s butcher’s shop, halfway between her grandparents home and the shop. Her dead body was found in a fowlhouse at the back of Doherty’s butchering establishment. William Robert Jones, a butcher employed at Doherty’s (and not related to the victim), was at once under suspicion of the murder and was arrested on the 2nd of January 1900. Jones had been seen in the fruit shop, asking Rita her name and tickling her under the chin. A neighbour sitting on her veranda overlooking Doherty’s premises later observed that smoke was coming from the chimney attached to the boilers, more than usual, and that Jones was about the boiling-down house. Jones was found guilty of murder at the Criminal Court in Melbourne and sentenced to death on the 21st of February 1900. He was hanged at Melbourne Gaol at 10am on the 26th of March 1900.

 

ON THIS DAY ……… 26th of March 1857

On the 26th of March 1857, while investigating complaints by convicts employed on public works in Williamstown, Melbourne John Price was struck by missiles, knocked down and severely battered. He died next day, and following the inquest, fifteen convicts were tried for murder, seven being hanged. After his death Price has, in Hughes’ opinion “remained one of the durable ogres of the Australian imagination”, featuring in Price Warung’s tales and as the basis for the cruel commandant Maurice Frere in Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of his Natural Life (1885). Hazzard calls him “a rock of a man against whom some might lean with confidence; others he might crush without pity”, while his biographer concludes that “he was a man of great personal strength and considerable courage, and was capable of sentimental as well as merciless deeds”.

 

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 23rd of March 1891

John Wilson, age 23 was executed in Old Melbourne gaol

John Wilson, a tram conductor, was engaged to 24-year-old domestic servant Stella Leah Marks. On the 24th of January 1891, he saw her walking arm in arm with another man in Bourke street and on seeing this he became jealous. On the next day he demanded an explanation, and some words passed between them. In the evening, he accompanied her to her home at Clifton Hill and asked her to go for a walk. He again demanded explanation about the other man and became enraged. Wilson would cut her throat, killing her instantly. Then he tried to commit suicide, but lacked courage to do so. He was charged with murder, stood trial at the Melbourne Criminal Court and was convicted and sentenced to death on the 25th of February 1891. Wilson was hanged at Melbourne gaol at 10am on the 23rd of March 1891.

 

 

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 19th of March 1894

Ernest Knox, aged 21 was executed in Old Melbourne gaol

In the early morning hours of 12 January 1894, two burglars entered the house of Mr. Michael Crawcour, a pawnbroker and financial agent, in Nelson Place, Williamstown. Mr. Crawcour was alarmed by electric burglar alarms in his bedroom and came downstairs with a bulldog revolver to catch the burglars. One of the men, Charles Jent, managed to escape, the other one, Ernest Knox (alias Walter Jamieson) had a fight with young Isaac Crawcour in which the latter was wounded by one bullet. Knox was arrested immediately and Jent shortly afterwards. Young Crawcour died of his wounds on the next day. Knox and Jent were arrested on the 13th of January, and found a revolver and 11 charges of cartridges in his box in Jent’s bedroom. Knox immediately admitted that he fired two shots at somebody who came downstairs in Crawcour’s place, which Jent corroborated. They were charged with murder, stood trial at the Supreme Court in Melbourne, and were convicted on the 17th of February 1894, Knox being sentenced to death and Jent to three years imprisonment with hard labour. Knox was hanged at Melbourne at 10am on je 19th of March 1894.

 

 

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 16th of March 1891

John Thomas Phelan, aged 30 was executed in the Old Melbourne gaol

John Thomas Phelan, an engine driver on the railways, had been cohabiting with 25-year-old Ada Hatton for two years, when she left him, presumably for another man. On the 15th of January 1891 Phelan found Miss Hatton at her new home at South Yarra alone, and cut her throat from ear to ear with a table knife. He was in the act of cutting his own throat, when some neighbours rushed on the scene and prevented him. He was charged with murder and stood trial at Melbourne Criminal Court. He was convicted and sentenced to death on the 23rd of February 1891, the jury recommending him to mercy on the ground that he had received great provocation. Phelan was hanged at Melbourne gaol on the 16th of March 1891.