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ON THIS DAY…… 11th November 1880

Ned Kelly execution

Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushranger, was born in December 1854 in Victoria, Australia. Kelly was twelve when his father died, and he was subsequently required to leave school to take on the new position as head of the family. Shortly after this, the Kellys moved to Glenrowan. As a teenager, Ned became involved in petty crimes, regularly targetting the wealthy landowners. He gradually progressed to crimes of increasing seriousness and violence, including bank robbery and murder, soon becoming a hunted man. Many of Ned Kelly’s peers held him in high regard for his stand of usually only ambushing wealthy landowners, and helped to keep his whereabouts from the police, despite the high reward posted for his capture. However, he was betrayed to the police whilst holding dozens of people hostage in the Glenrowan Inn in June, 1880. Wearing their famous armour, the Kelly brothers held a shootout with police. Gang members Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were killed, and Ned was shot twenty-eight times in the legs, which were unprotected by the armour. He survived to stand trial, and was sentenced to death by hanging, by Judge Redmond Barry on 29 October 1880. Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne on 11 November 1880.

On this day …….. 28th of October 1880

Ned Kelly first stood trial on 19 October 1880 in Melbourne before the Irish-born judge Justice Sir Redmond Barry. Mr Smyth and Mr Chomley appeared for the crown and Mr Bindon for the prisoner. The trial was adjourned to 28 October, when Kelly was presented on the charge of the murder of Sergeant Kennedy, Constable Scanlan and Lonigan, the various bank robberies, the murder of Sherritt, resisting arrest at Glenrowan and with a long list of minor charges. He was convicted of the willful murder of Constable Lonigan and was sentenced to death by hanging by Justice Barry. Several unusual exchanges between Kelly and the judge included the judge’s customary words “May God have mercy on your soul”, to which Kelly replied “I will go a little further than that, and say I will see you there where I go.” At Kelly’s request, his picture was taken and he was granted farewell interviews with family members. His mother’s last words to him were reported to be “Mind you die like a Kelly.”

ON THIS DAY…… 26th September 1853

Elizabeth and Michael Finnessy were married in Burra, South Australia, they had two children who had both died. The couple had moved to Victoria and lived in a small house in Chinatown. A week before Elizabeth was murdered, she had found at that her husband was married to another woman, who was still alive. With this news Elizabeth began to drink heavily and was locked up in the watch house to sober up. On being release she was taken back to her house to speak with her husband. Sitting in the lounge room Michael said “Won’t you speak to me Lizzy” and upon this the man who lived in the house with the couple left the room, thinking they would become reconciled.  Remaining just outside in the street, he heard a pistol shot. Returned to the room he saw Elizabeth stumbling across the room, she returned to the part near where she had been sitting, and falling under the table.

She was raised up and placed upon a sofa in the room, but was barely able to speak. In a soft voice she begged the man who placed her there, to fetch a priest, as she knew she was dying. So didn’t speak again and died within 10 mins.

Her husband, almost immediately after the dreadful deed, rushed into the next room, and proceeded to reload the pistol, but was stopped before he could kill himself. He was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder. Michael was executed on the 25th of October 1853, at the same time as another murderer. After hanging the usual time, one hour, the bodies were taken down and conveyed to their destination at the Melbourne Cemetery.

 

 

 

Executions have been a part of Australian history since the beginning.

The indigenous people had death sentences that were carried out under Aboriginal customary law.

The first executions carried out under European law in Australia took place in Western Australia in 1629, when Dutch authorities hanged the mutineers of the Batavia.

The first execution after European settlement came just weeks after the arrival of the First Fleet when Thomas Barrett was hanged from a tree on February 27, 1788 for plotting to rob the Government stores.  He was buried near the Gallows tree.

Executions began to be abolished in the states and territories starting with Queensland in 1922 and Western Australia the last in 1984.

The last person to be sentenced to death was Brenda Hodge in Western Australia in 1984 for murder but it was commuted to life imprisonment.

Victoria has the dubious honour of having the final woman and final man executed in Australia with Jean Lee on 19th February 1951 and Ronald Ryan on 3rd February 1967.

In 2010, Federal Parliament passed laws that prevent the death penalty from being reintroduced by any state or territory in Australia.

 

Executions in Australia were abolished by most of the states in the 1960s – 1980s, excepting Queensland who had abolished the death penalty in 1922.

Queensland’ final execution was that of Ernest Austin on 22nd September 1913. Austin was executed for the rape and murder of 12 year old Ivy Mitchell near Sanford.  He was hanged in Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane.

NSW’s final execution was that of John Trevor Kelly  on 24th August 1939 at Long Bay Correctional Centre in Sydney.  Kelly was hanged for the murder of Marjorie Sommarlad at Hillcrest.

In Tasmania, the final execution took place in the Hobart Gaol on 14th February 1946.  It was that of Frederick Henry Thompson, a serial rapist and murderer for the murder of 8 year old Evelyn Maughan.

In the Northern Territory, the final execution was a double one at Darwin Gaol on 7th August 1952.  The men were John Novoty and Jerry Koci, aged 20 and 19 years respectively who were hanged for the murder of taxi driver, George Grantham.

Western Australia’s final execution was that of Eric Edgar Cooke on 26th October 1964 at Fremantle Prison.  He was hanged for the murder of 18 year old John Sturkey, but confessed to more murders before his execution.

In South Australia, the final execution took place on the 24th November 1964 at the Adelaide Gaol with the hanging of Glen Sabre Valance for the murder of Richard Strang.

The final execution in Australia was that of Ronald Ryan in Victoria on 3rd February 1967, who was hanged for the killing of a prison officer in an escape from Pentridge Prison.

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 16th of March 1857

James Cornick was executed at the old Melbourne gaol for the murder of his girl friend Agnes Horne at Eaglehawk Flat. Cornick met his fate with considerable firmness, walking from his cell with a firm step when apprised by the sheriff that the hour had come at which he must be procured to suffer the sentence which had been passed upon him. After shaking hands with the chaplain, the executioner proceeded to pinion the unhappy culprit, and place the white cap upon his head. It has been observed by those who have been in the habit of attending executions that it is at this point the nerve of the culprit is most tried. Cornick submitted to the operation without appearing at all shaken. The remainder of the ceremony was performed in the same hurried manner which we remarked upon a recent occasion. The unhappy man died without a struggle, and after hanging the usual time was cut down.

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 11th November 1880

Ned Kelly execution

Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushranger, was born in December 1854 in Victoria, Australia. Kelly was twelve when his father died, and he was subsequently required to leave school to take on the new position as head of the family. Shortly after this, the Kellys moved to Glenrowan. As a teenager, Ned became involved in petty crimes, regularly targetting the wealthy landowners. He gradually progressed to crimes of increasing seriousness and violence, including bank robbery and murder, soon becoming a hunted man. Many of Ned Kelly’s peers held him in high regard for his stand of usually only ambushing wealthy landowners, and helped to keep his whereabouts from the police, despite the high reward posted for his capture. However, he was betrayed to the police whilst holding dozens of people hostage in the Glenrowan Inn in June, 1880. Wearing their famous armour, the Kelly brothers held a shootout with police. Gang members Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were killed, and Ned was shot twenty-eight times in the legs, which were unprotected by the armour. He survived to stand trial, and was sentenced to death by hanging, by Judge Redmond Barry on 29 October 1880. Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne on 11 November 1880.

On this day …….. 28th of October 1880

Ned Kelly first stood trial on 19 October 1880 in Melbourne before the Irish-born judge Justice Sir Redmond Barry. Mr Smyth and Mr Chomley appeared for the crown and Mr Bindon for the prisoner. The trial was adjourned to 28 October, when Kelly was presented on the charge of the murder of Sergeant Kennedy, Constable Scanlan and Lonigan, the various bank robberies, the murder of Sherritt, resisting arrest at Glenrowan and with a long list of minor charges. He was convicted of the willful murder of Constable Lonigan and was sentenced to death by hanging by Justice Barry. Several unusual exchanges between Kelly and the judge included the judge’s customary words “May God have mercy on your soul”, to which Kelly replied “I will go a little further than that, and say I will see you there where I go.” At Kelly’s request, his picture was taken and he was granted farewell interviews with family members. His mother’s last words to him were reported to be “Mind you die like a Kelly.”

ON THIS DAY…… 26th September 1853

Elizabeth and Michael Finnessy were married in Burra, South Australia, they had two children who had both died. The couple had moved to Victoria and lived in a small house in Chinatown. A week before Elizabeth was murdered, she had found at that her husband was married to another woman, who was still alive. With this news Elizabeth began to drink heavily and was locked up in the watch house to sober up. On being release she was taken back to her house to speak with her husband. Sitting in the lounge room Michael said “Won’t you speak to me Lizzy” and upon this the man who lived in the house with the couple left the room, thinking they would become reconciled.  Remaining just outside in the street, he heard a pistol shot. Returned to the room he saw Elizabeth stumbling across the room, she returned to the part near where she had been sitting, and falling under the table.

She was raised up and placed upon a sofa in the room, but was barely able to speak. In a soft voice she begged the man who placed her there, to fetch a priest, as she knew she was dying. So didn’t speak again and died within 10 mins.

Her husband, almost immediately after the dreadful deed, rushed into the next room, and proceeded to reload the pistol, but was stopped before he could kill himself. He was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder. Michael was executed on the 25th of October 1853, at the same time as another murderer. After hanging the usual time, one hour, the bodies were taken down and conveyed to their destination at the Melbourne Cemetery.

 

 

 

Executions in Australia were abolished by most of the states in the 1960s – 1980s, excepting Queensland who had abolished the death penalty in 1922.

Queensland’ final execution was that of Ernest Austin on 22nd September 1913. Austin was executed for the rape and murder of 12 year old Ivy Mitchell near Sanford.  He was hanged in Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane.

NSW’s final execution was that of John Trevor Kelly  on 24th August 1939 at Long Bay Correctional Centre in Sydney.  Kelly was hanged for the murder of Marjorie Sommarlad at Hillcrest.

In Tasmania, the final execution took place in the Hobart Gaol on 14th February 1946.  It was that of Frederick Henry Thompson, a serial rapist and murderer for the murder of 8 year old Evelyn Maughan.

In the Northern Territory, the final execution was a double one at Darwin Gaol on 7th August 1952.  The men were John Novoty and Jerry Koci, aged 20 and 19 years respectively who were hanged for the murder of taxi driver, George Grantham.

Western Australia’s final execution was that of Eric Edgar Cooke on 26th October 1964 at Fremantle Prison.  He was hanged for the murder of 18 year old John Sturkey, but confessed to more murders before his execution.

In South Australia, the final execution took place on the 24th November 1964 at the Adelaide Gaol with the hanging of Glen Sabre Valance for the murder of Richard Strang.

The final execution in Australia was that of Ronald Ryan in Victoria on 3rd February 1967, who was hanged for the killing of a prison officer in an escape from Pentridge Prison.

Executions have been a part of Australian history since the beginning.

The indigenous people had death sentences that were carried out under Aboriginal customary law.

The first executions carried out under European law in Australia took place in Western Australia in 1629, when Dutch authorities hanged the mutineers of the Batavia.

The first execution after European settlement came just weeks after the arrival of the First Fleet when Thomas Barrett was hanged from a tree on February 27, 1788 for plotting to rob the Government stores.  He was buried near the Gallows tree.

Executions began to be abolished in the states and territories starting with Queensland in 1922 and Western Australia the last in 1984.

The last person to be sentenced to death was Brenda Hodge in Western Australia in 1984 for murder but it was commuted to life imprisonment.

Victoria has the dubious honour of having the final woman and final man executed in Australia with Jean Lee on 19th February 1951 and Ronald Ryan on 3rd February 1967.

In 2010, Federal Parliament passed laws that prevent the death penalty from being reintroduced by any state or territory in Australia.

 

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 16th of March 1857

James Cornick was executed at the old Melbourne gaol for the murder of his girl friend Agnes Horne at Eaglehawk Flat. Cornick met his fate with considerable firmness, walking from his cell with a firm step when apprised by the sheriff that the hour had come at which he must be procured to suffer the sentence which had been passed upon him. After shaking hands with the chaplain, the executioner proceeded to pinion the unhappy culprit, and place the white cap upon his head. It has been observed by those who have been in the habit of attending executions that it is at this point the nerve of the culprit is most tried. Cornick submitted to the operation without appearing at all shaken. The remainder of the ceremony was performed in the same hurried manner which we remarked upon a recent occasion. The unhappy man died without a struggle, and after hanging the usual time was cut down.