ON THIS DAY…… 25th August 1902

On August 25th, 1902, the landlady of this residence, Goldar Mantel, entered the room of one of the residents, Rachael Samuel. Rachael was a young woman of “respectable parentage” who for whatever reason had been abandoned by her parents five years previously and was earning a living as a dressmaker. Rachael’s younger sister had been up to their sister’s room when one of them came down and asked Mrs Mantel for a bucket. Becoming suspicious, Mrs Mantel returned to the room and pulled back the covers on the bed to discover a newborn baby girl, who had been partially burnt. When asked what she had done, Rachael replied she could not help it! A midwife, Mary Ann Beattie, was called to examine Rachael and the baby. Rachael was described as being in a low state as she was severely haemorrhaging. Mary Ann did what she could to save the life of the baby girl but she soon passed away. The head and body of the baby girl where charred and cause of death at the post mortem was haemorrhage and shock from burns.

Rachael was charged with wilful murder and went to trial. She quite feeble during the trial and was seated on a chair for the duration. A nurse was also on standby with smelling salts and Rachael became quite distressed at times. At trial, Rachael was found not guilty and discharged.


On This Day – 13th of August 1907

Charlotte Kenny, a young married woman, was charged with having murdered her infant child, Jeremiah Kenny, by the administration of poison. The case for the prosecution was that the accused lived in Swanston street, North Williamstown, with her husband. On June 20 she administered a dose of lysol to her child, and also attempted to take some contents of the bottle herself. Medical aid was at once called in, but the child died the following day.

On This Day – August 13, 1905

At the police court, Mary Ellen Cuthbert, a young unmarried woman, was charged with having murdered a female infant. The child was found dead in an oilcloth bag, on the banks of the Campaspe, on the 13th August 1905. Accused was housed at the Melbourne Gaol. A certificate was received from the medical officer stating that the woman was not fit to appear before the Court. The case was accordingly adjourned to August 29. Cuthbert was found to be insane.


ON THIS DAY – July 19, 1913

A young domestic servant named Ellen Muston, was charged in the Criminal Court yesterday before Mr Justice Cussen with the wilful murder of her female child at Brighton on July 19. The Crown prosecutor (Mr Womarski, KC) conducted the case against the accused, who pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr E J Corr (of Messrs Corr and Corr) The accused gave evidence on her own behalf and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on the grounds of insanity, and Muston was ordered to be detained in strict custody at the Church of England Home, Cheltenham, until the Governor’s pleasure was known.

By 1800s in Victoria there were 160 crimes that were punishable by death, here is a list of some crimes.

Accessory to homosexuality
Armed robbery
Arson in royal dockyards
Assisting the enemy
Attempted suicide

Being illegally at large
Being in the company of Gypsies for one month
Blacking the face whilst committing a crime

Capital murder
Carnal knowledge of a child
Cattle Stealing
Causing a fire or explosion in a naval dockyard
Causing a fire or explosion in a ship
Causing a fire or explosion in a magazine
Causing a fire or explosion in a warehouse
Child abuse
Course of robbery which involves the use of offensive weapons
Course burglary which involves the use of offensive weapons
Cutting down trees in an avenue of honour
Cutting down trees in a private orchard
Cutting down trees in public place.

Disguise one self whilst committing a crime


Failure to suppress a mutiny with intent to assist the enemy.

Giving false air signals
Grand larceny – theft of goods worth more than 12 pence

High Treason
Horse Stealing
Homosexual behaviour

Impersonating an Egyptian
Incitement to mutiny

Killing a person consider to be evil
Knowingly and intentionally killing another person

Murder of a child
Murder in the course or furtherance of theft
Murder by shooting or causing an explosion
Murder while resisting arrest or during an escape
Murder of a police officer
Murder of a police officer during the course of his duties
Murder of a prison officer by a prisoner

Obstructing operations

Petty theft
Piracy with violence
Premeditated killing of another person
Prostitutes who is the daughter of priests

Rape of a child

Sexual Assault
Serious misconduct in action
Strong evidence of malice in a child aged 7–14 years of age

Turned a blind to homosexuality

ON THIS DAY – January 27, 1934

Following the finding of the body of a newly born child under a house in Paisley street, Malvern on January 28, a 22-year-old girl was charged in the City Court today with having murdered an infant on January 27. Mr Hauser. P.M. remanded the girl until February 13, and allowed bail in her own recognisance of £200.

ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1914

The magisterial inquiry into the death of a newly-born child found buried at Elliminyt, near Colac, a fortnight ago was concluded on this day in 1915. Constable Nankervis gave evidence to the effect that he interviewed Emma Ruby Donohue, a young married woman, who at first denied giving birth to the child, but subsequently said she dug a hole in the back yard and buried it. She said the child made no sound, and she did not feel it move. The body was buried a foot below the surface of the yard. A post mortem examination did not reveal external marks of violence, but the doctor was of opinion the child was born alive and had breathed. Death was due to suffocation. Mr. Walter Selwood, the acting coroner, found the child had been wilfully murdered, and committed Emma Donohue for trial on a charge of murder at the February sittings of Geelong Supreme Court.


On This Day – December 31, 1912

The mystery concerning the body of a child at Lake Guthridge on December 31 was cleared up today when Sergeant Neill and Constable McCorkell arrested a young woman, aged 23 years, named Violet Daisy Jane Elizabeth Guy at the Turf Hotel this morning on a charge of wilful murder.  Accused admitted her parentage and said that on the morning following the birth of the child, she resumed her duties as a domestic servant.  She stated the child was born dead and that she kept the body in a box for two days and then put it in the lake.  Accused was brought before the Mayor and was remanded until February 24.


ON THIS DAY – December 30, 1908

A small wooden box containing the body of a newly born male infant was found on a vacant allotment in William-street, Melbourne on this day in 1908 by a boy. A postmortem examinations of the body showed that a piece of the towelling, which was tied tightly round the neck, had been thrust partly down the throat of the child, and that the cause of death was suffocation. The examination also showed that there were three clean large cutes on the child’s face.


ON THIS DAY – December 25, 1893

On Christmas Day 1893, an unknown male child was found wrapped in brown paper in Park Street, Brunswick. The coroner found that the child had been murdered by a person unknown.


ON THIS DAY – December 21, 1908


An examination by Dr. Brett has disclosed a peculiarly, revolting case of infanticide: The victim was a child who, on the 21st December, was found on a vacant allotment opposite the mint. When found the body was wrapped in a piece of towelling, and enclosed in a card board boot box. A piece of towelling had been forced into the wind pipe of the child, who had thus been choked to death. Wounds were also found upon the front portion of the head, obviously caused by some sharp instrument. There is not the slightest clue to the perpetrators.


ON THIS DAY – 20th December 1908

A little boy named Christian Bulguard informed his parents on this day in 1908, that there was a parcel behind some scaffolding of William St, Melbourne. The matter was brought under the notice of the police, Constable Porter, made an examination and discovered that the parcel contained the body of an infant child, with n piece of calico lightly tied round the neck. The body was removed to the morgue, where an inquest was held.