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The Death of Nelly Horrigan

February 10, 1870

“A disgraceful scene occurred on Friday last, in a brothel near Little Bourke street up on the occassion of a wake taking place.

It appears that a woman of the town, named Nelly Horrigan, was found dead in her bed on Friday morning by the man with whom she had been cohabitating, and it was decided by her companions to “wake” her in proper style.

Accordingly, at night the coffin containing the body was placed on trestles in the middle of the room, plenty of spirits were provided and placed on a table at the head, with pipes and tobacco in abundance at the foot.  The room was lit with candles, till everything was as light as day, and an old woman was seated at the foot of the coffin kept up an unearthly yell throughout the evening.  Towards ten o’clock, about sixty thieves and prostitutes of the lowest class assembled in the room, and commenced drinking and smoking, which finally ended in a regular melee, in which the coffin was upset, and black eyes and broken noses were freely distributed; and it was not until some of the sober neighbours interfered that the orgie was put an end to.

The funeral took place on Sunday, and it was evident from the appearance of those following the hearse, that the fight had been of a very sanguinary character, for there was hardly one of the mourners that had not either a black eye or a bandaged head.”

ON THIS DAY – April 21, 1933

MELBOURNE

After inquiring into the death of Ivor Charles Waite, wharf labourer, who died of a fractured skull after a fight in Little Bourke-street on April 21. the Acting City Coroner, Mr O’Callaghan. P.M.. found that death was due to injuries inflicted by Alfred Monar, labourer. Monar was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter.

 

AT the recent licensing court, Mr. Dowling, of the Australian Hotel, Little Bourke-street east, opposed the application for a renewal of the license for the Colonial Family Hotel. On Saturday evening he was waited upon by three young men, who brought him a parcel. On opening it he found a miniature coffin painted black, with an inscription on the lid as follows—”Sacred to the memory of V. Dowling,” and a small piece of paper attached informed him that it was but a sign and token of what he would soon require.

The Colonial Family Hotel became known as the death house and is one of the stops on our Chinatown Murder Tour

ON THIS DAY – November 7, 1931

Charged with having murdered Edward O’Connor (30), of little Bourke street, City, George Mitchell (42), labourer, of Carlton, appeared at the City Court yesterday. When O’Connor was knocked down in a fight in Little Bourke-street on November 7, he received injuries from which he died in the Melbourne Hospital the following day.  The police prosecutor (Sergeant Ripper) told the bench that Mitchell was arrested on Friday. It was alleged that he was fighting with O’Connor. Mitchell was remanded to November 23, pending the result of the inquest.

 

 

 

 

ON THIS DAY – October 18, 1953

 

Walter Grenfell, 57, of Gordon House, City, had been suffering from a heart disease for some time and was always “a candidate for death,” Mr. Wade, S.M., City Coroner was told yesterday.  After hearing this evidence from Dr. W. M. Keane, medical superintendent of St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Dr. K. M. Bowden, Government pathologist, the coroner found that Grenfell died of heart failure. On October 18, at the city watchhouse, Arthur Clive Byrum, 20, laborer, of Gordon House, was charged with having murdered Grenfell, who was found dead in a room at Gordon House,  Shortly after Mr Wade announced his finding yesterday, a special sitting of the City Court, under Mr. McLean, S.M., discharged Byrum. Detective – Sergeant John Adam told the coroner that on Sunday, October 18, Byrum carne to him and said he had killed a man In a room at Gordon House by placing a pillow over his face.

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 6th September 1884

A Chinese storekeeper named Ah Goon, of Little Bourke-Street East, was murdered in the early hours of the morning on the 6th of September 1884. The place was a gambling den, and it was found that a sum of £200 or £300 was stolen by the murderer or murderers. A post-mortem examination has been held, and the cause of death has been given as Serous apoplexy, accelerated by fright, and the result of a wound on the face. Two Chinese have been arrested on suspicion, however they we never charged with the murder due to the lack of evidence.

ON THIS DAY – April 21, 1933

MELBOURNE

After inquiring into the death of Ivor Charles Waite, wharf labourer, who died of a fractured skull after a fight in Little Bourke-street on April 21. the Acting City Coroner, Mr O’Callaghan. P.M.. found that death was due to injuries inflicted by Alfred Monar, labourer. Monar was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter.

 

ON THIS DAY – February 6, 1974

Leonard James Harris, 51, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court, on a charge of having murdered a vagrant Jim Parker, 44 who was found with his throat cut in Gordon House, Little Bourke Street, Melbourne on the 6th of February.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – 24th December 1950

On Christmas Day 1950, William Stewart 53 years old was found in a basement room rented by another man known as Kharlsen badly mutilated. The crime scene was quite disturbing, Stewart’s body was laying face down in the centre of the room, his right leg and arm was detached and his head was almost decapitated, and a large cross carved in his chest. There was also a lot of vomit in the to suggest Kharlsen could not handle disposing of the body. Kharlsen admitted he had started to cut up the body with a table knife but could not finish the job and had to leave. Kharlsen was found to be suffering religious mania and was committed under the Governors pleasure and sent to Kew Lunatic Asylum.

 

ON THIS DAY – November 7, 1931

Charged with having murdered Edward O’Connor (30), of little Bourke street, City, George Mitchell (42), labourer, of Carlton, appeared at the City Court yesterday. When O’Connor was knocked down in a fight in Little Bourke-street on November 7, he received injuries from which he died in the Melbourne Hospital the following day.  The police prosecutor (Sergeant Ripper) told the bench that Mitchell was arrested on Friday. It was alleged that he was fighting with O’Connor. Mitchell was remanded to November 23, pending the result of the inquest.

 

 

 

 

ON THIS DAY – October 18, 1953

 

Walter Grenfell, 57, of Gordon House, City, had been suffering from a heart disease for some time and was always “a candidate for death,” Mr. Wade, S.M., City Coroner was told yesterday.  After hearing this evidence from Dr. W. M. Keane, medical superintendent of St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Dr. K. M. Bowden, Government pathologist, the coroner found that Grenfell died of heart failure. On October 18, at the city watchhouse, Arthur Clive Byrum, 20, laborer, of Gordon House, was charged with having murdered Grenfell, who was found dead in a room at Gordon House,  Shortly after Mr Wade announced his finding yesterday, a special sitting of the City Court, under Mr. McLean, S.M., discharged Byrum. Detective – Sergeant John Adam told the coroner that on Sunday, October 18, Byrum carne to him and said he had killed a man In a room at Gordon House by placing a pillow over his face.

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 6th September 1884

A Chinese storekeeper named Ah Goon, of Little Bourke-Street East, was murdered in the early hours of the morning on the 6th of September 1884. The place was a gambling den, and it was found that a sum of £200 or £300 was stolen by the murderer or murderers. A post-mortem examination has been held, and the cause of death has been given as Serous apoplexy, accelerated by fright, and the result of a wound on the face. Two Chinese have been arrested on suspicion, however they we never charged with the murder due to the lack of evidence.