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On this day …….. 30th of July 1768

In 1768, Lieutenant James Cook was commissioned with the task of observing the transit of Venus across the sun from the vantage point of Tahiti. This expedition was originally commissioned by the Royal Society of London as a scientific mission. However, when the British Admiralty became aware of Cook’s expedition to the Southern Hemisphere, Cook was given an extra task – one which, it was hoped, would see the advancement of the British Empire and acquisition of more territory.
On the 30th of July 1768, shortly before HM Bark Endeavour departed England, Cook was handed his orders. They were in two parts: the second section was sealed, and could be opened only by Cook once he completed his observations of Venus. Entitled “Secret Instructions for Lieutenant James Cook Appointed to Command His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour 30 July 1768”, the instructions commanded Cook to find the Great South Land, a ‘Land of great extent’ that was believed to exist in the Southern hemisphere. Although the continent of Australia had been discovered by the Dutch in the early 1600s, it was not thought to be “Terra Australis Incognita”, or the mysterious “Unknown Southern Land”. Cook was instructed ‘… to proceed to the Southward in order to make discovery of the Continent above-mentioned until you arrive in the latitude of 40º, unless you sooner fall in with it’. He was then ordered ‘with the Consent of the Natives to take possession of Convenient Situations in the Country in the Name of the King of Great Britain’. In essence, Cook was awarded the power to consign any indigenous inhabitants of the Great South Land under the King of England’s authority.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – July 26, 1859

 

Richard Rowley, who was sentenced to death at the Supreme Court on the 18th instant, for a violent and premeditated assault, with intent to murder, committed by him on Denis Kilmartin, one of the overseers at the Pentridge Stockade, on the 25th of June, suffered the extreme penalty of the law at 10 o’clock yesterday morning at the Melbourne Gaol.  The unhappy man, since his conviction has been attended by the Rev. Mr. Studdert, the Gaol Chaplain, and the Rev. Mr. Bryan, the Chaplain at Pentridge. He expressed a deep contrition for the offence of which he was found guilty, and at the last moment died penitent. On being summoned by the Sheriff from his cell, precisely at 10 o’clock, he walked out, pale, but with a firm step. His arms having been pinioned by the executioner, the mournful procession walked slowly down the passage towards the scaffold, the Burial Service being read by Mr. Bryan. Rowley mounted the steps leading to the drop without hesitation or apparent fear; he had evidently braced his nerves and summoned all his resolution to meet his impending fate with firmness. On reaching the drop he knelt and prayed. When he rose his countenance was blanched, but apparently not from terror at the dreadful apparatus of death on which he stood. He turned round to his minister, and bade him good-by, and then, noticing the Governor of the Gaol, said, “Goodby, Mr. Wintle.” These were the last words he uttered. A white cap was then drawn down tightly over his face, and a few moments later — the only sound now heard being the solemn voice of the clergyman repeating the service for the dead—the bolt was drawn, and the wretched man was launched into eternity. A slight convulsive shudder ran through his frame, and in a few moments he ceased to live, death taking place in 42 seconds from the time of his fall. He was cut down at 11 o’clock. Shortly afterwards, an inquest was held on the body by the City

The deceased was a native of Greenwich, and was born in 1824. At 13 years of age, having been tried and convicted of a robbery, committed by him in London, he was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for a period of seven years. He has since repeatedly been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in this colony for numerous thefts. At the time of his committing the offence which has led to his execution he was confined in the Pentridge Stockade under cumulative sentences, altogether making a term of 32 years’ imprisonment. It would seem to be the knowledge of this fact, and despair of ever regaining his liberty, which led him to the commission of the deed for which he suffered. The unhappy man stated that he had been brutally ill-treated by his overseer Kilmartin, at the Stockade. There do not, however, appear to be any grounds for supposing such a statement to be correct, and it will also be remembered that Rowley made this statement in a moment of great excitement at his trial, but he never subsequently alluded to it in calmer moments. Kilmartin was frightfully injured in the desperate affray, in which also Mr. Mitchell, another overseer, was severely wounded by the wretched criminal.

On this day …….. 30th of June 1834

Explorer Matthew Flinders was the first European to investigate the possibilities for settlement on South Australia’s coast, doing so in 1802. The exploration of Charles Sturt to chart the Murray River was a further catalyst to the establishment of a colony on the southern coast. Consequently, the British authorities moved to establish an official colony, which would be known as South Australia. On 30 June 1834, a meeting was held at Exeter Hall at The Strand in London, England, to advise the public of the principles, objects, plan and prospects of the new colony of South Australia. The meeting, organised by the founding members of The South Australian Association, was attended by around 2500 people, including many members of Parliament. One of the speakers was Daniel Wakefield, brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who helped his brother draft the speech. EG Wakefield was a strong advocate for the establishment of a free colony, rather than one based on convict labour, and he lobbied heavily for Parliament to pass the bill to enable the colonisation of the province of South Australia. During his speech, Daniel Wakefield stated: “It was proposed to make the colony independent, from the first, of the mother country. This the Right Hon. Gentleman declined to do; and the consequence was, that we were obliged to modify the plan to meet his views. Therefore it is that the measure appears before you in its present shape; but it still has my cordial approbation and concurrence, because the Commissioners are to be only temporary, and after a time the government of the new nation is to be confided to the inhabitants themselves (hear, hear!).”

On this day …….. 11th September 1916

When Sir George Reid, 4th Australian Prime Minister, died in London on 12th of September 1916, the Australian government was faced for the first time with the need to arrange an appropriate funeral ceremony for a former prime minister. The funeral procession set out from Australia House in the Strand, with the coffin draped with the huge Australian flag usually flown from the building. The Australian Government ordered wreaths from a Knightsbridge florist, and supplied a diagram outline of Australia so a wreath of wattle could be fashioned in the correct shape of the continent. At St Columba’s Church of Scotland in Pont Street Kensington, the pallbearers included Prime Minister WM Hughes and former prime ministers Andrew Fisher and Joseph Cook.

 

On this day …….. 5th September 1880

The Salvation Army began on 2 July 1865 when William Booth preached the first of nine sermons in a tattered tent on an unused Quaker cemetery in London. Initially running under the name of the East London Christian Mission, Booth and his wife held meetings every evening and on Sundays, to offer repentance, Salvation and Christian ethics to the poorest and most needy, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. Booth and his followers practised what they preached, performing self-sacrificing Christian and social work, such as opening “Food for the Millions” shops (soup kitchens), not caring if they were scoffed at or derided for their Christian ministry work. In 1878, the organisation became known as the Salvation Army. They adopted a uniform and adapted Christian words to popular tunes sung in the public bars. The first Salvation Army meeting in Australia was conducted from the back of a greengrocer’s truck in Adelaide Botanic Park on 5 September 1880. It was initiated by Edward Saunders and John Gore, two men with no theological training, but who both had a heart for their fellow man’s physical and spiritual condition. Saunders and Gore had been converted by the Salvation Army in London. With the words “If there’s a man here who hasn’t had a square meal today, let him come home to tea with me”, the men began a ministry that was soon to expand throughout Australia.

 

On this day …….. 9th of August 1890

The Grand Organ in the Sydney Town Hall was built by William Hill and Son in London. It was shipped to Sydney and installed in 1890. Having approximately 8,700 pipes, it was the largest organ in the world at the time, and is still the largest ever built with tubular-pneumatic action. Its five manuals (Choir, Great, Swell, Solo and Echo) and pedals have between them 126 speaking stops and 14 couplers. 4000 invited guests were present at the first recital, held on 9 August 1890, performed by W T Best, the City Organist from Liverpool, England. Mr Best had tested the organ in London before it was dismantled and shipped to Australia, and declared it “…a marvel of excellence in both tone and mechanism”. Due to deterioration in the organ’s tone and function, the need for extensive restoration work became apparent during the 1950s and ’60s, especially after the organ completely broke down in October 1971, causing performances to be cancelled. Sydney organ-builder Roger H Pogson gradually restored the instrument between 1972 and 1982. The Organ was reopened again on 11 December 1982 by Robert Ampt (appointed Sydney City Organist in 1978) with the ABC Sinfonia conducted by Helen Quach.

 

On this day …….. 30th of July 1768

In 1768, Lieutenant James Cook was commissioned with the task of observing the transit of Venus across the sun from the vantage point of Tahiti. This expedition was originally commissioned by the Royal Society of London as a scientific mission. However, when the British Admiralty became aware of Cook’s expedition to the Southern Hemisphere, Cook was given an extra task – one which, it was hoped, would see the advancement of the British Empire and acquisition of more territory.
On the 30th of July 1768, shortly before HM Bark Endeavour departed England, Cook was handed his orders. They were in two parts: the second section was sealed, and could be opened only by Cook once he completed his observations of Venus. Entitled “Secret Instructions for Lieutenant James Cook Appointed to Command His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour 30 July 1768”, the instructions commanded Cook to find the Great South Land, a ‘Land of great extent’ that was believed to exist in the Southern hemisphere. Although the continent of Australia had been discovered by the Dutch in the early 1600s, it was not thought to be “Terra Australis Incognita”, or the mysterious “Unknown Southern Land”. Cook was instructed ‘… to proceed to the Southward in order to make discovery of the Continent above-mentioned until you arrive in the latitude of 40º, unless you sooner fall in with it’. He was then ordered ‘with the Consent of the Natives to take possession of Convenient Situations in the Country in the Name of the King of Great Britain’. In essence, Cook was awarded the power to consign any indigenous inhabitants of the Great South Land under the King of England’s authority.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – July 26, 1859

 

Richard Rowley, who was sentenced to death at the Supreme Court on the 18th instant, for a violent and premeditated assault, with intent to murder, committed by him on Denis Kilmartin, one of the overseers at the Pentridge Stockade, on the 25th of June, suffered the extreme penalty of the law at 10 o’clock yesterday morning at the Melbourne Gaol.  The unhappy man, since his conviction has been attended by the Rev. Mr. Studdert, the Gaol Chaplain, and the Rev. Mr. Bryan, the Chaplain at Pentridge. He expressed a deep contrition for the offence of which he was found guilty, and at the last moment died penitent. On being summoned by the Sheriff from his cell, precisely at 10 o’clock, he walked out, pale, but with a firm step. His arms having been pinioned by the executioner, the mournful procession walked slowly down the passage towards the scaffold, the Burial Service being read by Mr. Bryan. Rowley mounted the steps leading to the drop without hesitation or apparent fear; he had evidently braced his nerves and summoned all his resolution to meet his impending fate with firmness. On reaching the drop he knelt and prayed. When he rose his countenance was blanched, but apparently not from terror at the dreadful apparatus of death on which he stood. He turned round to his minister, and bade him good-by, and then, noticing the Governor of the Gaol, said, “Goodby, Mr. Wintle.” These were the last words he uttered. A white cap was then drawn down tightly over his face, and a few moments later — the only sound now heard being the solemn voice of the clergyman repeating the service for the dead—the bolt was drawn, and the wretched man was launched into eternity. A slight convulsive shudder ran through his frame, and in a few moments he ceased to live, death taking place in 42 seconds from the time of his fall. He was cut down at 11 o’clock. Shortly afterwards, an inquest was held on the body by the City

The deceased was a native of Greenwich, and was born in 1824. At 13 years of age, having been tried and convicted of a robbery, committed by him in London, he was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for a period of seven years. He has since repeatedly been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in this colony for numerous thefts. At the time of his committing the offence which has led to his execution he was confined in the Pentridge Stockade under cumulative sentences, altogether making a term of 32 years’ imprisonment. It would seem to be the knowledge of this fact, and despair of ever regaining his liberty, which led him to the commission of the deed for which he suffered. The unhappy man stated that he had been brutally ill-treated by his overseer Kilmartin, at the Stockade. There do not, however, appear to be any grounds for supposing such a statement to be correct, and it will also be remembered that Rowley made this statement in a moment of great excitement at his trial, but he never subsequently alluded to it in calmer moments. Kilmartin was frightfully injured in the desperate affray, in which also Mr. Mitchell, another overseer, was severely wounded by the wretched criminal.

On this day …….. 30th of June 1834

Explorer Matthew Flinders was the first European to investigate the possibilities for settlement on South Australia’s coast, doing so in 1802. The exploration of Charles Sturt to chart the Murray River was a further catalyst to the establishment of a colony on the southern coast. Consequently, the British authorities moved to establish an official colony, which would be known as South Australia. On 30 June 1834, a meeting was held at Exeter Hall at The Strand in London, England, to advise the public of the principles, objects, plan and prospects of the new colony of South Australia. The meeting, organised by the founding members of The South Australian Association, was attended by around 2500 people, including many members of Parliament. One of the speakers was Daniel Wakefield, brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who helped his brother draft the speech. EG Wakefield was a strong advocate for the establishment of a free colony, rather than one based on convict labour, and he lobbied heavily for Parliament to pass the bill to enable the colonisation of the province of South Australia. During his speech, Daniel Wakefield stated: “It was proposed to make the colony independent, from the first, of the mother country. This the Right Hon. Gentleman declined to do; and the consequence was, that we were obliged to modify the plan to meet his views. Therefore it is that the measure appears before you in its present shape; but it still has my cordial approbation and concurrence, because the Commissioners are to be only temporary, and after a time the government of the new nation is to be confided to the inhabitants themselves (hear, hear!).”

EXECUTED ON THIS DAY …….. 23rd of May 1892

Frederick Deeming was tried at Melbourne Supreme Court on 25 April 1892, for the murder of his wife in Windsor. Alfred Deakin, (who would become the 2nd Prime Minister of Australia) his counsel, tried to mount a plea of insanity. The defence also questioned the impact of newspaper reporting of Deeming on the jury. Perhaps wishing to aid the defence of insanity, Deeming also claimed to have caught syphilis in London, and to have received visitations from his mother’s spirit, which urged his actions. Before the jury retired, Deeming made a “lengthy,… rambling, speech of self-justification.” He repeated a story he had told police that Emily had “run off with another man”. “That is my one comfort…knowing that she is not dead”. The prosecution case was conducted by Robert Walsh, Q.C. Deeming was found guilty as charged, however. Deeming spent the last days writing his autobiography and poetry; “The Jury listened well to the yarn I had to tell, But they sent me straight to hell.” He also spent time talking to the Church of England ministers, to whom he supposedly confessed. The sentence of the court was confirmed by the Executive Council on 9 May 1892 and the judicial committee of the Privy Council refused leave to appeal on 19 May 1892. Deeming was hanged at 10:01 am on 23 May 1892, he weighed 143 pounds (65 kg), 14 pounds (6.4 kg) less than when he entered prison. The autobiography which Deeming wrote in gaol was destroyed.

It was believed at the time that Deeming was Jack the Ripper, as he was in White Chapel, London at the time of the murders. The Victoria police were asked by the British police to question him in relation.

 

On this day …….. 27th of April 1806

Moehanga Ngāpuhi, became the first recorded Māori visitor to England when the Ferret berthed in London on the 27th of April 1806. Moehanga had boarded the Ferret when it visited the Bay of Islands late in 1805. While Māori had travelled as far as Tahiti and Australia in the late 18th century, Moehanga was the first to make it to the other side of the globe. While in England he met King George III and Queen Charlotte. He sailed with the Ferret when it left for Port Jackson, Sydney, New South Wales, in June. After spending the summer in Port Jackson he returned to his home in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand in March 1807.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 27, 1857

On this day in 1857, at eight o’clock, the unfortunate young man, Frederick Turner, convicted at the late Criminal Sessions, of highway robbery in company with others, and of subsequent shooting with intent to murder, underwent the extreme sentence of the law. It is to be feared that the culprit, who was a mere boy, being only in his twenty-second year, indulged in a hope to the last that he would be reprieved, but there were really no circumstances connected with his case which warranted such a hope, or, indeed, warranted any exertion on the part of others to obtain for him a mitigation of sentence. Full of health and strength, abundant opportunities were presented to the misguided youth to obtain an honourable livelihood, but indolence and vicious associations brought him to an early and ignominious end,—a sad warning, we fear, to many others to be found in the colony. The circumstances connected with the crime for which this unfortunate man suffered are simply these:—A short time since he, in company with others, stopped a labouring man in the vicinity of Flemington, and demanded his money. The party attacked, seeing that resistance was useless, gave up all the cash that he had about him, but being in humble circumstances, and having a large family dependent upon him, begged hard from Turner, who took an active part in the robbery, for restitution of half a crown to purchase his little ones the common necessaries of life. “Yes,” said Turner, “I’ll give you half-a-crown,” and deliberately drawing a revolver from his pocket or belt, fired at his victim’s head, but the ball fortunately glanced off, and inflicted only a trifling wound on the side. Of the intention of the act, however, there can be no doubt, and hence the only ground of sympathy was the youth of the culprit, who arrived here a free emigrant, with his parents and brother, in the William Jardine, in 1849. He declined to divulge his real name, but stated that the name of Turner was assumed, that his father and mother were in service in the interior, and that his brother had been for three years in the mounted police force. A love of idleness and dissolute society he admitted had been his curse. He declared that he never intended to commit murder, and the fact of the shot which he fired not having taken deadly effect, it is to be feared produced an ill-grounded impression upon his mind that mercy would be extended to him in this world, and to a certain extent counteracted the efforts of the worthy chaplain of the goal, who attended upon him since his condemnation, endeavouring to prepare him for eternity. Unceasingly did the holy man impress upon the culprit the utter hopelessness of mercy in this world, but still a lingering hope of a mitigation of sentence evidently dwelt upon Turner’s mind, till the near approach of the period at which he had been doomed to suffer. Then he became unmanned, listened with marked attention to the exhortations of his spiritual adviser, and sought and hoped in a few hours to atone for the errors of life time—this moment he believed—the next doubted, and in a state of almost unconsciousness was pinioned, hurried to the gallows, and in a few moments his earthly career was at an end. We have already stated that the age of the culprit was twenty two years. In height he was five feet three inches and a half, of stout make, fresh complexion, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He was a native of London, and professed to belong to the Church of England. At a subsequent period of the day, an inquest was held upon the body, when a verdict was returned to the effect that the deceased had been executed in accordance with a sentence which had been passed upon him.