ON THIS DAY – July 22, 1914


Brunswick Court was crowded on July 22 when Frank White, 22, a wood machinist, appeared on remand on a charge of having inflicted grievous bodily harm upon Richard Wood, baker, of Audley street. East Brunswick, on Saturday night, July 11. The charge was altered to one of murder, and White was further remanded. The Bench was occupied by Mr Read Murphv. P.M. (chairman), and Messrs Allard, Dowsley and Fleming-. J’s.P. Sergeant P. McLoughlin stated that Wood had died in the Melbourne Hospital as the result of depressed fracture of the skull, alleged to have been caused by a blow with a bottle from White.  Mr R. G. Greene applied to Mr Justice Hodges, in the Supreme Court, for bail, which had been refused by the Brunswick magistrates. Bail was granted in two sureties of £5 00 each, and White’s own bond of £1000.

ON THIS DAY….. 10th July 1914

In the Brunswick court when Frank White (22) appeared on a charge of having inflicted grievous bodily harm upon Richard Wood on July 10, the charge was altered to one of the murder. Sergeant McLoughlin said Wood died in the Melbourne Hospital as the result of a depressed fracture of the skull, alleged to have been caused by a blow with a bottle from White. White was further remanded, and bail was refused. Subsequently Mr Justice Hodges, in the Supreme Court, granted bail in two sureties of £500 each, and White’s own bond of £1000.


ON THIS DAY – June 29, 1905


Dr. R. H. Cole, the district coroner, yesterday concluded the inquest into the death of Emily Eden Lilias Chandler, a waitress, 28 years of age, who died in the Melbourne Hospital on July 3 from septicaemia, the result of a premature birth, which had taken place about fortnight previously. Mrs. Elizabeth Downey, who was arrested on a charge of the wilful murder of the deceased, was present as a witness for the Crown. Mr. E. J. Corr appeared to watch the proceedings on her behalf.

Evidence was given to show that Miss Chandler came to Melbourne in the beginning of June. She was staying with Mrs. Elizabeth Sefton, in Sydney-road, Carlton, and was so ill on June 29 that Mrs. Sefton called in Mr. J. H. Nattrass, M.D. Mr. Nattrass examined the girl, and she told him that she had been operated on by some nurse, but refused to divulge the name. He ordered her removal to the Melbourne Hospital. She was admitted to the Hospital on July 1, and said that she was suffering from a severe cold. She admitted afterwards that an instrument had been used. The police were informed, and Detectives Burvett and Sexton brought Elizabeth Downey to the Hospital. Miss Chandler said that she knew the woman, and the detectives arrested Mrs Downey on a charge of unlawfully using a certain instrument. Then in the presence of Mrs. Downey the dying depositions of Emily Chandler were taken by Mr. J. R. Andrews, J.P. In the depositions she said :— “I am quite certain that the accused is the person who performed the operation on me.” She rambled a good deal in her statements whilst the depositions were being taken, and spoke of having gone to the nurse’s house with her sister “Millie.” The evidence of Mrs. Chandler showed that there was no such person as “Millie.” She was very irritable, and in great pain all the time. Mrs. Downey was called as a witness. She stated:— I have nothing to say. I don’t know the party at all. I never saw her in my life. That is all I have to say.

The Coroner said that it was plain that an infamous crime had been committed. He did not think it likely that deceased performed the operation herself. The depositions were mainly the result of monosyllabic answers given by deceased, and they consisted of a mixture of falsehood and truth, in which the falsehood seemed to predominate. Deceased merely said “Yes” to Detective Burdett when he asked her, “Is this the woman?” This seemed a very slender piece of evidence. He found that Emily Eden Lilias Chandler had died from blood-poisoning, the result of an operation, wilfully caused by some person or persons unknown, and that the said person or persons were guilty of wilful murder.

ON THIS DAY – June 13, 1916

Daniel O’Callaghan, 36, married, with five children, of Edward street, Brunswick, died in the Melbourne Hospital on June 13 as the result of a fracture of the base of the skull. William Douglas, 37, married, and father of five children, a wardsman at the Mental Hospital, Royal Park, has been arrested on the charge of murder. O’Callaghan’s injuries were received, it is stated, when he fell in the channel in Charles street, Brunswick, on Friday night, after an argument arising from a game of cards that had been played that evening. O’Callaghan made an accusation of cheating, and as a result of what followed he fell and became unconscious. He was taken to the hospital, and remained insensible until his death. Douglas was on remand to appear before the Brunswick Court on June 21, on the charge of having assaulted O’Callaghan, but following the death of O’Callaghan, Douglas was arrested on the capital charge.

On This Day – April 23, 1918

Death followed a simple wound received recently by John Jinks, 27, married, of Spencer street, West Melbourne.

On April 11, he was working as a lorry driver at the Spencer street railway station. When carrying a bag of oats to his lorry he brushed against a case from which a piece of loopiron protruded. He received a slight cut on his hand. A few days later tetanus supervened, and he died today in the Melbourne Hospital.

On This Day – April 9, 1910

At the Morgue on April 9, the Coroner (Dr. Cole) opened on inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of William George Trott, a caretaker, 50 years of age.

The deceased, was discovered in Menzies’ Alley at the back of the Empire Hotel on April 3 suffering a fractured skull, having apparently fallen 16ft from his bedroom window, which was immediately above the spot where he was discovered.

Henry Halliwell, a clerk in the employ of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Co., stated that Trott had been in the company’s employ for a number of years. To the Coroner He was a widower, and was always considered by the firm a sober man. He never had fits.

Jane Jensen, a married woman, residing at the Empire Hotel, stated that Trott had been residing at the hotel for the past three years. Witness, continuing, stated that she last saw the deceased alive at closing time on Saturday night. He was then standing at the foot of the stairs preparatory to going to bed.

Dr. Thomas Hurley, of the Melbourne Hospital, stated that he admitted Trott to the institution on April 3 suffering from a fractured thigh and skull and internal Injuries. He smelt very strongly of stale beer when admitted, and died two days later from the effects of his injuries.

The inquiry was adjourned for further evidence to be obtained.

Photo courtesy of State Library Victoria

ON THIS DAY – March 31, 1918


At an inquiry regarding the death of Albert Greaves (28) in the Melbourne Hospital on March 31 as the result of injuries to his head, the Coroner committed James Gibson for trial on a charge of manslaughter. It is alleged that in the course of an altercation in Swanston-street Gibson struck Greaves. Police constables gave evidence to the effect that Gibson resisted violently when he was arrested.


On this day ……… 31st of March 1908

Mrs. Jane Barwick, aged 40 years of North Brighton, Melbourne accidentally swallowed a plate containing 13 false teeth while drinking some broth for dinner on this day in 1908. A medical man ordered her removal to the Melbourne Hospital, where her neck was sliced open to have them removed.



On this day …….. 4th of December 1904

Falling horse

James Wessan, a resident of Brunswick, was treated at the Melbourne Hospital on
this day in 1904 for an injury to his head owing to his horse falling over.

ON THIS DAY…… 22nd November 1899

Born at sea

An old man, named Thomas Joyce, whose ago is stated to be 99 years and 8 months, was brought into the Melbourne Hospital on this day in 1899 from South Morang, in a state of exhaustion. The medical offers discovered, that the old fellow’s condition was duo to starvation. He was in a very low state, and his recovery was doubtful. Joyce was born at sea whilst his mother was on the voyage to Sydney in the year 1801. He is said to have several grown-up sons, but it is not known why thoy do not look after their aged father.

ON THIS DAY – November 16, 1907

Two men, Roy Sherrin, 19 years of age, a labourer, living in Nicholson street, Abbotsford, and William Thomas, driver, of River-street, Richmond, have been arrested, charged with the wilful murder of John Bradford. Bradford sustained a fracture of the skull in a brawl in Hoddle-street, on November 16, and died in the Melbourne  Hospital on Thursday. They were present at the inquest, which was opened at the Morgue to-day. Dr. Mollison said that he had a post mortem examination. There was a bruising on the right temporal muscle, and a fracture of the skull on the right side. There was an extensive bruising of the frontal lobes of the brain. The death was caused by the fracture of the skull and bruising of the brain. The Coroner intimated that the inquiry would be adjourned toll December 10.


ON THIS DAY – November 15, 1904

On the 15th September 1904, an accident occurred in Elizabeth Street where Sarah Ann Robins, her husband James and her 27 year old daughter, Rosina Hubbard, who was described as a dwarf were thrown from a cart. This accident set in a motion a series of events that would leave only James still alive 12 months later.

Sarah required attention for her injuries, and was nursed at home by her daughter, Rosina. However doctors became concerned by her unusual symptoms and engaged a nurse to assist the family in caring for her. Sarah continued to decline and was admitted to the Melbourne Hospital. Nurse Flower, who had been engaged to look after Sarah before she was admitted to hospital, deposed at the inquest that she witnessed Rosina administer some medicine to her mother. When the nurse rinsed the glass it turned her rings black. Sarah was heard to remark “they won’t prosecute my Rosie will they?” after doctors accused her of poisoning her mother. Rosina maintained that her mother wanted to commit suicide which was why she had given her the arsenic and quicksilver. Sarah died in the Melbourne Hospital on September 30, 1904.

Doctors asked Sarah before she died whether she had taken anything, which she denied but doctors felt she was holding something back. After her death, analysis showed arsenic in every organ that was examined. Rosina on her arrest for the wilful murder of her mother, Sarah, was heard to exclaim “me murder my mother!” And then swooned. When she recovered, Rosina stated that she did not murder her mother, that Sarah had asked for it. During the inquest, Rosina was described as a “cunning shrewd little woman” but it was not certain she had her “wits” about her. However, evidence was brought that it was James Robins who had purchased the arsenic to poison a dog who had bitten someone. The inquest concluded with a verdict of wilful murder due to arsenic poisoning, wilfully and maliciously administered by Rosina Hubbard.

During the murder trial, it was revealed that James Robins had also buried his two previous wives! One wife died in Launceston about 15 years previously and the second wife in Melbourne about 16 years previous. It was also alleged that James had fed his wife oysters sprinkled with white powder. This was denied by James which caused an outburst by Rosina, screaming that he did! It was also revealed that James did not have much money to his name when he married Sarah, who herself owned properties. James would gain the money from these properties on his wife’s death. It was also alleged that James was the father of Rosina’s infant and that there had been improper relations between the two.

In March, 1905, the Government was unhappy that Rosina had been acquitted for the matricide of her mother Sarah. They deputised Detective McManamny to make further inquiries in to the case. On re-interviewing, Rosina admitted that she had poisoned her mother using quicksilver and arsenic. Her reasoning was that her mother knocked her about and had accused her of relations with her stepfather. However, she also admitted to the detective that James Robins was the father of her child. As Rosina had been acquitted of the murder, she could not be retried!

Rosina was not to enjoy her freedom for very long. She died in the Melbourne Hospital on the 24th May 1905, after being hospitalised since the 5th. Her inquest was again sensational, as it was originally suspected that Rosina had killed herself by taking the same poisons as she had administered to her mother!

Dr Mollison, the coroner described Rosina as a congenital dwarf whose arms and legs were considerably smaller than the rest of her body. She was 3 feet 10 inches in height and her head measured 22 inches. there were no marks of violence and samples of her organs, muscles and bones were taken for further analysis. After analysis, the official cause of death was exhaustion due to ulceration of the intestines.

You would think that would be the end of the story! But there was one more twist! Rosina’s will was contested on the grounds of her sanity when it went to probate. Evidence was brought to court on how James Robins held a magnetic influence over Rosina. It was stated that Robins banned anyone from seeing her in hospital especially the “black fellow”, who was her half sister, Isabella Webster, Indian husband. Isabella had described her father as a “brute”. The Chief Justice was to dismiss the content stating there were no grounds on which to contest.