On This Day – September 9, 1938

The death occurred yesterday morning at the Mildura Base Hospital of William Henry Higgs, 54 years of Billabong

Higgs on September 9, was found unconscious on the doorstep of his home. He was admitted to hospital with a fractured skull.

A man who had been arrested and charged with having inflicted grievous bodily harm and was admitted to bail was re-arrested after Higgs’ death and charged with murder. He will appear in court to-morrow.

On this day …….. 5th September 1949

A strange creature reportedly seen in the Murray River, Mildura on this day in 1949, may have been a trained seal or sea-lion. One escaped from a travelling menagerie in Wangaratta about two years earlier, and was believed to have slipped into a river.


On this day …….. 30th of June 2010

Digital television is a new innovation of the twenty-first century which involves the sending and receiving of moving images and sound by digital signals. This is different to the previously used analogue television signals which had been in use since the invention of television. The advantage of using digital technology is that it uses less bandwidth than analogue, and unlike analogue, it is not limited to just a few channels available. Australia began offering digital television from around 2008, with a planned complete switchover of all towns and regions between 2010 and 2013. On 30 June 2010, the rural city of Mildura in Victoria’s far northwest became the first Australian city to switch over entirely from analogue to digital television transmission.

On this day ……… 30th of May 1953 

Homicide squad detectives investigating the Mildura “Pyjama Man” murder have taken possession of a 12in. iron bar. Senior-detective N. Wilby and Detective E. Miller found the bar when they went to Mildura to investigate fresh reports by local police. The bar will be examined by police scientific experts in Melbourne later this week. An aborigine told police he saw a man hide the bar in bushes a few weeks, after the murder of Milan Hlavenka, 32, Czechoslovakian student. Hlavenka was battered to death and robbed of £8/8/ while he slept, dressed in pyjamas, in a sleeping bag on the banks of the Murray near Mildura on May 30. Detectives Wilby and Miller interviewed several aborigines at the weekend.


ON THIS DAY – March 7, 1908


At the adjourned coronial enquiry, conducted by Mr. S. Risbey and a jury of five, regarding the tragedy which occurred on Saturday night, a large amount of evidence was submitted, mainly on the lines of the report that has been already published in “The Advertiser.” Constable Muir gave evidence that he arrested Thomas Arthur Thomas at Irymple on Sunday afternoon on a charge of the wilful murder of Matthew McMullen, when the accused admitted having struck him a blow. The accused, who is a young man, reserved his defence. He was represented by Mr. P. T. Park, solicitor. The jury after a retirement of 35 minutes, returned the following unanimous verdict:- “That Matthew McMullen met his death on March 7 in Deakin avenue, Mildura, the cause of death being in accord with the medical testimony, namely, laceration of blood vessels consequent on the fracture of his skull. We also find that the said fracture was caused by his falling heavily to the ground through a blow dealt him by the accused; but we find that the blow was given without malice aforethought and we therefore find the accused. Thomas Alfred Thomas, guilty of manslaughter.” The accused was committed to trial at Bendigo on April 7.



ON THIS DAY – February 20, 1891


The shocking and mysterious murders which were committed at Narbethong on the night of the 20th of February formed the subject of an investigation by the district coroner and a jury of seven at Healesville. The murdered persons were William Davis, an old settler of the Healesville district and his wife. The body of the former was found on the roadside half a mile from his house and that of the latter in bed in the house. Both had their heads terribly battered and their throats cut. As the bodies were found in different localities, it is necessary that two inquests shall be held. Thirty witnesses were examined. The evidence tended to clear up a good many circumstances on which erroneous theories accounting for the murders have been founded, and some new facts were revealed, which tend to inculpate more than ever the carpenter William Colston, who disappeared so suddenly and unaccountably on the day that the murders were discovered. Colston bore such a good reputation in the district that until he was found to he missing no one thought of suspecting him. He had made arrangements to go on the day following the murders to Healesville, and he had mentioned to several persons that it was his intention to proceed to Mildura, but instead of doing so he went to Marysville, leaving his personal belongings behind him at Narbethong, and made his way into the bush. Strangely enough his disappearance became known through his services being required to construct coffins for the murdered people.

Fishermen discovered the body of Ali Riza Sonmez, 44, in the Darling River near Wentworth, on the NSW-Victorian border, on Australia Day in 1986. Police said there was no evidence Mr Sonmez had any underworld links. The father-of-four, a disabled pensioner from Mildura, had been shot above each eye and in the back of the head, as well as to his body. Police said Mr Sonmez left his family home in Mildura about 5pm on January 23, 1986, and was seen walking along the footpath of Ninth Street, past the Mobil service station and towards Deakin Avenue. About 6.30pm that day, another witness saw Mr Sonmez arguing with a man, who was in the company of two women, outside the post office on Commercial Street in Merbein. Photo of Ali Riza Sonmez


On this day …….. 28th of December 1937

While chasing an emu on horseback at Gol Gol, John Dempsey (54), of Buronga, near Mildura fell on his head and was killed instantly. His neck was broken by the fall. Dempsey was fencing when he saw the emu and he gave chase immediately. It is believed that he was thrown from the saddle when the horse stumbled.