EXECUTION THIS DAY …….. 28th March 1854

James Button was executed in the old Melbourne Gaol for robbery under arms and shooting Robert McLean. Button was not afraid of the physical pain of death, but expressed contrition for his numerous crimes, and looked forward to a future state with fear. Button was executed at 8am.


EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 16th of March 1857

James Cornick was executed at the old Melbourne gaol for the murder of his girl friend Agnes Horne at Eaglehawk Flat. Cornick met his fate with considerable firmness, walking from his cell with a firm step when apprised by the sheriff that the hour had come at which he must be procured to suffer the sentence which had been passed upon him. After shaking hands with the chaplain, the executioner proceeded to pinion the unhappy culprit, and place the white cap upon his head. It has been observed by those who have been in the habit of attending executions that it is at this point the nerve of the culprit is most tried. Cornick submitted to the operation without appearing at all shaken. The remainder of the ceremony was performed in the same hurried manner which we remarked upon a recent occasion. The unhappy man died without a struggle, and after hanging the usual time was cut down.



EXECUTED ON THIS DAY ………. 16th of March 1891

John Thomas Phelan, aged 30 was executed in the Old Melbourne gaol

John Thomas Phelan, an engine driver on the railways, had been cohabiting with 25-year-old Ada Hatton for two years, when she left him, presumably for another man. On the 15th of January 1891 Phelan found Miss Hatton at her new home at South Yarra alone, and cut her throat from ear to ear with a table knife. He was in the act of cutting his own throat, when some neighbours rushed on the scene and prevented him. He was charged with murder and stood trial at Melbourne Criminal Court. He was convicted and sentenced to death on the 23rd of February 1891, the jury recommending him to mercy on the ground that he had received great provocation. Phelan was hanged at Melbourne gaol on the 16th of March 1891.




John Stacey, was charged with the murder of a child named Daniel McDonnell, at Emerald Hill, (South Melbourne) on the 28th of February 1865. Stacey was sentenced to be executed at the old Melbourne Gaol.



Alfred Deakin the 2nd Prime Minister of Australia was a witness at the execution on Bushranger Ned Kelly at the old Melbourne Gaol on the 11th of November 1880. At the time he was a young journalist. Deakin was also asked to sit on the Royal Commmission into the Kelly Outbreak, but declined.




Thomas McGee was executed at Old Melbourne Gaol on this day in 1863. M’Gee and Ellen Hoskins charged with the murder of Alexander Brown, at Maiden Gully, (Bendigo) on the 16th October. Ellen Hoskins received 2 years inprisonment.



ON THIS DAY – February 2, 1924

Angus Murray was sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Mann in the Criminal Court on the 2nd of February 1924. Murray was charged with the murder of Thomas Reginald Victor Berryman, a bank manager at Glenferrie, on October the 8th. After deliberating for two hours the jury returned a verdict of guilty and at 6pm the death sentence was passed. The jury were taken to the Glenferrie railway station, where the outrage and robbery occurred. When the jury returned to announced their verdict Murray was asked the customary question whether he had anything to say while sentence of death should not be passed on him. Murray asked for leave to consult his solicitor; Mr Gorman immediately rose and said, “There is nothing useful that I can say on his behalf at this stage.’ Murray heard the sentence of death without any outward display of feeling. Murray was the last person to be executed at the Old Melbourne Gaol.



EXECUTED THIS DAY – January 24, 1916

John Jackson was hanged in the Melbourne Gaol on this day in 1916, for the murder of Constable McGrath at the Trades’ Hall. Death was instantaneous. The Rev. W. Forbes, of the Church of England. who attended the condemned man, said that Jackson was very reticent at first, but later became confidential, confessed his sins and expressed contrition. His chief anxiety was for his wife and two children, aged seven and five, and he feared they would be told by some interfering person that their father died on the gallows. He limped to the scaffold having not sufficiently recovered from the fractured ankle caused by a bullet during the fight with the police. He was not nervous and faced death calmly. When asked if he had anything to say he said. “No;’ I thank you all for your kindness.” Jackson had passed a good night and appeared quite resigned to’ his fate.



ON THIS DAY – January 22, 1893

John Conder was charged with the murder of an Indian hawker, Kaizi Singh, near Buchan on the 22nd January 1893. Conder it is believed to have shoot Singh before dismembering him, before burning the body in his hut fire. After a retirement of about two hours the jury returned a verdict of guilty. The prisoner, on being asked if he had anything to say, said that he was as innocent as a child, and that no murder had been committed at his place. Sentence of death was then passed. The judge said that he entirely agreed with the verdict and he held out not the slightest hope of the prisoner escaping the gallows. Conder listened attentively to all that the judge said and exclaimed, “I am innocent, your Honour.” He was taken at once to the condemned cell in the Sale gaol, and will be removed to Melbourne in a few days.



On this day …….. 18th of January 2013

133 years after he Ned Kelly was executed at Old Melbourne Gaol, Kelly was buried with his mother in the Greta Cemetery in North East Victoria. was hanged.

Up to 300 family members and hundreds more members of the public attended a requiem mass for Australia’s most famous bushranger at St Patrick’s Catholic Church at Wangaratta on this day in 2013. Kelly was first buried in the grounds of Old Melbourne Gaol until 1924 when his body was exhumed and reinterred at Pentridge prison. All body’s from Pentridge were exhumed for subdivision.


John Kelly father of Ned Kelly.

Convict John Kelly was transport, to Australia on the 31st July 1841 when he was placed on board the convict ship ‘The Prince Regent’ in the port of Dublin, arriving in the Derwent River, Van Diemens Land, on 2nd January 1842. He was granted his ticket of leave on 11th July 1845 and headed to Melbourne and he headed inland along the old Sydney road and worked as a carpenter around Donnybrook and Kilmore, an area with many Irish settlers. In 1850 he met Ellen Quinn, who had come out from Ballymena, County Antrim, with her family as a young girl. They were married on 18th November 1850 in St. Francis’s Church, Melbourne by Fr. Gerald Ward. For the next fourteen years or so John Kelly made a living from horse dealing, dairy farming and even some gold mining. During this time seven children were born, including Edward, who subsequently became the famed ‘Ned Kelly’. John and Ellen Kelly bought and sold a number of farms around the township of Beveridge, but their fortunes seem to have been declining over time. In 1864 John Kelly sold his farm for £80 and headed further inland with his family, and they rented 40 acres near Avenel, Victoria. The Kelly family was very poor at this stage and the drought of 1865 made things even worse. In 1865 John Kelly was charged with stealing a calf from a Mr. Morgan and on 29th May 1865 he was in Court for this offence. The charge of cattle stealing was dismissed, but the charges of “unlawful possession of a hide” was upheld and he was fined £25 or 6 months in Gaol. He seems to have served 4 months in gaol because on 3rd October 1865 John Kelly himself registered his eight and last child, Grace, in Campions store in Avenel. In the birth register he lists his home area as “Moyglass, Co. Tipperary, Ireland” and his age as “45”. It is this entry, signed by John Kelly himself that confirms that he and the John Kelly baptised on 20th February 1820 in Moyglass are one and the same person. John Kelly’s health was breaking down and he got seriously ill in November 1866. A Doctor Healey, came from Seymour one week before Christmas of that year, but John Kelly was dying of Dropsy for which there was no cure. John Kelly died on 27th December 1866, aged 46 years. His death was reported and signed by his son Edward Kelly who was not yet 12 years of age at this time. John Kelly was buried in an unmarked grave in Avenel Cemetery, Victoria, on 29th December 1866.



ON THIS DAY – January 15, 1902

What appears to be a deliberate attempt at murder took place at Cheltenham, Melbourne. A slaughterman, George Fegan, aged 37, went home to his wile, aged 40, and his child, aged 8, and demanded money for drink from the former, who helps to support the family by doing washing. His wife refused to give him any money, and after threatening her he dragged her out of the house into the street; The neighbour heard her cry out as she emerged from the door, “He’ll do for me.” After a few minuces the terrified woman ran across the street, and entered a neighbour’s house, followed by Fegan, and simultaneously the noise of three pistol shots were heard. Fegan then rushed out of the house, crying, “I’ve done for her.” Constable McCarthy, who was on duty in the local station, was informed of the occurrence, and he hastened at once to the scene. He found the woman lying on the floor with a bullet wound in her forehead and another in the abdomen. He had her promptly removed to the Alfred Hospital, where she at present lies in a very critical condition. As the constable entered the house he encountered Fegan in the passage. The man bore a wild, frenzied, look, and threatened to shoot the officer if he dared to interfere. The constable, by clever scheming, distracted the attention of Fegan, and seized an opportunity to wrest the pistol from him. Subsequently the man was locked up on a charge of attempting to murder his wife. The unfortunate woman was operated on at the Alfred Hospital late tonight, but the doctors could not locate the bullet which is lodged in the abdomen. Very slight hopes are entertained of Mrs. Fegan’s recovery. Constable McCarthy, when he chased Fegan to the house and tried to take the revolver from him, had a very sensational experience. Fegan, maddened by drink and rage, swore to kill anybody who approached him and as if to bear out his threat he levelled the pistol at the constable. Fegan had told Constable McCarthy that he wanted to get a certain letter which he believed to be in an upstairs bedroom, and encouraging him in this, the constable slowly followed him upstairs. As soon as the room was reached Fegan searched on the table, and finding the letter rushed to the fireplace with it, where it was soon burnt to ashes. He then lowered the revolver, which was all the time directed at McCarthy’s head, and saying, ” That’s why I did it for,” surrendered himself. Mrs. Fegan is a hard working, industrious woman, and really the breadwinner for the family. She refused to give her dissolute, drunken husband the money he demanded, and his rage at being refused frightened her. She ran across to a neighbour’s house, only to be followed by Fegan, who chased her upstairs into the bedroom and there shot her.