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ON THIS DAY – October 30, 1955

John Kevin Seach, 26, quarry worker, was sentenced to death in the Central Criminal Court today after a jury convicted him of murder. Seach, who showed no emotion when the verdict was announced, had pleaded not guilty, on grounds of insanity, of murdering John Frederick Ward, 7, at Portland on October 30 last year. The Chief Justice (Mr. Justice Street) described Seach’s crime as an abhorrent and detestable one. The Crown Prosecutor (Mr. C. V. Rooney, KC) said that Ward and another boy, Albert Colin Spiers, 7, disappeared while they were attending a sports meeting at Portland on October 30. Their bodies were found in a cave four days later. It was alleged that Seach had lured them to a cave in a local quarry, claiming that he would show them some pigeons’ nests.

 

 

On this day …….. 13th of October 1836

The first white burial in North East Victoria took place on this day in 1836. James “Tally Ho” Taylor, a member of Major Mitchell’s expedition, drowned in the Broken River. The Major and his party were returning north after traversing the Port Phillip district between the Murray and Portland. As they prepared to cross the Broken River, Tally Ho, who was a groom and bugler to the party, rode into the stream to find a suitable crossing, but drown. He was buried between sheets of bark on the bank of the river.

 

On This Day – October 5, 1908

A magisterial inquiry was held on Saturday morning before Mr. James Long, J.P. (acting coroner), concerning the death of the male infant whose body was found partly buried under a hedge in Blair-street on October 5. The medical testimony showed that the child had breathed and that the cause of death was inattention at the time of birth. There were no external marks of violence. The coroner recorded a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.

On This Day – January 13, 1939

On this day in 1939, Melbourne reached its hottest day on record when temperatures soared to 114.1 degrees Fahrenheit (45.6 degrees Celsius) at 12.30pm. The conditions led to the loss of 71 lives, over 1000 homes and 1.4 million hectares of land and would become known as Black Friday.

A fire began quietly on New Years Day near Kinglake and was noticed by a Forest Officer at Toolangi. The fire would eventually roar through the Black Ranges, Rubicon, Acheron, Marysville, Warburton, Noojee, Tanjil Bren , Hill End, Woods Point, Matlock and Erica.

In Bright, the fires had started in September 1938 in a remote area with little access. In early January a second fire started in the ranges around Tawonga South. On January 13, conditions enabled the fires to join and head towards Omeo and Bright. Corryong would also be affected by this fire.

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In the Otways, there were several fires deliberately lit in early January which would lead to the forests behind Apollo Bay being well ablaze. On Black Friday the fire had spread to Barongarook where 4 children from the Robinson family would perish fleeing the flames. The fire was only stopped once it reached Bass Strait at Lorne. In the Western Districts, fires burns in scrub to the west of Portland, the Grampians and Moyston.

The rural areas of Melbourne such as Warrandyte, Doreen and Whittlesea would come under attack from these devastating fires. The Black Forest area of Gisborne, Macedon and Drummond would be affected as northerly winds drove the flames through.

Relief would finally be felt two days later with rain finally dampening the flames. But the death toll from these fires would stand at 71 people.

A Royal Commission was held three weeks later to seek answers to the devastation. It stated that it had “seemed as though the entire State of Victoria” was alight. Some of the finding from that commission still govern our fire practices today including the establishment of a State Fire Authority, which was realised in 1944 with the establishment of the Country Fire Authority.

ON THIS DAY – January 10, 1917

PORTLAND

At Portland on this day, Walter Augustus Miller, bookseller and stationer of Casterton attempted to murder his wife and commit suicide. While Mrs. Miller was holding the baby her husband discharged a revolver four times point blank in her face. Three shots took effect. Miller then shot himself in the head; both are in a critical condition, but hopes are entertained of their recovery. Miller, his wife and three children arrived In Portland the week before. Miller is suffering from nervous breakdown. He was under the Impression he was to be placed in an asylum.

ON THIS DAY – October 30, 1955

John Kevin Seach, 26, quarry worker, was sentenced to death in the Central Criminal Court today after a jury convicted him of murder. Seach, who showed no emotion when the verdict was announced, had pleaded not guilty, on grounds of insanity, of murdering John Frederick Ward, 7, at Portland on October 30 last year. The Chief Justice (Mr. Justice Street) described Seach’s crime as an abhorrent and detestable one. The Crown Prosecutor (Mr. C. V. Rooney, KC) said that Ward and another boy, Albert Colin Spiers, 7, disappeared while they were attending a sports meeting at Portland on October 30. Their bodies were found in a cave four days later. It was alleged that Seach had lured them to a cave in a local quarry, claiming that he would show them some pigeons’ nests.

 

 

On this day …….. 13th of October 1836

The first white burial in North East Victoria took place on this day in 1836. James “Tally Ho” Taylor, a member of Major Mitchell’s expedition, drowned in the Broken River. The Major and his party were returning north after traversing the Port Phillip district between the Murray and Portland. As they prepared to cross the Broken River, Tally Ho, who was a groom and bugler to the party, rode into the stream to find a suitable crossing, but drown. He was buried between sheets of bark on the bank of the river.

 

On This Day – October 5, 1908

A magisterial inquiry was held on Saturday morning before Mr. James Long, J.P. (acting coroner), concerning the death of the male infant whose body was found partly buried under a hedge in Blair-street on October 5. The medical testimony showed that the child had breathed and that the cause of death was inattention at the time of birth. There were no external marks of violence. The coroner recorded a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.

On the 23rd June 2015, a 6.3-metre basking shark was caught by a trawler at Portland, west of Warrnambool, Victoria. It was a big male, although they can grow to 12 metres long, (it’s the second-largest living fish). The last time there was a recorded capture of this species was in the 1930s, by a skipper at Lakes Entrance in eastern Victoria. Museum Victoria senior collections manager Dianne Bray said it was uncommon to come across this shark in Australia. There was one caught in 1883 in Portland and brought to Melbourne for a few days and placed on display at the Victorian Museum. The plankton-eating sharks were named because they often spend time near the surface basking in the sun.

 

 

On This Day – January 13, 1939

On this day in 1939, Melbourne reached its hottest day on record when temperatures soared to 114.1 degrees Fahrenheit (45.6 degrees Celsius) at 12.30pm. The conditions led to the loss of 71 lives, over 1000 homes and 1.4 million hectares of land and would become known as Black Friday.

A fire began quietly on New Years Day near Kinglake and was noticed by a Forest Officer at Toolangi. The fire would eventually roar through the Black Ranges, Rubicon, Acheron, Marysville, Warburton, Noojee, Tanjil Bren , Hill End, Woods Point, Matlock and Erica.

In Bright, the fires had started in September 1938 in a remote area with little access. In early January a second fire started in the ranges around Tawonga South. On January 13, conditions enabled the fires to join and head towards Omeo and Bright. Corryong would also be affected by this fire.

image

In the Otways, there were several fires deliberately lit in early January which would lead to the forests behind Apollo Bay being well ablaze. On Black Friday the fire had spread to Barongarook where 4 children from the Robinson family would perish fleeing the flames. The fire was only stopped once it reached Bass Strait at Lorne. In the Western Districts, fires burns in scrub to the west of Portland, the Grampians and Moyston.

The rural areas of Melbourne such as Warrandyte, Doreen and Whittlesea would come under attack from these devastating fires. The Black Forest area of Gisborne, Macedon and Drummond would be affected as northerly winds drove the flames through.

Relief would finally be felt two days later with rain finally dampening the flames. But the death toll from these fires would stand at 71 people.

A Royal Commission was held three weeks later to seek answers to the devastation. It stated that it had “seemed as though the entire State of Victoria” was alight. Some of the finding from that commission still govern our fire practices today including the establishment of a State Fire Authority, which was realised in 1944 with the establishment of the Country Fire Authority.

ON THIS DAY – January 10, 1917

PORTLAND

At Portland on this day, Walter Augustus Miller, bookseller and stationer of Casterton attempted to murder his wife and commit suicide. While Mrs. Miller was holding the baby her husband discharged a revolver four times point blank in her face. Three shots took effect. Miller then shot himself in the head; both are in a critical condition, but hopes are entertained of their recovery. Miller, his wife and three children arrived In Portland the week before. Miller is suffering from nervous breakdown. He was under the Impression he was to be placed in an asylum.

THE PANMURE MURDERER

12348420_219941848336951_506856458_nMorgan, who murdered a little girl named Margaret Nolan, at Panmure, near Warrnambool, has been committed for trial, and taken to Portland Gaol. Large crowds of people followed him and hooted him. When he was escorted on board the steamer to be taken to the gaol the police had hard work to keep back the crowd, who threatened him with open violence. From evidence in the possession of the police, there is no doubt he is the same person who murdered a little girl named Alice Hughes at Bridgewater, on March 16, 1859, as the descriptions of the man who committed the last-named murder tally accurately with those of Morgan. The murderer is greatly depressed, never speaks, and refuses food.