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On this day …….. 18th of August 1939

Whittlesea Council – MENTAL PATIENTS – Closer Supervision Urged

At the monthly meeting of the Whittlesea Shire Council a letter was received from Mr. H. O. White, M.L.A., enclosing a copy of a letter from the Chief Secretary (Mr Bailey) following representations made by Mr. White on the council’s request for closer supervision over mental patient’s at Mont Park Asylum, Melbourne following the tragedy at Whittlesea. Mr. Bailey submitted a report from the medical superintendent in which he said that he could not remember’ a single complaint from residents that escaped patients had damaged property or endangered the safety of any person. Those patients who had escaped had in no way been a menace to the public. The majority of escapes could be prevented by close confinement and constant patrol of the ground by attendants, but this would deprive the patients of the few privileges and enjoyments they now possessed, would be detrimental to the prospects of recovery and could scarcely be considered humane. The hospital existed for the treatment and if possible, cure of mental patients, and to that end it was desirable that as much liberty as possible be allowed them. The community was not likely to be endangered by occasional escapees. Letters were received from the Heldelberg, Preston, and Eltham’ Councils supporting Whittlesea’s – protest. Cr. Gardiner said that he under stood that institution’s difficulty but they should not wait until something happened before taking action. Cr. McDonald thought more care should be taken. He had been out with Constable Brough three inmates looking’ for escaped lunatics. In one case Constable Brough was out for three days after one man. Cr Gardiner – Constable Ellis has caught ‘156 escaped’ lunatics sincer he, has been’ in Epping (less than two years).’One man frothed at the mouth and if he had come to a farmhouse where only a woman was at home, he might have done anything. On the motion ,of Cr. Gardiner, seconded by Cr. Reid, it was agreed that further efforts should be made to have the ” patients under stricter supervision.

 

ON THIS DAY……22nd May 1926

Arthur Kerchival who was charge with having murdered Mrs Margaret Edgell, at Preston, on this day in 1926, was withdrawn in the City Court. Sergeant Seales said that Kerchival had been committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter by the city coroner Mr. Berriman.

 

On this day …….. 26th April 1974

Mr Doug Laing-Smith, 38, died in hospital on this day in 1974, 27 days after he was crushed by an elephant while working for Ashton’s Circus in Melbourne. He was knocked down and crushed by Abu the elephant after it was frightened by children playing on mini-bikes, Mr Laing-Smith, who is survived by his wife and five children, had been unconscious since he was admitted to the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital after the accident.

 

On this day ………… 27th February 1945

On the 27th of February 1945, Edward John Boreham, of Kenwood Court, Preston escaped from the Geelong Gaol with a fellow prisoner Kenneth William Radford. Boreham was killed in the bush near the timber mill, at Valley View, between Yarram and Morwell. Unaware that two fugitive soldiers were about, timber workers felled a tree on the hillside. Radford was not hurt, and was arrested when police arrived, Boreham was killed instantly.

 

 

On this day …….. 18th of August 1939

Whittlesea Council – MENTAL PATIENTS – Closer Supervision Urged

At the monthly meeting of the Whittlesea Shire Council a letter was received from Mr. H. O. White, M.L.A., enclosing a copy of a letter from the Chief Secretary (Mr Bailey) following representations made by Mr. White on the council’s request for closer supervision over mental patient’s at Mont Park Asylum, Melbourne following the tragedy at Whittlesea. Mr. Bailey submitted a report from the medical superintendent in which he said that he could not remember’ a single complaint from residents that escaped patients had damaged property or endangered the safety of any person. Those patients who had escaped had in no way been a menace to the public. The majority of escapes could be prevented by close confinement and constant patrol of the ground by attendants, but this would deprive the patients of the few privileges and enjoyments they now possessed, would be detrimental to the prospects of recovery and could scarcely be considered humane. The hospital existed for the treatment and if possible, cure of mental patients, and to that end it was desirable that as much liberty as possible be allowed them. The community was not likely to be endangered by occasional escapees. Letters were received from the Heldelberg, Preston, and Eltham’ Councils supporting Whittlesea’s – protest. Cr. Gardiner said that he under stood that institution’s difficulty but they should not wait until something happened before taking action. Cr. McDonald thought more care should be taken. He had been out with Constable Brough three inmates looking’ for escaped lunatics. In one case Constable Brough was out for three days after one man. Cr Gardiner – Constable Ellis has caught ‘156 escaped’ lunatics sincer he, has been’ in Epping (less than two years).’One man frothed at the mouth and if he had come to a farmhouse where only a woman was at home, he might have done anything. On the motion ,of Cr. Gardiner, seconded by Cr. Reid, it was agreed that further efforts should be made to have the ” patients under stricter supervision.

 

ON THIS DAY……22nd May 1926

Arthur Kerchival who was charge with having murdered Mrs Margaret Edgell, at Preston, on this day in 1926, was withdrawn in the City Court. Sergeant Seales said that Kerchival had been committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter by the city coroner Mr. Berriman.

 

On this day …….. 26th April 1974

Mr Doug Laing-Smith, 38, died in hospital on this day in 1974, 27 days after he was crushed by an elephant while working for Ashton’s Circus in Melbourne. He was knocked down and crushed by Abu the elephant after it was frightened by children playing on mini-bikes, Mr Laing-Smith, who is survived by his wife and five children, had been unconscious since he was admitted to the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital after the accident.

 

On this day ………… 27th February 1945

On the 27th of February 1945, Edward John Boreham, of Kenwood Court, Preston escaped from the Geelong Gaol with a fellow prisoner Kenneth William Radford. Boreham was killed in the bush near the timber mill, at Valley View, between Yarram and Morwell. Unaware that two fugitive soldiers were about, timber workers felled a tree on the hillside. Radford was not hurt, and was arrested when police arrived, Boreham was killed instantly.

 

 

In 1876 the Victorian State Government decided it would abolish toll gates by 1877. It promised local councils to compensate them for any lost income. Unfortunately in 1877 the State Government found itself without funds and the towns of Northcote and Preston faced an uncertain future. Fortunately as the Council began to panic the State Government was able to raise sufficient cash to bail it out of its difficulties.

One toll house managed, despite everything to survive until the 1980s. The Northcote Council fought hard to save the building but it was demolished anyway.

 

Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read was born on the 17th November 1954. Read was one of Victoria’s more colourful former criminals who wrote a series of semi autobiographical and fictional crime novels. Read was born to a former army father and a mother who was a devout Seventh-day Adventist. He was placed in a children’s home for the first five years of his life. He grew up in the Melbourne suburbs of Collingwood, Thomastown, Fitzroy and Preston. He was bullied at school, claiming that by the age of 15, he had been on the “losing end of several hundred fights” and that his father, usually on his mother’s recommendation, beat him often as a child. Read was made a ward of the state by the age of 14 and was placed in several mental institutions as a teenager, where, he later claimed, he was subjected to electroshock therapy. Read was described variously as witty, charismatic, sadistic and frightening. Read has claimed to be involved in the killing of 19 people and the attempted murder of 11 others. However, many of his associates in the underworld say he is prone to making up numbers to increase his own notoriety and the sales of his books, and Read himself has stated several times he would “never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn”. In an April 2013 interview with the New York Times, Read claimed “Look, honestly, I haven’t killed that many people, probably about four or seven, depending on how you look at it.” Read has stated on many times that the Geelong Gaol was the one Goal he did not want to go back to. Reads cell was on the third level no. 101