In 1938, a dog from the town of Queenscliffe, Victoria, became a local celebrity after he won a fight to the death with a thresher shark. On July 20, a brown cattle dog owned by a packer from the Fisherman’s Union, spotted the shark from a pier and started “barking excitedly”. Before fishermen could fetch a rifle to dispatch the 1.5m fish, “the dog jumped into the water, seized the shark, and swam with it about 40 yards [36.5m] to the landing.” With the still-living shark in the dog’s jaws, the men cut its throat and killed it. The dog, whose name is not recorded, was lucky to escape unscathed: threshers use their long tails like bullwhips to stun or kill their prey.

A great story about Queenscliff from the 1930s involves the famous Australian painter Sidney Nolan. Nolan and a friend stowed away on a ship in Melbourne in 1934 hoping they could get a free passage to France. They decided that if they were caught they would insist they were missionaries who were trying to get to Tahiti to bring the gospel to the locals. Unfortunately neither Nolan nor his friend had a working knowledge of The Bible and neither of them had much of a desire to remain teetotal for the duration of the trip. They were discovered before the ship left Port Phillip, were removed and taken to Queenscliff where they were gaoled in the wooden lockup.


A reduction in the staff at the Geelong Gaol has been effected through the adoption by the Penal department of new arrangements in regard to the disposal of female prisoners of the vagrant class, for whom special accommodation has been provided at Pentridge. All the feeble women will be transferred to the Coburg penitentiary, only female prisoners of the vigorous type being retained at the local gaol in order to do the laundry work and furnished there by the military authorities at Queenscliff.