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On this day …….. 16th of December 1907

 

A sensational railway accident occurred at Dimboola on this night in 1907, resulting in the death of a valuable circus pony. The animals belonging to Wirth’s circus were being trucked when the points refused to act. This caused one of the truck to be thrown on to its side. The trick pony Fairy was thrown upon the metals, and had her neck broken. The animal was valued at £1,000. The truck was badly damaged. The elephants belonging to the circus lifted the truck back onto the line.

 

ON THIS DAY – July 28, 1934

After having heard evidence at an inquest today into the death of a newly-born male child, whose body was found by a railway employee while cleaning out a carriage at the Joilmont yards on July 28. The coroner (Mr. Grant) committed Edith Clyne, aged 20, formerly a nurse employed at the Queen’s Memorial Hospital, Fairfield, for trial at the Supreme Court on a charge of murder.

On this day …….. 10th of June 1929

A government order came into force to restrict road transport. An extension of the Act was made to cover the Boroughs of Echuca, Horsham, Shepparton, St Arnaud and Wangaratta. The Act provided that goods should not be carted by road before 7am, or after 1pm on any afternoon which was usually a regular holiday for shops. No goods could be carted by road after 9pm on any day of the week in which shops closed late in the particular location, or after 7:30pm in the evening of any other day in the week. Road transport was beginning to seriously affect railway freight revenue.

On this day …….. 18th May 1854

Victoria is generally accepted as the first place in Australia to have had a completed railway line. The first steam train in Australia made its maiden voyage on the 12th of September 1854, running between Flinders Street and Sandridge, now Port Melbourne. However, the first railway ever to run in Australia was actually in South Australia. South Australia was one of only two Australian states to have been founded by free settlers (the other being Western Australia), and the only state that remained entirely free of convicts during its early history. Its capital city, Adelaide, was designed by Colonel William Light, who arrived in South Australia in 1836. The southern colony quickly grew, fed by immigrants and free settlers in search of a better life or escaping religious persecution. South Australia was known for a number of “firsts”. It was the site where Australia’s first paddlesteamer was launched. It was the site from which both the first east to west crossing and successful south to north crossing of the continent was undertaken. It was also the first colony to implement a railway. South Australia began operations of horse-drawn trains on the 18th of May 1854. The line ran from Goolwa, on the Murray River, to the harbour at Port Elliot, and was used to move supplies between craft navigating the Murray River, and coastal and ocean-going vessels. After numerous vessels were shipwrecked at the entrance to the bay, the terminus was moved from Port Elliot and the line extended to Victor Harbor, in 1864.

ON THIS DAY ……. 30th March 1891

Workmen on the railway to Mansfield, under construction at the time, unearthed a skeleton. No one was quite sure who it was but locals thought it was probably King Alfred, an aboriginal tribal leader who had been elevated to regional status by the early landholders in the area. When Alfred died, he was buried near the spot at Merton where the excavations were being made.

 

 

On this day …….. 6th of January 1912

Australia’s earliest recorded attempts at powered flight took place in December 1909. Within a year, numerous aircraft were being imported into Australia, while some aeroplanes were being constructed locally. As trials were conducted on the new flying machines, some proved less successful than others, with mild accidents on take-off occurring in several cases. It was inevitable that Australia would see its first official aeroplane crash. William Ewart “Billy” Hart was a Parramatta dentist who learnt to fly in 1911 and became the first man to hold an Australia aviator’s licence. His No. 1 Certificate of the newly-created Aerial League of Australia, was granted on 5 December 1911. Hart imported a British aircraft for 1300 pounds, equivalent to around $140,000 today, maintaining it in a tent at Penrith. Shortly after its purchase, strong winds overturned the tent and the plane, reducing the aircraft to a wreck. Hart salvaged what he could and built a biplane from the parts. On this day in January 1912, Hart was demonstrating his aircraft, navigating by the train line between Mt Druitt and Rooty Hill. Aboard was military officer Major Rosenthal as a passenger. At a height of 600 feet, or about 180m, Hart hit turbulent winds and began to lose altitude. As it dropped, the biplane hit a signal post, then came to rest upside down beside the railway line in what is recorded as Australia’s first aeroplane crash. Although both Hart and his passenger were unhurt, Hart was inclined to blame the Major’s weight for the crash. His words were reported in the Nepean Times as follows: “It really was a trial run and when I say that Major Rosenthal weighed 17 stone (about 107kg) the test my machine was put to will be understood.”

 

On this day …….. 3rd of January 1962

On this day in 1962, Victoria and NSW were connected with a standard gauge rail connection. For over 100 years trains stopped at the Albury NSW, and passengers and goods were moved to a different train. The first Goods train from Sydney arrived in Melbourne on this day.

 

On this day …….. 18th of December 1891

PRISONER ON THE RUN

On the 18th of December 1891, a group of 11 prisoners were being transferred Melbourne Gaol to Geelong Gaol by train. While at Spencer street station it was noticed that one of the prisoners had escaped. The alarm was raised and the city police with wardens were dispatched, while the remainder of the prisoners were taken to Geelong.

On this day …….. 16th of December 1907

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A sensational railway accident occurred at Dimboola on this night in 1907, resulting in the death of a valuable circus pony. The animals belonging to Wirth’s circus were being trucked when the points refused to act. This caused one of the truck to be thrown on to its side. The trick pony Fairy was thrown upon the metals, and had her neck broken. The animal was valued at £1,000. The truck was badly damaged. The elephants belonging to the circus lifted the truck back onto the line.