ON THIS DAY ……. 29th March 1900

Sir John McEwen was born in Chiltern, on this day in 1900. His father died in 1907 and consequently McEwen was raised by his grandmother with her sister. He was educated at state schools and at 15 became a junior public service clerk. He enlisted in the Army immediately upon turning 18 but the First World War ended while he was still in training. He commenced dairy farming at Tongala (Victoria), near Shepparton, and then changed to sheep and cattle farming in nearby Stanhope. McEwen was the 18th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the last member of the Country Party to serve as prime minister. He was nicknamed “Black Jack” by Robert Menzies due to his dark ‘beetle-browed’ appearance and temper.



ON THIS DAY – February 10, 1966

Detectives found that a murdered youth’s car had been used to drive the youth and a girl to the place where their bodies were found. The bodies of Gary Heywood, 18, and Abina Madill, 16, of Shepparton, were found in a paddock at East Murchison, 20 miles from Shepparton on this day in 1966. The decomposed state of the bodies is hampering police pathologists but dust samples taken from the youth’s car were found to be identical with samples from the paddock. The search for the two teenagers began about three weeks ago when they failed to return to a dance at the Shepparton Civic Hall after leaving to go for a drive. Heywood’s car was found next morning with the petrol tank half full, it had been abandoned near an area known locally as “Lovers’ Lane”. The girl’s white leather shoulder bag, its contents intact, was found later on the roadside about 14 miles from Shepparton. Police believe the two teenagers were bundled into a car by the killer or killers and taken to East Murchison. Heywood was shot through the head and the girl was battered to death.

Raymond Edmunds (Mr. Stinky) was convicted of the murder of 18-year-old panel beater Garry Heywood and rape and murder of 16-year-old Abina Madill on 10 February 1966 at Murchison East, near Shepparton, Victoria after they disappeared from a rock ‘n’ roll dance. Heywood was shot through the head with a .22-calibre Mossberg self-loading rifle and Madill was raped and then bludgeoned to death.


On this day ………… 4th February 1939

The indigenous people of Australia were the original inhabitants of the Australian continent. Ever since Europeans first settled the continent, Australian history has been dotted with instances of injustices against the native people. As European settlement spread, more and more Aborigines were displaced from their traditional home. They were dispossessed of their land and, due to the hostilities between whites and Aborigines, they were moved onto reserves and missions, where they were supposed to be protected. The Cummeragunja Mission in southern New South Wales was one such mission, established in 1881, primarily for the Yorta Yorta people who inhabited the land just north of the Murray River near Barmah, Victoria. Many of the Yorta Yorta had been relocated from the strictly religious Maloga Mission, and were permitted to live more self-sufficiently on Cummeragunja, establishing a farm and producing wheat, wool and dairy products. In 1915, the New South Wales Aboriginal Protection Board took over control of Cummeragunja, disbanding the farm’s committee of management, meaning that the residents no longer had control over funds they raised from their work on the farm. Conditions for the residents became far more restrictive, and a system of distributing rations was implemented. These rations were unhealthy and insufficient, other supplies were minimal, and shelter was inferior. By the 1930s, illness was rife throughout the mission. On 4 February 1939, between 150 and 200 indigenous residents staged a mass walk-off in protest against the deplorable living conditions. They crossed the border into Victoria, which was against the rules of the New South Wales Protection Board. Many of them subsequently settled in towns such as Barmah, Echuca and Shepparton. No further action was taken on behalf of the aboriginal people’s claims for compensation, and little has been taken in recent years. At most, the Yorta Yorta people have received about one tenth of 1 percent of the traditional lands they lost to European settlement.



ON THIS DAY – January 20, 1940

Charged with having shot Xhezar Ramadan at Shepparton on January 20 with intent to murder him, Rakip Begir, 42, labourer, of Shepparton, appeared in the City Court. The police prosecutor, Sub-Inspector Charlesworth, said that it was alleged that Beglr had been involved in a quarrel with the proprietor of the Seven Stars Albanian Club, Shepparton, outside the club. Later he entered the club and returned with a pistol and shot Ramadan in the stomach. Sub-Inspector Charlesworth, who said that Ramadan had improved slightly, but was still on the danger list at the Mooroopna Base Hospital, asked that bail be refused. Later Mr. M. Goldberg for Begir told the Court that Ramadan had greatly improved and was no longer on the danger list. Mr. MacLean then fixed bail at £500.



On this day …….. 16th of January 1983

An unidentified flying object was reported crossing the sky above Victoria shortly after 6pm on this night in 1983, according to a Federal Department of Transport spokesman. Sightings came from south-eastern Melbourne suburbs, Moorabbin Airport, south-east of Melbourne, and Shepparton, 180 kilometres to the north. The department spokesman said the object was sighted in the north-eastern sky. An air-traffic controller at Moorabbin Airport reported the object as being “bright silver” at first but changing colour to green and red as it headed further north. A spokesman for the Federal Government committee monitoring space objects said there was “little chance” the object was the Russian satellite Cosmos which passes over Australia four times a day. The satellite was scheduled to pass over South Australia and Queensland at 6.30pm but should not have been visible from Victoria. “The Government is confident that if there was any change in the Cosmos orbit the United States would notify Australia,” he said. Calls reporting sightings began soon after 6pm. Melbourne airport flight-service officer Mr Joe White said, “I was sitting at my flight-service console and I just saw it in the background out the window. It was heading downwards at a steep angle, about 80 degrees, but disappeared from sight before it reached the ground. “It was bright green and had a tail of light behind it which was also a green colour.” The senior operations controller at Tullamarine Airport, Mr Brian Whiteley, said the object did not show up on radar screens and a check confirmed that no aircraft were missing. “We contacted the RAAF and have reported it as an unidentified flying object,” he said. An officer at Tidbinbilla Deep Space Communications Centre in Canberra said that no NASA station around the world had reported any satellite coming down. The president of the Victorian UFO Research Society, Mrs Judith Magee, said reports of sightings died down yesterday and she felt it had been the Cosmos satellite.



On this day …….. 14th of January 1940

Near the Torrumbarry Weir on the Murray River on the 14th of January 1940, a local man named J.F Williams found a corked bottle with a message inside. Although the paper was badly discoloured, the writing was still decipherable and Williams was amazed to find that it had been written by a namesake. It read: “F. Williams, 10 Welsford Street, Shepparton, Vic. Bottle dropped over the bridge, Shepparton, 2 March 1926”.  The bottle travelled 96 kilometres in 14 years.



ON THIS DAY…… 21st November 1982

The biggest earth tremor ever recorded in Victoria

The biggest earth tremor ever recorded in Victoria shook the state on this day in 1982. Registering 5.5 on the Richter Scale, and centred on Mt Hotham in Victoria, the tremor struck at 10.36pm, and was felt as far away as Wagga, NSW in the North and Melbourne in the south. The tremor was felt most severely along the Ovens Valley, Wangaratta and Shepparton. It was enough for one Wangaratta residence watching TV at the time to report being noticeably moved – the couch had shifted on its castors.

On this day …….. 10th September 1952

More than 4000 people panicked when a lion escaped from a circus cage at the Shepparton Show, Central Victoria, on this day 1952. Adults knocked over children and women fainted in a wild scramble away from the lion, which was loose for 20 minutes. The lion ran to a clearing between circus, vans, then jumped on to the side of lion’s cage. Its attendants pushed a mobile cage towards the lion and had almost trapped it when it sprinted back to the clearing.


ON THIS DAY – July 1, 1934


Before Mr. Justlce Lowe, in the Supreme Court, at Shepparton today, Florence Lillian Thrower, of Orrong crescent, Caulfield, was charged with the murder of Ivy Winifred Rose McDonnell at Mooroopna on July 1. The prosecution alleged that Mrs. McDonnell died as a result of an Illegal operation. The case for the prosecution is part heard.


On This Day ……. 1st of July 1901

On this day in 1901, Nicholas Keneally, who was sentenced to death at Shepparton on the 6th of December, 1899, for an offence on his grand-daughter,’ but whoso sentence was subsequently commuted to imprisonment for life, died in the Geelong Gaol.


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 – June 4, 1909


At the Shepparton Supreme Court to-day Ernest Carmody, aged 17 years, was charged with the wilful murder, on June 4, of an elderly man named John Robinson. The accused pleaded not guilty. The deceased resided in a hut at Youanamite, near Katamatite, and was in receipt of an old-age pension. On June 4 his hut was discovered to be in flames, and later on a, few charred bones were found. Inquiries made by the police led to the arrest of the accused, who had been in the employ of a Katamatite storekeeper, and was accustomed to leave bread at the old man’s hut.  Mr. Gurner, in opening the case for the Crown, said that shortly after the old man had been burned to death accused suddenly became affluent, and the bank notes which he had in his possession gave forth a peculiar odour of a complaint from which the deceased had suffered. One of these bank notes bore a private mark of a farm labourer, who had paid it to Robinson.  The jury found, the prisoner guilty of manslaughter, with a recommendation to mercy on account of his youth.