On This Day……… 10th April 1865

On this day in 1865, the inquest was held into the shooting death of the notorious Bushranger Dan Morgan. It was found that John Wendlan, an employee of Rutherford and McPherson of Peechelba, had shot and killed Morgan. The verdict of the inquest was that the killing of Morgan by Wendlan had been justifiable homicide.



ON THIS DAY …… 6th April 1914


Ruby Costelloe a married woman was dismissed from the Footscray Court on a charge against, shooting at John Breheny with intent to murder him, at Yarraville, on this day in 1914. Mrs. Costelloe was bound over in a surety of £50 to keep the peace.


EXECUTION THIS DAY …….. 28th March 1854

James Button was executed in the old Melbourne Gaol for robbery under arms and shooting Robert McLean. Button was not afraid of the physical pain of death, but expressed contrition for his numerous crimes, and looked forward to a future state with fear. Button was executed at 8am.


ON THIS DAY ……. 27th March 1939


Findings of murder and suicide were recorded by Acting City Coroner Mr. Mohr, at the inquest into Annie Forsey and John Forsey, who died in a shooting in a bakehouse in Collingwood on this day 1939. Kenneth Forsey, pastrycook, of Collingwood said while he was in bed late on March 27th, he was awakened by a report which he believed at the time to be the backfiring of a motor car. He did not investigate and dozed off to sleep again. Later he got up and saw his mother lying on the floor at the foot of the stairs. His father was lying on the floor with a pistol in his right hand. He was groaning, but did not speak. His father and mother had not been on good terms for about 12 months and had not spoken to each other for about three months He did not know the cause of the disagreement.


ON THIS DAY – March 25, 1933


An Inquest was held by the City Coroner (Mr. Grant) into the death of Arthur John Smale, boot trade employee, aged 16 years. Smale was shot on March 25 when returning from military duty at the Williamstown rifle range. George Henry Madden, tinsmith, of Freeman Street, North Fitzroy, said that he was with a group of young men who were returning from the Williamstown Rifle Range on March 25. All had rifles which had been cleaned and inspected after firing. In Kororoit Road another party of young men, who had also been shooting, began throwing stones. He remembered some one calling out, and then he heard a shot, and Smale fell to the ground. Arthur Herbert Taylor, sergeant of militia, of East Brunswick, said that he saw two trainees with a rifle near the steam pipes on the range before the shooting. One was inserting what might have been a cartridge into the breach of the rifle. The other appeared to be shielding him. The owner of the rifle would not know that a cartridge had been inserted. William Arthur Horton, boot trader apprentice, told the Coroner that he did not know there was a live cartridge in the rifle at the time of the accident, and he had no ammunition in his possession. Mr. Grant found that Smale died from a bullet wound in the head caused by the accidental discharge of Horton’s rifle, who did not know that it was loaded. Mr. Grant recorded a finding of manslaughter against a person or persons unknown, who had unlawfully loaded a rifle on the Williamstown Rifle Range.


ON THIS DAY ……. 24th March 1951


Herbert Frederick Wason aged 16, of Long Gully, Bendigo, was sent to gaol for five years by for the manslaughter of his former employer. Wason, who cannot read or write and is said to have the mental age of about 9 1/2 years, was charged with the murder of George Archibald Bill aged 49, of Yarrawalla South on This day in 1851. The evidence showed that Wason missed his bus from Yarrawalla South to Bendigo and went to Bill’s home with the idea of taking Bill’s car. Wason found a rifle in the car and shot Bill when he was not looking. Bill ran to an old dairy and Wason fired again. Wason drove the car to Yarrawalla South and abandoned it. He told police he did not mean to kill Bill. Evidence also showed that Bill had taken a fatherly interest in the youth and that they got on well together. In passing sentence, Justice Hudson told Wason, “Your crime consisted of shooting at short range at a man who gave you no provocation whatever. The only semblance of reason for shooting Bill was that you wanted to take a motor vehicle to go home. Ironically enough you were taught to use a rifle by the man you killed. The jury apparently took the view on the medical evidence that mentally you did not realise the consequences of shooting, and the likelihood of killing.”


ON THIS DAY ……… 17th March 1953

After being sentenced to death for murder in the Criminal Court on this day in 1953, James Robert Walker age 43, told Justice Duffy that he wished to be hanged. However, with a Labour Government in office the sentence will be commuted. Walker was found guilty of having murdered Thomas George Fogarty aged 32, by shooting him at St. Kilda on the 17th of March. After Justice Duffy had passed the death sentence, Walker said “Thank you, sir. I have been found guilty of a viscous crime. I understand this will go to Cabinet. I ask you if you will make a recommendation to Cabinet that it will carry the sentence out.”



ON THIS DAY…….. 16th of March 1955

A barroom quarrel following slighting references to a man’s wife preceded a fatal shooting, two witnesses told the Supreme Court. The husband, Allan Stewart McLean, 41, carpenter, of Kyabram, is charged with murder. The other man Thomas Young “Larry” Smith, aged 28, builder, of Lord st., Richmond, was shot in the stomach at Kyabram on March the 16th. His injuries were caused by a pea-rifle bullet, McLean pleaded not guilty. William Augustine Hurley, hotel licensee, of Kyabram, said his attention was called to trouble in the bar at 5.45pm on March the 16th. He heard McLean say to Smith: “I would not drink with you,” to which Smith replied, “The trouble with you is you don’t know where your missus is.” Smith then said, “Why don’t you take me out and beat me up?” to which McLean said, “There is time enough for that later.” Smith, said Hurley, replied, “All right; at your place at 7pm,” tapping his watch at the same time. Hurley said that at closing time he saw McLean stagger back from a blow and then prepare to fight Smith, but the row was broken up. Questioned by Mr. J. P. Maloney (for McLean), Hurley said Smith was affected by drink. Joseph Augustine Doolan, carpenter, of Kyabram, said that early this year when Mrs. McLean left home McLean said to him, “I will shoot the -.” Doolan said he told McLean, “Don’t be a fool; no man is worthing hanging for.” To Mr. Maloney Doolan said he had no doubt that Smith was looking for a fight with McLean.



ON THIS DAY……… 15th March 1920



Constable G. H. Taylor, was shot in the stomach at Pyramid Hill, on this day in 1920. Taylor died at 1.30 am, on the 20th of March 1920 at a private hospital. The shooting occurred while the policeman was walking to the local lock-up with Timothy Joseph Bennett (34), a baker, who, it was intended, should be medically examined. Bennett is now under remand in the Bendigo Gaol, on a charge of having shot at Constable Taylor with intent to murder him. Constable Taylor has left a widow and three children.



ON THIS DAY – March 12, 1916


William Coles Halstead, a cook, was charged in the Ballarat Supreme Court today with having attempted to murder Patrick William Monaghan by shooting, at Illabarook, on March 12. There was a second count of having attempted to inflict grievous bodily harm on Monaghan. The defence was that accused had shot at Monaghan to frighten and not to maim him. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on both counts, and Halstead was discharged.



On this day ………… 10th March 1879

An ‘extraordinary supernatural occurrence’ took place on the coast north of Port MacDonnell in 1879 and created a great sensation. Walter and William Carrison had been at work for some little time obtaining oil from a stranded whale. A few days later they were out shooting and did not return to their tent until nightfall. Just at twilight William Carrison was loading his gun for a last shot, when all at once he heard a hideous yell and, turning his eyes in the direction from which the sound came, he observed what appeared to be a man of rather unusually tall stature making towards him. Carrison looked with a fixed gaze at the object and it appeared so weird and unearthly that his blood began to chill and his hair to bristle. On it came and as it approached yelled again. Carrison then put a cap on his gun and, taking aim, fired at the object which appeared to sink into the ground out of sight and left no trace behind. At the same time Walter Carrison, who was about a mile from his brother, saw a similar apparition and, having his gun loaded and capped at the time, fired. The object, too, appeared to have felt the shot and melted into thin air. Later, it was the general belief that the ghost, or ghosts, were of some persons who had been murdered near the spot where they were seen.




Former South Australian horse trainer Les Samba was shot dead in what appears to be a targeted attack, on this day in 2011. The 60-year-old was shot about 9.40pm on Beaconsfield Parade, in the suburb of Middle Park, after an argument with another man. Detective Inspector John Potter from the Homicide Squad says police believed Mr Samba had parked and locked his car, a 2010 silver Hyundai sedan, and set off to attend a meeting. He was seen running down Beaconsfield Parade near his car as he was shot several times in the body and head. Mr Samba was in Melbourne for the thoroughbred yearling sales. While he trained many winners, Samba, who lived in Sydney, also enjoyed much success as an owner. He raced Gorky Park, which won the Geelong Classic and ran second behind Efficient in the 2006 Victoria Derby.