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.



On This Day – January 4, 1916

At the Morgue the State Coroner conducted an inquiry into the circumstances, surrounding the death of Vera May Spark, 23 years, single, who was shot dead on this day in January by Raymond Victor Dawson, 25, in the Matter’s house, at 178 George-Street, Fitzroy. Dawson, who was present in custody. According to the story told by Dawson to the police shortly after the occurrence, he went into the kitchen, where Spark was preparing breakfast, he had a revolver in one hand and an alarm clock in the other. Pointing the revolver at her he said jocularly, ‘I will shoot you.’ She replied ‘Go on why, you could not shoot a maggot.’ Dawson repeated that he would shoot her. Spark opened her mouth and said, ‘Shoot that’ Dawson pulled the trigger. There was an immediate explosion. The woman fell back on the sofa, with blood pouring from her mouth. She died in a few minutes. Dawson went to Fitzroy police station and explained the circumstances of the occurrence, saying be did not know the revolver was loaded. The revolver from which the shot was fired has disappeared, and no trace of it can be found.

ON THIS DAY – January 3, 1937

The story of the shooting of Merle Maude Moss, aged 18 years, housemaid, of Bungaree, at Ballarat on the 3rd of January, and the finding of the body of a young man in Lake Wendouree next day, was told at the inquest conducted by the deputy coroner. A finding was recorded that Miss Moss had been murdered by Sydney Gordon Smart, aged 22 years, labourer, of Durham Lead, and that Smart (whose body was recovered from the lake) had committed suicide. Dulcie Jean Lumsden, housemaid, employed by Dr. Richardson, of Sturt street, said that on the 3rd of January, at 2.30 pm, she called at Dr. Salter’s place, where Merle Moss was employed, and they went for a walk. Smart followed them, and persisted in his request that Miss Moss should meet him, but she declined to do so. Near Albert street at 7pm, Smart pulled Miss Moss by the wrist, took a revolver from his pocket, pointed at at the girl, and said something which Miss Lumsden did not catch. Miss Moss said, “Don’t be a coward.” Miss Lumsden said “I’m going to tell someone.” Smart replied, “If you do there’ll be trouble,” and he let Miss Moss go. At 7.30 pm, Miss Lumsden said, they turned into the lane off Lyons street, leading to the rear of Dr. Salter’s residence. Smart pushed Miss Moss against the fence while Miss Lumsden stood a few feet from them. Miss Moss tried to get away, but Smart pulled her back, saying “Will you meet me tonight?” Miss Moss replied, “I don’t want to meet you.” She then struggled to get away, saying. “Let me go!” Miss Lumsden, continuing, said: “I heard the first report, and saw Merle fall. She screamed as she fell. I ran in the gate. I heard four more shots fired while Merle was on the ground, and he was bending over her with his back to me. I ran inside and told Mrs. Salter and the girls.”

Incident Before Christmas

Margaret Ruth Telford, cook, residing at the residence of Mr. Salter, said that earlier Miss Moss had told her that she did not want to meet Smart, because she did not care for him. They had been keeping company for about six months. Miss Moss told her the week before Christmas that she had that night been at White Flat with Smart, and when she went to go away after an argument Smart had fired two shots from a revolver into the air, and she had gone back to him. George Searle, miner, of Chewton, said that about 7.35pm., on the 3rd of January, he saw a man with blood on his face running west along Mair street toward the lake. Constable Raper gave evidence of the finding of Smart’s body in Lake Wendouree on January 4. The seven-chambered .22 calibre Young American type revolver found in the lane after the shooting had been discharged in the seven chambers. Dr. F. Fleming said that the girl, had two bullet wounds in the head, one in the chest, and one in the hand. Smart had two head wounds, one indicating where the bullet had passed harmlessly off, and the second slightly penetrating the head without injury to the brain. Death, in his case, was due to drowning. The deputy coroner recorded a finding that the girl had died from the effects of three revolver wounds maliciously inflicted by Smart, and that Smart did murder her, and that Smart’s death was due to drowning, wilfully caused by himself.


ON THIS DAY – December 28, 1915

Francis Elliott (34) was, at the Criminal Court, convicted on a charge of attempting to murder Arthur Henry Mace, driver, at Box Hill on the 28th of December. It was alleged that the accused, on the evening of December 28, called at Mace’s house and a disturbance took place. He left after threatening to shoot Mace and Mrs. Mace. Mace and his wife went to bed and were aroused about midnight by the report of a gunshot. The walls of the house were marked with gunshot pellets. The accused was remanded for sentence. Elliott received 5 years hard labour.

ON THIS DAY – December 22, 1912


At the Criminal Court Joseph Victor Pfeffer, 32, butcher’s assistant, was charged with having on the 22nd of December, at Albert Park, murdered Florence Victoria Whitley, aged 23, domestic servant and sister-in-law of the accused. The Crown Prosecutor stated that the murdered girl had for three or four years prior to the tragedy been living at the accused’s house. During lunch hour on December 12 Pfeffer clambered over the back gate of Kennett’s house, in Mill-street, Albert Park, and made his way into the kitchen, where the maid and her mistress were seated at a table together. Then the accused shot the girl. Evidence in support of the Crown case was given by a number of witnesses, and the defendant made a statement from the dock. He said, ‘From when I woke up on the morning of the murder until I saw the police I remember nothing of what happened. I have my brother here in court. He has wandered out of his mind, and has roamed about the country in that condition for three weeks before being arrested. At Geelong I had an accident before I went to the war. and was laid up in the hospital for a fortnight. While in South Africa, I had several bullet wounds, and was hurt inwardly through the fall off a horse. Another time when taken prisoner I was hit on the head with the butt end of a rifle, and I have since suffered from headaches off and on, and I really think there are times when I don’t know what I am doing. There was insanity on my father’s side and on my mother’s. One or my relatives hanged himself, another shot himself, and my brother has been in a lunatic asylum for some years. I do not remember anything at all about the murder. After rather more than an hour’s retirement the jury returned with a verdict of guilty, adding a rider expressing regret that in view of the character of the defence, no evidence had been brought forward to settle the question of the accused’s sanity. Mr. Woinarski said the Crown, was in a position to rebut any evidence on that point that might have been brought forward. His Honor would take a note of the jury’s rider. He then passed sentence of death upon the accused,


ON THIS DAY – December 15, 1926



Henry Tacke 1926

After three hours’ retirement, the jury to-night returned a verdict of manslaughter In the case of Henry Tacke (65, importer) who was charged in the Criminal Court with having murdered Mrs. Rachel Currell (35) at Mary-street, St. Kilda, on December 15. Five bullets were found in Mrs. Currell’s body. The jury added a recommendation to mercy, and Tacke was remanded for sentence. Frederick Currell, barman, husband of the dead woman, said that he had known Tacke for 21 years. He knew that his wife and Tacke had been to Adelaide and Sydney several times on business. Tacke had paid 90 guineas for an operation for Mrs. Currell before the shooting. Tacke had told witness that he wished to make an appointment to apologise to Mrs. Currell for the way he had spoken to her. He did not see Tacke again until Decemnber 15, when he was awakened by him at about 10.15 p.m. Tacke said he wanted to see Mrs. Currell. Witness refused, but Mrs. Currell then came out, and Tacke went inside. He then knocked witness behind the ear, and pulled out a revolver and fired at Mrs. Currell. Witness ran away, and Tacke fired at him without effect.  Under cross-examination Currell said that he did not inquire from his wife what her relations were with Tacke when they went away together. He knew that Tacke was giving her money, and supposed that it was for the secretarial work which she did for him. When Mrs. Currell was ill Tacke had sent her delicacies. Currell admitted that Tacke might have paid for a holiday that Mrs. Currell had at Daylesford after her operation. When Tacke and Mrs. Currell went away money was left for him to live on, as he had been out of work for some time, but he did not know where the money came from. Witness said that he did not know that while he was out of work Tacke was giving his wife £5 a week. He did not suspect, and never would, that there was any intimacy between Tacke and his wife. He had been married for 15 years. and was on affectionate terms with his wife.  Henry Tacke, in giving evidence, said that he met Mrs. Currell in February, 1925, and mlsconduct continued between them until October last. Accused said that Mrs. Currell went for a holiday at his expense, and that he had paid for an operation she had. When her husband was out of work he (accused) gave her £5 a week. He also gave her £75 worth of clothes.  On the night of December 15 he went down to see Mrs. Currell about an account. He had had to borrow some money that day to keep himself going. Currell was on the verandah. He was in a fighting attitude, and accused struck him. Mrs. Currell ran over and hit him (accused) three heavy blows. As he was pulling out a revolver with the intention of frightening Mrs. Currell it went off. She ran inside. He fired four more shots into the hall to frighten her. He also fired wide at her husband as he ran away. Witness then went into the hall and had a look round to see that every thing was all right. He did not see Mrs. Currell. In answer to a question, Tacke said that he thought that the intimacy Between Mrs. Currell and himself ended in October because he had no more money.

ON THIS DAY – December 15, 1938



 CaptureSN: CC001681.085469 Software: Capture One PRO for Windows

A jury in the Criminal Court to- day found Harcourt Lee, 38, Hairdresser of Rathdowne Street Carlton not guilty of having murdered Arthur Kingsley Taplin, 22, barman of Sydney. Lee was also found not guilty of manslaughter and was discharged by Mr Justice Lowe. The Crown alleged that after a brawl between Lee and Taplin in the bar of the Cosmopolitan Hotel Melbourne on December 15. Lee fired a shot and Taplin fell to the floor. He died on December 21. Lee said that Taplin aimed a blow at him with a beer pot and then reached for his hip pocket. Lee thought that Taplin was about to draw a gun. He was afraid and on the spur of the moment he drew his own pistol and shot Taplin. The jury announced its verdict after a retirement of three hours.

12319797_219974051667064_1739151403_nMrs. Elizabeth Patrick, 59, of East Prarhan, was shot dead while coming out of Luna Park on the night of the 20th of October 1940 with her husband. A brawl was in progress nearby when a shot was fired, hitting Mrs. Patrick in the stomach. She was, dead when taken to hospital. The police were informed that an attendants from sideshows attempted to quell the disturbance. It is alleged that one of the attendants drew a pistol to frighten the brawlers, and that it exploded. A man has been detained. During the disturbance a man, who was standing nearby received a bullet wound in the hand, while a Luna Park attendant received a flesh wound in the leg.


‘Suspect warned’ before being shot

Jedd Houghton

Jedd Houghton

Police Special Operations Group members had repeatedly told a police shooting suspect to drop his gun before hitting him with three shotgun blasts at close range, the Melbourne Coroner’s Court heard yesterday. Jedd Houghton, 23, died almost instantly during a raid on a caravan park in Bendigo on November 17,1988.  He had been an alleged member of a gang planning an armed robbery and there was a link be tween him and the killing of two constables in Walsh Street, South Yarra, Graeme Morrish, QC, assisting Coroner Hal Hallenstein, said. Mr Morrish said Houghton’s death was linked to that of Graeme Jensen on October 11, 1988, and a shooting the following day when Constables Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre were gunned down while checking an abandoned car.  Jensen, a close associate of Houghton, had been killed while armed robbery squad detectives were trying to arrest him at Narre Warren, the hearing was told. From the outset, due to his association with Jensen, police had considered Houghton a suspect in the killings of the two constables in Walsh Street, Mr Morrish said. Houghton, Jensen, and two other men were believed to be planning an armed robbery, he said. Visual and electronic surveillance had been carried out by the Bureau of Criminal Intelligence of Houghton’s movements in the period leading up to the SOG raid, he said. It had been decided to arrest Houghton as a suspect in the Walsh Street killings. Four SOG members had entered the cabin where Houghton and his girlfriend, Kim Cameron, had been staying, at 12.08pm. Mr Morrish said two had gone for Houghton and the others had placed a hood over Ms Cameron’s head before whisking her away.  Houghton had pointed a gun at SOG member Sergeant Paul Carr and had been repeatedly told 10 drop the weapon, he said. Fearing one of them would be shot, Sergeant Carr and his partner had both fired their pump action shotguns, acting in self defence. The hearing, attended by Houghton’s mother, sister and Ms Cameron, viewed a nine-minute videotape which included graphic footage of the blood-soaked body and horrific wounds.  The cause of death was a shot gun blast fired at a distance of 10cm, hitting him in the chest.  Two other blasts fired from 10cm had hit Houghton in his upper body and arm. Three revolvers and a pistol had been found in the cabin. The hearing continues.