John Stacey, was charged with the murder of a child named Daniel McDonnell, at Emerald Hill, (South Melbourne) on the 28th of February 1865. Stacey was sentenced to be executed at the old Melbourne Gaol.



ON THIS DAY – February 27, 1927

Robert Brown, barman of the Wayside Inn, South Melbourne, was committed for trial at the Criminal Court on a charge of murder following an inquest into the death of Stanley Brockenshire, aged 47 years, of Cliff-street, Essendon, in the Melbourne Hospital, on this day in February 1927. Evidence was given that Brown attacked Brockenshire without any provocation and punched him until he fell, striking his head heavily on the pavement. Previously Brown had been charged with manslaughter.



ON THIS DAY – February 25, 1896


Enquiries made concerning the murder and suicide at Albert Park on this day in 1896, were not altogether successful in demonstrating a motive for the crime. Some additional facts were discovered, however, which tend to show that John Priestley was probably seriously involved in domestic troubles, and might by them have been driven to murder his child and kill himself. Priestley came from Adelaide to Melbourne about six years prior accompanied by a woman who joined him about the time of the disagreement with his wife. When he arrived here he had in his possession over £600. With this sum of money he entered into occupation of a free hotel at Carlton. Within two years he ran through all his money, and quarrelled with his female companion, who passed herself off as his wife. He sought, to shake her off, and suddenly and secretly left for Adelaide by sea. She learned of his intention somehow, and, taking the child with her, journeyed to Adelaide by express train, and was the same woman he saw as the boat reached the wharf. The quarrel was patched up, and they returned to Melbourne together. They quarrelled again, and Priestley finally deserted the woman. He went to South Melbourne and took service with the Gas Company. The woman remained in Carlton, where she was arrested on some minor charge. Priestley attended the Court when her case, came up for hearing. He undertook the care of their child, but refused to have anything to say to the woman. The child was the one he killed.



ON THIS DAY – February 22, 1924

William Thomas Warren Brooke, was charged with murdering David Wilson at South Melbourne on the 22nd of February. lt is alleged that Brooke knocked Wilson down outside the Silver Gate Hotel after, it was alleged, that Wilson had stolen his beer. The hotel was demolished on the 1st May 1978, in order to build the Westgate Bridge freeway, there is now a McDonalds built on the location.



ON THIS DAY – December 10, 1886

A tragedy occurred at South Melbourne to-day, when a married woman named Alice Wiggins, wife of a travelling cutler living in Coventry-place, murdered her infant son by cutting his throat. She then committed suicide by cutting her own throat. It appears Mrs. Wiggins had been confined several times in the Kew Lunatic Asylum.

On This Day – October 12, 1947

When Joseph J Wells (34), of South Melbourne was charged in the City Court yesterday with having murdered, George Ryder on October 12, Mr J. Long, for Wells, said he had acted to protect Ryder’s wife.  Wells was remanded until Monday. Bail was refused.

Long said that Wells hit Ryder on the head with a bottle and later voluntarily went to the South Melbourne police station to see if a charge had been laid against him.

ON THIS DAY – October 7, 1945


Charged with the murder of Walter Edward Copely on October 7, Reginald William Watson, 28, of Cecil-street. South Melbourne was remanded in the City Court to October 19. Copely, a steward on R.M.S Stratlhmore was found in a Port Melbourne street plantation on Saturday night with a wound at the base of the skull. Also charged with Copely’s murder, a 15 1/2 years old who appeared in the Children’s Court. He was remanded until October 19.



ON THIS DAY – October 3, 1936

Man Committed for Trial

Four detectives and two police wireless patrol cars investigated a telephone message about a murder on October 3, and they found that the message was a hoax. Eric Dight collector, of Albert road, South Melbourne, was committed for trial yesterday when he appeared at Richmond Court on charge of having created a public nuisance. It was alleged that Dight sent the false message and caused the police to investigate groundless allegations. Constable W. King said that he received a telephone call at the Russell street switch- board at 7 30 p.m. on October 3. A man said, “Is that the patrol? Send down here to Richardson street, Middle Park. A woman has been murdered.” King relayed the message to the wireless transmitting room, and patrol cars were sent out. Dight did not plead, and reserved his defence.




On This Day – August 17, 1943

Manslaughter Charge

After hearing evidence yesterday, the Coroner, Mr. Tingate, found that Keith Henry Dodd, 37 years, Dalgety-street, St. Kilda, died from injuries received when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a military truck driven by Sydney William Ross Narramore, of 140th A.G.T. Company.

Evidence disclosed that Dodd was riding a bicycle along Lake-road, South Melbourne, at 6.30 p.m. on August 17, when he was struck by a fast-moving military truck, which failed to stop after the accident. The police traced the truck to a nearby military camp, and found that the tool box, which projects from the side of the vehicle, had been damaged. The driver of the truck was taken to South Melbourne Detective Office, and, it is alleged, he admitted he was the driver.

Narramore was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter at the Supreme Court on September 15. Bail was fixed at £200.

On This Day – August 10, 1952

Robert Kevin Vernon, 27, builders’ labourer, of South Melbourne, was found guilty to-day of manslaughter, but
not guilty of murder.
He was charged with having murdered Keith Charles Marshall, 25, an outstanding amateur footballer, in a South
Melbourne street on August 10.  Vernon, who admitted 14 convictions, was remanded for sentence to allow his counsel to prepare a plea for leniency

ON THIS DAY…….2nd August 1904


An inquest was held at the Morgue yesterday morning concerning the death of a newly born male child whose body was found on August 2 on a vacant allotment near Howe crescent, South Melbourne. The child is fully developed and had been killed by being strangled with a piece of string which was tied round the neck.

There were (in the opinion of Mr J Brett MRCS who made a post mortem examination) evidence that skilled attention had been given to the mother when the child was born. The Coroner (Dr H Cole) recorded a verdict of wilful murder by some person or persons unknown. Detectives Bannon and Mercer are making enquiries into the case.

EXECUTED THIS DAY – July 1, 1895


Arthur Buck, who murdered Catherine Norton at South Melbourne on the 28th April last, was executed in the Melbourne Gaol last Monday morning at 10 o’clock. The arrangements made by the governor of the gaol, Captain Burrows, and the medical officer, Dr. Shields, were perfect, and the execution passed off without a hitch. The murderer met his death calmly, and at his own request the usual prayers and devotional exercises were dispensed with. Though the chaplain, the Rev. H. F. Scott, had been respectfully received by the prisoner, his ministrations fell on an unresponsive ear, and the man died as he had lived, an atheist. The recently appointed sheriff, Mr. A. McFarland, was present in his official capacity, and the attendance of the public totalled seven, the smallest number recorded at an execution in Melbourne for years past.

The crime for which Buck suffered the extreme penalty of the law was a diabolical one, unrelieved by a single redeeming feature. The victim, Catherine Norton, had a short and an usually wretched existence. She married a labourer when only 17 years old, and within 12 months was not only situated in the most squalid surroundings, but was continually quarrelling with her husband. At length her home became unbearable, and she left it to live with Buck, who was about her own age. After a few months Buck went to New South Wales, Norton meantime going as housekeeper to a labourer named Thorpe in South Melbourne. Buck returned to Melbourne in April, sought out Norton, and having vainly endeavoured to persuade her to go away with him, he cut her throat. The dying woman staggered towards her residence, and Buck stood by in a dark corner while the people gathered and doctors and police were summoned. Then he walked to his home in Richmond, went to bed, and slept till Detectives Cawsey, Dungey, and Carter sought him later in the day. He callously admitted the deed, gave the whole of the horrible details, but expressed no word of sorrow for the victim or remorse for the act.

An hour and an half subsequent to the execution a formal inquest was held by the City Coroner, Dr. Youl, when a verdict of “death from judicial hanging” was recorded. At sunset the body was buried in quicklime in the gaol yard.