ON THIS DAY – December 7, 1936

The City Coroner Mr. Grant on Friday, committed Sylvester John Barrett labourer, for trial on a charge of having murdered William Herbert Irvine York, 26, tailor of St. Kilda. It was alleged at the inquest that during a street brawl at St. Kilda at midnight on December 7, York was struck on the head by Barrett and died from a fractured skull on December 9. Peggy Berry, a domestic, told the Court that on December 7 she saw Barrett, whom she had known for eight years, jump off a tram car and hit a man. Barrett then kicked the man three times In the head. When she got home Barrett was lying on her bed. He said. ‘We had some fun to-night. We knocked a man down.’ In a police statement read in Court, Barrett stated he had been attacked and acted in self defence. Barrett, who reserved his defence was committed for trial to the Supreme Court on February 17.

On This Day – December 6, 1938

John Joseph McCarthy aged 45, of Elwood, civil servant, died in hospital on the 6th of December 1938 from injuries received when, it is alleged, he was assaulted in a reserve behind Luna Park. Desmond Patrick Toole a salesman, of Elwood, who was released on bail after having been charged with assault, was rearrested and charged with murder

ON THIS DAY – December 4, 1938

Story of Incident In St. Kilda Reserve


While he was gathering bottles about 3.15 a.m. on December 4 in Spencer street, St. Kilda, Claude Fox, rubber worker, of St. Kilda, saw a man grab another man, pick him up and drag him beneath the wires of a fence towards a reserve. This was portion of the evidence given today at an inquest into the death of John Joseph McCarthy, 45, public servant, of Elwood. Desmond Toole, 27, of Elwood, a salesman, was committed for trial on a charge of murder.  McCarthy died in the Alfred Hospital on December 5. Toole. who was present at the inquest, did not give evidence. He was allowed bail in £500 with two sureties of £250 each. Fox, in evidence. said he called out to the man dragging the other one, but there was no reply. He continued dragging the other away into the reserve. Witness could hear groans coming from the man being dragged. Fox said That he called two constables, and they saw Toole moving away from where McCarthy was lying on the ground. McCarthy’s right-hand trouser pocket was turned inside out and his shoes and socks were lying about 15 yards away.

Accused’s Story

Constable Cock, of St. Kilda. said that when he arrived at the reserve McCarthy was lying on the ground unconscious, his face covered with blood. When he asked Toole what had happened, Toole said the man on the ground was a pervert and had attacked him, and he had given the man a good hiding. He had later undone the man’s collar and tie and taken off his shoes and socks in an attempt to revive him There was no money in McCarthy’s pockets. Toole’s hair and clothing were not damaged. Dr. R. S. Smibert, who examined McCarthy at the hospital on December 4, said death was due to cerebral haemorrhage, and the injuries were consistent with McCarthy’s having received a pummelling about the face. Charles Hope, of East St. Kilda traveller, said he met McCarthy and a friend on December 30. They visited some hotels, and after having supper at a cafe he left McCarthy at 130 a.m. to go home. McCarthy was then quite sober.


ON THIS DAY – December 4, 1931

Edward Leeming. aged 19 years, salesman, of Bon Beach, was committed for trial on charge of attempted murder. Clarence Holford, commercial traveller, said that Leeming and he had been at St. Kilda on December 4.  Leeming had a revolver, and witness tried to get him to put it in his pocket. They walked along Carlisle-street, and Leeming said that he would throw the revolver, over a fence. Instead of doing so he fired at Holford, and the bullet entered his abdomen. A statement alleged to have been made by Leeming was read in court, Leeming stating the revolver had exploded accidentally. Leeming was also committed for trial on two charges of housebreaking and stealing.


ON THIS DAY…… 23rd November 1930


Two business girls who share a flat in South Yarra were distressed when they found their pet cat dead. As their ‘yard’ consisted of a square or concrete, they could not give the body proper burial, and they did not like consigning it to the dust bin. After much debate, they decided to consign it to the sea, so they wrapped it up and put it in an old suit-case no longer required, together with a couple of bricks. On The 23rd of November 1930, they journeyed to Brighton, but the band was playing on the pier and the place was crowed with people no chance of getting rid of pussy there. So they went back to St. Kilda, determined to drop it off the end of the pier. Halfway along the pier a man spoke to one of them: ‘Excuse me, but are you Miss Jones?’ ‘No, certainly not,’ she replied, and was turning away when he snatched the suitcase and ran. The girls were too surprised to move for a moment, and then they laughed them selves to tears as they watched the man still running hard, disappear into the crowd on the Esplanade with the body.

On This Day – November 3, 1923

Coroner Says “Manslaughter.”

Circumstances leading to the death of Victor Clarence Pearce, aged 22 years, married, who was shot on November 3 in a wine cafe in Carlisle street, St. Kilda, owned by Robert George Leslie Blair, and who died at the Alfred Hospital on the following day, were investigated at the morgue yesterday by the city coroner (Mr. Berriman, P.M.).

Vivian Clyne Pearce said that he and his brother, together with Edward Arthur Wilson, went to Blair’s wine shop on Saturday, November 3, but found it closed. Wilson, looking over the fence at the back, asked Blair to let him have a bottle of wine. Blair replied, “You cannot have one.” His brother then got over the fence, but Blair opened the back gate and told him to get out. Wilson followed his brother into the yard. As Wilson came out again Blair pointed a revolver at him, and Wilson fell to the ground. He could not say whether Wilson was shot. There had been no altercation.

Continuing, witness said that his brother ran past Mrs, Blair, and when he was about four yards away, Blair fired at him. Witness next assisted his brother, who had fallen, to the stable. He admitted that deceased had been fined several times for assault.


The coroner found that Pearce’s death was due to a bullet wound inflicted with a revolver by Robert George Leslie Blair, and that Blair was guilty of manslaughter.

Bail was allowed in one personal surety and one other surety, each for £100.

ON THIS DAY – October 18, 1955


Gladys Lester, 26, realised within a week or two of marriage that she had made a mistake. Her married life was one round of bickering and squabbling with a sullen husband who drank too much. There came a time, two months after her marriage, when her husband beat her viciously. Mrs. Lester, her spirit broken, walked into a police station and pleaded wearily: “Please keep my husband away from me . . .” She went to work as a domestic at Devon Hospital, Glenhuntly. Her husband, taxi-driver Francis William Lester, 33, brooded at home in Chapel st., St. Kilda . At Devon Hospital, where she lived-in, Mrs. Lester regained some of her former gaiety and love of life. She was laughing and joking with a nurse as she walked out into the hospital grounds after work on October 18 to go to her quarters. Then, from the bushes, came a shot, followed by several more. Mrs. Lester died, bullet ridden, on the threshhold of a new life. Her husband, who had lain in wait for her, then killed himself. Mr. Burke, S.M., City Coroner, recorded verdicts of murder and suicide at the double inquest yesterday.



On this day …….. 9th September 1949

The “Murray bunyip” has been sighted again. Mr. Brian Blake, of St. Kilda,
who is visiting a relative in Wentworth, South West New South Wales, said he had seen the creature swimming in the Darling River, at the rear of the district hospital. He described it as being about 3ft. long with a thick neck and a strange-looking head. “I first saw it at night,” he said. “At first it looked like a dog with a shiny coat and long, drooping ears. “It dived under the water and stayed there for a long time. It made a noise like, a loud grunt.” The creature, “was also seen in the same place a couple of days later. Other people who saw it were Mr. Blake’s mother and two other women. Expert opinion is that the strange animal recently seen was a seal escaped from circus.


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…… 16th August 1946

John William Yuille, 17, waiter, of Richmond, and Robert Kennedy, 16, messenger, of Collingwood, were charged yesterday with the murder of Duncan Campbell, in Coventry Street, St. Kilda, last night. Campbell was found shot through the heart.

Yuille was remanded to appear In the City Court on August 23, and Kennedy was remanded to the Children’s Court.

Yuille and Kennedy faced other charges:

• Having robbed Robert Foulshan of £4 10s at Glenhunty last night. Police allege that Foulshan was robbed after the murder of Campbell.

• Robbery under arms at Kew on Thursday night when an overcoat and wrist watch were allegedly taken from Clifford Moultham, of Kew.

• Robbery at Kew on Thursday night, when 2s 1d was allegedly taken from Keith Wilfred Baurer.

Yuille, slightly built; with a small face, and dark wavy hair, was wearing a woman’s check coat when he stood in the dock.

A man’s scream, followed by a shot, led to the finding of Campbell’s body outside a kiosk.

The scream and the shot were heard by 15-year-old Peter Jenkins and his mother and sister, who live opposite the kiosk.


ON THIS DAY – July 27, 1947

A slim, blue-eyed blonde, smartly dressed in a light brown coat, Dulcie Markham, of Fawkner Street, St. Kilda, appeared in the City Court this morning charged with conspiracy to murder. It was alleged that at St. Kilda on July 31, she conspired with Ernest Alfred James Markham to murder Valma Edith Hull, wife of Keith Kitchener Hull, who was wounded in St. Kilda on July 27. Mr. J. Galbally, who appeared for Dulcie Markham said she went voluntarily to Russell Street on Saturday and said, “If there is any charge, I am here to answer it.” Mrs. Markham was remanded to the St. Kilda Court on August 15. Bail was fixed at £300, with a £300 surety.

ON THIS DAY – July 26, 1943

Giving evidence in his defence on a charge of murdering Pearl Oliver at Fitzroy on July 26, Harold Nugent, truck-driver, said in the Criminal Court today that he did not shoot the girl and did not have a weapon of any sort in his possession. Nugent said he was driving two other men to St. Kilda when, in Fitzroy. He saw Joseph Fanesi, a drinking acquaintance, with a girl and an American sailor. He stopped and asked Fanesi to have a drink with him. Fanesi declined, but as Nugent was walking back to the car, he heard two shots and saw Fanesi fall. He then saw his companion, Leslie Brown, and the sailor fighting. Brown joined him in the car and they drove away. He did not know the girl was shot until he read it in the paper the next day.