On this day …….. 11th of July 1931

On this day in 1931 while playing a round of golf at Rose Bay, Sydney, Mr. D.J Bayly MacArthur stepped into a bunker and began to sink. He shouted for help and was rescued by the time he had sunk up to his armpits. He had stepped into a patch of quicksand.


On this day …….. 10th of July 1852

The city of Sydney is Australia’s largest city, though it is not the country’s Capital city. Originally known as Sydney Town, it was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Captain Arthur Phillip, who led the First Fleet from Britain. He named it after the British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney, in recognition of Sydney’s role in issuing the charter authorising Phillip to establish a colony. The state capital of New South Wales, Sydney boasts a current population of around 4.3 million. It is built along the shores of Port Jackson, one of the world’s most spectacular natural harbours. Sydney began to develop a sense of order and prominence under Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. Macquarie was instrumental in the social, economic and architectural development of the colony, commissioning the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, churches and public buildings. He founded new towns such as Richmond, Windsor, Pitt Town, Castlereagh and Wilberforce (known as the “Macquarie Towns”), as well as Liverpool. He was also the greatest sponsor of exploration the colony had yet seen. Following Macquarie’s tenure, Sydney continued to grow and prosper. It was first incorporated as a city on the 10th of July 1852, earning it the title of Australia’s “first city”.


ON THIS DAY – July 8, 1889

The inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the murder of the woman Annie Thornton was resumed at the morgue to-day. The self-confessed murderer, Phillip Costello, was present in custody; and although a Spanish interpreter was present for his benefit, his services were hardly required, as the prisoner maintained a stolid silence throughout the proceedings. There was a large crowd of curious persons present, anxious to see the Japanese Boy, by which name the murderer was known among his former acquaintances. The Crown Prosecutor appeared to conduct the inquiry, and the prisoner was not represented. Evidence was called proving that the accused was the last person seen in the company of the murdered woman, prior to her disappearance. Louise Kennedy, who lives in Somerset-place, deposed that she was passing the house of the deceased on July 8, about 11 o’clock in the evening, when she heard stifled screams, which appeared to come from the bedroom in the house where the murder was committed. The next morning the house was closed up, and she heard no more until the remains were discovered. Pierre Snuag, a Frenchman, second cook at Antonio’s restaurant, deposed that he slept in the same room as the accused on the night of the 8th. The accused did not come home in the morning. Witness noticed that the accused had a black eye. On being questioned about it the accused said he had been fighting. Two days after the prisoner was wearing a silver bracelet in the kitchen. He had once seen the accused with a sheath-knife when he was fighting in the kitchen. Frances Cope, a young woman, deposed that the prisoner, on the Friday after the murder, came into the shop in Flinders-street, and gave her a bracelet and two rings, saying he had had a, row with his girl, and that she had gone to Sydney. The witness on hearing of the murder went to the detective office and gave up the jewellery. Constable Taylor knew the murdered woman as Amery, Gorry, Wilson, and Hilton. She had been locked up for insulting behaviour. After some further evidence the jury returned a verdict of wilful murder and the prisoner was committed for trial.

On this day …….. 23rd of June 1810

In 1809, Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney to take up the position of Governor of the New South Wales colony, which he held from 1810 to 1821. With his military training and vision for organisation and discipline, Macquarie was an ideal candidate to restore order to the colony, following the Rum Rebellion against deposed Governor William Bligh. Macquarie upheld high standards for the development of New South Wales from penal colony to free settlement. He introduced the first building code into the colony and ordered the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, churches and public buildings. One of Macquarie’s earliest duties was to appoint an official postmaster. The first postmaster of Sydney was Isaac Nichols, an ex-convict who took up the post in 1809. Australia’s first post office was opened the following year by Governor Macquarie, on 23 June 1810, and was situated on Circular Quay, Sydney. Mail continued to be delivered by coach and messengers on horseback to outlying areas of New South Wales. Australia’s first delivery postman was a private servant of George Panton, then Sydney Postmaster, in 1828.

On this day …….. 21st of June 1947

An elderly woman from Wollstonecraft in Sydney returned home on this day in 1947 to find her pet canary tied by one leg to a brick and happily chirping. A thief had taken the bird’s cage from the veranda, but had left if and a two shilling coin as compensation.

ON THIS DAY – June 19, 1894

The trial of Cecilia Anderson for the murder of John Fraser at the Southern Cross Hotel, Bourke-street, on 19th June, was held on Thursday at the Criminal Court, Melbourne, before the Chief Justice. Mr. Walsh, QC., stated the case for the Crown. He said that on Mrs. Anderson’s last trip from Sydney, she met Mrs. Healey, of New Zealand, and told her she meant to shoot Fraser in Melbourne. She procured a revolver, and made a pocket to carry it about in. On one occasion, Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Healey met Fraser, and Mrs. Anderson took him away. Accused afterwards told Mrs. Healey it was a pity that she had not had the revolver with her when she was with Fraser, as she could have of done the trick nicely. The counsel described the scene at the Southern Cross Hotel, and said that accused had apparently been driven almost mad with jealousy, because a man who had promised to marry her three years before had married another woman. The taking of evidence having been concluded, the counsel addressed the jury, and his Honor summed up. The jury, after a short retirement, found the prisoner guilty of the murder of Fraser. The chief Justice in passing sentence of death, said there was no doubt that Mrs. Anderson had suffered severe wrongs at Fraser’s hands through his not paying her what he owed, and perhaps in other ways, but wrongs like these were no reasons for taking human life. The ultimate penalty for the crime did not rest with the Court. She might escape the sentence of death, but he did not wish to hold out any expectations in that direction. In the meantime he begged of her to make preparations for another world. Anderson revived 2 month gaol time.


On this day …….. 17th of June 1937

On this day in 1937, James Ward while getting out of bed in a Sydney boarding house accidentally knocked over a heavy wardrobe. As it fell, it pinned him by the legs. He banged on the floor and shouted for help but no one came to his rescue. Ward was found four days later suffering from thirst and hunger.

On this day …….. 13th of June 1927

Constable and Mrs. George Lithgow, of Sydney, have five children all of whom have their birthdays on the same day. The first children (twins) were born on the 13th of June 1927. Three years later, on the same date, another boy was born, and on the 13th of June 1934, another set of twins arrived. It must be a fine thing to be able to have a birthday party for five in the one family on the same day.”

On this day …….. 10th of June 1949

A motorist whose car caught fire in Sydney in the early hours of this day in 1949 drove it to a nearby Fire Station where firemen put out the fire, saving the car. Other firemen repaired the wiring and the motorist drove away.

On this day …….. 9th of June 1979

On the 9th of June 1979, the park’s Ghost Train caught fire. The fire quickly destroyed the ride, which was understaffed and not adequately covered by the park’s fire hose system, although it was contained before spreading to the nearby Big Dipper and River Caves. Searches of the charred rubble revealed the bodies of six children and one adult. The park was immediately shut down. A coronial inquest was unable to establish the cause of the fire, but concluded that Luna Park’s managers and operators had failed in their duty of care towards the park’s patrons.

On this day …….. 6th of June 1835

John Batman was born in Parramatta, Sydney, in 1801. As a native born Australian, Batman was interested in opening up new pastureland and promoting the growth of the colonies. He applied for land in the Westernport Bay area of southern Australia, now Victoria, but was not granted any. In May 1835, he led a syndicate calling themselves the ‘Port Phillip Association’ to explore Port Phillip Bay, looking for suitable sites for a settlement. On 6 June 1835, he signed a ‘treaty’ with the Aborigines, giving him free access to almost 250,000 hectares of land. In August that year, Governor Bourke declared Batman’s treaties invalid, and issued a proclamation warning off him and his syndicate as trespassers on crown land. Despite the attempts at government intervention, the foundling settlement of Melbourne remained, and flourished. Batman’s place in Australian history is unique for several reasons. He was the only 19th century white to acknowledge that Aborigines owned land. He set out to undertake an annual rental for what was then a reasonable amount of food and goods, rather than buy it from them for a pittance. Further, he is the only native-born Australian to have founded a state capital city.

On this day …….. 4th of June 1789

The first theatrical performance in Australian took place on this day in 1789 in Sydney, when some prisoners performed George Farquhar’s comedy The Recruiting Officer to celebrate King George III’s birthday.