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On this day …….. 1st of August 1896

One of the central figures involved on the police side during the Kelly Gang Outbreak of the 1870s retired on this day in 1896. Sgt. Arthur Loftus Maule Steele handed over control Wangaratta police to Sgt. Simcocks transferred from Chiltern.

 

Some Australian bushrangers made their name from martyrdom, others from pure madness. In the case of ‘Mad Dog’ Daniel Morgan, the source of his infamy was definitely the latter. In June of 1864, Morgan shot a bush worker near Albury, New South Wales. He asked another worker to ride for help, then, suspecting the man would ride to the police instead, shot him in the back. Months later, he shot dead a passing police officer just for saying “hello”. In April of 1865, Morgan held up the Peechelba Station near Wangaratta and demanded that the owner’s wife play piano while he ate dinner. Upon leaving the station, he was shot by a stockman and died the following day.

 

On this day …….. 15th of July 1966

On this day in 1966, Wangaratta experienced a snowfall of alpine proportions. The snow started falling in the morning, and by lunch time the town looked like English Christmas cards.

On this day …….. 13th of July 1882

Ann Jones, who’s hotel was burned to the ground during the Siege of Glenrowan and the capture of Bushranger Ned Kelly, rebuilt the Glenrowan Inn on the same site. On this day 1882, Jones had new furniture delivered from Irving’s in a Wangaratta.

 

On this day …….. 10th of July 1901

The intensely cold spell of July 1901 froze Lake Como, off Murdock Rd, and enabled the local youth to try out new winter sport. The thickness of the ice was well able to support the weight of a man, in fact a number of youths jumped up and down on it until it broke. The thickness of ice was discovered to be two and a half inches. Samples were exhibited in the towns shop windows.

 

On this day …….. 6th of July 1973

A new American drink came rolling off the production line at a Wangaratta factory in Victoria. The product was called “Yoo Hoo” flavoured milk sold in bottles. It was going to be the success story of the century, and Wangaratta was going to be leading the charge to meet the projected demand. Alas, Australian consumers gave it the thumbs down, and within 12 months Wangaratta was saying Hooroo to Yoo Hoo.

 

ON THIS DAY – JULY 6, 1887

Bridget Mephan arrived from Wagga this afternoon. Numbers of people assembled at the various stations along the line, but there was no demonstration of feeling towards the prisoner, she appears depressed, and say’s nothing, She will be brought up on Monday, and remanded. A reticule and papers in her possession were blood stained. Her dress and other articles will be taken to Melbourne on Monday to be analysed. The murdered woman was buried before Mrs Mephan’s arrival.

Bridget Mephan, described as a laundress, was charged at the Wagga Police Court yesterday with the murder of her sister, Annie Callow, at Wangaratta, last Wednesday. The evidence of Senior-sergeant Powell was to the effect that he arrested the accused at Fuller’s Hotel, Wagga, on Friday morning, and charged her with the murder. She made no reply, but afterwards stated that she was not at Wangaratta at the time. On a small hand-bag in the prisoner’s possession were spots of blood, which she said were from a scratch caused by the handle of the bag, but on this there were no stains. On the application of the police the prisoner was remanded to Wangaratta, and was sent away by the morning train. The accused had been an old resident of Wagga.

On this day …….. 29th of June 1918

A group of boys ruefully returned to their homes in Wangaratta after spending 10 days in detention in Melbourne. They were members of the local Cadet Company. Thirteen of them had been ordered to Swan Island, Queenschiff, Victoria, for ten days discipline. The boys complained that the beds were hard and the tucker was scarce. One boy had his hair cropped as an extra punishment. Their crime was failing to attend a specified number of drill parades.

On this day …….. 25th of June 1942

On this day in 1942, with an alert out for an escaped prisoner from the Murchison POW Camp, Mrs D. Oates of Wangaratta in North East Victoria, had a mysterious night caller at her Mackay St residence. A man appeared at the door, asking for a hot meal. His appearance was rough, and he wore a bandage on his arm. Mrs Oates called the police. They arrived and showed her a photo of Lieutenant Edgardo Simoni, the escapee. Given some hope by the householder that her caller could have been Simoni, the police conducted a manhunt, and finally arrested, not the POW escapee, but an ordinary tramp. He was charged with vagrancy.

On this day …….. 10th of June 1929

A government order came into force to restrict road transport. An extension of the Act was made to cover the Boroughs of Echuca, Horsham, Shepparton, St Arnaud and Wangaratta. The Act provided that goods should not be carted by road before 7am, or after 1pm on any afternoon which was usually a regular holiday for shops. No goods could be carted by road after 9pm on any day of the week in which shops closed late in the particular location, or after 7:30pm in the evening of any other day in the week. Road transport was beginning to seriously affect railway freight revenue.

On this day …….. 8th of June 1916

Peculiar and painful complications occurred on the 8th of June 1916 in connection with the burial of two soldiers in training, Private Thomas Crockett, of Milawa, and Private Pollard, of Wodonga, who died in Melbourne from meningitis. The remains were placed in the van of the morning train at Melbourne, and on arrival at Wangaratta one coffin was taken away by an undertaker, assisted by a member of the railway staff. On the arrival of the train at Wodonga it was discovered that an error had been made, and that Private Pollard’s coffin remained at Wangaratta instead of Private Crockett’s. The information was telegraphed to Wangaratta, and a motor car despatched by the stationmaster overtook Private Crockett’s funeral procession, nine miles away, and within three miles of the cemetery. A special engine and truck were sent to Wangaratta for Private Pollard’s coffin, and the remains were taken to Wodonga at 4 p.m. By a curious omission, the special train did not bring Private Crockett’s coffin, but the ordinary train shortly followed the special, and only a brief delay fortunately occurred.

On this day …….. 5th of June 1870

The bushranger Harry Power was brought into Wangaratta, North East Victoria under arrest. Power had been caught a few hours earlier at his mountain hideout in the upper reach of the King Valley. He had been on the run for months, robbing coaches, holding up travellers, and providing an elusive target for police.