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On this day …….. 5th of September 1949

A strange creature reportedly seen in the Murray River on this day in 1949, may have been a trained seal or sea-lion. One escaped from a travelling menagerie in Wangaratta about two years earlier, and was believed to have slipped into a river.

On this day …….. 14th of December 1949

12366973_222304504767352_1753347140_nFrancis Blair, 34, a dangerous criminal lunatic, who escaped on the 14th of December 1949 from Beechworth Mental Hospital, was recaptured in a Barber’s shop in Wangaratta on the 21st. He had gone into a barber’s saloon to have a shave, and was recognised by his long growth of beard. He was identified by a garage proprietor who read the criminal’s description in the newspaper soon after he had passed him in the street. Blair was sentenced in 1937 to four years imprisonment for Robbery Under Arms, Francis Blair 21 years old at the time and his mate Ronald Blackney 22 were remanded for a week, in the South Melbourne Police Court on charges of having, on July 30th, robbed Ernest George Cooper and Phillip Cohen at 2am of their money, while armed with a revolver, with having stolen a motor car valued at £160, with having had an unregistered pistol in their possession and with having loitered with Intent to commit a felony. Since then Blair has been at Royal Park and Beechworth Mental Hospital. Blair while in the airing yard at Beechworth with other patients, he climbed a loft wall and escaped into open country. He told the police that after escaping he had walked for five hours through rugged country only to find that he had circled Beechworth from his starting point. Blair then waited until dark and after finding the Beechworth Wangaratta road he then walked the 23 miles that night into Wangaratta. Police brought him back to the Asylum. Local police searched the gorge and surrounding countryside. A month ago he wrote to the police asking for legal assistance to secure his release. He had previously been charged with robbery under arms.

599543-dffc6d50-38d2-11e5-bb93-5d026adb0dd0On Thursday morning a mare belonging to Mr. P. Rowley, of South Wangaratta. gave birth to a foal which was perfect in every way, except that it had no front legs nor is there any sign of legs at the chest. In appearance this freak of nature resembled a kangaroo more than a horse. It did not live. Mr. Allan, veterinarian opened the chest up but found no sign of legs, excepting a floating shoulder blade, about 6 inches long, without any joints and unattached to the body in the ordinary way it should have been. This is the seventh foal this mare has had but all the rest were perfect in every way.

This farmland, approximately 15 miles from Wangaratta at the foot of the Warby Ranges, became the Jubilee Golf Club in the 1960s, kangaroos still come down to the golf course to feed in the evening.
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Wangaratta Railway Station

Wangaratta Railway Station

Daniel McKay, a fireman with the railways, was injured in an unfortunate accident while shunting on this day in 1896. He was knocked from the top of the engine by the overhead wire, falling to the track where his right leg was severed, and his left leg badly crushed. McKay was taken to Wangaratta by special train, and was conscious for the whole journey, and able to make his will. His signature, it was said, was steadier than the signatures of all the witnesses. McKay died two days later and was buried in the Benalla Cemetery.