On this day …….. 2nd of June 1942

There was a rush on clothing stores in Wangaratta on this day in 1942, when new leaked out that clothes rationing was about to be introduced for the duration of the war. People thought they had better get in and buy up before the ration books started appearing. To stop the panic buying, the government allocated shops a daily quota. As allocations sold out early in the day, this put out of town people at a disadvantage, so Wangaratta stores set aside Thursdays for country customers, until ration books were issued.

On this day …….. 12th of April 1865

The notorious bushranger Dan Morgan was the centre of attention in Wangaratta on this day in 1865. In response to many request, his body was put on public display in one of the police cells. Someone took a fancy to Morgan’s bushy beard, and it was flayed off. Someone suggested his head might be useful to Professor Halford at Melbourne University, so it was detached and wrapped in hessian for the trip to Melbourne. Morgan genitals were removed and made into a snuff box. The officials in Wangaratta who took liberties with Morgan’s body had some explaining to do, and were suspended from duty. Morgan is buried in Wangaratta cemetery.


On this day …….. 11th of April 1838


On the 11th of April of that year a party of some 18 men, in the employ of George Faithful and William Faithfull, were searching out new land to the south of Wangaratta. Then, in the vicinity of, or possibly on, the present townsite of Benalla, it is alleged that a large number of Aborigines attacked the party’s camp. At least one Koori and somewhere between eight and thirteen Europeans died in what became known as the Faithfull Massacre. Local reprisals lasted a number of years, resulting in the deaths of up to 100 Aborigines. The reason for the attack is unclear although some sources claim that the men took shots at local Aborigines and generally provoked them. It also seems they were camping on a hunting ground Additional murders of these people occurred at Warangaratta on the Ovens River, at Murchison (led by the native police under Dana and in the company of the young Edward Curr, who could not bring himself to discuss what he witnessed there other than to say he took issue with the official reports) Other incidents were recorded Mitchelton and Toolamba. This “hunting ground” would have been a ceremonial ground probably called a ‘Kangaroo ground’. Hunting grounds were all over so not something that would instigate an attack. The colonial government decided to “open up” the lands south of Yass after the Faithful Massacre and bring them under British rule. This was as much to try and protect the Aboriginal people from reprisals as to open up new lands for the colonists. The Aboriginal people were (supposedly) protected under British law.

On This Day……… 8th April 1865

On this day in 1865, bushranger Dan Morgan arrived at Peechelba Station near Wangaratta and held up a homestead. He demanded good and entertainment, and settled down for the night, holding the occupants of the homestead hostage. On the pretext of seeing a crying baby, one of the station staff raised the alarm. Swift messenger rode to Wangeratta to get the Police.



On This Day……… 7th April 1865

The notorious bushranger Dan Morgan had heard that the Victorian Police had challenged him to try his luck south of the NSW boarder, which he took up the offer. On this day in 1865, Morgan visited Evan Evans to settle an old score in the King River. Hearing the police were on his trail, Morgan headed to the Warby Rangers near Wangaratta.



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

Francis 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.

ON THIS DAY…… 21st November 1982

The biggest earth tremor ever recorded in Victoria

The biggest earth tremor ever recorded in Victoria shook the state on this day in 1982. Registering 5.5 on the Richter Scale, and centred on Mt Hotham in Victoria, the tremor struck at 10.36pm, and was felt as far away as Wagga, NSW in the North and Melbourne in the south. The tremor was felt most severely along the Ovens Valley, Wangaratta and Shepparton. It was enough for one Wangaratta residence watching TV at the time to report being noticeably moved – the couch had shifted on its castors.

ON THIS DAY – November 15, 1892

The Governor-in-Council, acting on the advice of the Cabinet, commuted the death sentence passed upon the young woman Mary Fitzgerald, by Mr. Justice Hood, to imprisonment for three years with hard labor. The prisoner was found guilty at the Benalla sessions of the murder of her newly-born child at Wangaratta by drowning it in a waterhole.





ON THIS DAY…… 8th November 1929

Record broken

The man they called “the human machine”, Hubert Opperman, was in North East Victoria on this day in 1929. Opperman was seeking to set a new record time for a trip from Sydney to Melbourne. The previous best time of 47 hours and 46 mins had been set the previous year by another cyclist, George McLeod. Opperman arrived in Albury at 8:15pm and left 10mins later for Wangaratta, where a large crowd turned out to greet him on his arrival at 11.40pm. He left again and reached Seymour at 7:15am, after taking a heavy fall near Euroa. When he arrived in Melbourne at 11:40am, ten thousand people greeted him in Elizabeth st. He broke the record by eight hours.

ON THIS DAY…… 8th November 1906

Melbourne cup arrives in Wangaratta

It was not as fast as modern TV, but it was still fast enough to amaze the locals in Wangaratta, North East Victoria. On this day in 1906 Dan Barry’s World Wide Wonder Show was able to screen the running of the 1906 Melbourne Cup.

On this day …….. 17th of October 1973

On this day in 1973, traffic lights in Wangaratta were turned on, on the intersection of Murphy and Reid st intersection.


On this day …….. 7th of October 1910

Jack Carodini met his death on this day in 1910 in a lagoon near the Ovens River at Wangaratta, Victoria. In a drunken state, Carodini had cruelly beaten and stabbed his pony while riding home. In it’s death throes, the pony, still carrying Carodini, jumped into a lagoon, keeping it’s body on top of the rider until both were drowned.