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On This Day ……. 4th of August 1884

A woman who wrested with a male named Oswald Brown, at Warrnambool on this day in 1884, was lodged in the Geelong gaol, to await the hearing of the charge against her at the Police Court. The man, who was also brought to Geelong, was
afterwards taken to Ballarat, to account for a buggy and pair of horses which, it is
alleged, he hired in that city and never returned. He has also to appear in Geelong
to perform a similar mission, the carriage and pair having been taken from the stables of Cobb and Co.

 

ON THIS DAY …….4th August 1863

A dreadful murder was perpetrated at Warrnambool on this day in 1863, by a prisoner called James Murphy, on a Constable named Daniel O’Boyle. The murder was committed in the Court house, while O’Boyle was stooping down it is presumed to light the fire in the room of the Clerk of Petty Sessions, Murphy struck the deceased, while in the stooping posture indicated, a blow on the right side of the head with a heavy stone hammer, which caused immediate insensibility—of which the prisoner took advantage in making his escape. O’Boyle who had just completed his 27th birthday only survived the attack twenty-two hours. The Warrnambool papers state that Murphy has been since apprehended, and is now lodged in the Geelong Gaol awaiting his trial for the murder.

Murphy was executed in the Geelong Gaol, the hangman William Bamford was an old mate and fellow convict ……… Could you hang your mate?

 

 

ON THIS DAY……. 12th April 1952

On this day in 1952, a woman was killed and seven people were seriously injured when two passenger trains collided head on at Moriac, near Geelong, at 8:15pm. Both engines were derailed, and the first carriage of the Geelong-bound train was telescoped by the coal tender. The dead woman was in this carriage. The trains involved were the 3.25pm passenger train from Port Fairy to Geelong, and the 5.50pm train from Melbourne to Warrnambool, which passed through Geelong.

ONE SHUNTING

The Warrnambool-bound train had stopped at Moriac and was shunting into a siding to allow the other train to pass along the single track when the crash occurred. The impact hurled the Warrnambool-bound train backwards and the two engines, badly wrecked, coming to rest 30ft apart. One engine hung at an acute angle on its side and the crew were badly scalded by escaping steam. The crash was heard several miles away and hundreds of people rushed to the scene. Two ambulances were called from Geelong, and ambulance men joined railwaymen and volunteers in freeing the injured from badly damaged carriages.

MANY SHOCKED

Many other passengers were slightly hurt or badly affected by shock. They were treated on the spot. Mr. T. Mather, newsagent and postmaster at Moriac, said the noise of the crash startled him and he was on the scene in a matter of minutes. “There was great confusion,” he said. “People on the trains were calling out for help. Many feared a fire would break out. “However, we soon got relief gangs together and set to work to free those trapped in the wrecked carriage. One woman was dead, and a man seemed to be dead or dying.” Special buses were chartered by the Railway Department to convey the passengers to their destinations. The line was blocked, but repair gangs were soon at work clearing the debris.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Sunday, 9th January 1921, the motor launch “Nestor” sank in the Hopkins River, near Warrnambool

The boat had set out with 80 passengers aboard heading 5 kilometers upstream to Jubilee Park.  The Nestor had only gone about 1700 feet (518 meters) when the first alarm was raised that she was taking on water.  The owner of the boat, Edward Geary made attempts to beach the boat and had sent two boys ashore to fasten it off but it unfortunately did not hold. Ten people would ultimately drown.  Geary would be charged with manslaughter but the charges would later be dropped.

Constable William Sharrock was on duty on board the Nestor to keep order.  However he died a hero saving three people, including his sister in law Eleanor and her child, before succumbing to the water.  He was later found to have died by strangulation caused by the neck on his coat being too tight.  His body was recovered the next day.

Constable William Sharrock had joined the police force in 1901, having been a labourer before he joined.  He had spent his 20 years in the force mostly in South Melbourne and then Warrnambool.  Sharrock was a well respected and liked officer.  In 1921, William was a widower, with his wife having passed away two years before leaving behind 5 children.  The youngest child was just two years old at the time of his fathers death.  The children were taken in and raised by William’s brother Joseph.

Sharrock was awarded a posthumous Valour Badge for his actions on the day of his death.  He lay in an unmarked grave in Warrnambool cemetery until 1998 when a headstone was erected and unveiled by former Chief Commissioner Neil Comrie.

In 2017,  Sharrock was one of the policemen recognised in Warrnambool for losing their lives while on duty with a new memorial behind the Old Courthouse.

On this day …….. 15th of December 1905

During a performance of Wirth’s Circus at Warrnambool, on this day in 1905, a tent-pole fell and struck Doris Dunstan aged 14, the only daughter of Rev. T. D. Dunstan, Anglican clergyman. The girl was pinned to the ground as the big top partially collapsed. The girl died a couple of hours later.

ON THIS DAY – November 17, 1883

A most diabolical murder and supposed outrage has been committed at the township of Panmure, 16 miles from Warrnambool. The victim is a girl 10 years of age, named Margaret Nolan, the daughter of a well-to-do farmer, living about a mile and a half out of the village. The girl was sent in to the township with butter at 3 o’clock on Saturday, November 17, and then went further on to what is termed the old township over the river. From this place she was seen returning, and as she was passing up the road going in the direction of her home at about 4 o’clock, she was walking beside a man on horseback who has been identified as James Morgan, a farmer at Lake Warrnambool. At 8 o’clock in the evening, finding that the girl had not returned, her parents became uneasy, and the alarm being given, the whole township turned out in a search which was kept up all night. At 4 o’clock on Sunday morning the party, headed by the father of the child, discovered her dead body lying amongst some tall ferns about-half a mile, from the township. It was lying on its back with the arms extended, the clothes disarranged, and a fearful wound in the neck. In her left hand the child grasped some ferns, and all around her were evidences of a desperate struggle. Morgan has been arrested, and the black trackers have been sent for to follow up important traces which have been found. Morgan has been committed for trial for the murder.

 

 

 

On This Day – November 11, 1941

 After a short retirement a jury at the Warrnambool Supreme Court today acquitted Mrs. Vida Bridget Couch aged 25 years, of the murder or manslaughter of her husband, Arthur Lawrence Couch, on November 11. The Crown said that Couch was standing on one side of a closed door and his wife on the other when a gunshot crashed through the door and entered Couch’s heart. Matthew John Parsons, a neighbor, said that deceased was frequently beating or illtreating his wife.

, On This Day – October 23, 1897

The inquest concerning the death of Mrs, Lyfield, whose body was found in the Merri River on October 23, was concluded at Warrnambool on Tuesday. Henry Lyfield, husband of the deceased, was present in custody. Mrs. Snell, daughter of Lyfield, re-examined, gave important evidence. She said that on one occasion during last harvest Lyfield came home drunk. He first struck deceased with a horse-collar, after which she ran into her room and locked the door. He followed and struck the door with an axe, sending it through. She then opened the door, and he first struck her with his fist and then on the head with an axe, inflicting a wound from which blood flowed freely. At the same time he threatened to kill her. On the following day deceased went away, and did not return home for about a month, witness further said. It was on Tuesday, 13th October, she heard the screams and struggling in the room occupied by deceased and her husband. On the Friday following she saw the body in the straw-shed. Before leaving the house that night her father said to her and her daughter, ‘Don’t speak to anyone about your mother. If anyone asks about her say she went away on the Tuesday. If you do not I will serve you as I served her.’ The coroner then summed up the evidence at length, and the jury, after retiring for 10 minutes, brought in the following verdict :— ‘That on the night of Tuesday, 13th October, at Rosebrook, the deceased, Catherine Lyfield, came by her death by violence at the hands of Henry Lyfield; also, that Henry Lyfield, feloniously, wilfully, and with malice aforethought, did murder the said Catherine Lyfield.’ The accused was then committed for trial at the Supreme Court at Port Fairy on November 17.

On this day …….. 16th September 1878

Yellow mist

On this day in 1878, an extraordinary shower of sulphur fell on the town of Warrnambool in Victoria. (showers of yellow pollen, resembling sulphur in appearance, often carried from pine forests by the wind to a great distance)

 

ON THIS DAY…… 8th September 1910

On this day in 1910, the police found the dead body of an infant in a dress basket at a coffee palace in Warrnambool. At the inquest, a girl named Mary Jane Watson, employed at the coffee palace, was committed for trial on a charge of wilful murder. To the police she admitted having given birth to a child. She tied a flannel bandage across its nose and mouth, and then put it in the dress-basket. Death was due to suffocation.

On This Day ……. 4th of August 1884

A woman who wrested with a male named Oswald Brown, at Warrnambool on this day in 1884, was lodged in the Geelong gaol, to await the hearing of the charge against her at the Police Court. The man, who was also brought to Geelong, was
afterwards taken to Ballarat, to account for a buggy and pair of horses which, it is
alleged, he hired in that city and never returned. He has also to appear in Geelong
to perform a similar mission, the carriage and pair having been taken from the stables of Cobb and Co.

 

ON THIS DAY …….4th August 1863

A dreadful murder was perpetrated at Warrnambool on this day in 1863, by a prisoner called James Murphy, on a Constable named Daniel O’Boyle. The murder was committed in the Court house, while O’Boyle was stooping down it is presumed to light the fire in the room of the Clerk of Petty Sessions, Murphy struck the deceased, while in the stooping posture indicated, a blow on the right side of the head with a heavy stone hammer, which caused immediate insensibility—of which the prisoner took advantage in making his escape. O’Boyle who had just completed his 27th birthday only survived the attack twenty-two hours. The Warrnambool papers state that Murphy has been since apprehended, and is now lodged in the Geelong Gaol awaiting his trial for the murder.

Murphy was executed in the Geelong Gaol, the hangman William Bamford was an old mate and fellow convict ……… Could you hang your mate?