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On this day …….. 27th September 1851

Sir Thomas Mitchell was Surveyor-General of New South Wales and the explorer who discovered “Australia Felix”, or “Happy Australia”, which was the rich land of western Victoria. As well as being well-known for his immense contribution to exploration, Mitchell is less-known for fighting the last known duel in Australia. It was fought between Mitchell and one of New England’s well-known early settlers, Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson. The duel occurred on 27 September 1851 in Centennial Park, Sydney, and it is believed to have been over land – Tenterfield Station – which was a crown grant to Donaldson. As Surveyor-General, Mitchell had gazetted a town to be built on part of Donaldson’s Tenterfield Station. The enraged Donaldson challenged Mitchell to a duel. Three shots were fired, and the last one of Mitchell’s found its mark, blowing Donaldson’s hat off. Donaldson was not injured, and later went on to become the first Premier of New South Wales.

 

On This Day ……. 6th September 2012

Reports that lions escaped the visiting Lennon Bros Circus in Stawell, Western Victoria, have been exposed as a hoax. Social network website Facebook went into overdrive with rumours that a lion was on the loose around the town. Cheryl Lennon, manager of Lennon Bros Circus, said the reports are “far from the truth.” Mrs Lennon found out about the rumours after members of the circus were asked about the supposed escape when in the town’s main street. A caller rang Melbourne radio station 3AW’s Neil Mitchell program, claiming to be ‘Ash Lennon’ from the circus and said the lions had escaped. The caller gave out Mrs Lennon’s personal phone number to the radio station and she took the airwaves to dismiss the rumour. “I’ve clarified and confirmed that we have three lions laying here, catching a bit of sun,” Mrs Lennon said. Mrs Lennon believed the rumours had stemmed from the circus being cancelled Wednesday night due to bad weather. “What has happened is that we had a show due to start at 7pm and it was cancelled due to the wind. The wind lifted up the front entrance, the back door frame lifted off and my ticket stall fell over,” she said. “We made the call to evacuate people purely for their safety. We let people know that it was because of the weather and fully refunded their tickets.” Mrs Lennon said if a lion had escaped, the circus would have let authorities know immediately. “We certainly would be notifying authorities, such as the police and SES (State Emergency Service) first,” she said. This is not the first time the circus has had rumours about lions escaping from their enclosure. Mrs Lennon told The Stawell Times-News it had happened to her brother-in-law when they visited Cranbourne ‘but not to this extent.’ “A lady rang the council telling them a lion had escaped. It was far from the truth.” The circus re-assured members of the public the lions are not missing. “Believe me, trust me – they’re there. They’re not going anywhere,” Mrs Lennon said.

 

On this day …….. 4th September 1868

Oliver Dragoon was committed to Ararat lunatic asylum, Western Victoria, on the 10th of February 1868. Dragoon managed to escaped from the Ararat Lunatic Asylum on the 4th of September 1868. He was arrested in Piggoreet on the 11th of September and was taken into Ballarat by Constable Magrath, and lodged in the Western lockup, before being returned to Ararat. This is the second time Dragoon has escape from the asylum, on the first occasion he succeeded in evading all search for several months. Dragoon died in the asylum. On the 2nd of June 1871, Dragoone escapes again and course on the 27th of June.

Charged with murder 27th feb 1879

A man was charged with having murdered a member of the Carmelite order, Brother James Thomas Butler, and was remanded to appear in the City Court in Melbourne on March the 5th 1879. Stephen John Eiszele, 21, of no fixed address, murdered Brother Butler at Kaniva, Western Victoria, on February 20th 1879. Eiszele was housed in Kaniva police cells.

On this day ………… 8th March 1993

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was sent last to hospital for observation, after a car accident on this day in 1993. Police said Mr Fraser, also suffering from shock, was in a satisfactory condition in Hamilton Hospital in western Victoria. Mr Fraser’s chauffeur driven Commonwealth car crashed into a tree after it drove over loose gravel on a newly surfaced road. Fraser was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia.

 

 

On this day ………… 5th February 1869

The world’s largest recorded gold nugget is the “Welcome Stranger”, found in Australia on 5 February 1869. The Welcome Stranger measured 61cm by 31cm and was discovered by prospectors John Deason and Richard Oates at Moliagul, about half-way between Maryborough and St Arnaud in western Victoria, Australia. No scales of the time could handle the weight of the nugget, so it was broken into three pieces by a blacksmith in order to be weighed: it weighed in at over 2300 ounces, or 70 kilograms. Deason (Deeson) and Oates were paid £19,068 for their nugget which became known as “Welcome Stranger”. It is not the same as the “Welcome Nugget” found in Ballarat in 1858.

 

 

On This Day – January 31, 1971

Christopher Lowery and Charles King, were charged with the brutal murder of a 15 year old school girl, Rosalyn Nolte, in Hamilton, Western Victoria. On this day in 1971, Lowery and King were driving down Gray Street, Hamilton’s main street, in Lowery’s Holden panel van, when they stopped and asked Nolte if she would like a lift. On a bush track, they forced her out of the vehicle, stripped her naked, apart from her socks, then beat, stomped and kicked her repeatedly with such fury that her elbow was broken. The sadists tied electrical flex around her neck and dragged her into the bush where they completed the job of trussing her. The flex was looped around her throat, her legs were drawn up behind her, the wire was looped again around her ankles and the end of it secured her wrists behind her back. The weight of her body slowly strangled her. Lowery and King watched then left her there. It was six days before Miss Nolte’s body was found. The two murderers were sentenced to death – the last people in Victoria to be receive the sentence. But on the 23rd of June 1973, the Governor-in-Council exercised mercy and commuted the death sentences to 60 years’ imprisonment, with a minimum of 50 years. The two killers without a cause wouldn’t see daylight until 2023. However they were back on the streets within 21 years. In late August 1992, they were freed after becoming eligible for a minimum sentence under Victoria’s new Sentencing Act introduced in 1991. Both men have since changed their names, however King was not been in trouble since. Lowery has been in and out of gaol before killing himself in 2007.

 

 

On This Day – January 30, 1993

A shocking exorcist took place this day in 1993, at a Antwerp pig farm in Western Victoria. Leanne Reichenbach and David Klingner, were convicted of the manslaughter of Mrs Vollmer. Her husband Ralph was also convicted of recklessly causing her injury and false imprisonment and the self-proclaimed exorcist, Matthew Nuske, was found guilty of falsely imprisoning Mrs Vollmer. In what became one of the state’s most bizarre sagas and criminal trials, the German-born Mr Vollmer invited the media to her funeral to witness and film his wife’s resurrection. Mrs Vollmer, 49, didn’t rise from the dead and it appears Mr Vollmer, 55 at the time, grew tired of waiting for her to come back to life as locals in Antwerp said he remarried soon after the fatal exorcism and moved to Queensland with his new bride, his third, years ago. Attempts to rid Mrs Vollmer of her demons began a week before her January 30 death and involved lots of praying and forcibly keeping her inside the house. On one occasion she was tied to a chair. When Mrs Vollmer violently resisted being restrained, her husband went a step further and used her stockings to also tie her feet to boards to further restrict her movement. And her eyes were forcibly held back by pulling the skin up to the bone “so she could see the presence of the Lord”. By 4pm that day, Ms Reichenbach and Mr Klingner reached what ended up being the fatal decision to forcibly remove the demons from Mrs Vollmer by literally squeezing and pushing them up from Mrs Vollmer’s womb and out through her mouth. It was during this treatment that Mrs Vollmer had a heart attack and died. An autopsy later found pressure on Mrs Vollmer’s neck helped cause the heart attack as Mrs Vollmer’s thyroid cartilage had been fractured. Not that anybody in the room at the time thought Mrs Vollmer had died. They all presumed they had successfully exorcised the demons from Mrs Vollmer and that she would spring back to life as her old demon-free self. They weren’t concerned that this didn’t happen immediately, figuring resurrections take time, so they got out their Bibles and prayed around the body for a couple of days. It wasn’t until almost 48 hours later, by which time Mrs Vollmer’s body had decomposed considerably in the searing heat that is common in Antwerp in January, that police finally became aware of her death.

 

 

On this day …….. 27th September 1851

Sir Thomas Mitchell was Surveyor-General of New South Wales and the explorer who discovered “Australia Felix”, or “Happy Australia”, which was the rich land of western Victoria. As well as being well-known for his immense contribution to exploration, Mitchell is less-known for fighting the last known duel in Australia. It was fought between Mitchell and one of New England’s well-known early settlers, Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson. The duel occurred on 27 September 1851 in Centennial Park, Sydney, and it is believed to have been over land – Tenterfield Station – which was a crown grant to Donaldson. As Surveyor-General, Mitchell had gazetted a town to be built on part of Donaldson’s Tenterfield Station. The enraged Donaldson challenged Mitchell to a duel. Three shots were fired, and the last one of Mitchell’s found its mark, blowing Donaldson’s hat off. Donaldson was not injured, and later went on to become the first Premier of New South Wales.

 

On This Day ……. 6th September 2012

Reports that lions escaped the visiting Lennon Bros Circus in Stawell, Western Victoria, have been exposed as a hoax. Social network website Facebook went into overdrive with rumours that a lion was on the loose around the town. Cheryl Lennon, manager of Lennon Bros Circus, said the reports are “far from the truth.” Mrs Lennon found out about the rumours after members of the circus were asked about the supposed escape when in the town’s main street. A caller rang Melbourne radio station 3AW’s Neil Mitchell program, claiming to be ‘Ash Lennon’ from the circus and said the lions had escaped. The caller gave out Mrs Lennon’s personal phone number to the radio station and she took the airwaves to dismiss the rumour. “I’ve clarified and confirmed that we have three lions laying here, catching a bit of sun,” Mrs Lennon said. Mrs Lennon believed the rumours had stemmed from the circus being cancelled Wednesday night due to bad weather. “What has happened is that we had a show due to start at 7pm and it was cancelled due to the wind. The wind lifted up the front entrance, the back door frame lifted off and my ticket stall fell over,” she said. “We made the call to evacuate people purely for their safety. We let people know that it was because of the weather and fully refunded their tickets.” Mrs Lennon said if a lion had escaped, the circus would have let authorities know immediately. “We certainly would be notifying authorities, such as the police and SES (State Emergency Service) first,” she said. This is not the first time the circus has had rumours about lions escaping from their enclosure. Mrs Lennon told The Stawell Times-News it had happened to her brother-in-law when they visited Cranbourne ‘but not to this extent.’ “A lady rang the council telling them a lion had escaped. It was far from the truth.” The circus re-assured members of the public the lions are not missing. “Believe me, trust me – they’re there. They’re not going anywhere,” Mrs Lennon said.

 

On this day …….. 4th September 1868

Oliver Dragoon was committed to Ararat lunatic asylum, Western Victoria, on the 10th of February 1868. Dragoon managed to escaped from the Ararat Lunatic Asylum on the 4th of September 1868. He was arrested in Piggoreet on the 11th of September and was taken into Ballarat by Constable Magrath, and lodged in the Western lockup, before being returned to Ararat. This is the second time Dragoon has escape from the asylum, on the first occasion he succeeded in evading all search for several months. Dragoon died in the asylum. On the 2nd of June 1871, Dragoone escapes again and course on the 27th of June.

On this day ………… 8th March 1993

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was sent last to hospital for observation, after a car accident on this day in 1993. Police said Mr Fraser, also suffering from shock, was in a satisfactory condition in Hamilton Hospital in western Victoria. Mr Fraser’s chauffeur driven Commonwealth car crashed into a tree after it drove over loose gravel on a newly surfaced road. Fraser was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia.