Several people have reported seeing a giant eel in the Yarra river near Warburton, Victoria. He is reported to have taken a Jack Russel dog, a goose that someone was feeding at the time, and a fisherman was dragged into the water in April 2005 by something huge and unknown, most like the giant eel.


On this Day – April 12, 1895

Rush of Water in a Sewer Tunnel, Six Men Drowned.

An accident occurred this evening in No. 1 section of the Hobson’s Bay main sewer, which is under about the center, of the River Yarra, and in Mr. A. J. Robb’s contract at Spottiswoode. The soil, which consists of soft sand and clay, suddenly gave way, and the water rushed into the air-chamber, imprisoning six men. In consequence of the slippery nature of the soil it was found necessary to work under compressed air. The air-chamber was built in a tunnel, and the pressure under which the men worked was 27″. At 20 minutes past eight this evening, Watson, one of the Metropolitan Board’s engineers, was about to enter the air chamber, when a man inside, named Burke, pushed him back and shut the door in his face. Looking through the glass in the door Watson saw the water rising. Burke proved himself a hero. There was apparently no chance of saving his own life and of the others in the chamber, and he closed the door to save the lives of the men in the tunnel. Efforts have been made to pump the water out, but up to the present with no success. Buchanan, the engineer for the contractor, and Burke and four other men were in the chamber, and no doubt they have all been drowned.

Later.–The names of the men supposed to have been drowned are – John Buchanan, James Burke (boss of the shift), Thos. Johnson, Martin Gabriel; Joseph Jackson, and W. Foster. The water broke through the heading just beyond the air chamber. A fitter who was in the air chamber, letting air in preparatory to going into the face with iron plates, saw Buchanan, with a light in his hand, beckoning to him, and then in an instant the light went out and all was darkness. No bodies have been recovered.

ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1937

The police are now in possession of a fairly reliable description of Iike physical characteristics of the woman whose arms and legs were found floating in an untied sugar bag in the Yarra, on the 30th of March 1937. Pathologists have determined the woman to have been between 30 and 40, well built, slightly over five feet in height, with probably brown. Necessarily the description is more or less a conjecture. Although nothing more dependable can be obtained from the scanty evidence available it restricts the field of identification. With this guide the police are now searching scores of files relating to women corresponding roughly with this description who have been reported missing since the beginning of the year. Dragging the Yarra in the hope , of recovering other parts of the body has been unsuccessful. Good fingerprints were secured from a skin glove taken from the right hand.


On this day …….. 22nd of December 1934

When word reached police at Melbourne’s Russell street station on the night of the 22nd of December 1934, that a man was in the Yarra River near the Princes Bridge, a patrol was dispatched to investigate. They found the man standing in the water up to his armpits. When asked what he was doing, the man replied that he was looking for his false teeth. The officers ordered him out of the river and the man reluctantly moved to comply, stating he could not afford to lose his teeth. When he tried to climb the stone embankment, he found it was too steep. A rope was found, but it was no help. Finally the police hauled the man out by hooking the waist of his trousers with a boathook. As the man stood shivering on the bank, he noticed that his missing false teeth were in his waistcoat pocket.


ON THIS DAY – 16th December 1898

The nude body of an unknown young woman, which was found floating in a box in the Yarra River near Chapel-street Bridge on the 16th December 1898, had, it is estimated, been in the water for about a week. Deliberate murder was first suspected, but the post-mortem examination conducted by Dr. Neild indicates that death resulted from the use of chloroform administered, it is supposed, for the purpose of performing an illegal operation.

The box was first seen by some boys, one of whom, having previously had experience of a coroner’s court, had his suspicions aroused by the way it was floating, and reported the matter to the police. The box, when dragged ashore, was found weighted with a heavy stone tied on by a strong wire clothesline. In pulling the box ashore they broke a portion of the side away, revealing the foot and leg of a human being. On arrival at the morgue the body was found to be bunched into the box, the head being forced into one corner, and the whole tied parcel wise with a clothesline. There was no clothing on the body, but a flour bag was loosely wrapped round it. The bag is branded “Alex Clement, Snowdrop patent roller flour, Wangaratta.” The body was finely developed, and is that of a woman under 30. The hair is closely cropped, and the fingers covered with needlemarks. Identification is likely to prove difficult, as the features are distorted in addition to being in a decomposed state. Every indication leads to the belief that the deed was committed under the influence of chloroform, probably as an illegal operation was about to be committed, the woman being enciente. The stomach has been forwarded to Dr. Blackett, the Government Analyst, to make sure that suffocation was not caused by the action of poison.


ON THIS DAY – December 13,1899


The excitement in connection with the death of the girl Ambrose found in the Yarra is now subsiding. Mr. Blackett, the Government Analyst, now finds that the quantity of arsenic found in the body was not sufficient to cause death, which was due to suffocation. The real name of the husband of Madame Ledebur is Von Lederberg. He served a term of imprisonment in Victoria. Friday Night. The gaol authorities have reason to fear that Mme. Radalyski, alias Mrs. Ledebur, may commit suicide, had in consequence have arranged to have her watched by two female warders who are placed in the cell with her. Mme. Olga is depressed, but Ted and the girl Jamieson are quite composed. Tod’s father visited him to-day. The accused man and the girl have signed statements that the girl Ambrose died on December 13; but Dr. Neild still persists in his theory that death must have occurred several days previously. It transpires that Mabel Ambrose was a native of Albury. Her father was a well known resident there 20 years ago, and a prominent footballer. In 1879 he married Miss Bergin, a domestic, and the daughter of Patrick Bergin, blacksmith, at Germanton. The girl Mabel was the first issue of the marriage. A well-known Newcastle resident is convinced that the father of the murdered woman was the son of Mr. Ambrose, who occupied the position of telegraph master at Newcastle about 25 years ago. The latter had a son named Alfred, who became an operator, and subsequently worked In the Telegraph Department In Sydney and Melbourne. He died of fever at the latter place some time ago.

ON THIS DAY – December 3, 1922

A Painter Charged

George Devitt, (27), a painter, who has discharged from the Melbourne Hospital this afternoon was immediately brought before the City Court on a charge of having murdered Emma Hill on the Yarra Bank on December 3. Devitt was remanded to December 23, the day after the inquest is to be held.

The crime alleged against Devitt happened on the night of December 3. About midnight he staggered across Alexander Avenue on the bank of the Yarra with blood streaming from his body. He stopped a motor car and asked to be driven to the Police Station saying he had murdered a girl and he then tried to commit suicide. He had been in the river.

After an all night search, the police found the body of the girl, a domestic employed at the Y.W.CA. The girl’s body was lying on a rookery on the bank of the river.

On This Day – November 13, 1924

Mysterious circumstances surround the death of Eric Watkins, aged 22, whose body was found in the Yarra on November 13.

Watkins boarded a train at Adelaide on November 6 and was not seen alive afterwards, nor was his luggage found. The police ascertained that he got in association with a number of train “crooks,” who got about £15 from him. It is presumed he is a victim of foul play, and that the body was thrown into the River Yarra close to Spencer-street station.

On this day …….. 15th of October 1970

The West Gate Bridge, spans the Yarra River in Melbourne, Victoria, was completed in 1978. Its design is cable-stayed, consisting of several pillars, with cables supporting the roadbed. The bridge links the inner city and Melbourne’s eastern suburbs with the western suburbs. Two years after construction on the bridge commenced, it was necessary to fix a height discrepancy. It was proposed that the higher side of the bridge be weighted down with 8 x 10 tonne concrete blocks. However, due to structural weakness, the bridge would not support the weight of the blocks. On 15 October 1970 one of the spans collapsed, falling 50m below. 35 construction workers were killed. A Royal Commission attributed the collapse of the bridge to two causes; the structural design by designers Freeman Fox and Partners, and an unusual method of erection by World Services and Construction, the original contractors of the project. The incident had considerable implications for Australia’s workplace safety laws. After the accident, workers were given greater input into workplace safety committees, gaining the right to question the wisdom and action of their supervisors regarding potentially dangerous practices in the workplace.


On this day …….. 23rd September 1863

One of the lunatics confined at the Yarra Bend Asylum escaped from his keeper on the morning 23rd Sept 1863, and threw himself into the Yarra River. The unfortunate man was not observed to rise again. Efforts were made for the recovery of the body, but up to a considerable time after the ocenrrence they were not successful.


ON THIS DAY…… 24th August 1942

Detectives hope to be able to say whether a man found drowned in the Yarra on Friday was associated with the murder of Mrs. Catherine Whitley aged 65, in a lane behind a hotel at the northern end of Elizabeth Street, City, near Gratten Street, Carlton. By his finger prints, the dead man was identified as James William Whitelaw aged 44.

Fingerprint experts at police head quarters in a Russell Street, used a recently developed method of taking after-death prints to fix his identity. The skin of the hands was crinkled by having been so long in the water. Fluid was forced in under the skin to fill out the fingertips to their natural shape and then readable prints were obtained.

Several people have reported seeing a giant eel in the Yarra river near Warburton, Victoria. He is reported to have taken a Jack Russel dog, a goose that someone was feeding at the time, and a fisherman was dragged into the water in April 2005 by something huge and unknown, most like the giant eel.