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On this day ……… 30th of March 1937

Murder is suspected following the finding in the Yarra on this day in 1937. of two legs and two arms, severed from a human body, evidently that of a woman. The dissected limbs were in an untied sugar bag. The legs were cut off at the knees, and the arms,at the shoulders. One arm was bent inwards at the elbow and tied in that position with string. The discovery was, made by two boys who were playing on the river bank near Morell’ Bridge. One theory is the limbs are those of a woman who died as a result of an illegal operation and that the body was dissected to simplify disposal. The amputations were so cleanly made as to give rise to the belief that the dissecting was done by someone with a surgical knowledge.

Over 60 missing women would be located through the course of the investigation.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – December 18, 1945

YARRA RIVER

Leo Clinton Cartledge aged 23, of George Street, Fitzroy, labourer, was charged with the murder of Raymond Theodore Combs, aged 20 an American negro seaman. He was remanded until January 9. Combs’ body was found in the Yarra at Studley Park on December 24. Police allege that his skull was smashed by blows from beer bottles in an argument at a house at Fitzroy on December 18, and that he was later taken in a cab to the Yarra, where the body was thrown in. A pathologist’s report indicated that Combs was still alive when he entered the water. Combs deserted from a U.S. merchant ship in Melbourne on December 17. Motive for the crime, police say, was robbery.

On this day …….. 12th September 1854

With the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851 Melbourne became the richest city in the world. With this Victoria became the first Australian state to have a completed railway line. Although South Australia had begun operations of horse-drawn trains on 18 May 1854 between Goolwa and Port Elliot, mechanical railways were first established in Victoria in 1854, with work on the line commencing in March 1853. At first, trains were ordered from Robert Stephenson and Company of the United Kingdom, but shipping delays meant that the first trains had to be built locally. Robertson, Martin and Smith built Australia’s first steam locomotive in ten weeks at a cost of £2700. The first steam train in Australia, consisting of two first-class carriages and one second-class carriage, made its maiden voyage on 12 September 1854. It ran along the four kilometre track from Flinders Street to Sandridge, now Port Melbourne, a ten-minute journey. Aboard the first train were Lieutenant-Governor Sir Charles Hotham and Lady Hotham. Upon arriving at its destination at Station Pier, the train was met with gun-salutes by the warships HMS Electra and HMS Fantome. The following year, the locomotives ordered from the UK arrived, and were named Melbourne, Sandridge, Victoria and Yarra.

 

On this day …….. 26th April 1904

While the steamer Star of Australia was coming up the Yarra on this day in 1904, two seamen, named Wendt and Larson who were getting the gangway ready preparatory to landing, fell overboard into the river. Life boys were immediately thrown out, and several boats lowered. Larson was rescue in an exhausted condition, but although the steamer was slowed down, and every effort was made, no trace of Wendt was found. He was wearing heavy sea boots, and I’d believed to have sunk immediately.

 

On this day ……… 30th of March 1937

Murder is suspected following the finding in the Yarra on this day in 1937 30th of two legs and two arms, severed from a human body, evidently that of a woman. The dissected limbs were in an untied sugar bag. The legs were cut off at the knees, and the arms,at the shoulders. One arm was bent inwards at the elbow and tied in that position with string. The discovery was, made by two boys who were playing on the river bank near Morell’ Bridge. One theory is the limbs are those of a woman who died as a result of an illegal operation and that the body was dissected to simplify disposal. The amputations were so cleanly made as to give rise to the belief that the dissecting was done by someone with a surgical knowledge.

 

ON THIS DAY……….. 28th of March 1899

Alice Maud Jepson, wife of Johann Christian Jepson a lighterman, was arrested by Constable Harris of Yarraville, on suspicion of having murdered her son Francis Norman Jepson, aged seven years. Jepson was brought before Messrs Warner and Gallant J.P.s at the Footscray Police Court. The accused appeared to be fairly well composed and chatted cheerfully with her husband, who sat beside her. Sub-inspector Oliver appeared for the police and sought a remand to the Port Melbourne Court. Constable Harris gave formal evidence of the arrest, and accused was then remanded to appear at Port Melbourne on the 6th of April. Mr Jepson is anxious to correct an impression that his wife had for some time been an inmate of a lunatic asylum. He denies this absolutely. He declares that his wife was “the best wife ever a man had.” She had just told him, he added, that “their boy was now dead. She was sure he had gone to Heaven, and would be exalted. Jepaon was found guilty of the murder of her son by wilfully drowning him at Fisherman’s Bend in the Yarra.

 

ON THIS DAY ……… 5th February 1923

Nurse Mitchell, who was arrested in connection with the death of Bertha Coghlan whose headless body was recovered from the Yarra, played the piano for two hours for the entertainment of the police who were waiting for her sister, Mrs. Millard, to return to the house from the theatre. Reporters who visited Coldstream, where the body of the girl is supposed to have been buried for a time, discovered in a creek a bag containing a knife, a man’s coat, a woman’s stocking, and other remnants of clothing.

 

 

ON THIS DAY ……… 5th February 1923

Nurse Mitchell, who was arrested in connection with the death of Bertha Coghlan whose headless body was recovered from the Yarra, played the piano for two hours for the entertainment of the police who were waiting for her sister, Mrs. Millard, to return to the house from the theatre. Reporters who visited Coldstream, where the body of the girl is supposed to have been buried for a time, discovered in a creek a bag containing a knife, a man’s coat, a woman’s stocking, and other remnants of clothing.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – February 2, 1923

A nude decomposed and decapitated body of a young woman in a bag in the River Yarra, was found on this day in 1923. The body was recovered by Detective McGuffie and two constables after they had dragged the river for three hours. A communication was received at police headquarters that two men had been seen at 11pm driving onto the Anderson-Street bridge. A witness Mr. Harold Montrose Sharkey Lloyd, of West Melbourne, told the police that he was about to cross the bridge at 11pm when he saw two men drive up in a motor car and stop suddenly near the kerbstone close to the bridge on the south side of the Yarra. The rear light of the car was obscured by a piece of cloth or bag and the headlights were dimmed. Soon after the car stopped two figures. Mr. Sharkey Lloyd says, emerged from the shadows of the bridge carrying a heavy object. The engine of the motor car was running at high speed. Mr. Sharkey Lloyd saw in the actions of the men something ominous and walked back to the end of the bridge where he hid himself in the darkness. Soon afterwards he saw the men lift what he thought was a coffin, to the railings of the bridge, they looked round to see that no one was watching and then threw the object into the river. There was a loud splash as the object struck the water. Immediately afterwards the men walked hurriedly off the bridge and jumping into the car drove off rapidly towards Richmond. Mr. Sharkey Boyd suspected that the men had committed a murder and had disposed of the body by throwing it into the river. He ran along the road and communicated with the criminal investigation department. After three unsuccessful attempts to bring this object to the surface he recovered a heavy bag which was taken to the river bank and opened. Spectators who had gathered were horrified at the discovery, that it contained the decomposed body of a woman, thought to be aged from 15 to 18 years. The body had been decapitated and the head was found inside another bag. The dead woman’s hair appeared to be auburn or dark brown and was plaited. In the bag were also about a hundredweight of blue stone, used as a sinker. The state of the body indicated that death had taken place some months previous. From evidence obtained it was determined the body was that of Bertha Coghlan who was buried shortly after her death, and that fearing discovery of the crime its perpetrators had it brought to the city and thrown into the Yarra.

 

 

ON THIS DAY – December 18, 1945

YARRA RIVER

Leo Clinton Cartledge aged 23, of George Street, Fitzroy, labourer, was charged with the murder of Raymond Theodore Combs, aged 20 an American negro seaman. He was remanded until January 9. Combs’ body was found in the Yarra at Studley Park on December 24. Police allege that his skull was smashed by blows from beer bottles in an argument at a house at Fitzroy on December 18, and that he was later taken in a cab to the Yarra, where the body was thrown in. A pathologist’s report indicated that Combs was still alive when he entered the water. Combs deserted from a U.S. merchant ship in Melbourne on December 17. Motive for the crime, police say, was robbery.

On this day …….. 12th September 1854

With the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851 Melbourne became the richest city in the world. With this Victoria became the first Australian state to have a completed railway line. Although South Australia had begun operations of horse-drawn trains on 18 May 1854 between Goolwa and Port Elliot, mechanical railways were first established in Victoria in 1854, with work on the line commencing in March 1853. At first, trains were ordered from Robert Stephenson and Company of the United Kingdom, but shipping delays meant that the first trains had to be built locally. Robertson, Martin and Smith built Australia’s first steam locomotive in ten weeks at a cost of £2700. The first steam train in Australia, consisting of two first-class carriages and one second-class carriage, made its maiden voyage on 12 September 1854. It ran along the four kilometre track from Flinders Street to Sandridge, now Port Melbourne, a ten-minute journey. Aboard the first train were Lieutenant-Governor Sir Charles Hotham and Lady Hotham. Upon arriving at its destination at Station Pier, the train was met with gun-salutes by the warships HMS Electra and HMS Fantome. The following year, the locomotives ordered from the UK arrived, and were named Melbourne, Sandridge, Victoria and Yarra.

 

On this day …….. 26th April 1904

While the steamer Star of Australia was coming up the Yarra on this day in 1904, two seamen, named Wendt and Larson who were getting the gangway ready preparatory to landing, fell overboard into the river. Life boys were immediately thrown out, and several boats lowered. Larson was rescue in an exhausted condition, but although the steamer was slowed down, and every effort was made, no trace of Wendt was found. He was wearing heavy sea boots, and I’d believed to have sunk immediately.