Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 20 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History

1786 - That convict lass celebrated for her escape, Mary Bryant, was charged at the Exeter Assizes with assault and robbery, convicted and sentenced to death. Her sentence was commuted to transportation for seven years, and she was taken from Exeter jail to the hulk Dunkirk off Plymouth, where she remained until transhipped to the transport Charlotte in the First Fleet for Botany Bay.

1799 - Simon Taylor was hanged at Parramatta for the murder of his wife Anne Taylor.

1804 - The last of David Collins' failed Sorrento Settlement upped sticks and hied themselves forth in high dudgeon to the Derwent.

1804 - The Sydney Gazette reported on a small success with the experimental " Vaccination upon several Children of the Military".

1804 - The Sydney Gazette gave a very good example of why street cricket didn't take off for a number of years when it reported,
"...a young child playing near the lower end of the Parade was tossed by a cart bullock, but the horn being only entangled in the clothing, the infant fortunately received no injury."
Six and out?

1818 - Poor old Father Jeremiah O'Flynn - remember, the priest without correct credentials? - he got booted out of the country back to the UK.
Couldn't just sneak any old crim into this country, ya know....

1819 - Gov Macquarie opened the Hyde Park barracks (designed for 600 male convicts)  with great ceremony and a special feast for the prisoners, and used the occasion to make convict architect Francis Greenway's pardon absolute.

1820 - Todays Hobart Town Gazette published Govt Orders bitterly complaining of frequent gunfire...
"THE frequent Discharge of Fire Arms within the Town, and even in the Streets of Sydney both by Day end Night, which has lately taken Place, to the great Annoyance and Danger of the Inhabitants,rendering it necessary to call the Attention of all Descriptions of Persons to this Circumstance, and particularly to require the Constables and Peace Officers to be prompt and vigilant in rigidly enforcing the present standing Orders, against all Persons who shall hereafter be found discharging Guns, Pistols, or Fire Arms of any Description whatever, within the Streets or Town of Sydney ; it is hereby ordered and directed, that the Constables and all other the Peace Officers and Watchmen, do seize and secure all Persons whatever, who shall after the present Date be found using or discharging Fire Arms in the Town of Sydney, whether by Day and Night, unless in lawful Cases of necessary Self-defence, and bring such Offender or Offenders before a Magistrate, to be dealt with according to Law ; and all Persons are required to take Notice, that whoever shall henceforth be convicted of using or discharging Fire Arms within the Town of Sydney, will be subject to Fine and imprisonment...."

1833 - William Carney was hanged at Sydney for the murder of Michael Keith at Penrith.

1834 - Dr.Richard Allan, Surgeon superintendent of the prison ship James Laing, died aged 37, when he shot himself while under a temporary derangement of mind.

1839 - Apparently the drought ended in NSW.

1839 - Moreton Bay penal settlement really wasn't everyone's cuppa tea so it closed it's doors and was reinvented as a leisure resort for businessmen looking to hide their tax income...or some such.

1842 - Poor old Moses Burns/Byrnes was admitted to the Newcastle gaol as an "Incorrigible vagabond unfit for service". He was later returned to the Hyde Park Barracks.

1844 - Melbourne publicans led by Phillip Anderson of the Commercial Inn took revenge by wrecking one temperance meeting being conducted by popular temperance advocate Isabella Dalgarno in a violent free-for-all.

1852 - Charles Rudston Read was appointed by Lieutenant-Governor La Trobe assistant commissioner of crown lands at Forest Creek in the gold district of Castlemaine, at a salary of £500 with rations and forage. He issued licences, detected defaulters, guarded fees and gold, settled disputes and maintained an orderly field. Humane, popular, and understanding, he later wrote critically of the licence-fee system and the police on the diggings.

1856 - Former convict Walter O'Malley McEvilly was promoted librarian of the NSW Legislative Council library with a residence in the parliamentary premises. He was reported to have 'zealously and well discharged the duties of Librarian'. After his appointment the library more than doubled its 6990 volumes and important administrative changes were made.

1860 - First recorded football match at Green's paddock, Ballarat.

1862 - Explorer John McKinlay, who managed to retain good relations with the Aboriginals, found himself near the mouth of the Albert River but mangrove swamps prevented him eyeballing the Gulf of Carpentaria.

1863 - Charles Robardy was hanged at Goulburn for the murder of Daniel Crotty on the Boorowa-Murringo Road, near Willawong Creek.

1865 - George Gibson (alias Paddy Tom) –Bushranger. Hanged at Bathurst for the murder of Alec Musson at Pyramul.

1870 - The Bushmen's Club, (now the Salvation Army hostel) an institution apparently unique to South Australia, was opened by the Governor, Sir James Fergusson.
The idea was to establish a home for men down from the bush, a place to stay which catered for their needs without being expensive. The first premises was the Adelaide Court House, better known as Judge Cooper's residence, in the south-east corner of Whitmore Square. Additions were made over the years so it could accommodate 150 boarders and the Club operated for years.

1872 - James Wilkie was hanged at Castlemaine for the murder of Henry Pensom at Daylesford.

1873 - Pierre Borbun (Barburn, Borhuu) was hanged at Castlemaine for the murder of Sarah Smith, the publican's wife at the White Swan Hotel, Sunrise Gully, Kangaroo Flat.

1878 - A band of British teachers recruited by the Queensland Department of Public Instruction as capable of training local teachers rocked up in Brisvegas.

1887 - Locomotive 'Sandfly' began operating in Darwin and retired in 1950 presently located at the Parap Qantas Hangar.

1895 - Miore, a South Sea Islander hanged at Boggo Road Gaol for the murder of Francis Macartney at Avondale

1895 - Narasemai, a South Sea Islander hanged at Boggo Road Gaol for the murder of Francis Macartney at Avondale

1907 -  A three day conference began today in Melbourne designed to secure uniformity in meteorological methods throughout Australia.

1913 - A Royal Commission into the brick making industry of Victoria was established.
One can only ask....why?!
Were brickies secretly salting bluestone into the clay like Christmas pudd?
Were overly glazed bricks too shiny for sunny days?
Was it the 1970's Mission Brown choice of dye that upset the apple cart?

1927 - The Domain Rd site was approved for the Shrine of Remembrance.

1929 - The first Aussie airmail stamp was flogged to the masses, costing a mere threepence. Oh for the days when Aunt Mavis would cover herself in these stamps and have herself a happy holiday overseas....

1939 - The Alice Springs Hospital was opened.

1941 - Brit, Kiwi, Aussie and Greek forces defended Crete for 12 days against German paratroopers but were forced to retreat and leave the island.

1967 -  Rev. Ted Noffs claimed that drugs were present in about 60% of Australian schools and that the use of amphetamines and LSD was on the rise amongst Australian youth, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

1974 - Ian Fairweather (b.1891), Scotland-born Australian artist, died. He lived for much of his life as a recluse on Bribie Island, north of Brisbane. In Murray Bail authored “Fairweather," a biography with color reproductions. The book was expanded in 2009.

1978 -  A representation of celebrated nurse & aviatrix Robin Elizabeth Dicks' Mooney aircraft was unveiled at Jandakot airport, Perth.

1982 - Eddie Mabo, Sam Passi, David Passi, Celuia Mapo Salee, and James Rice initiated proceedings in the High Court against the State of Queensland and the Commonwealth.

1990 - The first NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Conference was attended by 80 people. 18 workshops covered violence and bashing to adoption.

1991 - Western Australia paid out $5.4 million in compensation to people infected with HIV through medical treatments and procedures, the first Australian state to do so. [Note: all other Australian states soon followed suit, except NSW who fight on for some time, before making lower payments than other states].

1991 - A Candlelight AIDS Rally & Memorial was held in Green park.

1997 - Good old Johnny Howard, only he'd be able to ignore a Human Rights report,  released on this date, that called for an apology for the govt policy of removing Aboriginal children from their families.

2001 - The Sunday Advertiser in Geelong, established in September 2000, suddenly dropped of the publishing perch when it ceased publication with no warning.

2002 - East Timor, with a population at about 800,000, celebrated independence. A legal battle loomed with Australia over the disputed Greater Sunrise natural gas field in the Timor Sea. The filed lay 95 miles south of East Timor and 250 miles north of Australia.

2005 - Australia stepped up diplomatic efforts to stop Japan from increasing its whale hunt, saying up to 35 countries were opposed to the plan.

2005 - The AMA released its 2005 Report Card: Lifting The Weight - Low Birth Weight Babies: An Indigenous Health Burden That Must Be Lifted at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service in Narrabundah, Canberra.

2005 - Pink, Pinkboard’s 10 year anniversary party was held at Arq. The website started in 1986 after Larry Singer discovered Viatel, a primitive form of internet provided by Telecom.

2006 - Australian Aborigines rejected calls for military peacekeepers to protect indigenous women and children from violence, as a new report revealed high levels of sexual abuse of young indigenous males.

2007 - Confessed Australian al-Qaida supporter David Hicks was transferred to a maximum security prison in his hometown after spending more than five years at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

2008 - Patrick Dodson was the second Australian to receive Australia’s only international peace prize, the Sydney 2008 Peace Prize.

2009 - Australian authorities declared a state of emergency in Queensland as torrential rain and gale force winds caused extensive flooding and left one man dead.

2010 - Australian police raided 12 properties associated with Agape Ministries, led by Rocco Leo, and netted 15 guns, slow-burning fuses, detonators, extendable batons and 35,000 rounds of ammunition.

2015 - Cambodia accepted the first four people under an agreement it made with Australia nine months ago to take in asylum-seekers rejected for residency there.


  1. Brought back memories that threepence.

    1. Ahhh, if only things were still as cheap!

  2. Hooray for Walter O'Malley McEvilly. Librarians are among my favourite people.
    Sigh at Johnny's refusal to apologise. And sigh is not nearly a strong enough word for the way I feel about our treatment of asylum seekers. And David Hicks.

    1. Librarians are the caretakers of adventures!
      Johnny is mired in the 1920s.

  3. What an interesting blog you have here. It must take you hours of research to put the post together.

    1. Thank you!
      And, yes, each post takes about 3 hours, give or take.
      I try to get them researched and scheduled in advance of the date due to the time involved.

  4. I live in a village near Exeter in the UK where Mary Bryant was tried and sentenced. I had never heard of her so looked her up on Wikipedia. What a fascinating story! Your blog is really interesting.

    1. Thank you!
      I am glad you enjoyed reading about Mary, she was a character with iron!

  5. "1786 - That convict lass celebrated for her escape, Mary Bryant, was charged at the Exeter Assizes with assault and robbery, convicted and sentenced to death."

    I suppose I look at the past through rose-colored glasses, but it is hard to picture a lady of 1786 behaving this way. Ha ha! I wonder what she'd say about that... ;-)

  6. LOL I reckon she'd have a laugh with you, Sandi :)