Monday, May 21, 2018

May 21 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History

1804 - James Bevan (known as 'Warminster') was hanged at Sydney for the rape of eight-year-old Elizabeth Douglas.

1814 - The Van Diemen's Land Gazette on this day listed John Pascoe  Fawkner as aiding and abetting the escape of seven prisoners. Fawkner and Santos, who was apparently the convicts' leader, were tried before three magistrates in August and each sentenced to 500 lashes and three years labour.

1836 - The Stirling Castle, under Captain James Fraser, bound from Sydney to Singapore was wrecked on Swain Reefs off the Queensland coast. In August news reached Moreton Bay that the captain's wife, Eliza Ann, and others of the ship's company were being held captive by Aboriginals. A rescue party that included John Graham, an escaped convict who had lived for six years with the Aborigines, brought her back to Brisbane in August.

1840 - Captain Hobson was feeling his oats on this day when he claimed British sovereignty over the whole of The Land Of The Long White Cloud (NZ for those uneducated yokels) even though the haggling, bartering and compromises weren't yet done with.

1842 - Henry (Harry) Power, bushranger, also known as Johnson, was transported for seven years for stealing a pair of shoes, and arrived at Hobart Town in the Isabella.

1851 - William Collins' application for publican's license for the Racehorse Inn at Maitland was refused by the Bench after Major Crummer examined the premises and found them too small.

1853 - William Blandowski ( leaving no stone unturned in his career as expeditionist, geologist, goldminer, inventor, natural history collector, naturalist, public servant, and zoologist ) asked Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe for an 'allowance' to enable him to complete his 'Illustrated Natural History of the Colony of Victoria'. Impressed by further correspondence La Trobe wrote to the colonial secretary that immediate steps should be taken to open a museum and stating that Blandowski was the 'most suitable person to employ'.

1856 - The world's first 8 hour working day was carved in stone by the marches and vocal noise of the stonemasons of Victoria.

1861 - William Landsborough was chosen by the Victorian and Queensland governments to lead a search for Robert O'Hara Burke and William Wills from the Gulf of Carpentaria southwards; when they  reached Williams's station on this day they learned that Burke and Wills had perished. With bulging tucker bags Landsborough continued his journey south and in October delivered the horses and gear to the authorities in Melbourne. He was fêted as the first explorer to cross the continent from north to south.

1863 - Nathaniel Pepper, Aboriginal evangelist and teacher, at Ebenezer mission, near the Wimmera River married Rachel Warndekan, an 18-year-old, Christian Aboriginal girl from King Georges Sound, Western Australia.

1864 - The wonderful artist David Davies was pupped at Ballarat.
Go ogle some of his beautiful works.

1879 - The Geelong Railway Line (Vic) opened from the old-no-longer-in-existence- Queenscliff Junction to Queenscliff.

1896 - Radiologist Frederick John Clendinnen purchased his first X-ray apparatus from W. Watson in Melbourne for £5 13s. 9d.; he is acknowledged to be the first medical man in Melbourne to take an X-ray photograph of a patient.

1897 - Charles Hines was hanged at Maitland Gaol for the rape of his thirteen-year-old stepdaughter Mary Emily Hayne.

1906 - Aussies extended a warm welcome to the training Japanese Naval Squadron that popped in for a visit  - we weren't at each others throats...yet - until the Japanese-Russo War sparked the California School Board Crisis and we were told to stop playing and sharing our toys with the Japanese.

1912 – The steamship SS Koombana sank off Port Hedland during a cyclone killing the 126 passengers.

1922 - The Empire Settlement Act enabled the intake of large numbers of British immigrants. Over 200,000 assisted settlers arrived in Australia between 1922 and 1929.

1928 - John Sumpter Milner was hanged at Fremantle Prison for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Ivy Lewis at Darkan.

1930 - The ever shy and retiring little poppet *cough cough*, Malcolm Fraser, 22nd PM of Oz, was spawned in the Bunyip patch.

1948 - Brit pop warbler Leo Sayer, who now calls Australia home, was found in the munchkin patch.

1953 - The Advertiser announced that the first publication of its boys' magazine, the Eagle,  was on sale for ninepence. It was 'designed to capture the imagination of boys and satisfy their zest for adventure, their love of sport and their interest in the scientific marvels of the day'. It was claimed that the magazine conformed to the standards expected by parents and teachers.

1965 - The North Fitzroy to Northcote Loop rail line (Vic) was closed.

1968 -  Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Australia.

1969 -  Union leader Clarrie O'Shea was released after six days in Pentridge Prison. The leader of the Victorian Tramways union had been jailed for contempt by Justice Kerr of the Industrial Commission after refusing to provide union accounts following non-payment of fines. It was later revealed that O'Shea's $8000 fines had been paid by Opera house lottery winner Dudley McDougall, in order to prevent a major industrial confrontation.

1970 - The Yellow House opened in Potts Point, Sydney. The innovative 'multimedia' space included an exhibition of artwork by Martin Sharp, a sound system by UBU's Aggy Read, films by Read and Philip Noyce, and tapdancing by "Little Nell" aka Laura Campbell (daughter of Sunday Telegraph columnist Ross Campbell and future star of The Rocky Horror Show).

1977 - Of the four proposals put to voters at this referendum, only three were carried. These related to Senate casual vacancies, giving residents of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory the right to vote in constitutional elections, and retirement of federal judges. The rejected fourth proposal related to the introduction of simultaneous elections.

1980 - A man began shooting in a corridor in the Supreme Court of Victoria, where he killed three (including the brother-in-law of Mother Theresa) and wounded two others. He only stopped shooting when he ran out of bullets, and he was tackled by a bystander outside the court.

1982 - The first issue of The Star incorporating the Melbourne Star and the Sydney Star was published.

1987 - ACON launched the Safety Pin – an easily recognisable safe sex symbol.

1989 - 2,000 people led by the Premier, Nick Greiner, walked through Sydney to raise $40,000 for AIDS research.

1993 - Clover Moore’s anti-vilification legislation was defeated after a second reading in the NSW Upper House.

1999 – Eight decaying bodies were found in barrels in a disused bank vault north of Adelaide, marking the beginning of the Snowtown murders case.

2000 - The Airport Railway Line (NSW of course, Vic has not yet evolved to that level) was opened.

2002 - The NSW Council for Civil Liberties and the Redfern Legal Centre launched an SMS alert service, a key feature of which is

2003 - The NSW Legislative Assembly voted in favour of a lower age of consent for gay males in the Crimes (Sexual Offences Amendment Bill).

2003 - The NSW Upper House accepted the equal age of consent legislation with a number of child protection amendments.

2008 - Milton Orkopoulos (50), the former New South Wales state minister for Aboriginal affairs, was jailed for nearly 14 years on child sex and drugs charges.

2011 - : A medical centre in Bondi Junction was ordered by the NSW Supreme Court to pay almost $300,000 in damages to a man who was infected with HIV after his former female partner was wrongly given the all-clear by a doctor. The man would not have contracted the virus if the centre’s administration staff had updated his then-partner’s contact details and sent a recall letter to her current address.

2013 - Microsoft Corp. said it is expanding its services for hosting and processing online data in Australia with the establishment of two new "cloud" computing data centers in the country.


  1. On this day, 2017...I snuggled up in bed, mug of coffee beside me; my two furry rascals snuggled up next to me and I read the Sunday paper. :)

  2. You are right about David Davies - thank you for the introduction.

  3. "Van Diemen's Land"

    There is a haunting song named this. It's by U2.

    1. An island penal settlement by any other name will still smell awful lol.

    2. An island penal settlement by any other name will still smell awful lol.