Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May 23 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History

1797 - Margaret Catchpole stole John Cobbold's coach gelding, and rode it seventy miles (113 km) to London in ten hours. She was caught and sentenced to death at Suffolk Summer Assizes. The sentence was commuted to transportation for seven years, but on 25 March 1800 Margaret escaped from Ipswich Gaol using a clothesline to scale the 22-foot (6.7 m) wall. Again her sentence was death, commuted this time to transportation for life.

1827 - Explorer Charles Sturt arrived at Sydney on the Mariner in charge of convicts for New South Wales.

1833 - William Jones was hanged at Sydney for highway robbery on the Liverpool Road.

1833 - Robert Mullins was hanged at Sydney for highway robbery on the Liverpool Road.

1833 - Patrick Nangle was hanged at Sydney for highway robbery on the Liverpool Road.

1854 - William Thoroughgood was hanged at Melbourne Gaol for the rape of seven-year-old Sarah Bishop.

1861 - John Hailey was hanged at Launceston for the murder of William Wilson at Cullenswood.

1861 - John Chapman was hanged at Launceston for assault with intent to murder Daniel Webb at Avoca.

1861 - Patrick Maloney was hanged at Launceston for the murder of Richard Furlong at Evandale.

1865 - James Lynch was hanged at Campbell Street Gaol for rape of his ten-year-old step-daughter Cathy Nichols at Port Sorell.

1870 - Ah Pew was hanged at Castlemaine for the murder of nine-year-old Elizabeth Hunt at Glenluce, near Vaughan.

1883 - Adelaide, deciding they couldn't contain their exotic wildlife to government alone, established the Adelaide Zoo.

1883 - George Ruxbourne was hanged at Armidale for the murder of Jimmy Young at Armidale.

1889 - Louisa Lawson, that formidable mater of the poet Henry Lawson, founded the Dawn Club which became the central hub of woman's suffrage movement in Sydney.

1890 - Ballarat celebrated with Victoria Park Arbor Day planting.

1892 – Frederick Deeming was hanged at Melbourne Gaol having been unsuccessfully defended by the lawyer Alfred Deakin. Deeming was accused of committing a series of crimes on three continents—theft, perjury, fraud, bigamy and murder; he used at least 20 aliases.

1903 - An AFL (not that it was known as AFL at the time but we digress) Premiership match was played in Sydney at the SCG in front of a crowd of 20,000.
Fitzroy (7 goals 20 behinds 62)
Collingwood (6 goals 9 behinds  45)

1927 - Five Melbourne men fronted the beak (judge) in court to be fined for playing billiards on Anzac Day of that same year.

1943 - Vultee Vengeance A27-208 of 12 Squadron RAAF, made a force landing on Dum In Mirrie Island, Port Patterson, after an electrical fire on board. The crew was Sergeant John Sheehan and Sergeant Williams. The aircraft was not recovered.

1960 - Due to the 9.5 earthquake off the coast of Chile the previous day the effects of a tsunami were felt along the coastline of NSW, Vic, SA, WA, QLD and Tassie. Slight to moderate damage to boats in harbours at Evans Head, Newcastle, Sydney and Eden.

1969 - The Ricegrowers' Co-operative Mills Ltd. rice mill at Coleambally was opened.

1969 - Maxwell Newton, journalist, editor, publisher and brothel owner, wrote an ‘exposé’ of the government, pursued Gorton over his private indiscretions and printed confidential Liberal Party advice to Gorton on the timetable and tactics for the planned 1968 election. He also reproduced diplomatic cables between France and Australia. On 23 May 1969 the Commonwealth Police raided his business in Deakin and ransacked his home; they also accessed his bank records. The Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory deemed the search warrant to be invalid, but the raid and other acts of harassment ‘broke him’; they turned Newton into a ‘junky’, his daughter stated, ‘hooked on Mandrax’.

1971 - Queenslander Neville Bonner was chosen by the Liberal Party to fill a casual Senate vacancy, becoming the first Aboriginal member of any Australian parliament.

1972 - The government approved the production of the Nomad aircraft.

1982 - The first Wheelchair Tennis Tournament was held at the Cumberland College of Health Sciences.

1985 - The Sandy Hollow - Gulgong Railway Line (NSW) was thrown open for train-related business.

1989 - An earthquake near Macquarie Island left the coastlines of NSW and Tassie washed and lathered from a tsunami.

1994 – Police arrested Belanglo State Forest serial killer Ivan Milat at his New South Wales home. Milat is later sentenced to life imprisonment.

1995 - The Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, launched Vicnet, the Government's new open-access community computer network, at Melbourne Central.

2000 - The Federal Court determined that native title rights and interests existed over the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, excluding areas of public works as defined in section 253 of the Native Title Act 1993.

2007 - PM John Howard and his Greek counterpart Kostas Karamanlis sealed a deal which concluded a decades-long debate over pensions for one of the world's largest expatriate Greek communities.

2009 - Australia thousands more people in the flood-hit east were told to leave their homes as gale-force winds lashed the coast. Emergency services said up to 20,000 people had been cut off.

2012 - The annual index by Business Review Weekly said Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart (58), has eclipsed Wal-Mart heiress Christy Walton to become the world's wealthiest woman. The index put the mining tycoon's personal fortune at Aus$29.17 billion (US$28.48 billion).

2013 - In Vietnam Nick Vujicic (32), an Australian evangelical preacher, spoke before some 25,000 at a soccer stadium in Hanoi. He was born with a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. His book “Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action" was published in 2012. It was son translated into Vietnamese by Nguyen Bich Lan, who shares Vujicic’s situation of being born with the rare disorder called tetra-amelia syndrome.

2017 - The "Bullet Train for Australia" political party was deregistered.


  1. Margaret Catchpole was a feisty woman. I hope she thrived here. I much prefer the zoo animals to the pollies. Then and now.
    Thank you for yet more fascinating snippets.

  2. Oh, yes, I think Margaret had a peaceful, productive life in Oz.
    I firmly believe they put the fencing up around Parliament House to s-l-o-w-l-y cage the rampaging pollies.

  3. Gee whizz Jane, a few hangings!
    Great read.

    1. They were consistent in their rough justice!

  4. That's an interesting mix of news. Seems as though many folk never learn from past mistakes.

    1. Thanks, Phil!
      No, they seem blind to learning mores the pity.