Carlton In The News

Carlton has always been newsworthy and here are month-by-month snapshots of what was happening locally.








In January 1900, long before the health risks associated with climate change were known, Melbourne welcomed the new year and new century with record temperatures that saw sixteen people die from heat-related illnesses.


The heat of the past five days has played havoc among old people, infants, and invalids, no less than 16 deaths from that cause being reported during the 24 hours prior to last evening's change. The deaths actually attributable to sun-stroke, or, more properly, heat apoplexy, number only three. Post-mortem examinations have yet to be made on the bodies of several of the sufferers, but in nearly all these instances there is little doubt that death was accelerated by the excessively high temperature. The popular term for heat apoplexy – sunstroke – is an incorrect one. The seizure is the result of heat only – the sun's direct rays are not necessarily to blame, as is popularly supposed – and an artificial heat is just as dangerous as a flaming noonday sun, assuming both to register the same degree of temperature. During the recent war between the United States and Spain, the stokers of the former navy were compelled to work occasionally in a temperature of 120 deg., and cases of heat apoplexy were frequent, although the weather was at the time mild and temperate. In fatal cases of heat apoplexy death results from heart failure. The heat of the body is regulated by the medulla of the brain, and the extreme heat acts upon the medulla until it can no longer perform its functions. The venous system becomes instantly engorged, the brain and the membranes of the brain are congested, and the right ventricle of the heart is so distended with venous blood that it can no longer pump it through the lungs. It is practically paralysed, and its action ceases. The lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen are also found congested in fatal cases, and the arterial system is naturally depleted, owing to the congestion of the veins. The use of alcohol heats the system by its own action, and alcoholic excess increases the probability of the patient being exposed to improper heat. Children are more affected by heat than grown persons, because their systems are always more amenable to shock. Aged and infirm people suffer, on the other hand, because their hearts are weaker, and less able to withstand any undue strain.

The Argus, 4 January 1900, p. 7

Amongst the sixteen casualties were two Carlton residents, from different age groups. A bricklayer named James Robinson, aged 65, fell senseless in the street and died later at his home in Princes Street, Carlton. A much younger man, Thomas Johnson, aged 32, collapsed at Freeman's Livery Stables and died in hospital without regaining consciousness.

The death of a man named Thomas Johnson, about 32 years of age, in the Melbourne Hospital last night, has been reported to the City Coroner. The deceased, who resided at Freeman's Livery Stables, Lygon street, Carlton, was taken suddenly ill at 8 o'clock last night, and sent to the hospital in an unconscious condition. Dr Nattrass, who admitted Johnson to the instituton believes that he suffered from heat apoplexy. The man never recovered consciousness, and died an hour and a half after being admitted to the hospital. Mr Candler has instructed Dr Nattrass to make a post-mortem examination.

The Herald, 3 January 1900, p. 2

The heat wave broke on Sunday 7 January 1900, with a dump of rain that lasted for several hours.

The heat wave received its quietus yesterday. The fall in temperature at the end of last week was merely comparative, and on several occasions a return of the hot weather was threatened. Sunday morning opened close and sultry. A stiff north wind blew dust and heat into the city, and there was every indication of a sweltering day. But at about a quarter-past 10 o'clock the wind suddenly subsided, and within a few minutes a blast came up the bay, cool and refreshing as a whiff from an ice-chest. Almost immediately, the gathering clouds commenced to drip, and at half-past 10 o'clock there was a steady shower falling all over Melbourne. In 10 minutes the gutters ran full, and a new element was imported into the storm with the banging of thunder. This waged for half an hour, and ceased as the shower increased almost to a deluge. The rain fell heavily until nearly 1 o'clock, when it suddenly ceased, leaving the air cool, the streets clean, and the dust laid. Between half-past 10 o'clock and 1 o'clock 70 points of rain were registered. This is the heaviest fall of rain that has been recorded for many weeks. On 8th November last 70 points were registered in the course of an hour and a half, but since then there has been no rainfall to approach it. The average fall for the month of January is 1 in. [inch] 85 points, and, including yesterday's record, 90 points, or about half, have fallen up to the present time. The storm evidently came from the south, with a westerly tendency, for it veered round to the south-west after the first half-hour. It was also fairly wide, and spread over a large area, for the reports from the country districts indicate that it passed over nearly the whole colony.

The Argus, 8 January 1900, p. 3

The heavy rain had unexpected consequences at the Melbourne General Cemetery in Carlton and highlighted ongoing problems with drainage.

A. Hamilton, M.L.A., addressed a meeting of his constituents in the Bendigo Town Hall last night. A disgraceful state of affairs is alleged to exist at the Melbourne Cemetery. It appears to be a practice to inter paupers in the northern end of the cemetery and not to fill in the graves until it is filled. On Sunday morning there was a very heavy shower of rain, and this had the effect of filling an open grave, with the result that, the coffin containing a body, which had been buried some days previously, floated and capsized. This disgusting state of affairs (says the Melbourne correspondent of the 'Bendigo Mail') was allowed to exist until some persons who were in the cemetery called the attention of a public officer to the fact. Even then the grave was not properly filled and the floating coffin righted, until between 4 and 5 o'clock in the evening. To add to the disgraceful arrangement, it appears that the drainage in this particular part flows through the greater part of Carlton, and if allowed to continue would prove a menace to the public health.

Mount Alexander Mail, 9 January 1900, p. 2

Melbourne received its first taste of Yan Yean water on New Year's eve of 1857 and Carlton played a crucial role in its delivery. The last leg of the pipeline from the Yan Yean reservoir, north east of Melbourne, to the city ran along Nicholson Street to the Carlton Gardens. The Sewerage and Water Commission's offices were based there and the main valve was opened, with much pomp and ceremony, on 31 December 1857. Melbourne had a world class reticulated water supply that would serve the needs of the growing city well beyond the 19th century. The term "yan yean" became a popular alternative for the word "water". 1

The end result of water consumption, sewage disposal, was another matter altogether. As early as January 1853, the Select Committee on Sewerage of, and Supply of Water to, Melbourne reported: – "The question of Sewerage is altogether dependent on that of Water Supply. Neither of these measures can be effectually carried out independently of the other. To dissociate them, would be injurious to both, and tend to increase, rather than to diminish the present inconveniences of the city." This practical advice went unheeded for decades. In the meantime, sewage was disposed of via open drains in the streets, earth closets, leaking cesspits, illegal dumping of "nightsoil" – a euphemism for toilet waste – in public parks, and waste from noxious industries ended up in the Yarra and Saltwater (Maribyrnong) rivers. The city grew on the back of gold rush wealth, but sewage and industrial waste disposal did not keep pace. "Marvellous Melbourne" had become "Marvellous Smellbourne". Water borne diseases like typhoid and cholera were linked to poor sanitation, particularly in the crowded tenements of the inner city suburbs. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) was established in 1891 and tasked with designing and building an extensive system of pipes and pumping stations to convey sewage from households, businesses and industry to Werribee for disposal. The first domestic connection to the new reticulated sewerage system was made in 1897. 2,3

Carlton played an important part in implementing Melbourne's sewerage system. The North Yarra main sewer, which carried sewage from the north eastern suburbs to Werribee in the west, ran along Reilly (now Princes) Street, the dividing line between Carlton and North Carlton. Tenders for construction of section 8, from the Melbourne General Cemetery to Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, were advertised in October 1898. The contract, valued at £20,647/17/6, was awarded to John Horne and Denis Wadick in November 1898. The work commenced according to specifications supplied by MMBW, but the contractors ran into serious problems with flooding of a section between Lygon and Canning streets, resulting in delays and cost blowouts. In January 1900, The Age newspaper laid the blame at the feet of MMBW, which had allegedly supplied inadequate data about the underlying geology of the area. 4,5


Another instance of bungling on the part of the Metropolitan Board of Works is exhibited in connection with the contract for section 8 of the North Yarra main sewer. This section runs down Reilly-street, North Carlton, from the Cemetery to about 300 yards beyond Brunswick-street, and the contractors for the work were Messrs. Home and Wadick, who took up the job at about £21,000. The work, which is now being carried on by "executors" (both members of the contracting firm having died), comprises laying a main sewer of 6 feet in diameter, at a depth varying from 170 feet to about 50 feet, under the Reilly-street roadway. The contractors took up the work 12 months ago on calculations based on the borings of the Metropolitan Board officials, and provided plant accordingly. They commenced in accordance with the specifications, and kept going at a brisk pace as long as the conditions indicated by the board lasted. But this was not long.

There was nothing in the specifications to indicate that anything unusual was present in the underground workings. Yet the contractors' men had not been many months at work before they suddenly encountered an inrush of water near one of the shafts that resembled an underground river more than anything else. The contract work was proceeding satisfactorily from February of last year to July, when the first inrush of water occurred. This necessitated a stoppage, and the entering into negotiations with the board as to an amendment of the terms of contract. Subsequent work has proved that the board was all out in its data as to the nature of the ground to be passed through. Those data indicated schist at one stage, and bluestone at an adjoining stage, with a little sandy clay at intervals. But there was no indication whatever that a strong body of water, carrying clay as fine as flour, and running as freely as the Yarra at flood time, interspersed the strata. These latter features having developed themselves, the contractors are now struggling with the difficulties consequent on the unexpected discovery.

The board's officials, going along in the leisurely regulation manner, took borings at stated intervals. It does not seem to have struck them that a little variation from the ordinary practice would be required to cope with the special conditions of particular localities. The nature of the "country" in North Carlton is such that any geologist would expect that a "break" having a watery gap might occur in the neighborhood. At the locality where the contract under notice is going on there is a change from brown schist to bluestone, but the likelihood of some irregular formation between, which would have suggested itself to any tyro, never appears to have struck the official mind at all, and consequently the officials made no extra bore, and missed the special geological feature altogether. The borings made were about 1000 feet apart. There is one at a point near Lygon-street in schist, and the next is near Canning-street in bluestone. Between these the contractors have discovered about 600 feet of water end sludge, and have been battling with the consequent difficulty ever since July last.

The serious omission by the board has caused most annoying delay, and given the contractors enormous trouble. To meet the new condition it has been necessary to erect an air-compressing plant, and construct an airlock, as in the case of tunnelling under a river. The shaft and workings connected therewith had to be altered so as to allow of a "shield" being let down for the purposes of the airlock, and there were difficulties also connected with the altered conditions as to pumping and otherwise. The position now is that the contract is still far from finished. The 600 feet of unfinished sewer is practically a new undertaking, which will add a very considerable sum on to the original contract figure – some thousands of pounds. The time for the completion of the contract has not yet expired but will expire at an early date, and it looks as if the residents of Reilly-street will for months to come have to endure, as they have been doing for a year past, the inconvenience of a partially blocked roadway, and all the dirt and annoyance of sewerage operations.

The Age, 20 January 1900, p. 14

In addition to the technical problems both contractors died, in very different circumstances, before completion of the work. Within weeks of the contract being awarded, John Horne was found dead in the murky waters of the Yarra River. He was last seen on the evening of Friday 18 November 1898, reportedly in a state of intoxication at the time, and his body was found four days later. The inquest found that Horne died from drowning, but did not determine whether the death was accidental, or if he had taken his own life.


The death of Mr John Horne, a well-known contractor, formed the subject of an inquest this afternoon, at the Morgue, by the Coroner (Mr C. Candler), and a jury of five. The deceased had been missing from his home, in Heidelberg road, Clifton Hill, since Friday, and his body was found floating in the river Yarra yesterday afternoon.

Joseph Mansom, a laborer, employed at the dredging works on the Yarra, said that he found the body in an eddy of the river near the new cut. Constable Moulton stated that in the pockets of the deceased were a cheque-book, a gold watch and chain, some city tram tickets, and a shilling in silver and coppers. Dr. G. C. Rennie stated that he had made a post-mortem examination of the body. There were no marks of violence upon it. The body had been in the water three or four days, and death was due to drowning. Joel Eade, J.P., said that he last saw the deceased on Friday evening, near the Collingwood Town Hall. The deceased was intoxicated. Witness offered to take him home, but he would not allow him to do so. He was cheerful, and not at all like a man who would lead one to think that he would take his life. George Horne said that the deceased was his brother. Witness last saw him alive at Parkville, at four o'clock on Friday afternoon. He had been drinking, and did not return to his home on that night.

The jury returned a verdict that the deceased was found drowned, and that there was not sufficient evidence to show how he got into the water.

The Herald, 24 November 1898, p. 4

Four months later, in March 1899, Denis Wadick died unexpectedly from blood poisoning. He was buried in Melbourne General Cemetery, not far from the North Yarra sewer main he helped construct. Executors of his estate took over management of the contract, which was completed at additional cost. In October 1900, two years after the contract was first advertised, a sale of plant and equipment took place on the corner of Princes and Station streets. 6


Seldom has such a blank been left in a small community as that which was felt by the townspeople of North Melbourne when it became partially known on Saturday, and fully realised on last Sunday, that our worthy Mayor, Cr. D. Wadick, was no more, having passed away shortly before 4 p.m. on the first named day. If ever a man was cut off in the zenith of his popularity, and at a time when he was looked to by many as the embodiment of generous impulses and a "host in himself," it was in the case of the subject of these remarks. His exit from this world was so unexpected, that the blank seems all the more dreary, and it is not the language of extravagance to say that a gloom has fallen over the town. The Mayor was such a familiar figure "in places where men most do congregate," that fancy almost conjures it up even now that he has passed under the universal law.

Cr. Wadick was a native of Tipperary, Ireland, and came to the colony in the fifties, being quite a youth, and attracted like many others by the gold diggings. He was engaged for some time in the construction of the Mt. Alexander railway to Bendigo, under Messrs. Cornish & Bruce. In 1861 he left for New Zealand in the steamer "Lightning" to try his luck on the Dunstan, Shotover, and the Greenstone diggings. There he was singularly successful, and having returned to Melbourne, soon became known as a railway contractor. He constructed, in partnership with Mr. Graham, the outer circle railway, and in conjunction with the late Mr. Horne, the line from Brighton to Sandringham. The deceased gentleman in 1868 was the lessee of the principal toll gates around the city. Some time before his death Cr. Wadick was engaged in a section of the North Yarra main sewer contract, and was engaged in the second instalment of the section at the time of his death.

North Melbourne Courier and West Melbourne Advertiser, 17 March, 1899, p. 2

1 The Age, 31 December 1857, p. 4
2 The Argus, 17 January 1853, p. 4
3 Museums Victoria
4 The Age, 10 October 1898, p. 3
5 The Argus, 4 November 1898, p. 4
6 The Age, 13 October 1900, p. 2

Related item: Turning on the Waterworks at Carlton Gardens

The Erskine Presbyterian Church was established in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, in the 1860s and by the early 20th century was facing something of a crisis. The Carlton demographic had changed since the early days and church attendance numbers were dropping off. In January 1903 the Presbytery of Melbourne North met to consider amalgamating some of churches in the area. The nearest Presbyterian church was St Andrews, two blocks south on the corner of Rathdowne and Queensberry streets.


At the meeting of the Presbytery of Melbourne North this afternoon, the commission which visited the Erskine Church, Carlton, submitted the following report:– The Commission would call the earnest attention of the Presbytery to the peculiar position occupied by the Congregation, and the special difficulties it has to contend with. We found in Erskine Church a united, loyal, earnest and liberal people. But we also found a small congregation struggling to maintain ordinances, burdened with a load of debt greater than it can bear. The relations between minister and people are most harmonious, and together they are carrying on a work that says much for their courage, hope, and faith. Some of the reasons for their present position are:–

1. The small number of Presbyterians now in the district, in proportion to the population.
2. That a considerable proportion of the population is made up of aliens, Jews, and Roman Catholics, and those who can only be reached by special mission methods.
3. That there is a considerable boarding-house population, which is not easily brought into church connection.
4. The confined area in which the church has got to work, taken in conjunction with the fact that there are five other Presbyterian churches within a mile of Erskine church.

The courage and zeal of the minister and people in doing the work they have done through all these years, under, such circumstances, is beyond all praise. It is not within the province of the Commission to go further than to state the facts, as it found them, and leave it to the Presbytery to take them into its serious consideration, and then to act as in its wisdom it may deem best. On this subject, the Rev. J. T. Robertson submitted the following motion:–

Whereas it is commonly felt that the resources of the church available for carrying on the work of God in Carlton and its immediate neighborhood might be more effectively employed by a re-arrangement of the existing congregations and their parishes; and whereas four churches in that district being now vacant, an opportunity is offered, in the Providence of God, of considering the whole circumstances, the Presbytery appoint a committee to confer with the elders and mangers of the churches concerned, with the view of forming some judgment as to the desirability of uniting two or more of them, or in any other way re-arranging their corporate life so as to employ the resources of the church in the best way for the best interests of the kingdom of God.

He strongly supported the appointment of a committee to consider the question of amalgamating the churches in Carlton. After a lengthy discussion it was decided to appoint a committee.

The Herald, 13 January, 1903, p. 4

The United Presbyterian Church of Victoria was formed in Melbourne in January 1850, and initially the congregation met at St Patrick's Hall in Bourke Street. The Erskine Church, named after one of the founders of the secession movement in Scotland, was opened in April 1858 at a new church building in Lonsdale Street. This church was closed in June 1861, in anticipation of another church being built in the rapidly growing residential area of Carlton. In the interim, services were held at Trades Hall in Lygon Street. The crown grant of an acre of land, on the south west corner of Rathdowne and Grattan streets, was gazetted in February 1862. The church, described as "a plain, unpretending brick structure", was opened for worship in April 1862.1,2,3

Within a decade, the State Aid to Religion Abolition Act (391/1871) enabled established churches to raise revenue from the sale of pre-existing crown land grants. Under section 3 of the Act: "Denominations may dispose of trust lands granted by the Crown and apply proceeds to denominational purposes". For the Erskine Church, this afforded the opportunity to build a bigger and better place of worship, albeit on a smaller block of land. The foundation stone was laid in July 1874 and the church, designed by Crouch & Wilson, opened for worship in February 1875. A large two storey house, also designed by Crouch & Wilson, was built in Rathdowne Street in 1881, followed by a Sunday school building, facing Grattan Street, in 1889. The magnificent church spire, which would have marked the highest point in the area, later became unstable and had to be demolished in 1925, though the imposing tower was retained. 4,5,6,7

The design for this church, prepared by Messrs. Crouch and Wilson, architects, 46 Elizabeth-street, is gothic, in the early decorative style, and is being erected of best bluestone, in what is technically known as random encoursed work, relieved with dressings of white bricks and pressed cement. The drawing shows a church measuring 81ft. by 44ft. 4in. within the walls, the work at present in hand measuring 59ft. 2in. by the whole width. The back is closed in with [a] temporary end, a spacious vestry, and two small porches. The principal elevation is to Rathdowne-street, and faces Carlton-gardens and Fitzroy. Its leading features will be the tower and spire rising a height of 130ft, above the level of the ground. The spire is to be covered with ornamental slates, and to be surmounted with an ornamental vane. It is supposed that at some future time an end gallery may be erected, the lights having been arranged to allow of this. Between the entrances are four small lancet headed windows, with cusps. The gable and finial above the same rise to the height of 60ft. The floor of the church is slightly sloping, to give the congregation greater facilities for seeing and hearing. All the windows are to be glazed with cathedral glass with coloured margins.

The roof is framed in one span, with hammer beams, the ends of which are carried by cast-iron columns 22ft. 6in. high, with moulded bases and foliated caps. These will be finished in imitation of bronze metal. The ceiling is flat in the centre or nave, and is 33ft from the floor. The ridge is surmounted with ornamental ridging of galvanised iron. The seats, which are all of cedar, and French polished, are to be arranged on a circular plan which, with the sloping floor, will be agreeable to both speaker and hearers. Ample provision has been made for ventilation for, besides every window having its hopper, two rows of cast iron gratings are to be placed down each passage to admit a current of fresh air from under the floor. There are large ventilators in the ceiling and roof, all of them so arranged as to prevent down draught. The means of egress will be ample. The external doors are made to slide, and the internal doors all open outwards so that in case of any rush from sudden alarm, there will be nothing to hinder escape. Provision has been made to light the church at night by means of two ornamental sunlights. The contractor for the works is Mr. R. Roberts, of Footscray and Richmond. The contract price is £3,250. The works, according to contract, are to be completed by the 13th September, under penalty of £10 per week.

The Argus, 7 July 1874, p. 6

The Erskine Church celebrated its centenary in 1950, paying homage to its antecedent, the United Presbyterian Church of Victoria. During the 1950s and 1960s the Carlton demographic was changing, with an influx of post-World War 2 migration from Europe. In June 1951 the Rev. M. W. J. Geursen of the Netherlands Reformed Church, a member of the International Presbyterian Church Alliance, arrived in Melbourne to minister to Dutch migrants. Rev. Geursen was awarded the decoration of Chevalier in the Order of Orange-Nassau by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in 1956 for service to the Dutch community. By the early 1960s, the Erskine Church was once again facing a crisis, with a dwindling congregation and increasing costs involved in maintaining the 1870s church building. The building was leased to the Greek Orthodox Church for the remainder of the decade and demolished – by Melbourne icon Whelan the Wrecker – in 1971.8,9,10,11,12

Notes and references:
1 Erskine Presbyterian Church, Centenary 1850-1950, p. 4
2 Victoria Government Gazette, 15 February 1862, p. 311
3 The Argus, 24 March 1862, p. 5
4 Victoria. State Aid to Religion Abolition Act (391/1871)
5 The Age, 17 February 1875, p. 2
6 Australian Architectural Index
7 Erskine Presbyterian Church, Centenary 1850-1950, p. 7
8 The Argus, 9 June 1951, p. 3
9 The Argus, 28 April 1956, p. 8
10 Demolition Permit D3373, 20 September 1971 (VPRS 17292)
11 Public Building Files (VPRS 7882/P1/546)
12 Graeme Butler's photos of the Erskine Church during demolition can be viewed at:

Related items:
The Rev. James Ballantyne and his family were temporarily accommodated in a house in Grattan Street while the new Erskine Church and manse were being built. A serious gas explosion in September 1874 caused extensive damage to the house.

An institute for young men was opened by the Erskine Presbyterian Church in a delicensed hotel in Barkly street, Carlton, in 1917.

In January 1904, the St Joseph's Receiving Home at 166 Barkly Street, Carlton, started the year carrying a heavy burden of debt. The Receiving Home for expectant mothers was established by charity and welfare worker Margaret Goldspink in 1902. The Home moved to larger premises at 101 Grattan Street, Carlton, in 1906 and remained there until 1985.

St. Joseph's Receiving Home,
Barkly street, Carlton.
To the Editor of the "Advocate."
Dear Sir,– Permit me to direct the attention of your generous-hearted leaders to the claims of the St. Joseph's Receiving Home on their support and assistance. At present, owing to the very limited help afforded to it, the home is heavily in debt, and yet from every parish in the diocese, and many out of it, Mrs. Goldspink is asked daily to provide accommodation for the two helpless classes it is designed to succour – helpless children who are in danger of losing their faith, and young girls in extremity, who but for the home would be cast on the world. On behalf of the children, the St. Vincent de Paul Society contributes about £70 a year ; on behalf of the home generally, the public, and particularly the Catholic public, have contributed very sparingly – at least, those parishes which have made use of the home so freely, and have contributed nothing to its support, might now, in its extremity, organise a collection for its assistance, if it is desirable to retain the home. Without substantial help the home must be abandoned. But for the generosity of His Grace the Archbishop, Sir Rupert Clarke, and a few others, it would not have existed so long ; but it is unfair and ungenerous to throw a burden upon a few, that might to be the care of the community at large. Trusting this appeal will meet with a generous response.– I am, yours faithfully,
President Society St. Vincent de Paul.

Advocate, 2 January 1904, p. 10

But it was not all doom and gloom in the month of January. A ray of sunlight shone when a little boy received a special visitor at his home in North Carlton.

The mistakes made by children are nearly always a fruitful source of amusement, and without them to move us to laughter sometimes life would lose much of its savour. In one made by the youthful scion of a family who had just taken up their residence in North Carlton, there was the germ of a very beautiful idea. As the minister of the parish was always the first to welcome new-comers to his parish, the family were not long in taking their place in the church, and, on the first Sunday there, took the youngest boy with them. Like most children, he was much attracted by the minister's surplice. Some days after this gentleman went to pay a visit, and the door was opened by the little boy, who ran to his mother, crying, "Oh, mother! Here's Jesus coming, but he hasn't got his white robes on". As the minister was a very earnest, humble-minded Christian, the impression he had made on the little boy was like manna in the wilderness of deadening and depressing influences that sometimes beget something very like despair in the heart of the earnest worker for Christ.

Fitzroy City Press, 15 January 1904, p. 3

Storms and flash flooding are not uncommon in the summer months. Some of us will recall the sudden downpour in February 1972, when shops were flooded and cars submerged in Bourke Street in the heart of the city. In January 1907 a Carlton-bound cable tram was stranded in flood waters in Chapel Street, South Yarra, miles away from its destination suburb. Passengers had to leave the tram and wade through the water to make their way to higher ground. Even when the flood waters subsided, the tram service would not have been restored immediately. The stormwater from overflowing drains carried all sorts of debris and this would have to be cleaned out of the slot that carried the cable, which moved the tram.

The St Kilda (Brighton Road) to Carlton tram route travelled along Chapel Street, Toorak Road, Park Street, Domain Road, St Kilda Road and Madeline (Swanston) Street. The line was closed in 1925.


One of the sudden downpours of rain which occasionally fall in Melbourne occurred yesterday afternoon, when nearly an inch of rain fell in the course of three-quarters of an hour, and caused a flood for an hour or two in certain localities. During the early part of the day, the sky had been clouded over, but there was nothing to indicate a storm of such intensity as that which followed. At about half-past 1 o'clock residents of South Yarra, South Melbourne, Prahran, and St. Kilda noticed a few drops of rain. Still, it appeared unlikely that there would be anything exceptional, until with startling suddenness at about 10 minutes to 1 o'clock, one of the heaviest downpours within the memory of residents burst upon those suburbs. A strange feature of the storm was that it was practically confined to an area of about three miles square. The city was but little affected, though at a spot as close as the Observatory 86 points of rain were recorded in three-quarters of an hour. Thunder and lightning accompanied the downpour, which was cyclonic in character, the rain driving heavily from all points of the compass as the cyclone passed. It was in South Yarra and Prahran that the rain fell heaviest. Within a few minutes after it commenced, the low-lying portions of Toorak-road and practically the whole length of Chapel-street were under water

Chapel-street itself suggested Venice. Within five minutes after the storm commenced there was an unbroken sheet of water from kerb to kerb. In another five minutes the footpaths were submerged, and shop-keepers were leading the strenuous life building dams at their front doors. Happily the water ceased to rise just as it reached a point level with the top of most of the door-steps. In a few instances the flood encroached into the shops, but any damage done in this manner was comparatively insignificant. More serious was that caused by water forcing its way through the roofs. In several of the large drapery establishments severe losses were sustained by delicate summer fabrics being literally wet through. In one shop the male employes attired themselves in oilskins taken out of stock, and as they worked like ants to convey their goods to a place of safety they looked like so many storm-bound mariners working in the hold to save their ship. As for the lady attendants, many of them were unable to reach their shops until a hour or more after their statutory dinner-time had elapsed. Chapel-street was in such a condition that the passengers on the tramcars were compelled to stand on the seats to keep dry, and it was only in those places where the female shop assistants were able to prevail upon susceptible drivers of vehicles that they succeeded in crossing the street.

The Argus, 26 January 1907, p. 19

Decades later, and closer to home, Nicholson Street in Carlton and Fitzroy was subject to flash flooding. In November 1954, The Herald newspaper reported that flood waters were lapping at the entrance of the Adelphi Theatre (later San Remo Ballroom) in North Carlton and a few months later, in February 1955, another downpour hit the city and flooded Nicholson Street. Yarra Libraries has a photo, taken by Tom Farnan, showing Nicholson Street in flood, looking north from Cecil Street, Fitzroy:

The photo shows the intersection of Nicholson and Princes streets, with a shop on the north west corner and the roof of the Adelphi Theatre just visible in the distance. There's a city-bound bus making its way through the flood waters, indicating that the photo was taken before April 1956, when trams were re-introduced in Nicholson Street. The corner shop and its neighbour were later demolished to make way for road widening to accommodate traffic entering the eastern freeway. The low-lying intersection is still subject to flash flooding, though not to the same extent as it was in the 1950s.

Young men can do silly things when they're in love and this was the case in January 1909, when Joseph Abraham Cane went to visit his "lady friend" in Clifton Hill.


Joseph Abraham Cane is 21 years of age, a grocer's assistant, and lives at Rathdowne street North Carlton. He is acquainted with a young lady, whom he visits at her home in Clifton Hill at more or less regular intervals, and according to the story he told the Clifton Hill police yesterday his troubles are caused while he is walking to Clifton Hill by a person claiming to be his father. Cane declares that the stranger meets him about once in each quarter. He comes up to him with his claim of paternity, and asks for what he calls his "papers of birth". His usual reply is, in regard to the first matter, non committal, in regard to the second – well, a man does not usually carry his papers of birth around with him. So this casual father proceeds to chastise his alleged son. The alleged son returns the compliment but, from the statement at the police station at Clifton Hill the stranger usually prevails. Though annoyed Cane was not sure at first of the stranger's right to inflict punishment, so he bore it but he did not like it.

On Tuesday evening Cane was going to Clifton Hill to see his young lady. On the way he was reading a book. It was a little towards dusk and he had to push his face closely into the page. His concentration prevented him from observing the approach of his alleged parent. The first thing he knew of it was a blow on the side of the head and the familiar request for the "papers of birth". He fell, but, getting up again, struck his assailant, who knocked him down again. When he got up the second time the older man offered him a drink from a bottle of sarsaparilla. He drank, and went on his way. When he arrived at the home of his young lady friend he was attacked with severe internal pains and the young lady's mother sent for Dr Bradford who applied remedies. The contents of the stomach were kept for analysis and are now at the Clifton Hill station with the report.

Cane, when making his statement to the police seemed to have recovered except that he appeared a little dazed. The Clifton Hill police telephoned in to the Criminal Investigation Branch, and Detective Bannon was told to inquire into the matter As a result of his inquiries, the police will take no further steps.

The Argus, 21 January 1909, p. 4

After questioning overnight by Detective Bannon, the truth came out. Joseph Cane had not been poisoned by a man claiming to be his father and he had made up the whole incident. No charges were laid, but the police would have been within their rights to nab Joseph for wasting police time. Perhaps Detective Bannon was once a young man in love.


The young man, Joseph A. Cane, who told the Clifton Hill police a strange story last night about a father, a fight and a bottle of poisoned sarsaparilla, confessed yesterday morning to Detective Bannon that the tale of poisoning was untrue. "It was the fault of a lovers' quarrel," he said in a signed statement. "He did not give me anything to drink. The pains were due to the fall on the ground and my becoming stupid and dizzy. I was very jealous of the girl and I am to this day ; and I would not let her speak to anybody in the street, for I became jealous."

The Argus, 22 January 1909, p. 9

Joseph's "lady friend" was not named in newspaper reports of the poisoning incident, but later that year he married Violet Freeman. A decade later, in 1919, he was charged with bigamy for marrying another woman while his wife Violet was still living.

More information on Joseph Abraham Cane.

As the proprietor of a laundry business, Lu Kett was accustomed to finding stray items mixed in with the washing. However, an unexpected discovery in January 1913 sent him into a state of panic and a hasty trip to the Carlton police station.


There was at least one Chinese in Melbourne yesterday afternoon whose face was illumined by smiles of satisfaction as the result of a hoax he successfully perpetrated on a fellow countryman. Early in the afternoon the Chinese in question stopped his cart in in front of the laundry of Lu Kett, in Lygon-street Carlton. Jumping out of the cart he picked up a lady's dress basket containing something bulky and heavy and dropped it inside the laundry, with the request to be allowed to leave it there for a little while. Lu Kett consented, and when the other Chinese had driven away curiosity prompted the laundry keeper to peep inside the basket. The discovery he thought he made caused quite a commotion for the next few minutes. In the basket were 116 tins of what appeared to be opium. Believing that it was the genuine prohibited drug, worth at least £500, Lu Kett grasped the basket in both hands, and ran to the Carlton police station. His excitement attracted the attention of many people en route. Without knocking he rushed into the lockup and dropped the basket on the floor. The exertion and excitement had momentarily robbed him of his speech, and it was some time before the sergeant in charge could ascertain the cause of his appearance with the basket. Inspector Gleeson, of the Customs department, was sent for and opening one of the tins he became suspicions. The "opium" had the smell of raspberry juice, and when a Chinese, who is regarded as an inveterate opium-smoker was asked by Inspector Gleeson to "taste" it by burning a small quantity on a knife he sniffed disdainfully and exclaimed. "All em same rubbish." The "opium" is supposed to be a concoction of many mixtures, and to ascertain its component parts Inspector Gleeson is submitting it to an analyst before taking further action.

The Argus, 21 January 1913, p. 6

Subsequent analysis showed that some of the tins contained traces of opium ash, but the quantity was minimal, thus rendering the estimated street value of £500 worthless.


The Government Analyst (Mr C.A.E. Price) yesterday made an analysis of the contents of the tins which were left at the laundry of Lu Kett in Lygon street, Carlton, by a Chinese on Monday afternoon, and which were at first thought to contain opium. Mr Price found that some of the tins responded more readily to the tests applied than others. In view of this fact, he is inclined to believe than the substance in some of the tins includes small particles of opium ash. This opinion seems to strengthen the supposition that the whole affair was a practical joke, as the material in the tins is valueless.

The Argus, 22 January 1913, p. 6

Christmas is traditionally a time of good will, but this was not the experience of Constable J. Allison, who was attacked by hooligans while attempting to make an arrest in Madeline (Swanston) Street on Christmas Day in 1916. The case was heard two weeks later in Carlton Court in January 1917 and resulted in fines for two of the hooligans, who claimed to have no memory of the incident.


"As a result of a disturbance in Madeline street, Carlton, on Christmas Day, in the course of which Constable J. Allison had his face so severely injured that he had to go to the Police Hospital, two men appeared before Messrs R. S. Callender and J. Love, J.'s P., at the Carlton Court on January 9. James Seymour, 24, tinsmith, was fined 20/, in default seven days' imprisonment, for offensive behavior ; £15, in default four months' imprisonment, for having thrown a missile; and £10, in default three months, for having resisted arrest. William James Pearson, 20, laborer, was fined £10, in default three months' imprisonment, for having assaulted Constable Allison. Constable Allison stated that on the evening of Christmas Day about 15 or 20 men were creating a disturbance in Madeline street. They had charge of the footpath. Some of them had bottles In their pockets. He ordered them to move away, and they went into Canada lane. Seymour was very offensive, and threw a bottle at witness. On being caught, he resisted, and witness had to throw him twice. While they were struggling, Pearson struck witness on the face, causing a severe injury. Witness's prisoner got away. Seymour and Pearson both said, on oath, that they did not remember anything about the affair."

The Weekly Times, 13 January 1917, p. 39

The opportunistic young thief who appeared in Carlton Court in January 1918 was not named, so we are unable to ascertain whether he graduated to a life of adult crime. Given his enterprise, it is also within the realm of possibility that he went on to be successful in business or politics.


How leniency toward a boy with criminal instincts may encourage him to continue his career of wrong-doing was shown in connection with a case that came before the Carlton Children's Court recently. The boy, 15 years of age, was presented on charges of larceny. The boy, who admitted three previous convictions for housebreaking, was committed to the care of the Neglected Children's department. While Plain-clothes Constable T. Birch was making inquiries at the shop of a Lygon-street pawnbroker concerning a stolen skirt, he observed a boy who was about to pawn a skirt belonging to his mother. The pawnbroker informed the constable that the boy had pawned the stolen skirt a few days before. 'I never did,' exclaimed the boy. 'Well, you come along to the watchhouse,' replied Constable Birch. The boy, clad only in a cotton shirt and knickerbockers, accompanied the policeman to the watchhouse, where Constable Birch found a diamond ring in his pocket. 'Where did you get this?' demanded the constable. 'Well,' said the boy, 'I may as well own up. I got it at the pawnbroker's.' Another visit was paid to the pawnshop, where the attendant identified the ring as the pawnbroker's property. After the boy had been dealt with, Constable Birch remarked to him, 'If you continue on in this way you will find yourself in Pentridge.' 'Oh,' exclaimed the boy, contemptuously, 'I have two years to go before they would put me there.'

The Herald, 12 January 1918, p. 6

Shortly before dawn on the last day of the year, Saturday 31 December 1921, Henry David Errington left his home in Cardigan Street, Carlton, and headed towards the city. Mr Errington was a bottle collector and the city's alleyways were often good sources of discarded bottles. On this occasion, Errington was accompanied by his young daughter and this would have made his early morning discovery even more distressing. In a laneway off Gun Alley, near Little Collins Street, he found the naked body of a girl lying across a drain. The girl was identified as Alma Tirtschke, a twelve year old who had gone missing while on an errand in the city the previous afternoon. Her rape and murder by strangulation shocked the citizens of Melbourne and there was much speculation about who could have committed such a vile act. A Collins Street specialist, a medical doctor who had also studied criminology, gave his opinion in a case of racial profiling.

"… One may fairly expect that either a Chinese or an Indian is concerned, in this mystery. Of the two, speaking quite impersonally, the circumstances suggest to me the work of an Indian. The use of the cord is by no means uncommon among the thugs and desperadoes of India and, in fact, it may be said to be one of their customary methods. Indians are fertile in expedients also, and the manner in which the crime has been carried out suggests great cunning. It looks as if the intention was to deposit the body in the sewer, and in that case it seems that the crime might well have never been discovered and the mystery of the girl's disappearance never solved. It appears that the miscreants were disturbed before they could put their idea into practice. The fact that the post mortem suggests that more than one person concerned in the outrage also supports my supposition that Orientals were concerned, as it is hard to imagine white men sharing in such a vile business. By the offer of silks, sweets or a dress it might be possible for Indians to decoy away the innocent little child, and there are many rooms in the locality where anything could be done without fear of interruption …"

The Herald, 4 January 1922, p. 5

The following day, solicitor Marshall Lyle disputed the doctor's claim and pointed out that: "If a little white girl had been in the street with a Hindu or a Chinese, as had been suggested, the pair must have been noticed". Carlton resident Said Jeelani Shah wrote a letter to the editor of The Herald, in defence of his fellow countrymen against the doctor's unsubstantiated allegations.

Indian Protest
Honest and Law Abiding

Sir – On behalf of the Indian population of Victoria, I would like you to publish our emphatic protest against the report published in your issue of January 4 of the opinion of a Collins street medical man regarding the murder of the girl, Alma Tirtschke. I desire to point out that, as far as I know, in Victoria there has not been one instance of the murder of a child under similar revolting circumstances by an Indian. Indeed, as far as my recollection goes, there have been only two cases of murder by Indians in Victorian annals, in one case there was a murder of one Indian by a fellow countryman, and in the other case the Indian concerned was adjudged insane and was removed to a lunatic asylum. There are between 200 and 300 Indians in Victoria, and I think that their record as honest and law-abiding citizens will compare favorably with those of other races in this State, and our countrymen have endeavored to act decently, and in a straightforward manner with the people of this State. � Yours, etc.

19 Rathdown Street, Carlton.
January 5, 1922.

The Herald, 6 January 1922, p. 7

Note: One of the murders cited by Mr Shah took place in late 1890. Fatta Chand was found guilty of murdering fellow countryman Juggo Mull and executed by "Hangman Jones" in April 1891.

Within two weeks, police had made an arrest. Colin Ross, former licensee of a wine saloon in Eastern Arcade, was charged with the rape and murder of Alma Tirtschke. Eastern Arcade, which ran between Bourke and Little Collins streets, had a bad reputation and in the days following the murder there were calls to have the whole place closed down. Alma was seen by a witness in the vicinity of Eastern Arcade on the afternoon of her disappearance and it was alleged that Ross had enticed her into his wine saloon and committed the act in an alcove off the bar. He was found guilty on the basis of an alleged confession and the circumstantial evidence of hairs found on a blanket in his possession. Colin Ross, who maintained his innocence to the end, was executed in April 1922. Decades later, forensic examination of the hair samples established that the red-gold strands from the blanket were not from the same person as those collected post mortem from Alma Tirtschke. Colin Ross was posthumously pardoned in 2008, though this would be of little comfort to his family.1,2

Another Carlton resident, Julia Gibson (née Glushkova), played a crucial role in the Colin Ross trial. Mrs Gibson, also known as Madame Ghurka, had a phrenology practice in Eastern Arcade and she knew Colin Ross by reputation. She had also acquired her own reputation for questionable practices. An investigation by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department (NAA: B741 V/74) described her as "… a very cunning and unscrupulous woman, and does not associate with neighbours in the [Eastern] Arcade, and is of a very secretive nature". This makes it all the more surprising that her residence at 25 Rathdowne Street, a large three-storey building, was used as a "safe house" for witnesses during the trial. Witnesses were accommodated there to ensure that they could not be unduly influenced by media reports or approached by persons with a vested interest in the case. The house was just north of Mr Shah's residence at 19 Rathdowne Street, and a few blocks away from Henry Errington in Cardigan Street. Three very different Carlton people – a bottle collector, an Indian national and a Russian phrenologist – were all linked by the Gun Alley tragedy. 3,4

Notes and References:
1 The murder of Alma Tirtschke and subsequent trial of Colin Ross were widely reported in newspapers from January to April 1922.
2 The re-examination of forensic evidence, which eventually lead to the posthumous pardon of Colin Ross, is detailed in Kevin Morgan's book "Gun Alley : murder, lies and the failure of justice", Hardie Grant Books, 2012.
3 Phrenology is the study of a person's skull to determine their mental and personality traits.
4 Julia Gibson, a colorful character, successfully sued the Herald and Weekly Times Ltd for unspecified damages in 1951. The damages claim concerned a newspaper article, published in The Herald on 20 September 1949, which implied that Madame Ghurka operated a disreputable apartment and boarding house in Rathdowne Street in the 1920s. Julia Gibson died at her son's house in Curtain Street, North Carlton, in 1953.

In his book "Turkey Lolly Man", published in 1948, Lionel Welsh celebrates the delicious spun sugar confection "turkey lolly" and the hawkers who sold it. Variously described as "dark skinned", "coloured", "Afghans" or "Hindoos", the turkey lolly men hailed mainly from the Indian subcontinent and were well known by their cries of "Turkey Lolly, Good for Polly, Makem Baby Fat!" In January 1947, North Carlton residents farewelled their local turkey lolly man, Ameer Shah, as he returned to his homeland of India.


Three Carlton children farewelled the 79-year-old Carlton "turkey lolly man," Ameer Shah, sailing for India late yesterday with the secret of how to make the sweet. He left in the steamer Masula from Prince's Pier. "We'll never taste it again," said Kevin Dorset, 12. "It was really good." exclaimed nine-year-old Terry Lewis. "Mmmmm," sighed thirteen-year-old Jean Phillips, "it's like fairy floss, only better." Ameer Shah smiled sadly and said, "No one here can make it, I must take the secret back with me." Butter and sugar was the only part of the recipe Ameer Shah would release, and he smiled blandly when questioned further. A group of Australians from Lee Street, North Carlton, where Ameer Shah lived for 45 years, crowded round the old man. 1

Ameer Shah said he had come to Australia from India when he was 28 and had been a camel driver in Central Australia. Because he had been a "new chum" when he arrived he had missed a fortune in a gold find in the Centre. He had not known how to separate gold from the earth after finding alluvial samples. Others were quick to take the discovery. He was returning to India to live on a farm with his 95-year-old sister outside Calcutta. "The first thing I will do when I get to sea," said Ameer Shah, "is throw my felt hat away and put on my beautiful black and white silk turban."

The Herald, 25 January 1947, p.8

1 Electoral rolls confirm that Ameer Shah lived at 176 Lee Street in 1943.

Turkey lolly men were not always welcome in Carlton. In July 1890, the head teacher of Faraday Street School (now Kathleen Syme Library & Community Centre) complained to police about the bad behaviour of "foreign vendors of Turkey lolly, ice cream, etc." near the school.


Mr R. Welch, head teacher at State school No. 112, which is situate at Faraday street, Carlton, has written to the local police complaining of the conduct of several foreign vendors of Turkey lolly, ice cream, etc., to a number of the female teachers and elder scholars. It appears that these men are in the habit of congregating near the school gate at about noon, the recreation hour, and whilst the teachers are putting the girls, or rather young women, through their exercises in the school yard, make use of most objectionable remarks and gestures to the scholars. The men have several times been cautioned as to their conduct, but all to no purpose, as they simply defy them. Seeing that advice to these men is of no avail, Mr Welch has been compelled to take action as mentioned. Mr Welch also complains that the Hindoos frequently keep the smaller children out of school after the bell rings for their classes to assemble by offering them sweets, etc., and he is thus put to considerable annoyance. On receiving the letter Sergeant Doyle immediately told an officer to remove the objectionable offenders, and endeavors will be made to punish them if possible.

The Herald, 9 July 1890, p. 1

What would you do if a couple of monkeys walked into your house? This happened to Mr Wilson of Arnold Street, Princes Hill, on a Sunday morning in January 1953. He thought he had the situation under control when he locked the intruders in his bathroom. However, he did not count on the monkeys' agility and ingenuity to extricate themselves from a tricky situation. The monkeys – a mother and son – spent several hours on the run before being re-captured.


Two monkeys, mother and son, embarked on a lively Sunday outing when the opportunity presented itself yesterday morning. And they provided much entertainment for many North Carlton residents who tried to catch them during their eight hours of freedom. The monkeys, owned by Briggs Carnival Caterers, escaped from a house in Arnold-street, North Carlton, where they were staying for the weekend. Soon afterwards they walked into Mr. B. Wilson's house, also in Arnold-street. Mr. Wilson led them into the bathroom and promptly locked the door, but he had forgotten the open window and the monkeys were soon free, again. Learning that social visits could be dangerous they subsequently kept more than a tail's length away from their would-be captors. Prompted, however, by the pangs of hunger, they espied some tempting food in the home of Mrs. W. Cook, of Garton-street, North Carlton. Unfortunately for them, it was in a cage. When the monkeys were safely inside Mrs. Cook pulled a string and their Sunday outing was over.

The Age, 19 January 1953, p. 3

On a warm summer's day in January 1957, a dancing couple broke their own record for non-stop jitterbugging, then got into trouble with the police. But it was all in a good cause to raise money for the Royal Children's Hospital.


Melbourne shoppers stared yesterday as Victorian jitterbug champions of 1955, Ted Mailes, 27, and Eva Bilton, 17, rocked 'n' rolled into town – and won a £5 bet. A friend, Ray Douglas, of North Carlton, had dared them to "hot foot it" to the Esquire Theatre, Bourke street. They accepted the challenge on the condition that the £5 was to be paid to the Royal Children's Hospital. For three miles, from Station st., North Carlton, to the city, Eva, a shoe finisher, of Rae st., Fitzroy, and Ted, a truck driver, of Station st., North Carlton, rocked 'n' rolled as the picture above shows. A panel van playing records through an amplifier followed them.

As they danced bare-headed in the burning midday sun, friends who followed offered them refreshments. But Ted and Eva shook their heads and called, "We're fit, fit, fit – sweet, sweet, sweet." Skirt whirling around her ears, Eva gurgled with glee as Ted swung her over his shoulder as they approached Lygon st. But at the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale sts., a block before their destination, they were "booked" by a policeman for "obstructing the traffic." Ted and Eva still won their bet and broke their jitterbug record – they jitterbugged for one-and-a-quarter hours non-stop.

The Argus, 11 January 1957, p. 5

Jitterbug dancing originated in the United States in the 1930s and its popularity spread with the deployment of American service personnel to Europe, Asia and the Pacific during World War 2. By the 1950s, the dance craze was in full swing, so to speak, though its sometimes frenetic movements and acrobatic stunts were frowned upon by moral guardians at the time. Then again, the waltz was considered scandalous when it was first introduced to polite society, and it went on to become the mainstay of modern ballroom dancing.


When Frank Davidson appeared in court in February 1899 to answer a charge of adulteration of milk, he blew the whistle on questionable practices in the retail dairy trade. Davidson denied adding water to the milk and claimed to be acting under the instructions of his employer, Frederick Morgan of Carlton, in supplying inferior quality "cold milk" to the poorer customers.


Frank Davidson, a carter in the employ of F. B. Morgan, a retail dairyman, of Faraday street, Carlton, was charged at the Fitzroy Court yesterday with selling adulterated milk. Mr. W.S. Fergie appeared for the defence. Evidence was given by detectives that they had seen Davidson pouring liquid into one of his cans.

Frederick Dunn, public analyst, stated that on January 9 he received four samples of milk obtained from Davidson and Morgan. One of the samples obtained from Davidson contained at least 11 per cent. of added water. The second sample obtained from Davidson was of standard quality. Both of the samples supplied by Morgan contained a large proportion of cream, and were consequently above the standard quality. In his opinion these samples had been specially prepared, either by mixing cream with ordinary fresh milk or skimming off the top of standing milk.

The defendant Frank Davidson deposed that he had been five years in the employ of Morgan. His employer had instructed him to supply what was called the cold milk, which was either stale or scalded watered milk or skim milk, to poor customers and those who wouldn't grumble, and the good milk, which was kept in a different can, to good customers, and those who were particular about the quality of the milk. The cold milk was frequently spoken about by the drivers at meal times.

To Inspector Eassie – When asked by the detectives about putting water into the can he said that he had put back milk into the can. He did not like to tell them that the can contained cold milk. All the drivers in Morgan's employ carried cold milk in the right-hand can. Robert Hunt, a carter in the employ of Morgan, deposed that cold milk was stale or skim milk. Morgan had instructed him to supply cold milk, which was always in the right-hand can, to customers who were not particular, and the fresh milk in the left-hand can to the best customers. Three other drivers in the employ of Morgan gave corroborative evidence.

Mr. Fergie asked the Bench to withhold their decision until the hearing of a similar case against Morgan. The Bench postponed the case for a week on the payment of £1/8/ costs.

Davidson was then fined £2 and £1/4/6 costs, and was granted a month's grace to enable him to recover the fine and costs from Morgan.

The Argus, 22 February 1899, p. 7

Davidson's employer, Frederick Benjamin Morgan, had his day in court a week later on 28 February 1899. He put the allegation of milk adulteration back onto his employee, who he believed was stealing milk and making up the volume with water. Morgan was found guilty of a technical breach of the Health Act and was fined 20 shillings, with £1, 19 shillings and 6 pence costs. He went on to record several other milk adulteration convictions between 1899 and 1915. Morgan's dairy was at 43 Faraday Street, Carlton, and he lived in a bluestone house at 36 Murchison Street, backing onto the dairy. He died in February 1917, aged 57 years.


At the Fitzroy Court on Tuesday, before Messrs. Tait and Woodhead, J.P.'s, Frederick B. Morgan, retail dairyman, of Faraday-street, Carlton, was proceeded against for selling adulterated milk. The evidence for the prosecution was similar to that in the case brought on February 21 against Frank Davidson, one of defendant's drivers, who was fined £2 for selling milk adulterated with water.

For the defence Mr. Forlonge called Peter Roberts, the defendant's manager, who deposed that what was known in the trade as "cold milk" was made in the following manner. The fresh milk brought back to the dairy by the drivers was heated up to 160 deg. Fahrenheit, and then placed in a cooler, and constantly stirred until the milk was reduced to the temperature of the water. That milk was richer than the ordinary milk. During the whole time he had been with the defendant neither of them had ever added water to the milk.

Frederick B. Morgan, the defendant deposed that on February 8 he met Inspector Eassie and Detective Wilson in Bourke-street. Inspector Eassie told witness that he suspected Davidson was stealing his milk and putting water back to replace the milk taken. Inspector Eassie instructed him to take a sample of milk from each of the cans in Davidson's cart on the following morning before Davidson started out on his round from the dairy. Witness did so, and later handed them to Inspector Eassie.

The Bench held that the defendant was guilty of a technical breach of the act, and imposed a fine of 20/, with £1/19/6 costs.

The Argus, 1 March 1899, p. 3.

Related Item: Dairies and Milk Distribution in Carlton

Prosecutions for Sunday trading were common in the early 1900s, but a case heard by the Carlton Court in February 1900 was the first of its kind. The commodity traded was not alcohol, or any other beverage. It was ice cream, sold by a vendor to children in University Street, Carlton, shortly after 11 o'clock on a Sunday morning. The temperature recorded around the time of the alleged offence was 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit (37.05 degrees Celsius) in the shade, so the ice cream vendor would have done a roaring trade if he had not been apprehended by Constable Robartson.

Charles Goldspink, Justice of the Peace and a member of the Bench, lived in Rathdowne Street, near University Street where the alleged breach of Sunday trading took place. He was known to be lenient in low-level cases and he may have recommended the nominal fine of 2 shillings and sixpence imposed on the ice cream vendor.


Section 31 of the Police Offences Act provides that the police "shall not permit any house, shop, store or 'other place' to be open for the purpose of trade or dealing" and the section was depended on in a prosecution in the Carlton Court to-day when Edward Johnston was proceeded against for selling ice cream during prohibited hours. According to the evidence of Constable Robartson, the informant in the case, the defendant was selling ice cream in University street at 10 minutes past 11 o'clock on the morning of the 28th January. The defendant, who appeared in person, admitted the sales as stated, and urged that he was unaware he was breaking the law. The Bench, which consisted of Messrs H. Edwards, D. Clyne and C. Goldspink, J's.P., decided as the case was the first of the kind that had come before the court to impose a merely nominal fine, and fixed the penalty at 2s 6d. There were several solicitors seated at the table, and much doubt was expressed as to whether the section could be properly applied to the sale of ice cream from a cart on the ground that it could hardly be said to be a "place open for trade or dealing."

The Herald, 7 February 1900, p. 1.

That was not the end of the matter of Sunday trading. A correspondent to the Geelong Advertiser objected to fruit being sold by Italian shopkeepers on the Sabbath.


SIR.–I was much struck with a police court prosecution in the Carlton court reported in the "Herald" relating to Sunday trading, where a vendor of ice cream was fined a nominal penalty of 2s 6d under the following 31st section of the Police Offences Act, which provides that the police "shall not permit any house, shop, store or 'other place' to be open for the purpose of trade or dealing" on Sunday. Since the advent of Italian fruit shop keepers, this system of Sunday trading in fruit, temperance drinks, etc. has become an institution in Geelong, and has enabled the estimable foreigner to almost capture the fruit trade by this unlawful side issue. The Italians are our recognised national allies; they make respectable and reputable citizens with the exceptions that they pay no respect to the Shops and Factories Act regarding holidays to their employes [sic], combine in the way of board and lodging, and work all Sunday. The British shopkeeper who keeps his establishment open all the week days considers himself entitled to the day of rest, and takes it, but to the inevitable injury to his business. It will, no doubt, be argued that in the march of civilisation the public should not be debarred from obtaining these luxuries on Sundays, but at the same time it should be remembered that fruit supplies are easily obtainable on Saturdays, and as regards iced drinks, etc., any Christian community ought and should be able to do without those little luxuries during the few hours of the Sabbath. As a matter of fact, it is not the necessity of the thing but the opportunities offered to indulge in this pernicious habit, which has only grown up during the last couple of years or so. I don't wish to reflect for one moment on the Italian shopkeepers in their unceasing efforts to prosper, but I maintain that the Sunday Trading Act should be administered to its full extent, and thus place all in the trade on an equality.
–I am, etc.,

Geelong Advertiser, 9 February 1900, p. 1.

The Geelong town council subsequently ruled that section 31 of the Police Offences Act did not apply to ice cream vendors and that fruit sellers were permitted to operate within the prescribed hours on a Sunday.


Acting upon a petition from the Protestant Ministers' Association, and another from the shopkeepers, the town council recently decided that section 31 of the Police Offences Act should be enforced in regard to the observance of Sunday by fruiterers and ice cream vendors. It is found, however, that the section does not apply to the latter, and that fruit-sellers are permitted to do business before 9 a.m. and between 1 and 6 p.m. on Sundays. The act, however, is to be enforced to its full extent.

The Argus, 9 March 1900, p. 3.

Miss Barwell was at home alone one Saturday afternoon in February 1913 when a dashing young man dropped in unexpectedly. He did not enter the house via the usual means, nor was he suitably attired for visiting a lady. The visitor was none other than Zahn Rinaldo, an Austrian aeronaut, who was attempting an emergency landing from a hot air balloon when he was dashed through the upstairs bedroom window of a house in Faraday Street, Carlton.

Perhaps the person most startled by the accident was Miss R.M. Barwell, who resides with Miss Dolan at "Bronte", 56 Faraday-street, Carlton. Miss Barwell, when interviewed after the accident said: "I was out in the back yard about quarter to 5 o'clock, when I heard a loud shout from the Exhibition oval. I was the only person in the place at the time. I looked up to see the balloon, but could not see it. I went upstairs to look out of one of the front windows. When I got close to the window I saw a man suspended from a trapeze, apparently coming through the window. The next instant there was a loud crash of broken glass. I received such a shock that I did not see what followed. When I recovered I found that the whole of the glass and woodwork of the window had been smashed by the force of the collision." When the lower part of the balloon struck the window, the balloon fell over the roof of Miss Dolan's house (No. 56) and carried away a portion of the top of one of the chimneys, and then fell, partly into Murchison square and into the City Council's store-yard. When the collision took place, Rinaldo released his hold of the trapeze and fell a distance of 18ft on to the footpath.

The Argus, 10 February 1913, p. 13

Related item: Hot Air Ballooning

The saying "Put your money where your mouth is" – meaning less talk, more action – is not intended to be taken literally. However, in February 1914 two men did just that and ended up in hospital. In the first case, a stableman named John Lynch was holding a half sovereign in his teeth while unharnessing a horse, which swung its head around, causing him to swallow the coin. The second case involved a young Carlton man and, in both cases, the coins were not detected by X-rays. Albert Trahair's financial loss was greater, with three sovereigns being of equivalent value to £3.


Some doubt exists as to the whereabouts of three sovereigns which Albert Trahair, 22 years of age, put into his mouth for safety while changing his waistcoat at his home at 400 Cardigan street, Carlton, yesterday morning. With the sovereigns in his mouth he walked across the room. Suddenly something, probably habit, engendered by the hot weather, caused him to swallow. The sovereigns vanished. Unable to emulate the popular conjuror in producing them from his nose or ears, Trahair decided that they had followed his breakfast. Fears of physical injury were added to certainty of financial loss, and he set out with a friend to see what the medical staff at the Melbourne Hospital could do in the way of recovering the money. Dr. W. L. Robertson had him examined by the X-rays from the neck downwards, but there was no sign of the sovereigns. He was so sure that he had felt them go down that he submitted to a dose of bismuth to make certain that anything he swallowed would be revealed by the X-rays. His perturbation was not lessened in the negative result, but the doctor advised him to have a good look on the bedroom floor and come back for further examination to-day.

The Argus, 23 February 1914, p. 8

Note: The Age newspaper reported Albert's surname as "Frahair" and his residential address as 402 Cardigan Street, Carlton. Both houses are part of Earnbank Terrace.

Perhaps Mr. Trahair could have helped nature along and recovered his sovereigns with a dose of Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills. Mrs. Edith Kelly of Canning Street was one of many satisfied customers who sang the praises of the product, which was widely advertised in newspapers. Several colourful display advertisements still exist on brick walls in inner city Melbourne, including one that was uncovered during demolition of a house in Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy – just across the road from North Carlton.


Mrs. Edith Kelly, of 179 Canning street, Carlton, Melbourne, writes:– "Having tried Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills for constipation with which I suffered greatly for many years, after availing myself of many other medicines, to little or no effect, I found your remedy good. They do not purge, but act in a soothing way, and I believe they suit me much better than other remedies. I frequently recommend them to, my friends so suffering. You can use this testimony in the hope that it may assist any folk afflicted with obstinate constipation. They are also a good family medicine. I use them when necessary with my children." To maintain a healthy system the bowels should operate at least every twenty-four hours. This is one of nature's wise provisions, which is too often ignored, and the result is untold suffering.

Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle, 10 February 1914, p. 4

Image Copyright © Rowan Crowe
Advertisement for Indian Root Pills uncovered during demolition of a house at 532 Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy

In the days before there was a Family Court to rule on issues between husband and wife, decisions were made in the Police Court or, as in this case, the Insolvency Court. Clara Armitage (sometimes Bridget) had been bringing legal actions against her husband Cornelius since at least 1901, eleven years after they married. But this February 1917 ruling looks like the end of the legal road. It sounds as if it was close to the end for him too but, in fact, he lived another thirty years to the age of 80.

"Appeals against maintenance orders were heard on Wednesday in General Sessions jurisdiction by Judge Johnston in the Insolvency Court. In the case of Cornelius Armitage, who appealed against a direction by the Carlton bench that he should pay 10/ per week towards the support, of his wife, Clara Armitage, evidence was given by appellant that he was very poor, that he only worked about one day a week selling crumpets, and that he was disabled through being deaf and almost blind. His Honor reduced the amount of maintenance to be paid on the order, to one farthing per week."

The Age, 23 February 1917, p. 11

Former Carriage Works and Livery Stables
221-223 Faraday Street, Carlton

In February 1921, the Daily Commercial News and Shipping List announced a new metalworking business that could produce Australian-made goods equal, or superior, to their competitors' imports. The Star Art Metal Company began in Lincoln Place, Carlton, then moved to 221-223 Faraday Street in 1920, taking out a seven-year lease on the premises. The large brick building was originally constructed as a carriage works in 1889 and later served as livery stables. Before the Star Art Metal Company moved in, the building was owned and occupied by the Malouf family, who operated a carrier business and stables from the site. The reference to "racing ponies" may have been a little fanciful, as the animals housed at Malouf's stables were more likely to be sturdy work horses.


A new industry has been started on its way in Victoria, and gives every indication of proving a big success. Three years ago it was stated to be impossible, as a business proposition, for art metal ware to be manufactured in Australia. Two Victorians, however, set out to demonstrate that grit and enterprise are two factors that can often achieve the seemingly impossible, and they have succeeded. At a factory in Faraday-street, Carlton, metalware of the highest quality and workmanship is now being manufactured in considerable quantities. Experts who have examined the goods declare them to be the equal of the best imported article, and the finish is said to be superior to anything of the same class produced abroad.

Less than 12 months ago the factory where these goods are being turned out was used as a stable for racing ponies. It is now a busy hive of industry, and gives employment to 30 hands, who are earning from £4/10/ to £5 a week each. The factory was started by Messrs. E. R. Anquetil and E. Paulock, who trade under the name of the Star Art Metal Company. Three years ago these two young Victorians began the manufacture of metal ware in the face of obstacles that might well have daunted the most courageous man. They could obtain no financial support. Having very limited means, they found it necessary to be their own workmen, salesmen and travellers. On every hand they were told that they had no possible chance of achieing [sic] success, firstly, because of their small knowledge of metal manufacture work, and, secondly, on account of the big importing interests that they would be up against. But they persevered in the face of all warnings, and gradually began to find a market for their goods. As they went on their knowledge and craftsmanship increased, and they were able to employ and teach others the work. Then nine months ago they moved to bigger quarters – the present factory was started. Although the industry is still in its infancy, it has already begun to command considerable attention, and wholesale houses are eagerly buying all the goods that are turned out. These comprise not only art metal ware, but metal kerbs, saucepans, kettles, stewpans, electric radiators and fittings, gas appliances and silverware. All the fancy goods turned out are of original design, and the quality and finish of the articles is a triumph for Australian workmanship.

At present the industry is holding its own against imported articles owing to the protective tariff, but, with increasing wages, it is possible that greater protection will be sought. Unfortunately there is still a prejudice against Australian-made goods, and the manufacturers of this Australian metalware are consequently not getting the credit they deserve. The goods go out unstamped, and the public has not the means of learning that it is using a good Australian article. If Australian retailers would only assist in educating the public to the value of Australian-made goods by making special displays of the locally produced article, the existing unfounded prejudice would quickly disappear.

Daily Commercial News and Shipping List, 19 February 1921, p. 4

In addition to competition from imports, Messrs. Anquetil and Paulock also had to deal with problems within their business. In March 1921, a disgruntled former employee was taken to court and sued for wilfully damaging metal dies belonging to the Star Art Metal Company.


In the County Court yesterday, before Judge Woinarski, the Star Art Metal Company, 221 Faraday street, Carlton, claimed from Arthur Cooper, tool maker, Soudan street, Coburg, £251/11/9 for the alleged wilful damaging of nine dies. Eric Roland Anquitel, member of the plaintiff firm, said that Cooper had been employed by it as a diemaker, and had been dismissed on December 9. He had been present in the Carlton Court when Cooper had pleaded guilty to the charge of having wilfully damaged the dies, and in expressing his regret Cooper had said that he had done so on the spur of the moment. The dies, which were used in embossing, cost £28 each, and 11 of them had been damaged. The firm estimated the damage as much higher than the amount claimed, and, in addition, certain business opportunities had been lost while the dies had been out of order. Judgment was given for the full amount claimed. Mr. C. H. Book (instructed by Messrs Parkinson and Wettenhall) appeared in support of the claim, which was undefended.

The Argus, 5 March 1921, p. 17

Despite its good prospects and quality products, the Star Art Metal Company did not last the distance. The business was advertised for sale in October 1921 and, in the following month, the metalworking tools and equipment were auctioned off, together with the remaining 5½ years of the lease on the Faraday Street premises at £300 per annum. The brick building became a motor garage, servicing the growing number of automobiles on the streets of Melbourne. The Federal Garage was there from the mid-1920s, followed by Faraday Motors from the late 1930s through to the late 1970s. Chandler Ridgeway then took over, exchanging car servicing for the nuts and bolts of retail hardware. A recent occupant was Thresherman's Bakehouse, which vacated several years ago, and the old brick building has been refurbished as the new premises of Ms. Frankie restaurant, opened in 2021.

Note: Building occupancy information has been sourced from Sands & McDougall directories, telephone books and newspaper advertisements.

When Florence Fawaz (née Wilson) was a student at Carlton North (Lee Street) primary school, her teachers and classmates had no inkling that she would become the world famous opera singer Florence Austral, who was renowned for performing in the demanding Wagnerian roles. In February 1923 The Age newspaper published excerpts from a letter Miss Austral wrote to her family, who lived in Drummond Street, North Carlton. The staff of her former school responded by writing to congratulate her on her achievement.1


Miss Florence Austral, better known in Australia as Miss Florence Fawaz, wrote by the last English mail to her parents, who live in North Carlton, telling of her singing in the present opera season. She said:–

"Everybody is telling me to get out of England, and not become what they call domesticated, because I shall never reach international fees if I remain here. I am going first with Mr. Grunebaum to sing to people in Germany, and then I am going to Milan in August. If it had not been for the company I am with I would, in all probability, be there now; but my contract with the British National Opera Company does not finish until April and it is too early to go to Italy then. Besides, I shall want about six weeks' holiday in the summer. Did I tell you that I sang to Tetrazzini? I did, and she just wept and said that I have the most wonderful voice of its kind in the world. I am a 'Lady Caruso'. She kissed and kissed me, and said it was just like listening to a voice from heaven. She will be in Italy in August and has promised to give me all help possible. Dame Nellie Melba also is very charming to me. She came to hear me at Covent Garden on Boxing night. She had a box, and Dame Clara Butt also had a box. At the interval Melba came to the back of the stage and asked me all about myself, and congratulated me on my success. She advised me to go to Paris. I am sending you some of my London notices. I did not do half as well as I can, because I have had bronchitis, and have had to sing on at all the time. It is enough to kill me. Still I must have impressed the critics, I do not know how."

The critics must indeed have been impressed, as those who read the London letter in "The Age" recently will be aware. The staff of the State school at Lee-street, North Carlton, where Miss Austral had her early education, is sending a letter of congratulation to the pupil of whom they have became so justly proud.

The Age, 20 February 1923, p. 10

Miss Austral was born Florence Mary Wilson in Richmond in 1892, the daughter of William Wilson (née Wilhelm Lindholm) and Helena Mary Harris. Her father died when she was young and in 1903 her mother married John Michael Fawaz, a business man of Syrian descent and a devout Methodist. Florence adopted her stepfather's surname "Fawaz" and later changed her performing name to "Florence Austral". Her remarkable vocal ability was noticed when she performed � costumed as Santa Claus � in a Carlton Methodist Sunday school concert. She went on to win singing competitions and studied for several years in Melbourne. To further her studies and develop her performance skills, Florence left Australia in 1919 for New York and London. Despite a few setbacks and disappointments, her triumph at Covent Garden in 1923 launched her international career.2,3,4

Around this time Florence became involved with John Amadio, a New Zealand-born flautist with whom she had performed in Australia. Amadio, a married man, had also left Australia in 1919, while his wife Leonora and two daughters remained at home. Leonora filed for divorce in 1924, alleging that her husband had behaved improperly with Florence, and they were living together "as man and wife". The case was heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1925 and Leonora was granted custody of the two children. Florence Austral and John Amadio wasted no time in formalising their marriage a few months later in a private ceremony at the Hampstead Registry Office in December 1925. The scandal of the divorce was a shock to Florence's God-fearing parents and, according to Smith's Weekly, may have contributed to the declining health and the death of her mother in 1927. Mrs Fawaz's death notice in The Age newspaper announced ominously that she "died of a broken heart".5,6,7


" News of her triumph came like a fairy tale to the old people in Drummond Street, North Carlton. Gossip had already begun to link their daughter's name with that of Amadio, world flautist, whose wife and children had remained behind in Melbourne. Florrie's parents were probably the last to hear the story, and certainly the last to believe it. It was a shock to them that she did not enter an appearance to defend the Amadio divorce suit. The publicity given to the case was a reminder of the penalty that attaches to greatness. But she was still their daughter. In failing health and with nerves shattered by the scandal, Mrs. Fawaz was taken to England on a trip by her husband about a year ago. Florence had married John Amadio, her life affinity, and they were living in luxury and perfect bliss. If they had sinned they had no regrets about it, and the wages of sin were not those outlined in the Scriptures. Moreover, John Amadio's former wife was happily remarried. The appearance of Florrie's parents on the scene was an unspoken reproach, casting a shadow of the past upon their happiness. It is said to have got on the flautist's nerves. The young couple were due to go to America for a season and it was understood the old folks would be there when they returned to London. But Florence never saw her mother again.

Mr. Fawaz and his wife hurriedly returned to Australia, sad and disillusioned. Mr. Fawaz would not discuss his daughter when they got back to Melbourne. The health of Mrs. Fawaz was broken. She had developed pernicious anaemia and was a dying woman. She never rallied. The moral is there for whoever will read it. A destiny had to be fulfilled and what was written has come to pass. J. M. Fawaz is a lonely man. All that remain to him are photographs on his walls of a dazzling prima donna and memories of a home circle of bygone years and of a little fair-haired daughter who has gone out of his life and is now strangely metamorphosed into that other, not the same. To him the reality must appear like a fantastic dream. To others the spectacle is that of a just man of high ideals, who did his duty as he saw it, at whatever personal cost. The result was not for him to foresee."

Smith's Weekly, 23 April 1927, p. 1

Florence Austral's stellar career continued into the 1930s, but she began to show early signs of illness that was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. By the 1940s, Florence and her husband John Amadio went their separate ways. Florence returned to Australia in 1946 and took up teaching positions in Melbourne and Newcastle (NSW). She died in Newcastle in 1968, aged 76 years. Her stepfather John Fawaz died at the family home in North Carlton in 1955, and her husband John Amadio died in 1964. 8,9,10

The Fawaz family home, where Florence lived before she went overseas, was one of two adjoining bijou residences built in 1914. While the house may have been modest in appearance, compared to more opulent dwellings at the northern end of Drummond Street, John Fawaz owned several rental properties in St Kilda and he died a wealthy man. His estate was valued for probate purposes at £63,336, and the bulk of his financial assets comprised a share portfolio, valued at £43,354. He had no direct descendants and various family members were named as beneficiaries in his will. Florence Austral was granted a legacy of £50.11

Notes and References:
1 The Fawaz family lived at 1040 Drummond Street, North Carlton.
2 Some sources cite Florence Mary Wilson's birth year as 1894, but her birth was registered in Victoria in 1892 (Birth Reg. No. 17103/1892)
3 Marriage Reg. No. 360/1903
4 The Age, 30 July 1938, p. 30
5 Divorce Case File No. 1924/428, Amadio v. Amadio (VPRS 283)
6 The Herald, 16 December 1925, p. 7
7 The Age, 6 April 1927, p. 1
8 Austral, Florence Mary (1892�1968). Australian Dictionary of Biography
9 The Argus, 11 May 1955, p. 17
10 Amadio, John (1883�1964). Australian Dictionary of Biography
11 John M Fawaz: Grant of probate (VPRS 28/P0004, 494/185)


John Sergeant, head teacher of the Rathdowne Street (now Carlton Gardens) primary school, addressed the Education Commission in September 1882 and commented on disciplinary practices at his school: "Flogging ought to be the last, not the only resort." His words would come back to haunt him in March 1890, when he appeared in the Carlton Police Court, charged with unlawfully assaulting a seven year old boy. The Court's decision to dismiss the case reflects community attitudes towards child discipline at the time. It was not until 1985 that corporal punishment was abolished in Victorian state schools and 2006 in non-government schools.1


At the Carlton police court on Monday John Sergeant, head teacher of the Rathdown-street State school, was charged with unlawfully assaulting a lad named O'Connor. The boy's father, who instituted the proceedings, stated that on the 20th ult. his son came home and complained of having been beaten by Mr. Sergeant. He had a mark across his temple, whilst his body was black and blue across the loins. He saw Mr. Sergeant in reference to the matter, who admitted that he had chastised the boy, but said that it was nothing.

For the defence, a monitor named Annie White gave evidence. She stated that Mrs. O'Connor called at the school and complained that the boy, who was but 7 years of age, had been playing truant. He had been sent to school for seven days, and had only attended half a day. She had great difficulty in getting him to school on that occasion, as he had been biting and kicking her all the way, and she wished him to be handed over to the head master to be punished. Mr. Sergeant made a statement to the bench in which he admitted having beaten the lad, but he had not used any unnecessary violence.

The bench decided to dismiss the case.

The Age, 8 March 1890, p. 10

1 Australian Institute of Family Studies

The month of March 1890 was not a good one for William Dummett's business. Mr Dummett (Dummitt) sold boots, shoes and slippers from a shop on the corner of Lygon and Faraday Streets, Carlton. He shared the premises with Arthur Day, a watchmaker and jeweller. On 4 March, Dummett was a victim of shoplifting by two local women. A subsequent police investigation uncovered a hoard of stolen footwear at a house in nearby University Street.


This morning, at the Carlton Police Court, two young women, named Jane Rainsberry [Rainsbury] and Margaret Osborne alias Cochrane, were placed in the dock on several charges of shoplifting. It appears that yesterday afternoon the two women, who had a child with them, were seen to go to the boot shop of Mr Dummett, at the corner of Lygon and Faraday street, and remove several pairs of slippers which were hanging near the entrance. A little girl who had noticed what had occurred immediately gave the alarm, and the women were seen to go to a house in University street, which it was afterwards ascertained was occupied by a Mrs Walker. The police were informed of the occurrence, and Constable Coghlan was soon on the spot and went to the house referred to. Here he found the two women in hiding, also the stolen slippers. On a search of the premises being made a quantity of other boots, shoes, slippers, etc., were found, which it was at once supposed had been stolen. Subsequent inquiries revealed the fact that the supposition of the police was quite correct, as the boots and shoes were afterwards identified by Madame Thomas, of Drummond street, and Mr D. Linklater, of Lygon street, as having been stolen from their shops. There is a quantity of other stuff which the police still require an owner for. When the prisoners were brought before the Bench Constable Coghlan briefly referred to the arrest, and Sergt. Doyle immediately asked for a remand, which the Bench (Messrs J. H. C. Sutherland, chairman, and J. Robertson, J's. P.) granted. The woman Osborne still had the child with her, and there was rather a distressing scene outside the Court whilst the prisoners were being removed, the child refusing to leave its mother, although the father was present and used every endeavor to pacify it.

The Herald, 5 March 1890, p. 2

The women were remanded in custody and made another court appearance on 10 March. They were found guilty and sentenced to one month's imprisonment, despite their defence counsel's plea for a fine instead of a custodial sentence, on the grounds that the otherwise respectable women were under the influence of liquor at the time and had no prior convictions.


This morning, at the Carlton Police Court, the two women, Margaret Osborne aud Jane Rainsbury, were charged with stealing a quantity of boots, etc., were placed in the dock to answer the charges. Mr Leonard appeared for the defence. A young woman named Annie Harding, a saleswoman in the employ of Madame Thomas, stated that on the 4th inst. the two women came into the shop at about half-past 5 p.m., and asked to see some boots. They did not make any purchase. After they went out she missed three pairs of boots. Those produced were the same. She did not see the prisoners take the boots. They were valued at 25s. Constable Coghlan stated that he and Constable Sanders had arrested the woman in a house in University street. They had the boots in their possession, which were subsequently identified by the last witness. There were two other charges against the prisoners, viz., of stealing boots from the shops of Messrs Dummett and Linklater, but in neither case the parties could not positively identify the goods, but they were exactly similar to boots and shoes stolen from their places of business. Mr Leonard stated that there was no doubt that the mat [sic] had been stolen by prisoners from Madame Thomas, but he pleaded in mitigation that both women were under the influence of liquor. They had both borne respectable characters, and had never been before a court. He thought the Bench might take advantage of the Amended Justices of the Peace Act, and inflict a fine, which, he considered, would meet the case, as the women had already been in gaol six days. The Bench sent both prisoners to gaol for one month.

The Herald, 10 March 1890, p. 2

A few days later, in the early hours of 13 March, Mr Dummett suffered another misfortune when fire broke out in his shop. The local police were quickly on the scene and managed to extinguish the flames before the Carlton District Volunteer Fire Brigade arrived. Were the two events — the shoplifting case and the fire — simply co-incidental, or did the women have an accomplice to avenge their imprisonment?


A fire broke out at about 20 minutes to 5 this morning in a boot shop, situate at the corner of Faraday and Lygon streets, occupied by W. Dummett. The shop is a double-fronted one and divided into two, the other portion being occupied by Arthur A. Day, a watchmaker and jeweller. The fire was first noticed by a man named Galbert, an employe [sic] of the Corporation, who saw smoke issuing from the tops of the shutters and windows. He called "Police!" and almost immediately Constables Quinn, Miller and Mclntyre arrived on the scene. They burst open the front door, and discovered the window to be on fire, it having apparently originated between the lining boards. They immediately set to work to extinguish the flames, which they succeeded in doing, with the aid of a few buckets of water, before any considerable amount of damage was done, although a number of pairs of boots were destroyed, but probably L10 [£10] will cover the whole of the damage. The Carlton District Fire Brigade were in attendance but their services were not required as the constables had put out the fire by the time of their arrival. The cause of the outbreak is unknown.

The Herald, 13 March 1890, p. 3

It is generally accepted that a good mattress is an essential component of a good night's sleep. In March 1901, Carlton confectioner William Thomas Horne's decision to have his kapok mattress re-stuffed ended in the County Court.


Whether the kapok was musty or new, and had it been "teased," were questions that Judge Hamilton had to decide in the County Court this afternoon, when William Thomas Horne, of 356 Lygon street, Carlton, confectioner, proceeded against Esther Joseph, widow, trading as J. Joseph, furniture dealer, of 240 Swanston street, Melbourne, for the recovery of L2 [£2], value of kapok alleged to have been ruined by the defendant mixing bad kapok with it. Mr McArthur, instructed by Messrs Snowball and Kauffmann, appeared for the plaintiff, Mr Field Barrett for the defendant.

Plaintiff's story, briefly put, was to the effect that he sent his mattress to the defendant's premises, and requested ten pounds of new kapok to be put into it, and that defendant agreed to do this for 10s, and at the same time to "tease" the old kapok up so that it would mix. When the mattress was received back again, however, it had a most offensive, mouldy smell, which did not leave it even after it had hung half a day on the clothes line. When defendant's manager was spoken to about the "perfume," he declared that his carter said that the mattress was odoriferous – only he used another and more expressive word – before the fresh kapok was put in. "That's a deliberate lie, for we have been lying on it for over two years," replied the plaintiff, vigorously. Expert witnesses who were called today, swore that there was only from half a pound to two pounds of new kapok in the mattress. The version defendant and his witnesses put before the court was that the kapok was purchased from McKell, Speedie and Company, and was perfectly fresh and unused. The old kapok in the mattress was found to be too powdery and could not be "teased."

His Honor gave a verdict for the amount claimed, with costs.

The Herald, 5 March 1901, p. 4

Running a hotel can be a demanding business, particularly for someone suffering from chronic and debilitating illness. Mr Pierce, of the Limerick Arms hotel, was struggling to keep up with daily life – until he found a wonderful cure for his ailments. In March 1901, the story of his recovery featured in a series of advertisements for Bile Beans, published in Melbourne and country newspapers.


A person who has plenty of outdoor exercise and suffers from biliousness and derangement of the liver is severely incommoded, inasmuch as he cannot get about with the ease he would desire. The man, however, suffering from these two disorders who is compelled to remain indoors is a double sufferer. Mr F.J. Pierce suffered from biliousness and had liver complaint, being confined in his hotel, where he is the genial host of the Limerick Arms, Drummond street, Carlton. He could take no exercise, and brooded over his complaints. He did all that mortal man could do to get cured – tried patent medicines and consulted several doctors, but with no result. Eventually, however, he was cured in a manner which he tells in his own words, as follows:

"I could not enjoy my food, and sometimes my stomach refused to retain such food as I did manage to swallow. I lost 17 lbs [pounds] weight in six weeks. All pleasure in life was gradually leaving me, and I became unfit for business. After trying all sorts of doctors and so-called cures I gave Bile Beans a trial, with wonderful results. The backache and headache left gradually, but completely. I regained weight, appetite, and spirits, and now I am my old self again, rising in the morning fresh and ready for the day's business. Being confined so much within doors and debarred from exercise, my liver needs some corrective, and nothing answers the purposes like Bile Beans for Biliousness. There is always a box in the house, and they have proved invaluable as a family medicine. You have full permission to use this testimonial in any way you see fit, as I firmly believe that Bile Beans are all they profess to be – a reliable cure for biliousness."

The remedy of which Mr Pierce speaks in such glowing terms is a vegetable preparation, containing not a trace of harmful ingredients. It is daily making good the claim of its proprietors that it is the world's greatest specific for biliousness, indigestion, liver and kidney troubles, blood troubles, which at this season reveal themselves in the form of pimples and skin eruption, female ailments, anemia, constipation, dizziness, headache, or insomnia. All chemists stock them, or you may order from the Bile Beans Manufacturing Company, 39 Pitt Street, Sydney.

The Herald, 7 March 1901, p. 3

The trade mark for Bile Beans was registered in Australia by Canadian-born businessman Charles Edward Fulford in late 1897, and advertisements featuring testimonials from satisfied customers followed soon afterwards. In February 1898 the Advocate touted the product as an antidote for larrikinism – a scourge of the inner city suburbs – and family disharmony. 1


Last evening, whilst returning home, between the hours of eleven and twelve o'clock, a resident took a Bile Bean for Biliousness, which obviated a possible attack of headache and constipation, which often follows an over-indulgence in refreshments, liquid and otherwise. Bile Beans, taken by larrikins, whose livers and digestion are in an imperfect condition, would not feel so much ill will towards their fellow beings, and always be wanting to punch someone's head. This same thing applies to family tiffs and differences. If we really knew it, about two-thirds of the disputes and petty jealousies that one finds even in our best homes are caused almost entirely by biliousness and bad liver. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and, if you love your relations and friends, don't be a bore to them all your life. A course of Bile Beans for Biliousness will make you in all probability a good husband, friend, and companion. They only cost 1½ d [pence] per box ; surely you can afford that amount to keep peace in your household, and become a sound, healthy, happy individual, and a credit to yourself. Obtainable at all chemists, or the Victorian agents, Rocke, Tompsitt and Co., Flinders-Street, Melbourne. See that you get what you ask for.

Advocate, 5 February 1898, p. 20

It is not known whether Charles Fulford "took his own medicine", but he died an untimely death in Sydney in August 1906 at the young age of 36 years. His obituary attributed his demise to " … a complaint caught by him, it is believed, through exhaustion from the prodigious exertions of his early days". One matter that may have caused Fulford undue stress in the final year of his life was a court case in Scotland. The Bile Beans Manufacturing Company sought to prevent an Edinburgh chemist named George Graham Davidson from selling his own product under the name of "Bile Beans". Evidence presented in court did not reflect well on the Company's questionable therapeutic claims and advertising practices. The judge's decision was made in Davidson's favour. Charles Fulford was a generous benefactor and in his will he left shares to the value of £10,000 to Dr Barnado's Homes for Boys. 2,3

In 1908 the Limerick Arms, where Mr Pierce worked, met its demise. It was a small, two-storey hotel at 275 Drummond Street, Carlton, on the corner of University Street. The hotel had a regular turnover of licensees, recording 19 licence transfers between 1890 and 1908, and had two convictions for breaches of the Licensing Act in the previous three years. There were several other hotels in the immediate vicinity that were considered in better condition and better able to cater to patrons. The Limerick Arms was closed, by order of the Licences Reduction Board, at the end of 1908. The owner, William Dwyer, was awarded £705 and the licensee, Esther Goessell, £95 in compensation. 4,5

1 New South Wales Government Gazette, no. 952, 30 November 1897, p. 8697
2 The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People, 24 November 1906, p.4
3 Bile bean manufacturing Co. v. Davidson Scottish Court of Session (20 Jul, 1906) [1906] SLR 43_827
4 The Herald, 1 June 1908, p. 3
5 The Age, 17 November 1908, p. 7

You don't see cows in Princes Hill these days, but in the early 20th century this was a common occurrence because the herds from local dairies were often pastured at Princes Park. The cows were led through the streets to the dairies – mostly small scale operations in residential areas – and returned to the park for grazing. Dairy men and women, by the nature of their work, are known to be earlier risers. However, in March 1904 a man herding cows at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m. caused a public disturbance that landed him in court.


Residents of Princes Hill, North Carlton, who were not sleeping soundly, must have been awakened and set wondering at the martial exclamations of "Halt!" "Attention!" "Right wheel!" and other such directions which fell on their ears at 3 a.m. yesterday. Constable Clarke, who heard the ejaculations and visited the locality, found a man named Jomes Cootes chasing cows up and down Macpherson-street, and calling out these commands. On seeing the constable he exclaimed. "Charge!" and rushed at him in a fighting attitude, but was handcuffed before he could do any harm.

Cootes was before the local court yesterday on the charge of insulting behavior. His mother stated that he had been out of the Yarra Bend Asylum on probation since Saturday, and went to get the cows at 2 a.m. in spite of all she could do to prevent him. The bench decided to remand accused for medical examination.

The Age, 18 March 1904, p. 8.

Related Item: Dairies and milk distribution in Carlton

With the summer of 1917 over, moral issues were a prominent topic. Members of the Erskine Presbyterian Church, which then stood on the south west corner of Rathdowne and Grattan streets, were concerned with the wellbeing of boys from the country.


An institute for young men has been opened by the Erskine Presbyterian Church in a delicensed hotel at 118 Barkly street, Carlton. The institute has been created for the purpose of providing a home, under religious influence, for lads coming from the country and is under the leadership of the Rev. L.C.M. Donaldson, minister of the church. There are four distinct divisions, namely, religious, social, educational, and domestic, these departments being under the management of four qualified superintendents. The institute also aims at another great object in the cause of boy life, and that is gathering in those Carlton youths who live chiefly in the streets and whose companions are most undesirable. This work is being carried on by the Young Men's Bible class of the Erskine Church, the members of which are contributing 10/- a week toward the upkeep of the Institute. There are already eight lads in residence, and vacancies for others.

The Weekly Times, 17 March 1917, p. 8

Another church group was active too at St Michael's in Macpherson Street, North Carlton. They warned of the moral dangers of mixed bathing and must have had some influence, because mixed bathing was not introduced at the Carlton Baths until 1930.

The St Michael's, Carlton, branch of the Church of England's men's society discussed "what ought to be a Christian's attitude to mixed bathing. A motion was carried affirming that mixed bathing as it has been carried on in the last few years has helped to lower the morals of the community and this branch is strongly of opinion that stricter supervision of dress and conduct is urgently required."

The Weekly Times, 24 March 1917, p. 8

The Advocate of 2 March 1918 noted the passing of Sister M. Cyril, Sister Superior of St. Joseph's Receiving Home in Grattan Street, Carlton. The Receiving Home for unmarried pregnant women was first established in Barkly Street, Carlton, in 1902 by Margaret Goldspink, a well known charity and welfare worker. Within a few years, it moved to the larger premises in Grattan Street. The Receiving Home closed in 1985.

One of the most beautiful of lives has ended here on earth in the passing to her heavenly reward of Sister M. Cyril, late Sister Superior of St. Joseph's Receiving Home, Carlton … Her work during the eight years she spent as Sister in charge of St. Joseph's Receiving Home, 101 Grattan Street, Carlton, was simply marvellous, and in itself would constitute the toil of a lifetime. No one could have been better fitted for her trying position, no one could have wielded the mighty influence this gentle religious did, upon the varying dispositions of its inmates. The poor girls under her care could testify to the unceasing attention she gave to every detail that concerned not only their spiritual welfare, but their physical comfort … A long personal acquaintance with Sister Cyril, through her sublime deeds of charity, filled me with ever increasing admiration of her magnificent and quietly executed rescue work. The call of anguish from a soul standing on the very brink of despair never reached her ears in vain. At once the trembling, shuddering soul was snatched from the awful abyss that threatened it, the lamp of hope was lit, the wandering feet were safely brought into an abode of peace and faith and love divine.

The Advocate, 2 March 1918, p. 28

In the same month Mr R.H. Solly, for whom Solly Avenue in Princes Hill was later named, protested against the reduction by £50 of government funding to St. Joseph's Receiving Home.

In the Legislative Assembly, in the course of last night's long sitting. Mr R.H. Solly protested against the grant to St. Joseph's Home, at Grattan street. Carlton, being reduced from £300 to £250. He said that if the Government had to conduct the institution it would have to pay a large sum in salaries, but the sisters were purely voluntary workers. Unmarried women who are about to become mothers are treated in this institution prior to maternity, with the object of assuring the good health of mother and baby.

The Herald, 7 March 1918, p. 1

Related Items:
A Girl in Trouble
Fallen Men and Women

The civil case of Rae versus Corona was cause for mirth in the County Court in March 1920. It was, however, no laughing matter for the plaintiff, aspiring songwriter Edith Jane Rae. Miss Rae of Drummond Street, Carlton, had written two songs entitled "Loneliness" and "Devil May Care". She engaged musician William Henry Corona to publish and sell the songs and have them performed in public by a professional singer. In her opinion, Mr Corona had failed to fulfil his contractual obligations and she sued him for breach of contract, claiming £99 in damages. Judge Wasley ruled in her favour, but awarded only £25.


County Court proceedings were brightened today by the hearing of a case in which Edith Jane Rae, of Drummond street, Carlton, claimed £99 from William Henry Corona, musician, of Exhibition street, for alleged breach of two contracts in writing, in respect of two songs, entitled Loneliness and Devil May Care, dated January 28 and February 3, 1919, respectively. Judge Wasley allowed Rae £25. Mr T. G. Jones (instructed by Loughrey and Douglas) appeared for Rae. Corona conducted his own case. Rae declared that Corona agreed:�

(a) To print 1000 copies of a song entitled Loneliness;
(b) to secure the copyright of such song and hand over all drawing, blocks, cuts and engravings to the plaintiff, and cause the said song to be sung by a reputable professional singer in public;
(c) to sell 250 copies of the song within four months from the date of publication at 10/ a dozen copies, and, to pay the proceeds to the plaintiff;
(d) to pay to plaintiff eightpence a copy for each copy sold over and above 300 copies.

A similar agreement was made in respect of the other song. In her claim, Rae declared that Corona did not cause either of the two songs to be sung in public, and did not sell 250 copies of either within four months. Corona contended that he had fulfilled everything in the agreement, excepting that he did not sell 250 copies of each song within four months.

Judge Wasley said that if he were to know what the songs were like he would have to have a performance. To Mr Jones: Can you sing? I suppose if you sang them, however, no one would buy them. (Laughter.) Corona said that the trouble was that since the end of the war patriotic songs were not in favor. Loneliness was not patriotic. Judge Wasley: Is it a comic or sentimental? (Laughter.) Judge Wasley said that the songs might be of the "kill me dead" kind – once they had been sung people would want no more. (Laughter.)

Corona agreed to hand over all copies of the songs and not to sell or cause to be sold any copies himself.

The Herald, 8 March 1920, p. 8

Almost two decades later, in January 1939, at least one copy of Miss Rae's song "Loneliness" was still in circulation. A reader, identified only as "Curious", wrote to The Age seeking information on the origins of the song.


Could any of your readers inform me whether Edith J. Rae is an Australian song writer? I have an old copy of a song composed by her, which was published by a Collins-street publishing company. It is entitled Loneliness, has simple words and melody, and to my mind compares with many other overseas compositions with similar themes. Would be interested and obliged to know something of its history. – CURIOUS (Richmond).

The Age , 24 January 1939, p. 10

As a police officer, Constable J.P. Richardson was called upon to perform all sorts of tasks in the line of duty. On a cold and rainy night in 1922, he detained a drunken couple who were in no fit state to push a pram, let alone care for their toddler and newborn twins. Richardson was tasked with escorting the twins from the Carlton Watchhouse to the City Watchhouse, while the older child was taken to the Sutherland Home at 28 Drummond Street. The Sutherland Home, named after welfare campaigner Selina Sutherland, was one of several receiving homes for neglected children.

Twin Babies Rescued by Constable.

Bystanders enjoyed themselves on Tuesday night at Carlton when they saw a police constable walking with measured tread beside a perambulator in which were twins aged three weeks, crying lustily. Constable J.P. Richardson was submitted to a great deal of chaff as he took the babies to a place where they would receive food, warmth and care. While he was walking down Elgin-street Carlton, at 9 o'clock Constable Richardson saw a young couple so far under the influence of drink that they were incapable of taking care of themselves. They had with them a boy aged 18 months and the twins. Rain was falling and the night was bitterly cold, so the constable locked the couple up at the Carlton Watchhouse for their own protection. The Watchhouse keeper was faced with a problem – there was no matron to take charge of the babies. The mother, therefore, was taken to the City Watchhouse in a cab, and the boy was accommodated at the Sutherland Home, Drummond street. A sympathetic woman offered to take the twins to the city, and the constable accompanied her. At the City Watchhouse the matron cared for the babies and their mother.

When the husband was fined at the Carlton Court yesterday, he told the Bench that he and his wife had been "wetting the heads of the twins" and had gone a little too far. The mother was presented at the City Court and received sound advice from the Bench before being discharged.

The Argus, 2 March 1922, p. 8

A year later, in March 1923, Constable Richardson was himself in need of care. When he failed to report for duty on 20 March and could not be located at his home, he was declared missing. The police feared that he may have been harmed by someone with criminal intent. In the end, the cause of his absence turned out to be medical, not criminal.
Found In His Home Ill

When the police at Carlton were mustered for duty yesterday morning, Constable J. P. Richardson was absent. It had been reported that violence towards him had been threatened by someone, in regard to whose conduct he had been inquiring officially, and when it was found that he was not at home when a policeman called to ascertain why he was not on parade, his comrades feared that the threat had been carried out. It was then reported officially that Richardson was missing. Shortly afterwards the constable's wife found him apparently seriously ill in a spare room of their home. The unfortunate man was suffering severely. A doctor was sent for, and found that his condition was due to ptomaine poisoning. Under treatment he is recovering.

The Herald, 21 March 1923, p. 8

In March 1923 the Melbourne City Council considered an innovative proposal to establish a paddling pool for children in the Carlton Gardens. There were swimming baths operating in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, and in the city, but this pool would be specially designed for children and of free admission. This was an important economic consideration at the time as many Carlton families could not afford the tram or train trip across the city to the bayside beach suburbs.


A proposal to convert the lake at the north end of Carlton Gardens into a paddling pool for children was discussed at the meeting of Melbourne City Council yesterday. Alderman Sir D. Hennessy, chairman of the parks and gardens committee, submitted a recommendation that the lake be cleaned out during the coming winter and that authority be given to concrete the bottom and convert it into an aquatic playground or wading pool, at an estimated cost of £2750. Though he moved the adoption of his committee's proposal, he expressed his disapproval of the idea. Unless a close supervision were kept he thought the children would be running about with more than their boots and socks off. Cr. Hughes supported the proposal, notwithstanding "the cold water thrown upon it by Sir David Hennessy". It was time that Melbourne followed the practices adopted in American cities and provided paddling pools for children who could not go to the beaches every day. As the pool would be only 18 inches deep, there would be no danger of children drowning. After lengthy discussion, in which Labor councillors supported the proposal, it was decided, on an amendment by Alderman Stapley, to refer the matter to the estimates committee.

The Age, 6 March 1923, p. 8

The paddling pool was completed in time for the following summer and officially opened by the Lady Mayoress, Mrs. W. Brunton, in January 1924, though it had been in use since Christmas. The new pool was well patronised – as evidenced by newspaper photos of children happily splashing around in the water – and several suburban councils followed suit and established their own pools. Ten years down the track, the paddling pool was still in use and the concrete base doubled as a basket ball court and play area in the cooler months. The pool depth of 2 feet (60 cm) was considered safe in the 1930s, but attitudes to child water safety have changed and pools – both public and private – are now subject to stringent regulations.


The sunshine of the last few days has attracted crowds to the beaches but few of the children of Carlton have been among them as the bathing season has now been opened at Carlton's own Lido, the shallow concrete wading pool in the gardens behind the Exhibition Building. This pool has a maximum depth of only 2ft and it is for the use of children only. Parents however are permitted to paddle in it if they are in charge of young bathers. On hot evenings the pool will be lit by powerful electric lights. When dry the concrete floor makes an excellent basket ball court, and it remained in use as a playground until the last hot spell, when the curator of the gardens decided that it was time to transform it into a bathing-pool.

The Argus, 7 November 1933, p. 9.

Hotel licensees can come up with all sorts of excuses to avoid prosecution for after-hours trading. In 1877 James Killigrew (Killegrew), licensee of the Kent Hotel in North Carlton, got off on a technicality that his wife, not himself, had served the alcohol. The family approach was used decades later in March 1923 by William Wilkins, licensee of the Union Hotel on the corner of Fenwick and Amess streets, North Carlton. Three young were men found on the hotel premises during prohibited hours, but Wilkins maintained that their intentions were sociable. The magistrate agreed and dismissed the charges.1

Legitimate Reason for "Being Found on Premises."

Some interesting evidence was given in Carlton court yesterday during the hearing of charges under the Licensing Act preferred against William Wilkins, Union Hotel, Amess-street, North Carlton, for having persons on the premises on Sunday, 25th February, and failing to keep the lodgers' book entered up. Stanley Fluck, Ernest Smith and James McKellar were charged with being found in the Union Hotel during prohibited hours on the same date. Police evidence was that a visit was paid to the hotel in the evening and the three young men named were found on the premises. Fluck had apparently been washing dishes in the kitchen of the hotel, as he had a towel over his arm and there was a rattle of cups. There was no sign of trading in liquor. For the defence, Mr. J. Barnett said that Fluck and Smith were friends of the landlord, and they were courting daughters of his. The party, including Mr. McKellar, had been to Malvern community singing, and went to the Union Hotel at the invitation of the landlord for supper. Mr. A. A. Kelley, P.M., in dismissing all the cases, said there was no reason whatever why a landlord should not ask his friend to supper. An hotel should not be quarantined us far as friends were concerned.

Other licensing cases were dealt with as follow:– Julia Morton, Clare Castle Hotel, Rathdown-street, and John Bernard Norton, Parkville Hotel, Sydney-road, failing to keep lodgers' book entered up, each fined, 40/; Margaret Presnall, Junction Hotel, Sydney-road, disposing of liquor after hours and persons on premises after hours, fined 40/ on each charge. Charlotte Disney, Clyde Hotel, persons on the premises, fined 40/.

The Argus, 17 March 1923, p. 16

The Union Hotel was built in 1876 and first licensed to Sarah Morrow. The corner site, owned by William Gledhill at the time, faced Church Street, the original name for Fenwick Street. Eight years after the 1923 prosecution, the hotel had a major makeover, as evidenced by the 1931 date that appears on the façade. Decades later, with the gentrification of North Carlton, the Union Hotel was transformed into the upmarket Fenwick Inn. However, there were problems with noise and parking restrictions in what was a predominantly residential area. The former hotel building was converted to residential apartments in the 1980s.2,3

1 The Australasian, 20 January 1877, p. 21
2 Building information sourced from land titles, Melbourne City Council rate books for Victoria Ward (VPRS 5708) and the Melbourne Building Application Index
3 The Herald, 6 June 1876, p. 3

It takes a brave man to rescue a frightened kitten from a sewer in Church Street, Carlton. In March 1954 this task fell to Tom Stanton and his workmates from the Board of Works. The kitten was rescued and brought to safety, but the question remained as to how it got into the sewer in the first place. A local lad – possibly too honest for his own good – "let the cat out of the bag" and was punished for his efforts.


The cat was a stray, but it took a lot of time and trouble to rescue it. In fact, it took six workmen from the Board of Works, a truck, 100 feet of flexible steel rod, two sugar bags, a third of a yard of chicken wire and one and a half hours to get it out of the sewer safely. Mr Tom Stanton, of Kelso Street, Richmond, who finally caught the cat, said: "Someone must have opened the manhole to let it in."

Tom spent half an hour in the manhole today holding a cage made from the chicken wire over the sewer pipe waiting for the cat to be pushed through to him by his workmates. They were at a nearby manhole pushing the rod, with the sugar bags tied on the end, through the pipe from the other end. After several attempts the cat, wet but still fierce, was caught in the cage and carried out by Tom. He put it in a bag, and it was taken to an animal hospital.

Mrs M. Miller, of Lincoln Square, Carlton, said that she first heard the cat crying last night. She added that she and other women had fed the cat with pieces of rabbit and meat. Neither she nor the other women knew how the cat fell into the manhole. A small boy watching the activity piped up with: "My father put it down there." His mother boxed his ears!

The Herald, 11 March 1954, p. 2.


A tale of alleged seduction and abandonment was heard at the Carlton Police Court in April 1882. What made this case exceptional was that both parties were connected with the police. The plaintiff, Margaret Maguire, was the nineteen year old daughter of Senior Constable Maguire and the defendant, Francis McLiney, was a young police constable. Miss Maguire alleged that McLiney had seduced her with a promise of marriage but, when she had become pregnant, he had refused to marry her on the ground that he was engaged to another woman. She was seeking support payments for a child, born two months earlier in February 1882. McLiney claimed that Miss Maguire's allegations were false. The case went on for hours, while the legal arguments of corroborative evidence were debated.


At the Carlton police court yesterday the magistrates were engaged for nearly three hours in hearing an affiliation case in which a girl of 19 years of age, named Margaret Maguire, daughter of a senior-constable of police, was the complainant, and a young member of the police force named Francis McLinney [sic], lately stationed in Melbourne but at present stationed at Hamilton, was the defendant. Mr. Leonard appeared for the complainant and Mr. Gaunson for the defence.

The evidence of the complainant was to the effect that her intimacy with the defendant commenced on the 9th January, 1881, that he subsequently seduced her under proviso of marriage, and that a child, of which he was the father, was born on the 25th February this year. Plaintiff had pressed defendant to marry her, but he declined to do so, on the ground that he had become engaged to be married to another girl. Corroborative testimony was produced on behalf of plaintiff, and the defendant was put in the box, when he swore that the whole of the plaintiffs statements were false.

In announcing the decision of the bench, the chairman said that the magistrates were fully alive to the necessity for corroborative evidence. The legislature required it, and very properly so. His brother magistrates and himself were quite satisfied with the corroborative evidence that had been given, and an order would be made that the defendant pay 10s. [10 shillings] a week for four years, with £1 6s, costs. Mr. Leonard asked their worships to make the order for one year only. The bench assented, and the order was altered accordingly. Mr Gaunson gave notice of appeal.

The Age, 27 April 1882, p. 3

The appeal against the child support order, heard in the Court of General Sessions in June 1882, revealed more details about the case. Senior Sergeant Maguire and his daughter had apparently visited McLiney at Hamilton, where he had been transferred, and the corroborative evidence of private letters between the two parties was read out in court. The circumstances of McLiney's transfer from Melbourne to Hamilton emerged later that year in a statement made to the Police Commission. As reported by The Argus of 16 October 1882: " … Further, when one of the delegates, Constable Delany, declared that Constable McLiney was cleared out of Melbourne for having in technical parlance, 'blocked Cleal's Hotel,' that constable was required to attend at Superintendent Winch's office, with the result that a wholly different cause was assigned for his removal from Melbourne." Whether Constable McLiney's transfer to Hamilton was for operational, disciplinary or personal reasons may never be known.

A police constable named Francis McLiney, stationed at Hamilton appeared yesterday in the Court of General Sessions as appellant against an order made by the Carlton Bench on 12th April directing him to contribute 10s a week towards the support of the illegitimate child of Margaret Maguire, the daughter of Senior-constable Maguire, of Fitzroy. Mr Walsh appeared for the appellant, and Mr Hood for the respondent.

The respondent stated that she was seduced by McLiney on March 15, 1881 and the intimacy was continued for some months. Finding that she was enceinte, she informed McLiney, who was at that time stationed in Melbourne. Shortly afterwards he was removed to Hamilton, the reason assigned by him being that in the too zealous discharge of his duty he had "blocked" Cleal's Hotel. The appellant and her father visited him at Hamilton and Maguire asked him to marry his daughter. He refused to do this, as he was engaged to another lady. The child was born in February, 1882. A mass of correspondence which had passed between the parties was read in corroboration of the respondent statement but his Honour decided that it did not sufficiently bear upon the real point at issue to constitute a compliance with the provision of the law. He therefore quashed the order.

The Argus, 6 June 1882, p. 5

1 Birth records confirm that a child named Francis was born to Margaret Maguire in Carlton in 1882. The father's name is listed as "unknown". (Birth Registration No. 7608/1882). A boy of the same name, born 19 February 1882, became a ward of the state in August 1892. According to the notes on his file, he is described as: "Illegitimate. He is of bad character, plays truant from school, sleeps out at night and is beyond control." The mother is: "Margaret Eggleston, Hay New South Wales. She is now respectably married to a Sergeant of Police." (Children's Registers No. 18615)
2 Cleal's Hotel was in Swanston Street, Melbourne. At the Police Commission of 1882, allegations were made that certain police officers were borrowing money from hotel publicans.

Love makes the world go round, but for Gwendoline Bate the amorous attentions of her "dearest Romeo" turned her world upside down. In April 1906, she applied to the Carlton court for a warrant to arrest Romeo Truda (Trudo), an Italian musician, for threatening her life.


A young woman of prepossessing appearance attended at the Carlton court yesterday, and applied to Messrs. Edwards and Goldspink, J's.P., for a warrant for the arrest of Romeo Truda, an Italian musician for threatening her life. She stated that her name was Gwendoline Francis [sic] Bate and that she lived in Barkly-street. Truda had, she said, threatened her life on several occasions. She had known him for nine months, and he wanted to force her into marrying him against her will. On the previous night and the night before that he broke windows in the house where she was residing. He said, "Sooner than see another man marry you I'll shoot you dead." She was certain he would carry out his threat if he got the chance. He carried a six-chambered revolver about with him, and was in the habit of getting very excited. About a fortnight ago he pulled it out, and pointed it at her head. On the previous night she heard him [at] the house, but kept in the background. He said he would break every window in the house and shoot everyone he found. She did not think he was right in his mind, and was afraid to venture out.

Susan Beamish stated that she lived the house with her mother. She had known Truda for ten months, but had refused to let him into the house during the past four weeks. The complainant had taken the revolver from him twice, a witness had locked it up. She heard Truda threaten complainant. He said would treat her worse than Jack the Ripper treated his victims; that he would cut her from the head down, and across her body. On the previous night he smashed the front stained-glass window, causing damage to the extent of £2, and she proposed to summon him for damaging property and abusive language. He said he would bring all the blackfellows in Melbourne to get the girl out of the house and that when he got hold of her he would finish her. He walked the verandah for two hours, at times wringing his hands and flourishing his walking stick. The bench granted a warrant for the arrest of Truda on the charge of using threatening words.

The Age, 19 April 1906, p. 4

Truda appeared in Carlton Court the following week and was fined 40 shillings, in default fourteen days' imprisonment, for using threatening words. He was bound over in a surety of £50 to keep the peace for six months. Gwendoline, who thought that Romeo was not quite right in his mind, may have wished for a custodial sentence for her own peace of mind.


The case in which Romeo Trudo [sic], musician, was charged with having used threatening words to Gwendoline Francis [sic] Bate, of "Bon Accord" House, Barkly street, Carlton, was called on at the Carlton Court, before Messrs Edwards and Clyne. J.'sP., this afternoon. There was also an application by informant to have defendant bound over to keep the peace, and Marceline Moss, occupier of the house, charged accused with wilful damage. Mr W. J. Tucker appeared for the prosecutrix, and Mr Fyfe for the defence. A further charge of threatening to inflict grevious bodily harm had also been entered against accused. Mr Tucker drew attention to some remarks by Mr Panton, P.M. to the effect that the offence was of a trivial character, and said it was a very serious matter, as would be proved in evidence. The Chairman (Mr Edwards) said the facts of the case were placed before him, and he considered that he was fully justified in issuing the warrant.

Gwendoline Bate stated that she had known defendant for nine months. On 17th Inst. he rang the bell at the door, and said they were keeping his girl (meaning witness) from him. He added that he would break every window in the house, and bring all the blackfellows to take her out and finish her by shooting her dead. On one occasion he broke the door of her bedroom in, pulled out a revolver, and said, "Look, I'll shoot you dead." Witness was going to throw herself from the upstairs window, but Mrs Beamish stepped her and took the revolver from accused. It was loaded in six chambers. Mrs Beamish kept it that night. She was afraid of accused, and could not go out because of him. To Mr Fyffe: He never had a chance to strike me. He attempted to shoot me by pointing a revolver at my brains. I do not make it a rule to have any photo taken with those who come to the house. I know the photo produced. I wrote the words, "To my darling boy, from Gwendoline." He asked me to write them. I also wrote the words, "To my dearest Romeo, with fond love from Gwendoline". On one occasion he threatened to shoot a cabman, but when the cabman got down from his vehicle defendant was nowhere in be seen. (Laughter).

Susan Beamis [sic], daughter of Marcelina Moss, stated that on 17th inst, defendant drove up in a hansom, and sent the driver to ask if the informant was in. Witness said "No." The girl was trembling. Defendant said. "You are keeping my girl from me. By God, I'll have her. She is my property. I'll bring all the blackfellows in Melbourne to get her out, and then I'll finish her. I'll chop her down to the middle, and twice across." (Laughter.) Three weeks before that he rushed upstairs past witness, and burst in the informant's door. Witness found him with the loaded revolver in his hand, and the girl getting out of the window. She made peace with him, and informant handed her the revolver. To Mr Fyffe: He said a member of Parliament had given him permission to carry the revolver. Witness never knew him to hurt anybody. Accused was fined 40s, in default fourteen days' imprisonment, for using threatening words; and was bound over in one surety of L50 [£50] to keep the peace for six months. The charge of wilfully damaging property was withdrawn.

The Herald, 26 April 1906, p. 4

In 1915 Dr J.A. Leach, of the Teachers' Training College in Grattan Street, Carlton, came up with an unusual scheme to relieve the suffering of patients in local hospitals and, at the same time, feed the starving people of Belgium. He set a target of 8,000 striped leeches to be collected by school children throughout Victoria. The timing of the collection in autumn was important to ensure an adequate supply of medicinal leeches over the winter months, when the slippery creatures were known to hibernate. The appropriately named Dr Leach offered to receive postal consignments of leeches at his address in Carlton and deliver them to the Melbourne Hospital, where a fee of 10 shillings per 100 would be paid. This money would go towards the Belgian Relief Fund.

The appeal was run again in 1916, but the price had dropped to 5 shillings per 100 leeches.


Dr J.A. Leach, of the Education Department, has initiated a scheme to help the Melbourne Public Hospital, in addition to assist the Children's War Fund, and finally to send food to heroic Belgians. 8,000 leeches are needed by the Hospital, and each school is invited to send as many as possible in small tins, containing damp grass, and posted to Dr. Leach, Teachers College, Carlton. He will deliver to the hospital authorities, and will forward the cash to the schools for the Belgian Relief Fund. He warns children not to go near deep water, nor to run any risk.


Sink loose meshed sack, such as a potato-bag, baited with a scrap or two of raw meat, in a shallow water hole where leeches abound. After some hours the harvest may be gathered in safety. The price is 10s per 100. So that even 100 leeches mean 10s for Belgium. In each town, where there is a hospital, leeches are wanted. In each Australian State there are scores of hospitals, so that immediate action by school children, in senior grades should mean the salvation of hundreds of Belgians. The Black leech is not used. Hirudo quinquestriata fills the bill. Hirudo, &c., is full of beautiful meaning to Dr Leach and party; but the ordinary youngster who has fished for them with his bare legs, knows the breed as "The Striped leech." It is the Five striped leech which is needed at once before the frost causes them to hibernate. The postal address of each school sending must be plainly stated.

Great Southern Star, 23 April 1915, p. 2

Medicinal leeches are still in use today, mainly for plastic and reconstructive surgery, and for some alternative health therapies. They are no longer collected by school children and are specially farmed for the purpose. In December 2013, ABC Radio National reported that 3,000 leeches, well below Dr Leach's 1915 target, were farmed in Echuca in country Victoria.

More Information:

As this extract from an article entitled "Streets in Slumdom" indicates, long before the pioneering work of Frederick Oswald Barnett in the 1930s and the wholesale destruction wrought by the Housing Commission in the 1960s, there was concern about inner city housing conditions.

"Off Cardigan street, Carlton, there is a cobbled lane, which is a network of blind alleys. The lane contains two rows of cottages facing each other across a 'street' width of 20 feet. The doors of the houses open directly on the lane. Two or three of the ten houses in the alley have yards about 10 feet square. The others are built over the whole allotment with rough wooden outhouses. The only place for the housewife's washing line is the lane itself. On the very lowest assumption thirty or forty people live in this lane, and it is one of the 'desirable residential quarters' of the district. The houses are by no means dilapidated. They are small, hopelessly cramped, confined, but they are stoutly built of brick, and it is only the back portions with their rotting timber additions that are actively objectionable. Imagine what such a lane must be like on a Saturday or Sunday in the heat of summer. That 20 feet of rough cobbled space is the only refuge for men, women and children from the heat of the dolls' houses they live in. The rents of these houses are only a few shillings less than the rent of a brick villa in the great open suburbs of Melbourne.

Off Queensberry street there is a 12-foot lane leading into a whole labyrinth of narrow streets and blind alleys, scarcely one of which is more than 14 feet in width. Little Queensberry street so doubles upon itself that it is front and back to the same houses. It contains a nest of slum dwellings, one or two of which have fallen to pieces, or have been demolished. The ruins are left to rot on the allotments they were built upon. Some of the best of the houses actually possess front gardens, 8 feet is a fair average size, and then of course the tenants have to pay for the luxury by having 8 feet deducted from what would otherwise be a 10-foot back yard. The typical house in such an alley is a wooden structure, of four or five rooms, often not more than 9 feet by 9 feet."

The Age, 28 April 1917, p. 6

The article continues with descriptions of nearby "streets" – Queensberry Place, Magenta Place, Ormond Place and Rodney Place.

Despite achievements in gender equality, women can still face the "glass ceiling" in male-dominated professions. Back in 1920, a Carlton clergyman's daughter broke through the "drawing board" ceiling and made history as the first woman to be awarded a Diploma of Architecture at Melbourne University, and the first woman architect to be elected an associate of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects (RVIA). Eileen Mary Florence Good was one of 4 children – 2 girls and 2 boys – born to the Rev. John Good and his wife Madeline (née Blackham). She was born in Essendon in 1893, where her father ministered to local parishioners. John Good took up a posting at St. Jude's Church in Lygon Street, Carlton, in 1902 and he was to remain there until his retirement from active ministry in 1928. 1


Although women have entered so many of the professions it is only in recent years that Australian women have been attracted to architecture. Miss Eileen Mary Florence Good is the first woman to secure the diploma of architecture at the Melbourne University. This distinction was awarded her at Commencement on Saturday in the Wilson Hall. So far those interested have not been able to secure a Chair of Architecture at the Melbourne University, so Miss Good's black gown was not brighened with one of the gay colored fur-lined collars worn by those who have taken degrees. At present there are four women students at the University preparing for the diploma of architecture. Probably Mrs W. B. Griffin, of America, was the first woman to practise in Victoria as an architect. She arrived here about seven years ago. In 1916 she had a rival in the field in the person of Miss Muriel Stott, a Victorian.

The course for the architecture diploma at the Melbourne University includes natural philosophy, engineering, surveying, chemistry, drawing, modelling, graphics, architecture, strength and elasticity of materials, also geology of building stones, in which Miss Good took honors last year. From the State school Miss Good passed to the University High School, where she did some brilliant work in mechanical drawing. Later she endeavored to get various positions as a draughtswoman, but found herself heavily handicapped on account of her sex. Eventually she succeeded a junior draughtsman in the office of Messrs. Purchas and Teague, architects, to whom she became articled later. Continuing her studies at the Working Men's College, she prepared herself for a University course and entered there three years ago to study for the diploma. Her ambition now is to qualify for admission to the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects. Miss Good is a daughter of the Rev. J. Good, St. Jude's Church, Carlton. She is at present attached to the staff of Messrs. Purchas and Teague, who value her services very highly.

The Herald, 20 April 1920, p. 4.

Even after women gained professional qualifications in architecture, there was still a perception that the "fairer sex" was more suited to domestic architecture and interior design. Collins Street architect Robert Hamilton expressed his opinion in the Weekly Times: "Women will never be able to take up architecture to its fullest extent on account of their disability to deal with the supervision of practical construction, such as the handling of big contracts. The ideal arrangement would be for the woman architect to work in conjunction with a man architect. The man could shoulder the constructive work and the woman could apply herself to the comfort and beauty of the interior." 2

Eileen Good was to prove Mr Hamilton wrong. Her original career choice was engineering, but this was denied to her as a woman. She went on to a successful career as a practising architect and teacher in both the Architecture and Engineering faculties at Melbourne University. Eileen was promoted to lecturer in 1949 and she taught a new generation of architects until her retirement in 1960. She died on 26 November 1986 and her final resting place is in Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton. 3

1 Biographical information has been sourced from birth, death and marriage records.
2 Weekly Times, 30 October 1926, p. 66
3 Encyclopedia of Women & Leadership in 20th century Australia

During the COVID-19 pandemic there have been reports of people drinking alcohol-based hand sanitiser, mostly in the mistaken belief that it would protect them from infection, but sometimes also to get a quick alcohol fix. In April 1921, bottle collector William Linnett made the fatal mistake of taking a swig from a beer bottle.


"I drank something out of a bottle. I'm sorry. I should not have done so." These were the last words uttered by William Linett [sic], 50, of Argyle street, Fitzroy, today, for he died shortly afterwards. Linett [sic] was a bottle gatherer and called at the home of Miss F. O'Meara in Drummond street, Carlton, for bottles. A number was collected and one contained fluid. Linett [sic] drank from a beer bottle and shortly afterwards was found in the yard groaning and complaining of severe pain. A neighbor ran to the plainclothes police office and Senior-Constable J. H. Gorey took the man to the Melbourne Hospital, but he died on the way. The bottle had been used to hold disinfectant.

Herald, 18 April 1921, p. 7

At the inquest conducted by Dr Cole on 28 April 1921, chemical analysis showed that the "Carlton Ale" beer bottle contained 29% creosol, a common ingredient in disinfectant. Frances O'Meara, housekeeper of 47 Drummond Street, Carlton, stated that her sister had stored some phenyle in a beer bottle, but she believed the bottle to be empty when she gave it to Linnett. William Linnett's employer, bottle merchant Sydney Steed, identified the body and stated that "he never appeared to be the worse for drink at any time." Ann Atkins, Linnett's mother-in-law, corroborated Steed's statement and added: "I cannot say how he came to drink the phenyle. I think it was an accident." Plain clothes Senior Constable James Gorey concluded: "These men [ie. bottle collectors] have a habit of drinking beer from these bottles that are nearly empty. I think this death is an accident". The coroner returned a finding of accidental death.1

In December 1918, Ann Atkins appeared in Carlton court to answer a charge of using insulting words to Victor Charles Mulder, an ice-cream vendor. She wrote a detailed letter to her daughter Rose Hannah Linnett, referring to Mulder as a "mongrel" and "Emu pimp" (the latter a reference to a Carlton larrikin gang), and alleging that she had behaved improperly with Mulder. He denied the allegations and stated that Mrs Linnett was his housekeeper, who also assisted in his ice cream vending business. The court found in favour of Mulder and fined Mrs Atkins 40 shillings. Six months later, in June 1919, William Linnett and his wife Rose Hannah Linnett faced each other in court, in what proved to be a sensational divorce case. Mrs Atkins gave evidence against her daughter, accusing her of adultery with several men. 2

1 Inquest Deposition File, 437-1921 (VPRS 24)
2 Truth, 21 December 1918, p. 8 (Note: Rose Hannah Linnett's surname was reported as "Sinnett".)

The Reverend A.R. Osborne was appointed to the North Carlton Presbyterian Church in Nicholson Street in October 1921. He succeeded the Reverend John Lelean Cope, who was an army chaplain during World War 1. After reading an article on youth crime, published in The Argus on 3 April 1922, Reverend Osborne penned a letter to the editor setting forth his own views on the causes and remedies of youth crime.


Sir, – Your leading article of April 3 discusses the problem, of crime among the young in a distinctly helpful way. What we must direct our attention to is the discovery of primary causes. There is always a danger in discussion that too much attention is directed to secondary factors as, for instance, picture shows and the after effects of war. These secondary factors cannot be disregarded. It seems to be true that war disintegrates in a community those forces of moral control which previously served to check crime. Yet it may even be that in so doing it is only hastening a process already at work. Again, the influence of picture shows and of unwholesome literature is not to be discounted. Conduct depends largely on the ideas we have in our mind. Foolish ideas find expression in foolish conduct; wrong ideas find expression in wrong conduct, for this reason it would be well to encourage the study of good literature among children, and discourage attendance at picture shows where the programme has been devised primarily for adults, and is sensational rather than instructive. You are, however, right in pointing out that picture shows and the like are but secondary causes. The primary defect is indicated in your opening sentences. "The Decalogue appears to have been definitely discarded by a large number of people so far as concerns the Eighth Commandment." It is not merely one commandment of the Decalogue that is affected; the whole question of right and wrong is in dispute. A book, which I understand has a large sale among a section of the community, does not hesitate to say: "Get your property by whatever means comes easiest to you. Scorn all indolent dictation as to right and wrong. Decide right and wrong for yourself."

Obviously the primary cause of the increase of crime is a breakdown in the control of moral sanctions, and this goes hand in hand with decay in religion. Whatever may be our views as to any particular form of religion, the fact seems to be borne out by experience that the breaking-down of religious control is associated with the breaking-down of the moral sanctions that keep community life healthy. In our revolt against the sectarian quarrels of the past we have decided to eliminate religions as far as possible from our community life; we now face the question can this be done without affecting our moral life? In other words, are moral energy and religion so inter-related that the decline of one involves the decline of the other? This is a question we cannot ignore. This question also involves the problem of education, to which you rightly refer; and in this connection I venture to point out that literature and history provide material for moral instruction and even for religious instruction in the broadest sense of the term. These subjects should not be treated as incidental parts of the curriculum, but should be made the basis for character-building instruction. In addition to this, the time has come for a campaign of prevention in which teachers, clergy, doctors, men of science, and philanthropists will combine their efforts.

The causes of crime are ascertainable. Sometimes the root of the evil lies in bodily defect. Professor Berry and his colleagues deserve the thanks and recognition of the community for insisting on the relation between sub-normal intelligence and crime. Even apart from special tests for discovering the sub-normal, it is evident to any intelligent observer that many children are feeble-minded, and it is a plain fact that the feeble-minded are the recruiting ground for criminality. I am satisfied that the problem of crime will never be dealt with satisfactorily until we employ scientific methods of inquiry. I am also sure that to do this we need a combine of altruism. The time has come for clergy and men of science to cease abusing one another and link up their forces in the interest of the common good. As a minister of religion I am anxious that the churches should take the lead in this matter. I am sure that there is a common meeting ground for religion, medicine, science, and education, and in the interests of our land I hope the combine of altruism will become a reality and not remain a pretty theory.

Yours, etc.
The Manse, North Carlton. April 3.

The Argus, 4 April 1922, p. 8

While Reverend Osborne's holistic approach of incorporating religion, medicine, science and education may seem progressive for the 1920s, his association of sub-normal intelligence with crime would be considered discriminatory by today's standards. Osborne refers to Professor Berry, who was Professor of Anatomy at Melbourne University. Richard Berry was a proponent of the eugenics movement and during his tenure at Melbourne University he studied the remains of hundreds of Aboriginal people, some of which had been obtained by illegal means. History has shown that the once-lauded professor had feet of clay.1

The Manse in Princes Street, where Reverend Osborne lived, is now the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre. It is the only surviving church building on the corner block bounded by Nicholson, Princes and Station streets. The land, which was acquired by the Roads Corporation for road widening in the 1990s, once accommodated a church, a church hall and two corner shops facing Nicholson Street, and a single storey building and the Manse facing Princes Street. The tall palm tree in the grassed reserve area marks the location between the church and church hall that once stood there.

1 Heart of darkness: Melbourne University's racist professors. The Age, 30 November 2015

Self-directed learning and teaching children to think for themselves were bold new concepts in education in the early 20th century. The Dalton plan, pioneered by Helen Pankhurst in America, aimed to tailor each student's program to his or her needs, interests, and abilities; to promote both independence and dependability; and to enhance the student's social skills and sense of responsibility toward others. The plan was introduced to Australia in 1922 and trialled by the Victorian Education Department in 1923. Princes Hill, as a training school, was selected as an experimental site and the preliminary results were reported in April 1923.1,2


With the approval of the Education Department experiments are being made in the upper grades of some Victorian State schools, with the "freedom in education" system advocated by Mr G. S. Browne, M.A., vice-principal of the Teachers' Training College, in a lecture last night. Mr A. Fussell, the Acting Director, said today that at Princes Hill school, Carlton, a teacher in giving lessons on history, divided the class into two portions. One section was instructed and allowed to study in the customary way. The second section was left to itself and permitted to work out its own problems. When the testing time came the second section was far ahead of the first. The system, Mr Fussell explained, was a modification of the Dalton plan and the object was to endeavor to bring out the best that was in the young students by providing, as Mr Browne had put it, "the necessary flavor of interest and reality." The aim was to leave it to the discretion of the boys and girls, within certain limits, how they did their own work. It would be a tremendous advantage to the community if more people could be induced to think for themselves and cultivate initiative.

The Herald, 24 April 1923, p. 5

In keeping with the ideals of the Dalton plan, the assessment was not just based on academic performance, and the opinions of the students were also taken into account. While it was acknowledged that the Dalton plan may not be suited to all students, or the teaching of all subjects, essential elements of the plan remain in the education system to this very day.


Children's opinions of the method are interesting, and they are glad and willing to give them. The following is quoted in the Education department's "Circular of Information" as a typical written opinion: – "I like the Dalton plan because you can make up in weak subjects, and also make up after being away. It is very hard work, but I think you learn more in every way. Also, you can plan your work and arrange not to have home work on some day [sic]."

Questioned as to their preference, only three in a class of fifty in a well-known Carlton school favored the "old system." Very few would go back to it of their own free will. Two boys, however, said they would rather have the old method "any day," giving as their reason that under the Dalton plan they wrote a lot and then forgot it. "When a teacher gives a lesson," they said, "things stick in your mind better." In other words, their work was not clinched. As their head teacher said, they had written their work, but not learnt it. Is this a serious shortcoming of the Dalton plan? Or is it purely a matter of testing and supervision?

The following is a case in point: – When the scheme was instituted at a Carlton school one boy was particularly antagonistic. For days he sat in his desk and would do nothing. Then the teacher asked the class for opinions, and was not a little surprised to receive what was apparently his death warrant, emblazoned with the skull and crossbones and labelled, "From one who hates the system." Its authorship was not hard to trace. Yet today the same boy is doing excellent work in grade B (often doing the extra work of grade A), and, according to his teacher, is helping his less enthusiastic companions. Other instances could be cited.

The Age, 29 October 1923, p. 11

Notes and references:
2 A detailed report on the Dalton laboratory plan in practice at the training school in Faraday Street, Carlton, was published in The Argus of 23 August 1923, p. 4.

Leslie Harold Fairnie was familiar with the streets of his local area. He was born in Princes Hill, grew up in McIlwraith Street and, until his marriage in 1920, he lived at the family home "Linlithgow" in Bowen Crescent. Late one night in April 1923, he was heading to the North Carlton Railway Station, a short walk from Bowen Crescent, when he was accosted by a man claiming to be a police constable. Fairnie, a veteran of the Gallipoli Campaign, sensed danger and acted according to the maxim "strike first, strike hard". While Fairnie lost a few shillings in the encounter, his would-be assailant ended up worse for wear.


Carlton is becoming notorious by reason of the attacks on citizens at night time by rogues who represent themselves as plainclothes policemen and then rob them. Mr Leslie H. Fairnie, commercial traveller, of Glenhuntly road, Elsternwick, had an experience of these undesirables late last night and knocked one of them down. Fairnie had been visiting his mother, who lives in Bowen crescent, and was on his way to the train at half-past 11. As he was passing a right-of-way near Pigdon street a well-dressed young man accosted him and asked what he had in a small attaché case he was carrying. "What's it to do with you?" replied Fairnie. "Well, it has something to do with me, because I am a police constable," said the man. On the opposite side of the road were two men and a woman, and as the questioner was apparently one of their party Fairnie told them to take the man away. They disclaimed acquaintance with him and the man, turning to Fairnie, made use of a grossly objectionable expression. Fairnie's reply to this was a powerful right-hand punch, delivered scientifically and with such effect that the self-styled policeman measured his length on the roadway.

The other men who had said that the prostrate one was not of their party, rushed forward and set upon Fairnie, who, to get away from their violence, retreated into an adjacent garden. The assailants then went across the road to a yellow Buick motor car and drove away. As a parting shot one of the men fired a revolver. In the struggle, Fairnie's valise fell to the ground, and when he regained possession of it he discovered that a few shillings had been stolen from it. It is more than probable that the attacking gang had been drinking with the woman in the motor car near Prince's Park. The man who had accosted Fairnie was addressed during the scuffle as "Lofty." Detective-Sergeant Hawkins is making inquiries.

The Herald, 28 April 1923, p. 1

The parting shot from the revolver may have triggered a memory for Leslie Fairnie, who received a gunshot wound in the leg at Gallipoli in April 1915. He was among the casualties reported in The Age in May 1915, but the newspaper overstated his age by ten years – he was only 25 years old – and had to publish a correction the following day. The word "splendid" may seem an odd way of describing a wounded soldier's condition, but possibly he did not wish to unduly alarm his parents. The injury was more serious than stated and Fairnie was returned to Australia, where he continued to receive treatment. He was discharged from the AIF in February 1916.1,2


Corporal L.H. Fairnie, who is reported as wounded, is the oldest son of Mr. R. H. Fairnie, 'Linlithgow', Bowen-crescent, Princes Hill. He is 35 [sic] years of age and unmarried, and was one of the first to enlist after the war broke out. He was then employed as manager of the woollen department at the establishment of Messrs. Peddie, Robinson and Ellis, manufacturers, city, and that firm promised to keep his situation open for him on his return from active service. He was captain of the 60th area cadets for about two years; is a member of the Carlton school board of advice, of which he acted as correspondent; and was scout master of the second Carlton troop for eight years. He joined the 7th battalion as a private in October last, and was made Scout-Sergeant after four days' service. His parents have received a cable message from him stating that he has been slightly wounded and is feeling splendid.

The Age, 10 May 1915, p. 11

Leslie Fairnie was the eldest of four children born to Robert Hugh Fairnie and Margaret Ann (Annie) Wanklyn – Leslie Harold (1889), Robert Ernest (1892), Margaret Evelyn (1894) and William Gregory (1899). Margaret Evelyn died in 1898, when the family was living in McIlwraith Street, Princes Hill. They later moved to the new house "Linlithgow", built by local builder John Quilty in 1910. Leslie (Service no. 443) was an early enlistment in August 1914 and two months later he embarked on the New Zealand troopship A20 Hororata. While still at sea, Leslie wrote a letter to his brother Robert, describing a humorous incident in which a large beer barrel broke free and caused havoc on board ship during rough seas. Before the rogue barrel was finally brought under control, the taps had broken open and some of the troops were enjoying the free beer. Leslie wrote his letter the day after Melbourne Cup Day and the text appeared in The Herald of 15 December 1914, so the war censors at the time had no problem with humorous or trivial accounts being published.3,4,5

The war was over for Leslie Fairnie by early 1916, but both his brothers – Robert (Service no. 10806) and William (Service no. 15910) – answered the call and enlisted. While on active service, Robert had several hospitalisations for illness (scarlet fever and trench fever) and William was gassed in France in September 1917 and also contracted influenza. After the war, the Fairnie brothers returned to civilian life, marriage and family. Leslie married May Church Wallace at St James's Old Cathedral, Melbourne, in April 1920. They lived initially in Pigdon Street, Princes Hill, before moving to Elsternwick. Their son, Leslie Reginald, was born at Strathearn Private Hospital in Princes Hill in August 1922, but he lived for only 17 days. Six years later they had a daughter, Pamela Margaret, born in July 1928. There were indications that the marriage was not a happy one. May petitioned for divorce in 1937 and made serious allegations about her husband's conduct, which he categorically denied.6,7,8,9,10

Leslie's parents, Robert and Annie, went to live with him in Elwood in the 1940s and "Linlithgow" was sold. Robert died in 1949 and Annie in 1953. Annie was acknowledged as a foundation member of the North Carlton Red Cross auxiliary, which was established shortly after World War 1. In later life, Leslie moved to Mornington. He had received the standard issue medals for his service in World War 1 and in April 1967 he wrote to the Central Army Records Office requesting the Anzac Medallion, which had recently become available. Leslie Harold Fairnie died three years later and the octogenarian Gallipoli veteran was buried in the local cemetery at Mornington, in the same plot as his mother Annie. The inscription on his modest headstone reads:11,12,13,14,15

Leslie Harold Fairnie
Son of Robert and Margaret
Died 1st February 1970
Aged 80 years

Notes and References:
1 The Age, 10 May 1915, p. 11
3 Biographical information has been sourced from birth, death and marriage records, and newspapers reports.
4 Australian Architectural Index, record no. 80261. "Linlithgow" is at 32 Bowen Crescent, Princes Hill.
5 The Herald, 15 December 1914, p. 1
8 The Argus, 2 June 1920, p. 1
9 The Argus, 26 August 1922, p. 11
10 1937/395 Fairnie v Fairnie: Divorce Petitioner : May Church Fairnie ; Respondent : Leslie Harold Fairnie (VPRS 283/P0002, 1937/395)
11 Residential address information has been sourced from Sands & McDougall directories and electoral rolls.
12 Certificate of title, vol. 3274, fol. 630
13 The Age, 20 November 1953, p.5
14 The Anzac medallion was first issued in 1967 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in 1965.
15 Mornington Cemetery records.

Single mothers had very little support in the 1920s and many women were forced by circumstances to give up their babies. A case in point occurred in 1924, when a young woman gave her baby to a boy and, for a payment of threepence, asked him to take the child to the Melbourne Foundling Hospital. When The Herald newspaper heard of the mother's plight, they published the details in the hope that the woman would come forward. The good news is that the mother did reclaim her baby, and both mother and daughter headed off to a new life in Carlton. The young mother even received a marriage proposal, from a man who seemed anxious to tie the knot.


There was a happy reunion at Melbourne Foundling Hospital today, when a young, single woman arrived to claim her pretty, dark-eyed baby girl. She had given a boy threepence to take the baby there some time ago. Fair-haired, fresh-complexioned, and just out of her teens, the mother told a "Herald" representative that she was very happy. She was going home with the child to live in Carlton with her mother, who accompanied her. Her story, published in "The Herald," caught the eye of a young Englishman in Sorrento, and he has written asking her to marry him. Plain-clothes Constable Gooden, of East Melbourne, received the letter this morning.

"I hope you will not be offended," the letter begins. "I am sorry to see that things are very hard with you, as I had a sister in the very same position as you are in now. I am willing to marry you. If you like you can write to me and let me know or send me your address, and I will come to town and see you. My people are in England. Please let me know as soon as possible, as I might be joining the Army or Navy soon in Sydney."

The girl's mother says she will write to the young man and arrange a meeting. He is 20 years of age – the same age as the girl.

The Herald, 7 April 1924, p. 1

Photo: CCHG
The Former Carlton Picture Theatre
235 Faraday Street Carlton
(Photographed in 2009)

Decades before the advent of television and online streaming services, a Saturday matinée or night at the pictures was a special occasion. Motion pictures were the latest entertainment technology when the Carlton Picture Theatre opened in April 1924. The building at 235 Faraday Street, Carlton, was originally designed by architect W.A. Fettes and constructed by William Dougherty in 1908 as a billiard hall and club rooms. The conversion to a modern picture theatre began in September 1923, under the supervision of Collins Street architect Gerald Ryan, and the theatre opened to the public on 14 April 1924.1,2,3

The Carlton Picture Palace is to be opened shortly. Mr S. Weinberg [sic], of Carlton, is the founder of the project, which has been merged into The Carlton Theatres Pty Ltd. The building is constructed of brick and reinforced concrete, and the classical front is finished in cement stucco. Stairs on both sides of the large front entrance opening lead to the balcony. The auditorium and gallery are large and roomy, and special attention has been paid to lighting and ventilation, both being carried out on the very latest American principles. The building has been designed and supervised by Gerrald [sic] M. Ryan, architect of 352 Collins street, Melbourne, and the work carried out by E. Goette and Son, Lygon street, Carlton.

The Herald, 9 April 1924, p. 12

Within a few days of opening, The Carlton Picture Theatres Pty Ltd was in trouble for having opened a public building without the approval in writing of the Public Health Commission. The case was prosecuted at the Carlton Court in July 1924.


The Carlton Picture Theatres Pty Ltd was procceded against at the Carlton Court on Friday for having opened a public building, the Carlton Picture Theatre, in Faraday street, without the approval in writing of the Public Health Commission. Mr. T. B. Wade, P.M., and Mr. W. Rendry, J.P., comprised the bench. Mr. Menzies prosecuted on behalf of the Public Health Commission. Clarence Victor Lister, building surveyor of the Public Health department, said that he had inspected the theatre on April 17, and found that all requirements had not been complied with. Plain-clothes Constable Wagener said that the theatre was opened on April 14. Mr. Wiseberg [sic], a director of the company, in pleading guilty, said that he was ignorant of the fact that the requirement had not been attended to. A fine of £10 was imposed, with £1/1 costs.

The Argus 12 July 1924, p. 28

Two years later, Samuel Weisberg was still haggling with architect Gerald Ryan over building costs. He sued the architect for breach of contract, but Gerald Ryan issued a counter-claim for unpaid fees. The court ruled in Ryan's favour.


Samuel Weisberg, formerly of Pigdon-street, Carlton, but now of Daylesford, recently took action against Gerald M. Ryan, architect, of Collins-street, Melbourne, to recover £1000 damages for alleged breach of contract in connection with the converting of a billiard hall in Faraday-street, Carlton, into a picture theatre. Plaintiff alleged that he employed defendant to prepare plans and to supervise the work in connection with the conversion. The total cost of the work, he alleged, inclusive of extras, was not to exceed £2950. He alleged, that defendant accepted engagement on these terms, but that he had been guilty of a breach of duty, in that he authorised the expenditure on a considerable number of extras, whereby the cost of the work was greatly increased. Plaintiff also alleged that after he had paid the £2000 defendant gave a certificate for £725 extras to the builder, and also an acknowledgment that there was a balance of £100 2/10 owing by plaintiff to the builder. It was also claimed that the specifications did not comply with the municipal building regulations, nor with the requirements of the Health Commission, making necessary extra work and costs.

Defendant denied negligence, and claimed that any extras were authorised under plaintiff's instructions. He counter-claimed for £141 10/, architect's fees said to be owing by Weisberg. Mr. Gamble (instructed by Messrs. Herman and Stretton) appeared for plaintiff, and Mr. Hogan (instructed by Mr. G. P. Newman) for defendant. Mr. Justice Schutt gave his reserved decision in the action in the Banco Court yesterday. After reviewing the number of items of alleged extras, his Honor said he did not think Weisberg was entitled to succeed. The contract was a verbal one, and he did not think that £2950 or any sum was agreed upon as a maximum cost of the work. He entered judgment for defendant on the claim, with costs, and judgment for Ryan on the counter claim, with costs.

The Age, 31 March 1926, p. 1

In October of the same year, the Carlton Picture Theatre was rocked to its foundations by a gelignite bomb thrown from the back lane. The damage was confined to the rear of the building and fortunately there were no injuries. After repairs, the picture theatre resumed screenings, but that was not the end of its troubles. In December 1926, a group of local businesses, residents, ratepayers and theatre patrons wrote to the Health Officer at Melbourne Town Hall complaining about poor ventilation within the theatre – particularly in the warmer months – inadequate toilet facilities and the nuisance caused by patrons relieving themselves in the back lane. Nevertheless, the Carlton Picture Theatre went on to be one of the oldest continuously operating cinema buildings in Melbourne. Post World War 2, as the Carlton demographic changed, the picture theatre was notable for screening foreign language and arthouse films. "The Bughouse", as it was affectionately known, may have survived a bomb blast in the 1920s, but it did not survive into the 21st century. The development of large multi-screen complexes saw the end of small independent cinemas, which were no longer able to compete for business. The Carlton Moviehouse, as it was re-branded, closed in 1999. The building was occupied by STA Travel for several years and has since been re-developed as office suites, with retail premises on the ground floor. 4,5

1 Australian Architectural Index
2 Cinema Treasures
3 The builder E. Goette & Son was based at 165 Lygon Street, Carlton
4 Public Building files (VPRS 7882/P1/104/482/1)
5 Victorian Heritage Database

In April 1924, dancers from Melbourne and beyond were shining their shoes and brushing up on their steps in preparation for the re-opening of the Cleveland's Dance Hall in Drummond Street, Carlton. The hall was named after the original owner, Orlando Cleveland, who lived next door. Both the dance hall and adjoining house were designed by architects Grainger & Little and built between 1910 and 1911 by Lockington & Sinclair, of Pigdon Street, Princes Hill. After the extensive reburbishment of 1924, the last waltz was danced in 1927, and the former dance hall became factory for Altod Pty Ltd, corset manufacturers. A succession of corset manufacturers followed for the next few decades. The factory site has since been redeveloped as residential apartments.

The building here illustrated, known as Cleveland's Dance Hall, is situated at 262-274 Drummond street, Carlton. It has been completely re-modelled and enlarged at considerable expense, and is now one of the most up-to-date dancing palaces in or around Melbourne. The new hall, which is capable of accommodating 1500 dancers, has been very artistically decorated, and a modern scheme of lighting and ventilation has been installed. There are two slide openings in the roof, and a number of electric fans to circulate fresh air. Great care has been taken in the construction of a floor of special 3in. wood, which is one of the finest in Melbourne. An efficient hand of Australian performers will supply the music, and the appointments, consisting of cloak rooms, sweet stalls and soda fountains, together with a commodious balcony, will further add to the comfort and enjoyment of patrons. The architects were Messrs. H.W. and F.B. Tompkins.

The Herald, 23 April 1924, p. 4.


Image: Melbourne Punch, 11 December 1890, p. 3

The liquor licence for the Clyde Hotel, on the corner of Cardigan and Elgin streets, became available in 1885 and well known cricketer William Midwinter saw a business opportunity. The incumbent licensee, George Alfred Andrew, had held the licence for six months only and, because he had been fined twice for Sunday trading during that time, he could forfeit this licence. William Midwinter paid £200 for the licence but Andrew absconded with the money and transfer documents. Midwinter was in a difficult situation because he took possession of the hotel and was unable to legally sell liquor. He was granted a three week extension of his licence application and a week later, on 7 May, the licence transfer from George Andrew to William Midwinter was granted. The whereabouts of George Andrew was not stated.


Mr. Demaine said he had an application to make in the matter of the licence of the Clyde Hotel, Cardigan-street, Carlton. His client, Mr. Midwinter, had purchased the licence from George Andrew for £200, but could not obtain a transfer, although he had paid down the money. The licensee had put the transfer into his pocket and cleared out, and although some detectives had been set to work, they were unable to discover his whereabouts. Andrew had not left Melbourne, but was concealing himself somewhere in the city, and was supposed to be "drinking the money" paid to him. The present application to the court was to extend the time for the transfer being put in, and to enable Midwinter to sell liquor on the premises. Inspector Pewtress said George Andrew had good reason to sell his licence, for he had been twice fined for Sunday trading, which involved forfeiture of the licence.

Mr. Midwinter, the applicant, being sworn, stated that Andrew, to whom he had paid the purchase money, had signed the transfer. Witness was at present in possession of the house, and no one had made any adverse claim upon him. The Carlton Brewery held a bill of sale over Andrew's effects. Andrew obtained a transfer from John Honner for a year. The bench granted the applicant permission to sell for three weeks, and directed further inquiries to be made as to Andrew's whereabouts.

The Age, 1 May 1885, p. 6

William Midwinter was born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1851 and he migrated to Australia as a child in the 1860s. As an international cricketer, he had the distinction of playing for, and against, the teams of his birth and adopted countries – Australia versus England (eight tests) and England versus Australia (four tests). He held the licence for the Clyde Hotel until June 1887, when it was transferred to Andrew Young. William Midwinter moved on to the Druids Hotel in South Melbourne and several other hotels. Following the deaths of his wife and children, Midwinter's mental health deteriorated and he left the hotel trade. He was admitted to the lunacy ward of Bendigo Hospital in June 1890 and transferred to the Kew Asylum in August 1890. He died there in December 1890 and was buried, together with his wife and children, in Melbourne General Cemetery, North Carlton. In February 1982 the Australian Cricket Society, in association with the Victorian Cricket Association, laid a commemorative plaque at his unmarked grave site.

What would you do with 180 dozen rabbit skins? Fifteen year old Percy Crellin tried to offload them to a skin dealer and this course of action led to his downfall. The dealer, Mr. Wilde of Collingwood, was suspicious of the skins' origins and he called police to investigate. In May 1894, Crellin and his alleged partners-in-crime were arrested and charged with housebreaking and stealing rabbit skins from the business of Robert Nichol (Nicol or Nicoll) of Nicholson Street, North Carlton.


Three young men named William Walker, Percy Crellin and John Reilly were before the Carlton bench yesterday to answer a charge of housebreaking and stealing. The evidence showed that on the morning of the 3rd inst. the factory of Mr. Robert Nicol at Nicholson-street, North Carlton, was broken into and a bale of skins valued at £15 stolen. Subsequently the prisoners Walker and Crellin endeavored to dispose of them to a skin merchant named James Wilde. Walker said that he had obtained the skins from a brother, a trapper, who resided at Beveridge. Next day Crellin called for payment for the skins, and on being told that there was something wrong admitted to Detective Thompson that he and Reilly had committed the theft. The accused were committed for trial.

The Argus, 11 May 1894, p. 6

Reilly (Riley) pleaded guilty to the charges and took responsibility for unwittingly involving Crellin and Walker in the theft and disposal of stolen goods. The charges against Crellin and Walker were dismissed. This was a surprising verdict, as Crellin had made an admission to police and Walker had lied about the origins of the rabbit skins. Perhaps the jury had given the two young men the benefit of doubt.


The sittings of the Supreme Court in its criminal jurisdiction were continued yesterday before the Chief Justice, Mr. Walsh Q.C., prosecuting for the Crown. William Walker and Percy Crellin, two young men, were presented on charges of housebreaking and stealing. The case for the prosecution was that on the night of the 3rd inst. some person broke into the premises of Mr. Robert Nichol, in North Carlton, and stole a bale of rabbit skins therefrom. The skins, of which there were about 180 dozen, were afterwards traced to the possession of the prisoners and of a young man named Riley. The latter pleaded guilty to the offences charged, and the defence of the prisoners was that in all they had done about the skins they had acted bona fide and under the direction of Riley, not knowing that he had come by the property dishonestly. The jury acquitted the prisoners, and they were discharged.

The Argus, 30 May 1894, p. 6

Mr Nichol (Nicol or Nicoll) had his furrier business at 697 Nicholson Street and, at the time, it was a stand-alone wooden building on a double block of land. The vacant building was damaged by fire in May 1898. Twenty years later, in 1918, the site was completely redeveloped as a motor garage for Taggart Brothers. Alfred and Thomas Taggart had a bicycle business at the shop next door at 699 Nicholson Street for over ten years and they made the transition to servicing motor vehicles. Alfred Taggart died in 1927 and the garage business was continued by his younger brother Thomas. In the mid-1930s, he moved south to premises shared with a tyre company at 677-679 Nicholson Street. The former garage building became an ironmongery and later a hardware store. In more recent times, the building was home to the video store "Video Zone", and the beauty clinic "Duquessa". Renovations for the medical clinic "Doctors on Nicholson" in 2019 uncovered signage dating back to the days of Taggart Brothers' motor garage.

The new century had only just begun when Australia faced a major health scare in January 1900. Bubonic plague, a disease more commonly associated with medieval Europe, appeared for the first time in Australia. The first case was recorded in Sydney on 19 January 1900 and was linked to Central Wharf, where rat-infested ships arrived from the known plague areas of India, Asia and Noumea. It was only a matter of time that the disease would reach Victoria but, with forewarning, public health officials were better equipped to contain the epidemic. The first Victorian case was reported at Collingwood on 8 May 1900, followed by outbreaks at Port Melbourne, HMS Cerberus, Geelong, Kensington (a family of five) and Camberwell. There was a rumoured outbreak in Carlton, which proved to be false, and the Leader newspaper took a humorous approach in reporting on a serious subject:

Nearly every suburb has had at least half-a-dozen plague scares during the last ten days. The process of originating a scare is the easiest thing in the world. It is only necessary for Mrs. Jones to mention to Mrs. Brown over the back gate that her "old man" has not been feeling well, and has a casual swelling, and in about two hours another plague case will have developed, and local rents will have taken a downward tendency. Carlton offers a case in point. Last Sunday afternoon half the suburb knew that the plague had broken out in a certain house in a certain street. Before 4 o'clock about a third of the population of Carlton had drifted past the house at a respectful distance, and the occupants noted the interest displayed in their home with growing wonder; two families had packed up hastily with the intention of shifting at daylight on Monday morning, and the neighbors were all coldly distant. Then came two officials in a cab. "It is reported that the plague has broken out in your house," said one to the woman who opened the door. The woman screamed at the idea, and a hunt failed to disclose the sign of sickness anywhere, and nobody could tell how or why the report had grown, but as the men were leaving again the housewife ran to the cab, "I know how it is," she said. "This morning I told Mrs. —, at No. 5, that my husband had been plagued with a sick horse all night."

Leader, 19 May 1900, p. 22.

The Victorian epidemic was contained within a month, with only 2 fatalities. For the entire year of 1900, there were 10 recorded cases of bubonic plague in Victoria, compared to 303 cases in New South Wales and 136 in Queensland. South Australia and Western Australia recorded 3 and 6 cases respectively and Tasmania, geographically protected by its isolation from the mainland, remained plague free.1

1 The history of plague in Australia 1900-1926. Service publication no. 23. Commonwealth of Australia. Department of Health, 1926

The young woman lifted the bottle to her lips and swallowed the last of its contents. As an actress of some experience, she knew how to make a dramatic final exit. But this was no stage setting and the chlorodyne bottle was no theatrical prop. Late one night in 1911, Nellie (Millie) Lempriere sat alone and penniless in the Carlton Gardens. She had reached that state of despair where she felt she could no longer go on living. However, intervention by a police constable saved her life.


Miss Nellie Lempriere, the young actress who was admitted to the Melbourne Hospital at an early hour on Saturday, suffering from chlorodyne poisoning, was progressing favourably last night. She received visits yesterday from several members of the theatrical profession, and it is understood that her difficulties will be removed when she leaves the Hospital. The young woman was a member of the large company headed by Mr Julius Knight. After Mr Knight's farewell performance the company was reformed and the J. C. Williamson management found it necessary, in the usual way, to dispense for the time being with the services of some of the members. For the dramas "Paid in Full" and "The Dawn of a To-morrow" a much smaller company was required than had been the case in the Julius Knight plays. Miss Lempriere's unemployment was a condition of affairs common in the theatrical profession. Actors and actresses have been known to be without an engagement for 12 months, though they are regarded as capable performers in their special class of work. Miss Lempriere has taken important parts in "The Sign of the Cross", "The Breed of Treshams", "The Corsican Brothers", and "The Englishman's Home". She became unemployed just before Christmas. She had written "Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden", a sketch, but failed to make money by it. Despondent at having become penniless, and disappointed because she could not secure an engagement, she entered the Carlton Gardens on Saturday night, and, according to her own statement, drank a large quantity of chlorodyne. Constable McKerrall saw her crouching on a boulder, and removed her to the Melbourne Hospital. Miss Lampriere, who is 25 years of age, was born in Naples, and educated in Switzerland.

The Argus, 1 May 1911, p. 8

Having recovered in hospital, Miss Lempriere appeared in Carlton Court to face a charge of attempted suicide. The Bench was sympathetic to her plight and discharged her on her own undertaking not to attempt suicide again. This may have been Miss Lempriere's final public performance because there was no further mention of her as an actress in the newpapers.


Millie Lempriere, an actress, was charged in the Carlton Court yesterday, before Messrs. Sheehan and Hardy, J.P.'s, with having attempted to commit suicide. Constable McKarral [sic] said – While in the Carlton Gardens at 10 minutes past 12 a.m. on April 28, I heard calls for help, and on going in that direction I found the defendant sitting on the grass. She had a bottle, labelled chlorodyne, in her hand. I took her to Melbourne Hospital, and she was admitted. She was discharged from the hospital this morning. Two ladies, friends of the defendant, assured the Bench that they would take care of her until she could obtain an engagement. The defendant, on promising not to attempt suicide again, was discharged.

The Argus, 2 May 1911, p. 8

Note: Chlorodyne was a popular patent medicine originally formulated to treat cholera. The active ingredients of laudanum (opium), cannabis and chloroform were effective for pain relief and sedation, but could be fatal in high doses. Judging by newspaper accounts, chlorodyne was the poison of choice for many would-be suicides.

On the night of 9 May 1917, in a reckless act of boyish bravado, Richard Belsey played an unwitting game of Russian roulette. He was only seventeen and a half years old, well below the voting age, but he had definite views on the Labor Party and the outcome of the recent 1917 Federal election. It was his expression of these political views that ended his young life.1,2


A sensational incident occurred in Carlton last night, when a well-dressed youth named Richard Belsey, of 37 Miller-street, West Melbourne, pointed a revolver at his forehead and pulled the trigger. He died in Melbourne Hospital at 12.20 a.m. today. From the story told to the police, it apppears that Belsey, who is 18 [sic] years of age, was walking down Madeline-street, Carlton, with a young woman of his acquaintance. A few minutes after 9 o'clock, it is said, he left a billiard saloon, where he had been playing with some friends, and accidentally meeting the young woman offered to take her to her home, at 55 Royal-parade, Parkville. The two friends set off, and Belsey, chatting animatedly, was apparently in the best of spirits. When a few yards from Elgin-street the youth, with a jest on his lips, suddenly pulled out a revolver, and crying, "This is what I am going to do to Mannix, Maloney and the rest of the Labor crowd," pressed the trigger. He fell sharply to the footpath, his head striking the asphalt, and the revolver dropped by his side. His horrified companion called out for assistance, and two nurses from the nearby Sefton private hospital were first on the scene. On his beat, near the corner of Elgin and Lygon streets, a man rushed up to Constable P. Merrett, saying, "Come quickly; a man has shot himself." When the policeman arrived he found Belsey lying unconscious, with blood trickling from the wound in his head. The injured youth was taken in a St. John ambulance to Melbourne Hospital, and admitted by Dr. Kershaw suffering from a bullet wound in the temple and a fractured skull. The revolver used by Belsey, which is of modern make, was loaded in one chamber. In a leather purse a number of .32 calibre bullets were found.

The Age, 10 May 1917, p. 6

The inquest established that the revolver and bullets were the property of Richard's father Samuel Belsey, who worked as a night watchman and was sometimes helped out by his son. Richard had shown the revolver to several friends, but there was no indication that he had any suicidal tendencies, and he was making plans for the coming weekend. The investigating police officers found no evidence of foul play or suspicious circumstances. The Coroner, Robert Hodgson Cole, found that Richard Francis Belsey died from an accidental gunshot wound in the head, self-inflicted without suicidal intent.3


At the City Coroner's court yesterday Dr. R. H. Cole inquired into the circumstances of the death of Richard Francis Belsey, aged 17½, who died in Melbourne Hospital on Thursday last from a bullet wound in the left side of the head. According to the evidence, deceased, who was employed as a clerk in the office of the National Trustees, had relieved his father, a night watchman, who, through sickness, was unable to fulfill his duties. Unknown to the father, deceased took the former's revolver and cartridges. While having possession of the firearms he joked with friends, who warned him not to carry these about. While accompanying a girl student home from the Working Men's College, he produced the revolver, saying, "I have something here that will settle Mannix, Maloney and the Labor party." He then laid the revolver on his chest, and referred to a picture comedian, who had "some" revolver. He no sooner said that when a report rang out, and he fell to the ground with the remark, "Gee!" The girl witness said she had known deceased for some time and he never spoke of suicide. He had the revolver in his right hand when it went off, and was not a bit excited. Plain Clothes Constable Beattie said he had inquired into the case, and could find no motive for the shooting. The conclusion he had come to was that deceased probably loaded the revolver, and that when going to meet the girl one of the cartridges stayed in. He thought that deceased was joking with the girl about the pictures, and that his death was an accident. The Coroner, in returning a verdict of accidental death, considered that the wound, which proved fatal, was self-inflicted, without suicidal intent. The whole thing pointed to a case of boyish bravado. Deceased had evidently forgotten that the revolver was loaded. The fact that deceased was wounded in the left side of the head caused him to have that opinion. In the case of suicide with revolvers the wound was generally on the right side of the head.

The Age, 16 May 1917, p. 8

Notes and References:
1 Russian roulette had its origins in Tsarist Russia, but the term "Russian roulette" was not coined until the 1930s.
2 The election was held on 5 May 1917, five days before the shooting. (Federal election results 1901�2014, Parliament of Australia website)
3 Inquest deposition file 1917-378 (VPRS 24)

Elizabeth Livingston (aka Madame Zephy), a fortune teller of Drummond Street, North Carlton, failed to foresee that the woman who came to consult her was, in fact, a police agent gathering evidence for her arrest and conviction. The case was heard in Carlton court in May 1917.


"Anxiety in regard to near and dear relations at the war has caused many people to consult fortune tellers, and, according to a statement made by Sub-Inspector Brady at Carlton court yesterday, the menace had become so great that police action was necessary. The remark was made during the hearing of a case in which Elizabeth Livingston was charged on two counts with having unlawfully used certain subtle craft to impose on Madge Conner and Kathleen V. Conner respectively.

Madge Conner, police agent, said that on 18th ult. she and her daughter visited defendant's house at 746 Drummond street, and witness and defendant sat down opposite each other at a table. At defendant's dictation witness wrote her address and the following: - 'I came to Madame Zephy for advice for myself only.' Holding witness's hand, defendant said, 'You are not satisfied with your present surroundings. You are separated from your husband.' After witness handed her a photograph, she said, 'This is a bad-tempered man. I don't think he will ever come back, because I see in your hand a second marriage and mourning. You have a son at the war, but he will return. Your husband is at present with his own people in England. Your son is in France. You are going to Tasmania to relatives. You will meet with an accident. If you go into business you will make a great success of it.'

Witness paid defendant 2/6. She had no husband. He was dead. She had no son. In reply to Mr. J. Barnett, who appeared for the defence, witness said she was not imposed upon. Kathleen V. Conner, daughter of the last witness, said she visited defendant's place on 19th ult., and was told by the latter, among other things, that her father went to the war six months before his son, and they met in France. Witness paid her 2/6. Her father was dead. He was never at the war. She had no brother. To Mr. Barnett: I think I was imposed upon. Defendant, against whom there was a prior conviction under the name of 'Madam Zephy' in 1915, was fined £2 10/, with £2 12/6 costs, on each charge."

The Age, 16 May 1917, p. 9

Madge Connor was one of three policewomen first appointed in Victoria in July 1917. The others were Miss Elizabeth Beers of Yarraville and Miss A.B. Holmes of Barry Street, Carlton.1

1 The Herald, 10 July 1917, p. 12

Funerals were big occasions 100 years ago and the final journey of James Denham, chief inspector of the Melbourne Tramway Board, in May 1917 was accompanied by 900 tram gripman and conductors in uniform. The questions remains: With so many staff attending the funeral, did Melbourne's tramway system grind to a halt?

Memorial to James Denham
Image: CCHG
Memorial to James Denham in Melbourne General Cemetery
"This Memorial was Erected by his Late Fellow Employees of the Tramway Board"

"The funeral of the late Mr. James Denham, chief inspector of the Melbourne Tramway Board, yesterday morning was a striking testimony of the affectionate regard in which he was held, not only by everybody connected with the tramway undertaking, but also by citizens in every walk of life. The cortege, which left his residence, 'Allandale,' Amess-street, North Carlton, at 10.30 a.m., was over a mile long. It was headed by the Tramway Band, playing the Dead March, about 900 gripmen and conductors in uniform, about 70 other employes [sic] in plain clothes, and about 30 members of the police force in uniform. Following the hearse, laden with flowers and containing a polished oak coffin enclosing the remains, was a floral car and a long line of motor cars and other vehicles.

All the members of the Tramway Board were present, and other bodies represented were the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum committee, Heatherton Sanatorium committee, Victoria Bowling Club, Caledonian Society, Victorian Football League, Tramways Mutual Benefit Society, Railway department, Victorian Bowling Association, Victorian Naval and Military Lodge (Masonic), V.R.C. committee, Australian Tramway Employees' Association, Overseas Club and Lodge of Concord. The pallbearers were Messrs. A.E. Laver, J. Ellis, E Hart, J.G. Currie, E.L. Wilson, J.G. Roberts and J.V. O'Connor. After the burial service, Rev. H. Balcke, Presbyterian church, said the large concourse around the grave afforded strong evidence of the esteem and affection in which the deceased was held by all who knew him, especially by the employes, of the Tramway Board, who always had in him an officer who was sympathetic and just in his dealings with them."

The Age, 21 May 1917, p. 8

Note: 'Allandale' was at 272 Amess Street, North Carlton.

In May 1918, a man named Dirago fell foul of the law by distributing printed papers without having them cleared by the censor. As an Italian by birth, Egedio Dirago was considered an enemy alien under the War Precautions (Alien Registration) Regulations of 1916. The regulations remained in force after World War 1, until they were replaced by the Aliens Registration Act of 1920. The Act was suspended in 1926 and eventually repealed in 1934. 1

1 National Archives of Australia Fact Sheet 186


At the Carlton Court today Egedio Dirago, an Italian, described as a laborer, was fined £20, with £4/4/ costs, in default distress, for having on or about April 26 distributed printed matter connected with the present war without having first submitted it to the censor. On another charge of having dispersed certain papers on April 26 without the printer's name, Dirago was fined £5.

The Herald, 1 May 1918, p. 1

Thirteen years later, in May 1931, another man by the name of Dirago made an unpleasant discovery, which disputed the popular saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."

When eating an apple yesterday, William Dirago of Drummond Street, North Carlton, grated his teeth on steel – and narrowly missed swallowing a needle. The fruit was purchased at the Victoria Market. The needle was disclored [sic] and evidently had been in the apple for some time – possibly thrust in as a "joke."

The Herald, 12 May 1931, p. 1

The Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal has been an annual event since its inception in 1931. In May 1920, the Carlton-based Children's Hospital – as it was then known – launched a campaign of a very different kind. The Herald newspaper provided free publicity and readers in city and country Victoria were urged to delve deep into their bathroom and kitchen cupboards for any empty bottles that could be of use to the hospital. Even tomato sauce bottles could be re-purposed for infant feeding. The 1920 appeal collected an estimated 120,000 bottles and more than exceeded the previous 1915 collection total of 45,000. The hospital estimated that the supply of donated bottles, worth more than £500 in monetary value, would last for ten years.


An appeal for bottles which is being made by the Children's Hospital will meet with a ready response. The appeal is launched in the interests of suffering children, and the public are merely asked to give what all householders at most times possess and usually throw away. Everybody's charitable instinct is touched when help is asked for the little ones, but there are few occasions on which everybody is able to give assistance. This is one of them and there is every reason to expect a highly satisfactory result.

From Monday to Saturday will be known as "Bottle Week." Every person who has empty medicine bottles in the house is asked to send them to the hospital. When the last appeal was made in 1915, the record number of 45,000 bottles was obtained, but now the supply is nearly exhausted and more must be obtained speedily. On the average 2000 children are treated at the hospital every week, and with the increasing number of patients the management has to cope with the higher cost of necessary commodities. In the circumstances it cannot neglect any opportunity of reducing expenses. As most persons can find some bottles about the house, it means that with very little trouble everyone can help.

With the advent of cold weather, sickness among the little ones is increasing, and it cannot be emphasised too strongly that in responding to the hospital's appeal the public will be directly helping children who are ailing. Besides medicine bottles, standard tomato sauce bottles will be welcomed, for at the hospital they are turned into feeding bottles. Contributions of new corks would be much appreciated. The receiving room has been cleared, the racks overhauled, and the sorters are standing by. The baskets at the depots will be cleared at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5.30 p.m., and progress will be reported in "The Herald" each day. Two baskets will be placed at Flinders street station, one at Prince's Bridge station, one at Spencer street, and one at the Prince's Bridge terminus of the Hawthorn tramway, the necessary permission having been at once given by the Railway Commissioners and the civic authorities.

The Herald, 1 May 1920, p. 7

The Royal Children's Hospital celebrates its 150th anniversary in September 2020. The hospital opened in the city as the Melbourne Free Hospital for Sick Children in 1870 and moved to Carlton in 1876. The site chosen was the former home of Judge Redmond Barry, on the corner of Rathdowne and Pelham streets. In 1953, the hospital was granted royal assent to change its name from the "Children's Hospital" to the "Royal Children's Hospital". The hospital moved to new premises in Parkville in 1962, and the present hospital building was opened fifty years later in 2012.

More Information: Royal Children's Hospital Milestones

In 1922 the Australian Jewish Herald commissioned an investigation into the supply of kosher meat to the Jewish community in Melbourne. The resulting report, published in the newspaper of 26 May 1922, featured an interview with kosher butcher E. J. Watkins, who operated a business at 364 Lygon Street, Carlton.

Unsatisfactory State of Affairs.
Who is to Blame?
(By Our Special Representative.)
The Melbourne Jewish Community seems at present gravely agitated over the manner in which it is obtaining its kosher meat. Complaints of every description are being ventilated on all sides, and whilst close investigation has shown many of these to be utterly unjustifiable, there are several which undoubtedly reflect gravely on the authorities responsible. In the following article the present writer has tried to be as fair and as impartial as lay in his power. He entered upon his inquiry with no axe to grind, and quite untrammelled by any previous convictions. His was the object of definitely discovering what actually was troubling the community, and by obtaining the views of the various parties interested, of attempting some solution. At least in the former half of his mission he feels he has been successful. Very many individuals, representative of all sections of the community, have been interviewed. Evidence has been taken and discriminately sifted. Complaints have been heard and thoroughly investigated. One important conclusion has been reached. The Melbourne Jewish Community is labouring under a sense of a great injustice. It claims that its kosher meat is being handed out to it with a "take it or leave it" admonition. It raises its voice against the lack of consideration, the lack of attention, and the lack of accommodation. And – a most regrettable feature of a regrettable business – rightly or wrongly, it places the responsibility for all its troubles at the door of the Melbourne United Schechita Board.

One of the first complaints I investigated was the charge that kosher meat was comparatively, unduly dear. Mr. E. J. Watkins, of E. J. Watkins Pty. Ltd., from whom I sought information on the matter, strongly denied any such assertion. "It is an entirely false notion," he told me, "to imagine that meat is in anyway cheap. The meat used for the kosher trade is absolutely the best procurable, and, when this is further selected by means of your own examiner, you will realise that the Jewish people are getting the best quality possible. At the present moment kosher lamb is being sold at 7d per lb., whilst it is actually costing us 7d irrespective of the outside expenses. Again, kosher chops figure on the list at 6½ d per lb., whilst the Trefah ones – let me see" – as I waited he telephoned down to the shop below. "How much are you selling sirloin chops for today?" I heard him ask the girl. "Take the �phone and hear the answer," said Mr. Watkins to me. As I did so the girl's voice came back – "Eight pence!" "So you see, remarked Mr. Watkins, "the kosher meat is actually cheaper than the meat down below." I got him to give me a price list. The items thereon, read: cut mutton 6d, four [sic] quarter 4d, ribs 5½d, steak 7d. I pointed out to him that other butchers could sell meat much cheaper than this. "Yes!" he replied, "but a poorer class of meat. Go into any first-class shop and you will find that our prices compare very favourably indeed."

From the price of meat the conversation drifted to the lack of accommodation in the Carlton shop. I pointed out to him that only that morning I had paid a visit thereto and found the tiny shop far too small for the customers. Mr. Watkins quite agreed that the shop was inadequate. He claimed that every effort was being made to obtain another larger and more suitable shop, but that so far his efforts had been unsuccessful. �But,� he remarked, "the whole business there is badly organised, the shopman hardly has time to cut up the meat before the people are there. And quite a number of people persist in remaining inside the shop, even after they have been attended to. If you can get me a larger shop I will most certainly take it, provided I be given a little help." In regard to complaints of lack of consideration and inattention, Mr. Watkins intimated to me that he would be only too pleased to learn and investigate them all. In the last six or seven months only, one complaint had come under his notice, and that had been thoroughly investigated. He strongly criticised those persons who gave an order in the morning and expected delivery some few minutes later. He suggested that to ensure delivery the order should always be given the afternoon before, and felt sure if this were done much of the inconvenience would be removed

Jewish people should be encouraged to purchase kosher meat, and the present irritating inconveniences for which no individual is to blame are most assuredly not furthering this object. The Schechita Board deserves to be congratulated on its efforts in obtaining a new butcher shop in St. Kilda, but it should remember that it represents all Melbourne, and if the old St. Kilda butcher's shop needed repair the Carlton shop needs it doubly so, as is generously admitted by Mr. Watkins. "Nothing is kosher unless it is clean," is an axiom that can never be too often enunciated, but it is one thing to talk and another to act.

The Australian Jewish Herald, 26 May 1922, p. 17

Note: To read the full text of the article, go to:

The article features a photo of Mr Watkins's shop in Lygon street and carries the caption: "This small building represents the source of Kosher Meat Supply for the whole of Carlton, which contains approximately half the Melbourne Jewish Community. As this article shews [sic], it is claimed by the proprietor that he is unable to obtain more adequate accommodation." Thomas Wrigglesworth, a butcher in nearby Elgin Street, took exception to the comment that Mr Watkins supplied kosher meat for the whole of Carlton. The Editor of the Australian Jewish Herald responded accordingly.

Editor, "Australian Jewish Herald."
Sir, – I cannot compliment the writer of the article on "Melbourne's Kosher Meat Supply" in the last issue of the "A.J.H.," upon his powers of observation, for he has omitted to even mention me. He states that "he entered upon his inquiry with no axe to grind … and by obtaining the views of various parties interested, &c." One almost doubts this, when my shop – the only other Kosher Meat Shop in Carlton – is not even mentioned. Indeed, the statement made under the photograph that that "small building represents the source of Kosher Meat Supply for the whole of Carlton," cannot but damage my business, and for this reason I ask you to kindly insert this letter in the next issue of the "A.J.H." My Kosher Meat Shop has been established in Elgin-street, Carlton, for several years now, the Shochet being, as is well known Mr. D. Schwartz who has been Shochet in Melbourne, for the last fifteen years, and who holds certificates of the highest capability and education in his profession. I have Jewish customers from Carlton, Fitzroy, Brunswick, &c. and very rarely indeed is a complaint made to me. In this issue of the "Jewish Herald," I have inserted an advertisement in which I announce that I am starting to deliver Kosher meat and other items of interest to the Jewish housewife.
Thanking you in anticipation, yours, &c.,
151 Elgin-street Carlton.
June 3rd, 1922.

(We regret the omission of our Representative. The butcher shop conducted by Mr. Wrigglesworth, situated in Elgin-street, Carlton, as served by Mr. Schwartz who, so we are authoritatively informed, is acting under the supervision of the local Beth Din, though independent of the Schechita Board. – Ed, "A.J.H.")

The Australian Jewish Herald, 9 June 1922, p. 3

Note: A shochet is a person officially certified to slaughter animals in the manner prescribed by Jewish law.

Were barmaids a rarity in the 1920s? This line of defence was used in Carlton Court in May 1923, but it failed to save three people from being fined £2 each – the hotel licensee, the cook who sold beer to an underage customer, and the boy's father.


"Defendant is a bachelor, and finds it difficult to conduct his business without female help. He was unable to get a barmaid because they are getting very rare." This was a plea made by Mr L. J. Murphy in the Carlton Court today on behalf of a hotelkeeper, Peter Anton Carlsen, licensee of the Emu Hotel, Bouverie street, the defendant in question, was fined two sums of £2, with 10/- costs, for having employed, an unregistered barmaid on May 4 and 5. Catherine Cooper, cook at the hotel, was fined £2 for having sold beer to a boy under 10 in an unsealed vessel, and Marsh Walker, the father of the boy, was fined a like amount for having sent him for the beer.

The Herald, 11 May 1923, p. 9

The Emu Hotel, on the corner of Bouverie and Pelham streets, was first licensed to John Snowball in September 1858. Peter Anton Carlsen was licensee of the Emu Hotel for one year only from May 1922 to May 1923, when Estelle Crotty took over the licence. The hotel licence was deprived in July 1925 and the Emu Hotel ceased trading in December 1925.1

1 Index to Defunct Hotel Licences (VPRS 8159)

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, many countries of the world responded with military and humanitarian aid. A century earlier Ukraine, then part of Russia, was the focus of a campaign operating out of the Kadimah in Drummond Street, Carlton. The Victorian Ukrainian Jewish Relief Fund solicited donations of clothing and footwear to aid their brothers and sisters in eastern Europe. In May 1923, the Australian Jewish Herald appealed to the local Jewish community, many of whom were skilled tailors and dressmakers, for help in making the clothes.


The Victorian Ukrainian Jewish Relief Fund's Sewing Circle is in danger of being forced to abandon its activities because of the lack of individuals willing to assist. This is, indeed, unfortunate. The Circle has already done valuable work in the way of providing clothes for despatch to the sufferers in Eastern Europe. The Federation of Ukrainian Jews, London, has written expressing gratification at the work being done. It has urged its continuance because the paramount need in Russia today is clothing. The enthusiasts who have met regularly each Tuesday evening at the Kadimah Hall, Drummond-street, Carlton, have ample supply of material. What they require are helpers to assist them in making it up. Their appeal should not be permitted to pass unheeded.

The president of the Ladies' Committee (Mrs. R. Hallenstein) desires to acknowledge the sum of £1/14/6 additional towards funds from recent card party.

The Australian Jewish Herald, 11 May 1923, p. 6

The Sewing Circle continued into 1924. The meeting day was changed to Monday and volunteer workers who could not attend were given the option of taking work home.

Members and friends of the above Sewing Circle are reminded that it meets regularly on Monday evenings, at 8 o�clock, at the Kadimah, Drummond-street, Carlton. The need for assistance is as urgent as ever, and all are asked to co-operate in this worthy work. Donations of money, materials, or clothing will be gladly acknowledged. The committee wishes to thank all donors who have contributed, including Mr. B. Grosse and Miss S. Dabscheck.

A case of sundry articles of clothing, including suits, dresses, boots, shoes, socks, etc., valued at £75, is about to be despatched. Hundreds of unfortunate orphans benefit materially by the action of this Sewing Circle, and as Melbourne Jewry has adopted 200 of these orphans, it is essential that the good work be continued. What is most important, therefore, is for people to volunteer to attend on Monday evenings or take work to do in their spare time at home. The committee will be pleased to welcome new members on any Monday evening. The executive of the Ukrainian Relief Fund, at its last meeting, decided to allot the sum of £50 for the purchase of materials for the circle.

The Australian Jewish Herald, 29 February 1924, p. 12

The Kadimah Hall was located at 313 Drummond Street from 1915 to 1933. The newly-built Kadimah and Celia Grosby Memorial Hall opened at 836 Lygon Street, North Carlton, in March 1933. This building was sold in 1968, when the Kadimah left North Carlton and moved to the Esquire Theatre in Elsternwick.1,2

1 Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library
2 The Australian Jewish Herald, 8 November 1968, p. 6

Many of us may have experienced the discomfort of a stranger encroaching on our personal space, but it's not often that it comes to blows. In May 1927, a Friday night at the pictures turned into a nightmare when one patron punched another for getting too close to his girlfriend. This landed William Gregory Fairnie, of Princes Hill, in court to face a charge of assaulting Benjamin Hooper. The unpleasant incident could have been avoided if William had simply swapped seats with his girlfriend Dulcie McNeill, or if Benjamin Hooper had kept his legs to himself.1


William Gregor [sic] Fairnie, a public service assessor, living in Bowen-crescent, Princes Hill, appeared in the City Court yesterday on a charge of having assaulted Benjamin Hooper, managing director of Victorian Motors Proprietary Ltd., in the Melba Theatre, Bourke-street, on Friday evening. Hooper said he was sitting in the theatre when defendant and a young lady entered and occupied the two adjoining seats. The lady sat next to witness. After a few minutes had elapsed defendant asked him to move up, and witness replied that he was sorry he could not do so as there was not room. The next thing witness knew was that he had received two stinging blows on the temple, which dazed him for a few moments. When he recovered he went to the vestibule of the theatre and asked one of the ushers to send for the police. His eye and mouth were bleeding freely, and his hat was spoiled.

Constable Taylor said defendant told him that he struck Hooper because he had behaved in an objectionable way to the young lady. Hooper said Fairnie had threatened to punch his head into pulp if he did not move up. Fairnie said he and the young lady had been seated only a few minutes, when he noticed her hurriedly move toward him as though something was annoying her. Later she clutched his arm, and he then noticed that Hooper's legs were stretched beyond the limits which rightly belonged to him. He asked Hooper to keep to his own seat, to which Hooper replied, "Don't be silly." As Hooper continued to project his legs against the young lady witness struck him. Dulcie McNeill, of Moriac, said that Hooper had leaned on her, and had rubbed his legs against hers. She asked him to move his legs, but he would not do so. Fairnie was fined £1, with £2 2/ costs.

The Age, 17 May 1927, p. 11

William was not the only member of the Fairnie family who knew how to use his fists. Four years previously, his elder brother Leslie punched a would-be assailant, but in this case he was on the right side of the law. The three Fairnie brothers – Leslie, Robert and William – had served at different times in World War 1. Leslie suffered a gunshot wound at Gallipoli in April 1915, while William was gassed in France in September 1917.2,3,4,5

A year after the picture theatre incident, in March 1928, William Gregory Fairnie married Dulcie Isobel McNeill at St James's Old Cathedral, Melbourne. The marriage ended five years later, on the ground of desertion. William petitioned for divorce in 1933, alleging that Dulcie stayed out late, came home intoxicated and neglected her housewifely duties. He also claimed that he had been pressured into marrying Dulcie earlier than planned because of her family's financial circumstances, when he himself was not in a favorable position to support a wife. The divorce was uncontested and Dulcie, who had been living apart from her husband for some time, did not appear in court. She married Eric Sullivan Baldock in 1942, but William seems to have remained single. He died in December 1973, aged 74 years.6,7,8

Notes and References:
1 The incident was reported in several newspapers at the time and the wording of the direct quotes spoken by Fairnie and Hooper in court varied. Charles Goldspink, a Carlton Justice of the Peace, presided in court on the day of the hearing.
2 The Herald, 28 April 1923, p. 1
6 1933/277 Fairnie v Fairnie: Divorce Petitioner : William Gregory Fairnie ; Respondent : Dulcie Isabel Fairnie (VPRS 283/P0002, 1933/277)
7 Marriage Reg. No. 6384 / 1942. The marriage was registered under Dulcie's maiden surname "McNeill".
8 769/838 William Gregory Fairnie: Date of grant: 15 May 1974 ; Date of death: 20 December 1973 (VPRS 28/P0007, 769/838)


Queen Victoria's son, Edward VII, was crowned in August 1902 and in the months leading to his coronation various celebratory events were held in Australia and other Commonwealth countries. In June 1902, Carlton bootmaker John W. Fleming came up with a novel idea to aid the unemployed and he had the full support of the Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun.

The cheque for £100 which was promised last week by the Governor-General for the assistance of the unemployed of Melbourne was handed over to the secretary of the unemployed (Mr. J. W. Fleming) at Government house yesterday. The Governor-General has also consented to supplement this gift by a donation of 300 bottles of champagne. Mr Fleming outlined a scheme whereby he considered the champagne could be best utilised for those men out of work and the Governor-General approving he agreed to deliver the wine at Mr. Fleming's shop, 6 Argyle-place Carlton early this morning. Both the money and the champagne will be distributed there during today in the presence of a member of the Government house staff. Mr. Fleming also received a sum of £5, per Mr. Maloney, M.L.A., yesterday for the relief of the unemployed.

The Argus, 24 June 1902, p. 5.

Unfortunately the distribution of Lord Hopetoun's generous gift, augmented by six barrels of beer, did not proceed with the decorum expected of a royal celebration.

When on Tuesday it was decided to postpone the distribution to the unemployed of the 300 bottles of champagne presented by Lord Hopetoun, it was hoped that better counsels would prevail. Captain Corbet had stated that Lord Hopetoun's idea was that the wine should be given to the sick. It was not given to the sick, but in most cases to the strong, and in many cases to the drunken. The scene on Tuesday, when the unemployed received their doles of money, was in many respects a sad one; the scene on Wednesday was both disgraceful and degrading. The proceedings began with the distribution of £29 to deserving cases – £25 obtained through "The Age" office and the remainder the balance of the previous day's fund. Shortly after midday the scene changed. There had arrived six barrels of beer, the gift of a brewing company, and these were set up in a lane adjoining the shop of Mr. Fleming, in Argyle-place, Carlton. The news that six barrels of beer would shortly be on tap spread like wildfire throughout the district. Soon a complete transformation had been effected in the character of the crowd. The steadygoing worker out of employment gave place to the loafer and the beer swiller. The places of the decent wives of working men were taken by toothless hags and dissolute young women. All these beer drinkers came provided with pannikins. To many of them the wait for the tapping of the barrels seemed an agony. An effort was made to distribute the beer with something like organisation. The thirsty ones were formed into double file, and, armed with pannikins, marched up the lane to the barrels, and there and then quaffed the flowing bowl to the dregs. For nearly two hours the disgraceful spectacle continued. The crowd gradually became hilarious, and then uproarious. In that time five and a half barrels had been consumed. The police, seeing the condition of the men and women who were taking part in the orgy, suggested to Mr. Fleming that the distribution should be stopped. This was done, and the brewery company was asked by telephone message to take away its barrels.

Leader, 28 June 1902, p. 23

After the frenzy of the first day of alcohol distribution, the next day was more sedate. Some bottles of champagne were sold and proceeds of the sale would have put food on the table for a few families of the unemployed.

The completion of the distribution of the 300 bottles of champagne given by Lord Hopetoun to the unemployed was effected on Thursday at Carlton. Mr. Fleming and his colleagues began the work early, and the proceedings throughout were orderly. The people who had made Argyle-place on the previous day a Bacchanalian scene were absent, many of them no doubt enduring a "recovery." As on the previous day, the champagne was in many cases no sooner received than it was sold. The ruling price, however, had risen, the bottles fetching 7/6 each. The number of bottles given away were 188, making, with those of the previous day, a total of 300. When the distribution was ended Mr. Fleming made a statement to the representatives of the press. He said that, as to the beer distribution on the previous day, he and the other members of the committee regretted it. The brewing company that gave the beer having also sent £25, for distribution, the committee could not see its way to refuse the gift in "kind." So that the committee should have as little to do with the distribution of the beer as possible, it had caused the barrels to be set up in the lane, and had asked the police to take charge of them. However, he considered it was as fair for the poor as for the rich to enjoy themselves when "coronating" the King. He desired it to be stated that no riot had taken place on Wednesday, and that when told they would get no more champagne until they went off the footpath, the people went off it quietly. On both Wednesday and that day champagne had been given to several people who had produced hospital tickets. He had received no payment for his labors, and the members of the committee had been paid at only 7/6 per week. On the completion of the champagne distribution, the committee distributed a quantity of cast off clothing which had been sent to the shop by charitable people.

Leader, 28 June 1902, p. 23

John W. Fleming, dubbed the "Socialist Agitator" by "The Bendigo Independent" newspaper, was a well-known advocate for the poor and unemployed. In May 1899, he petitioned for the release of destitute widow Sarah Robertson, who was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for abandoning her infant son outside a house in Fenwick Street, North Carlton. Two months later, in July 1899, Fleming was fined £1 for selling "The Tocsin" newspaper on the Sabbath. He was defended by David Gaunson, who had famously defended Ned Kelly in 1880. 1,2,3,4,5

1 The Bendigo Independent, 27 June 1902, p. 2
2 The Age, 1 May 1899, p. 5
3 The Tocsin, 25 May 1899, p. 5
4 The Tocsin, 13 July 1899, p. 8
5 Geoffrey Serle, 'Gaunson, David (1846�1909)', Australian Dictionary of Biography

Archibald Turnbull was a socialist clergyman whose religious and political views sometimes ran counter to those of mainstream churches. Rev. Turnbull conducted marriage services from his home in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, as an alternative to formal – and often more expensive – church-based services. In March 1900 Alfred James Smith and Sarah Jane Sanson presented themselves at the Turnbull residence and were married according to the rights of Our Father's Church. As required by law, they would have signed declarations stating that there was no known impediment to their marriage. However the honeymoon was over, so to speak, within 12 days when Sarah left her husband and refused to return to the marital home. Three years later, in June 1903, the marriage was annulled on the curious ground of "affinity".


The law is that though a man may marry his sister-in-law, he cannot marry her daughter. Mr. Justice A'Beckett held thus in the judgment delivered yesterday in the case of Smith v. Smith, in which Arthur James Smith, fireman of Victoria-street, West Melbourne, asked for a declaration of nullity of his marriage with Sarah Jane Smith, on the ground that they were within prohibited degrees of relationship and, alternatively, a decree for dissolution on the ground of desertion. The petitioner married the daughter of his deceased wife's sister on March 31, 1900, and they lived together for twelve days, when the wife left her husband, assigning as a reason conscientious objections to a union forbidden by her church. When spoken to on the matter, she said, "I cannot be a wife to him; the church forbids it; it would be wrong". She said her husband had been kind to her.

Mr. Justice A'Beckett said if the respondent had been the sister of his deceased wife instead of her niece, the marriage would have been valid under section 18 of the Marriage Act 1890, which provided that marriage with the sister of a deceased wife should not be voidable or in any way impeachable upon the ground of affinity. The daughter of a deceased wife's sister was within the prohibited degrees of affinity, but legislators had omitted to validate marriage with her. Doubtless they would have done so had the necessity of such a provision but occurred to them. Marriage with a deceased's wife niece having been voidable before the marriage with a deceased wife's sister was made unimpeachable remained voidable, and he had only to give effect to the law as it stood. It was no objection to a suit of this kind that both parties at the time of the celebration of the marriage were aware of the impediment. He declared the marriage null and void.

The Argus, 16 June 1903, p. 7

Alfred James Smith and Sarah Jane Sanson were not biologically related as uncle and niece-in-law, so it was not a matter of consanguinity, yet their degree of affinity was considered an impediment to their marriage. Had Archibald Turnbull been aware of this impediment at the time, he almost certainly would not have conducted the marriage ceremony. The Marriage Act of 1890 allowed a man to marry his sister-in-law and such a marriage could not be declared void by annulment – divorce or death of either spouse were the only legal options. But the lawmakers at the time had not considered the scenario of a man marrying his niece-in-law and therefore this was not specified in the legislation. Alfred could have filed for divorce on the ground of desertion by Sarah for upwards of three years but they chose to seek an annulment.

Note: Archibald Turnbull's residence was at 427 Rathdowne Street, Carlton.

There is no prize for coming second in a two horse race and that was the lot for James Wright Ferguson in June 1914. He was a candidate in the Melbourne City Council election for Smith Ward – in the heart of Carlton – and he lost to local real estate agent Thomas Foley, scoring 796 votes to Foley's 1041. Ferguson's loss was not the only one on that day. In the Victorian Football League, Geelong (9 goals, 11 points) thrashed Carlton (3 goals, 15 points) and leading Carlton goalkicker George Topping suffered an ankle injury.1,2,3


Polling took place today for the election of a councillor to fill the vacancy in the representation of the Smith Ward in the Melbourne City Council caused through the appointment of the Lord Mayor as alderman for the ward, a vacancy having occurred through the death of Alderman J. J. Brenan. The candidates were Mr James Wright Ferguson, caterer, of Lygon street, and Mr Thomas Foley, estate agent, of Grafton [sic] street. There were two booths – one at the orderly room, Grafton [sic] street, and the other at Messrs Campbell and Son's, office, at the Horsemarket, Sydney road. During the morning polling was fairly heavy, probably owing to the fact that supporters of the Carlton Football Club, who visited Geelong today, took an early opportunity to record their votes. Polling will close at 7 p.m., and the result will be announced about 8 p.m. Cr G. H. Ievers acted as returning officer.

The Herald, 6 June 1914, p. 14

James Ferguson had a second chance in February 1916, following the resignation of Thomas Foley. This time he was elected unopposed and he continued to represent the ratepayers of Carlton for the next forty years. He retired in August 1956 and was awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in January 1957. 4


I, Sir David Valentine Hennessy, alderman for Smith ward, in the City of Melbourne, DECLARE that JAMES WRIGHT FERGUSON, of 212 Cardigan-street, in the said city, Caterer, being the only person nominated to fill the extraordinary vacancy in the office of COUNCILLOR for Smith ward, caused by the resignation of Thomas Michael Foley, the said James Wright Ferguson is duly ELECTED to fill such vacancy.
Alderman for Smith ward.
Town Hall, Melbourne, 1st February, 1916.

Ladies and Gentlemen, – Kindly accept my sincerest THANKS for the honor you have this day conferred upon me by returning me (unopposed) as one of your representatives. I would specially thank these for their kind promise of support and assistance.
Yours sincerely,

The Age, 2 February 1916, p. 15

James Wright Ferguson was originally in the bakery and catering business with his elder brother, John Albert "Percy" Ferguson. They were born in Gippsland and learned the bakery trade from their widowed mother, Eliza Lane Ferguson (later Freeman). As the "Ferguson Brothers", they had a bakehouse in Dorrit Street, Carlton, and shops in Lygon Street, Carlton, and Nicholson Street, North Carlton. The business partnership was dissolved by mutual consent in April 1913, the year before James first stood for council. John moved to Brunswick and established his own business as "J.A. Ferguson". This business was the forerunner of "Ferguson Plarre", which is still baking to this day. John Albert Ferguson died at his home in Coburg in 1952.5,6,7

James retained the business name "Ferguson Brothers" (later Ferguson & Co.) and the bakehouse in Dorrit Street. He catered for all sorts of functions – large and small – and at times provided gratis catering services for local charities and fundraising activities. Within the industry, he was best known as the official caterer to the Victoria Racing Club and his busiest time was during the Melbourne spring racing carnival. He died in Sydney in July 1974, one month short of his 93rd birthday.8,9

The entire west side of Dorrit Street, together with parts of Cardigan and Grattan streets, were acquired by the Royal Women's Hospital from the 1950s through to the 1970s. Both the bakehouse and James Ferguson's former home in Cardigan Street were demolished to make way for the Royal Women's Hospital carpark and staff accommodation. The former hospital carpark, constructed in 1974, was granted heritage overlay protection in April 2023, as a significant example of Brutalist architecture.10,11

Notes and References:
1 The Herald, 8 June 1914, p. 12
2 Saturday Mail, 6 June 1914, p. 1
3 The Argus, 8 June 1914, p. 8
4 The Argus, 1 January 1957, p. 9
5 Building occupancy information has been sourced from Sands & McDougall directories and cross checked with Melbourne City Council rate books.
6 The Argus, 26 April 1913, p. 12
7 For more information on John Albert Ferguson visit the Ferguson Plarre website
8 Labor Call, 31 October 1935, p.9
9 Ryerson Index
10 Land acquisition information has been source from land title records and Melbourne City Council rate books.
11 The Age, 4 April 2023

The single storey building at 119 to 121 Palmerston Street, Carlton, stands out from its Victorian-era neighbours. It is now a private residence, but its origins date back to the Political Labour Council and the fledgling Australian Labor Party. The P.L.C. hall, as it was then known, was built in 1914/15 by John Howell on land owned by Robert Henry Solly. Both men were Carlton residents and Mr Solly was a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Victorian Parliament. In keeping with Political Labour Council principles, union labour was used in construction. Mr Solly performed the opening ceremony in June 1915.1


A large party of State politicians and visitors assembled on Monday afternoon for the opening of a new hall in Carlton for the use of the branch of the Political Labour Council. A block of land, 33 x 170, was purchased at a cost of £190, and on this has been erected a commodious hall, with seating accommodation for 500, and an adjoining billiard-room with two tables. The total it cost amounts to about £1,200, without furnishing. Mr. Solly, M.L.A., performed the opening ceremony.

He said that he was proud of the fact that the work of erecting the hall had been carried out successfully by day labour, and only unionists were employed (Applause.) They hoped, in the near future, to be able to purchase more land, on which to erect lodge rooms, &c. It was proposed to use the present premises for political, educational, and social purposes, and he trusted that the time was not far distant when other suburbs would follow the worthy example set by Carlton. Mr. C. Burnett (president of the Trades Hall Council), Messrs. Brennan and W. Maloney, M.H.R.'s, Fielding, M.L.C., and Elmslie, M.L.A., also spoke. An adjournment was then made for refreshments, and further addresses were delivered by Messrs. J.W. Billson, Prendergast, Tunnecliffe, and Sinclair, M.L.A.'s, Darcy (secretary to the Carlton branch P.L.C.), and others.

The Argus, 15 June 1915, p. 10

By the 1920s the building became known as A.L.P. Hall and was the advertised venue for A.L.P. branch meetings and other political activities. The late 1930s saw major changes at the local and international level. The former A.L.P. hall, owned by the Australian Labor Trust Society Limited, was leased to Casa d'Italia for a term of three years. Casa d'Italia was officially opened on 12 June 1938, as a social club and meeting place for members and sympathisers of the Italian Group Against War. This group opposed the rise of Fascism in Italy, and the Spanish and Abyssinian wars. Two years on, world events intervened and led to the closure of Casa d'Italia in September 1940. Italy declared war against France and Great Britain in June 1940 and this had ramifications in Australia. People of Italian origin, many of whom had lived and worked in Australia for decades, were declared enemy aliens and became targets of violence and abuse.2,3

After its closure, Casa d'Italia reverted to use as a hall for hire and, in February 1941, a potentially serious incident was reported to emergency services. It turned out to be a hoax but, in some ways, this incident presaged the hall's later role as a comedy venue.


"CONSTABLE MILLER, of Carlton, speaking. There is a serious brawl at the Casa D'Italia club, in Palmerston-st., near Rathdown-st., Carlton. There are many injured lying about, was the message telephoned to the night officer at Civil ambulance headquarters at 11.1 p.m. last night. The officer sent an ambulance wagon with several beds dashing to Carlton. A minute or two later another man, representing himself as a fire brigade official, telephoned to say he had seen the brawl and that the number of injured was large. Two more cars, with the remainder of the night staff, were immediately sent off. At the hall less than five minutes later the first of the ambulance officers to arrive found a smoke night going on there. And among those present were 60 police – enough to quell the worst brawl police have ever been called to handle here. Everything was in order at the hall and it was at once apparent the call was a hoax.

The Sun News-Pictorial, 6 February 1941, p. 3

Post-World War 2, there was a succession of occupants in the former hall – boot repairer, watchmaker, annex of the Collingwood Technical School, Federated Storemen & Packers' Union, and an Italian import business. There was a complete change of direction in 1975. In that year, a planning application was lodged by Foibles Pty Ltd to convert the building to a theatre restaurant. The plans were drawn up by Architect M. Gerner, and the restaurant was approved for opening in August 1976, with accommodation limited to 100 persons. This was well below the original seating capacity of 500 for the P.L.C. hall in 1915. Foibles Theatre Restaurant was a popular entertainment venue, but there were ongoing problems with maintenance and compliance with public building regulations. The registration was cancelled in July 1979. A few months later, in the early hours of 31 October, the vacant building was gutted by fire. According to police, there were no suspicious circumstances. Since the devastating fire, 119 to 121 Palmerston Street has undergone two major residential transformations within the shell of its external walls. The façade remains much the same as it was back in 1915, when the P.L.C. Hall first opened.4,5

Notes and References:
1 Australian Architectural Index
2 Building ownership and occupancy information has been sourced from land titles, Melbourne City Council rate books and Sands & McDougall directories.
3 Italian Historical Journal, vol. 6, no. 1-2, 1998, p. 52-53
4 Public Building Files (VPRS 7882/P0001, 17453)
5 The Herald, 31 October 1979, p. 38


When plainclothes Constable I.G. Stock mounted the footboard of a motor car driven by Martin John Shelley in Toorak Road on May 26 he counted on dismounting in a few moments, he told the Prahran Court yesterday. But instead he was carried to Carlton. Stock said he was an unwilling joy-rider. He simply mounted the footboard to obtain Shelley's name. For having refused to give his name and address to the police after an accident on Toorak road, Shelley was fined £7 10s, with 1 shilling costs. The costs represented the money which Stock expended in tram fares on his return from Carlton to Toorak road.

Mr. E. Notley Moore, P.M., said that Shelley's conduct had been impertinent, aggressive and illegal. According to the evidence a collision occurred between the car driven by Shelley and a car driven by Dr. Julian Smith. Stock and Constable A.C. Rice were on duty nearby watching for offenders against the motor laws. Constable Rice told the court that after the collision he said to Shelley, "I am a police constable. I want your name." He produced his badge. Shelley did not answer, but said to R.L. Connard, one of his passengers, "Crank her up." Witness prevented Connard from starting the engine. Connard replied, "You can take the number of the car. I know who you are." Shelley said again, "Crank her up." Witness again prevented Connard from starting the engine, and asked Connard his name. Shelley said to Connard, "He cannot put his hands on you." Connard then cranked the car, which almost knocked witness down. Witness jumped aside and pulled Connard with him. The mudguard of the car hit him. The car stopped after travelling a few yards. Witness said to Shelley, "What is your name?" Shelley did not reply, nor did not take any notice (sic). Witness said to Stock "I think this man is drunk." Shelley then drove away, and Stock jumped on to the footboard of the car, which was running from one side of the road to the other. The registered owner of the car was Charles Dopkins, of Drummond St., North Carlton.

Describing his unlooked-for ride, Stock said that Shelley drove up Toorak road at a fast pace, swerving all over the road. Witness directed Shelley to pull up at the St. Kilda Road police station. Shelley made no reply. He drove down Walsh Street, South Yarra, then into Domain Road, up Anderson Street, across the bridge, back to Punt Road, through Richmond, and then through a number of other streets. Finally he stopped the car at his back gate in Rathdown Street, Carlton. It was then 5.53 p.m. Witness had jumped on the car soon after 5.30 p.m. In the course of the drive Shelley said to him, "Get into the car. You will be more comfortable." Witness asked Shelley to give his name.

On arriving at his back gate, Shelley said to two men who were sitting in the back of the car, "I want you as witnesses. This man (pointing to Stock) said I was drunk. I am going to sue him for defamation of character." Shelley, who said he was a motor mechanic, told the court that he was guilty under provocation. The constables had no right to say he was drunk. He gave up his Saturday afternoons to driving sick soldiers about. When the collision occurred he was returning from the Caulfield hospital.

For having obstructed Constable A.C. Rice in the execution of his duty, Richie Lindsay Connard was fined £1. Mr. Moore (to Connard) Had you been drinking? Connard: No. Mr. Moore: I cannot understand your conduct. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. A charge against Shelley of having driven a motor-car at a speed dangerous to the public was dismissed.

The Bendigo Independent, 15 June 1917, p 7
Dunlop tyres signage
Image: CCHG
Signage uncovered during demolition of Martin Shelley's former garage at 520-522 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton

Martin John Shelley

Martin Shelley was no young tearaway. When this escapade occurred he had been running his cycle-building business in Rathdowne Street for some twelve years. The back gate where his unwilling passenger finished his ride was at no. 430, close to Fenwick Street and today the Feathered Bower. As his business grew, he had moved to that building in 1911 from a smaller shop in the same block.

By 1921 he was to move again, this time to no. 520-522, a custom-built workshop and garage on one of the few remaining double blocks of vacant land in that part of Rathdowne Street. He traded there until 1940 when the building, with only minimal alterations, became Pullars Dry Cleaners. In this form it survived until 2013 when it was demolished to make way for an apartment block. At this time traces of Martin Shelley's garage were still clearly visible in the building.

More information on the development of 520-522 Rathdowne Street.
Related Item: The Mechanic of Rathdowne Street

Today the average number of births to Australian woman is fewer than two and discussions of motherhood focus on helicopter parenting, mum's taxi and the guilt felt by many women juggling the demands of family and work. One hundred years ago, motherhood seems to have been very different. The following two items, published in June 1918, celebrate fertility and stress the importance of very simple social events to women who, on the whole, spent most of their lives in their homes.


In an unpretentious way, The Women's Own Sunshine, a group which meets every Thursday afternoon in the Palmerston street Methodist school hall, Carlton, is doing good work, letting light in dark places and spreading good cheer in quarters where sinister influences generally have free play. On Thursday it had a Baby Day; about 100 babies, not one more than 12 months of age, were brought in by their mothers. The prize for the mother who had had the largest number of children was won by a mother with 11. Two hundred and sixty women were present. There were 23 first babies and three soldiers' babies – the father of one of whom had been killed; three babies were baptized. The Rev. G. F. Dyson (superintendent) presided.

The Weekly Times, 8 June 1918, p. 8

In the second item, considering that the event took place in Carlton, there is very low representation of non-British families; perhaps language was a problem.

A gathering of 28 great-grandmothers took place recently in the Methodist school room, Palmerston street, Carlton. The old ladies had as descendants 300 children, 700 grandchildren and 260 great-grandchildren, making a total of 1260 persons. All but four of the great-grandmothers were natives of the British Isles. The oldest lady present was aged 90 years, and the youngest 65. The one with most descendants showed a list of 13 children, 45 grandchildren and 46 great-grandchildren. Three complete sets of four generations were in attendance at the gathering, which was presided over by the Rev. G. F. Dyson.

The Evening Echo (Ballarat), 15 August 1918, p. 2

Breakfast, we are often told, is the most important meal of the day and Coleman Liefman enjoyed his morning repast. Mr Liefman had a drapery business at 22-28 Madeline Street (now 462-466 Swanston Street) Carlton and he lived upstairs in the two-storey building that still bears his name. One morning in 1918, his breakfast was interrupted by a cacophony of noise issuing from the engineering works of Edward Campbell and Son Pty Ltd in Victoria Street. The noise continued, on and off, for the rest of the day and was having an adverse effect on both Mr Liefman's appetite and the conduct of his business. In June 1918 he took civil action in the Banco Court, claiming £100 in damages.


Noise, constant and irritating, sufficient to make him leave his breakfast unfinished, was the complaint of Coleman Liefman, draper, of 22-28 Madeline street, Carlton, in a civil action before Mr Justice Hodges in the Banco Court today. Liefman claimed from Edward Campbell and Son Pty. Ltd., 106 Victoria street, Carlton, £100, being the amount of damages to himself and property due to the noise created in the engineering works of the firm. He also asked for an injunction to restrain the engineering firm from continuance and repetition of the offence. Mr J. R. Macfarlane, instructed by Messrs Fink, Best and Miller, appeared for Liefman, and Mr J. G. Dethridge, instructed by Mr W. S. Cook, for Campbell and Son Pty. Ltd. In the course of his evidence Liefman said he had spoken to the Campbells, senior and junior, about "the terrible noise." The hammering "nearly cut his ear." "I can hear it in my dining-room, my drawing-room, and the other rooms. I can't bear it," he insisted. "It is easiest in the drawing-room, and in the breakfast-room it is worst. I have gone down to breakfast in the morning, and that terrible noise is so bad that I have to leave my breakfast alone, and do not want to bother about anything."

Mr Dethridge: Did it really interfere with your appetite for breakfast? — Many times.
Did you ever lose your breakfast in consequence? — Yes, I have left it and started for the office.
"Why not breakfast in the dining-room? — It's not much better."

The case is proceeding.

The Herald, 10 June 1918, p. 8

Justice Hodges took the unusual step of visiting the premises of both Edward Campbell and Son Pty Ltd and Coleman Liefman to hear the noise for himself. He agreed, with some reluctance, that Mr Liefman's claims were justified. He awarded £5 in damages, with costs, and issued an injunction restraining the company from using a pneumatic riveter and a steam hammer in such a way as to be a nuisance or to cause injury to Liefman or his premises.


Noises amply sufficient to require redress were found by Mr. Justice Hodges to have been caused by the engineering works of Edward Campbell and Son Pty. Ltd., Victoria street, Carlton, and he accordingly, in the Banco Court today, gave £5 damages to Coleman Liefman, draper, Madeline street, with costs, and an injunction restraining the company from using a pneumatic riveter and a steam hammer in such a way as to be a nuisance, or to cause injury to Liefman or his premises. Liefman had asked for £100 as the amount or damages to himself and his property caused by the noises from the engineering works, and also for an injunction to restrain the company from a continuance of the offence. Mr H. E. Starke and Mr J. R. Macfarlan (instructed by Messrs. Fink, Best, and Miller) appeared for Liefman; and Mr T. G. Dethridge (instructed by Mr W. S. Cook) for Campbell and Son Pty. Ltd. Mr. Justice Hodges stated that he had visited the premises of the company, and had heard there all the sounds that were complained of. He thought the test was satisfactory, and that there was no subterfuge, the work of the company being honestly exhibited. He had also gone into Liefman's house, and in the different rooms had listened to the noise. In the rooms the noise was such that an ordinary conversation one would require to raise the voice in order to be heard. In the shop also, there was so much noise as to interfere with ordinary convenience and comfort. "I was very unwilling," Mr Justice Hodges continued, "to arrive, at that conclusion, for everyone is anxious not to interfere with industries any more than is absolutely necessary, or more than the rights of the individual justify. But it seemed to me a very serious noise such as would interfere with comfort and affect the value of property."

The Herald, 12 June 1918, p. 9

This was not the first time that Coleman Liefman had taken action on account of noise. In April 1912, he sought an injunction and £1000 in damages against the Carlton and United Breweries Company. The hearing was postponed several times and carried over into 1913. There is no newspaper report of the outcome of Liefman's claim, so it may have been dropped or settled out of court.1


Coleman Liefman, of Madeline street, Carlton, has commenced an action in the Supreme Court against the Carlton and United Breweries Propty. Ltd., in which he asks that a certain cooperage carried on by the defendant company, which adjoins his premises in Madeline street, should be declared a nuisance. Plaintiff also asks for an injunction against the company preventing it from carrying on the business which, he says, interrupts, disturbs, and annoys him, and he asks for £1000 damages. The action was under the notice of Mr Justice A'Beckett, in the Practice Court today, on a summons for directions. Mr H. E. Starke (instructed by Mr L. Waxman) appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr F. W. Mann (instructed by Messrs Pavey, Wilson and Cohen), for the defendants. Mr Justice A'Beckett made an order for pleadings, discovery, interrogatories, etc., and fixed the place of trial at Melbourne before a judge without a jury.

The Herald, 19 April, 1912, p. 5

Coleman Liefman (born Kalman Ben Aaron Tzvi) was a Russian migrant from Vilno (now Vilnius in Lithuania). He arrived in Australia in March or April of 1889 and was naturalised six years later in January 1895, at the age of 29 years. Coleman married Hannah (Annie) Woolf in 1894 and they had 3 children - all born in Carlton - David Louis (also known as Louis David) in 1894, Doris in 1896 and Ella Rose in 1900. He was a draper by trade and his address at the time of his naturalisation was 66 Madeline Street, Carlton. Coleman did not own this shop building, but he soon began to acquire property further south along Madeline Street. By 1900, he had established his drapery business on the corner of Cardigan Terrace, next door to the Seven Stars Hotel. In 1911, Coleman bought the recently-delicensed Victoria Hotel building on the corner of Kay and Charles Streets, Carlton.2,3,4,5,6

A few months after the successful 1918 damages claim, Coleman Liefman bought a substantial property named "Himalaya" in Tennyson Street, St Kilda. This was in a prime residential location, opposite the St Kilda botanical gardens and far away from the industrial noise of city-fringe Carlton. The Liefman family moved there, while Coleman retained his business interests and property holdings in Carlton. Coleman Liefman died on 5 November 1941 and he was buried the following day at Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton. His estate was valued, for probate purposes, at £14,435, the majority of which was his property holdings. As well as his residence "Himalaya", he owned three rental cottages in Windsor (purchased in 1909), the former hotel building in Kay Street and two properties in Swanston Street. The name "C. Liefman" appears on the façade of Liefman's former drapery business, which is one of the few remaining Victorian-era buildings at the southern end of Swanston Street, Carlton.7

Notes and References:
1 Civil case file 1912/200, Coleman Liefman v The Carlton and United Breweries (VPRS 267)
2 Biographical information is sourced from birth, death and marriage records and Coleman Liefman's naturalisation file. (NAA: A712, 1895/A675)
3 Coleman Liefman's son was registered as "David Louis" in his birth record and "Louis David" in his World War 1 service record. (NAA: B2455, LIEFMAN LOUIS DAVID)
4 Building ownership and occupancy information is sourced from land title records, Melbourne City Council rate books and Sands & McDougall directories.
5 The Seven Stars Hotel was at 20 Madeline Street, Carlton. The hotel was delicensed in December 1915.
6 The Victoria Hotel was on the corner of Kay and Charles Streets, Carlton. The hotel was delicensed in December 1910.
7 Probate file of Coleman Liefman (VPRS 28/P3/3641/332/137)

A divorce case heard in June 1919 uncovered a web of family disharmony. Rose Hannah Linnett (née Atkins) petitioned for divorce from her husband, William Albert Linnett, on the ground of desertion. William, in turn, issued a counter-petition on the ground that his wife had committed adultery at various locations, including several addresses in Carlton. As is common in divorce cases, both parties gave differing versions of events.

Rose and William were married in Ballarat in May 1913 and their first child Amelia May Alice (later known as "Jessie"), was born in the same year. Rose alleged that her husband had failed to provide for her and had him charged on warrant with desertion on 4 March 1914. Twelve months and two weeks later, on 18 March 1915, a second child, Ida May, was born to Rose Linnett, with William Charles [sic] Linnett, aged 23 years, registered as both father and informant. Was this man really William Albert Linnett or an impostor? In responding to his wife's divorce petition (No. 1919/25), William states that sexual relations between them ceased in or about March 1914, the same month as the desertion charge. But in his counter-petition (No. 1919/27), William gives a date of May 1916, more than two years later. Rose, in her petition, gives two different dates – on or about the eighth of March 1914 (crossed out) and the middle of June 1914. While she may have had a memory lapse in recalling a date of 5 years earlier, she could also have altered the date by three months to substantiate her claim of William as Ida's father. A significant omission in Rose's petition was no mention by name of her first born daughter Amelia. She simply states: "… there is no living issue of the said marriage". It is true that Rose's second daughter Ida, who was placed in the care of the Neglected Children's Department, had died in March 1916 at the age of twelve months. However, as the death registration would later prove, Amelia was definitely alive at the time of her parents' divorce. William also had a memory lapse in understating his age as 31 years. 1,2,3,4

It was up to Justice Hood to decide what was fact or fiction and his task was not helped by Rose's mother, Ann Atkins, who kept interjecting and making claims against her daughter. Mrs Atkins had a previous court appearance in December 1918, when she was fined for using insulting words to Victor Charles Mulder, an ice-cream vendor and one of the co-respondents subsequently named in the divorce case.

Melbourne, Monday.

In the Practice Court today, before Mr Justice Hood, further evidence was heard in the petition for divorce lodged by Rose Hannah Linnett, 22, waitress of Carlton, against her husband, William Linnett, 41, laborer, Nhill, on the ground of desertion. The parties were married in 1913 at Steinfeld street Ballarat, by the Town missionary, the late Rev. J. W. Law. The petitioner alleged that the respondent had not maintained her properly at Ballarat and Geelong, where they lived. Much interest was centred in the case, as the husband had also charged his wife with desertion, with the addition of several counts of adultery. When the case first came on for hearing on Thursday last, the husband failed to appear to substantiate his charges, and the case was adjourned by His Honor to allow of evidence being secured from Geelong by Ann Atkins, mother of the petitioner, who had mentioned the names of men with whom she alleged her daughter had been living. Mr Woolf appeared for the petitioner, and Mrs Atkins asked Constable Wm Aldridge, of Geelong, to go into the box. This witness said he first knew the petitioner about four or five years ago.

His Honor – Do you know a man named Thomas Loates?
Witness – I know him by sight.
Have you seen the petitioner with him? – Yes.
Do you know a man named Beales? – Yes. About four years ago Beales and the petitioner went to Pomborneit, near Colac. They brought their luggage to the South Geelong railway station in the evening. Next day the petitioner and Beales went away by the Colac train.
Mrs Atkins, petitioner's mother, stood up in the rear of the court and exclaimed – "A child was born while they were away."
His Honor (to Mrs Atkins) – Sit down!
Constable Aldridge (continuing) said that when Beales and Mrs Linnett went away – it was some time in 1915 – they had no child, but on returning Mrs Linnett was carrying an infant. He saw them in Maud street, Geelong, where they were visiting some friends.

James O'Hara, on being sworn, refused to give evidence.
His Honor – Why? – For the simple reason that I might be implicating myself.
His Honor – In what way? – Because I am cited as one of the co-respondents named in a counter-petition which has been lodged by the respondent.
His Honor (to the Associate) – Give him a piece of paper and a pencil. Addressing witness, his Honor said – "Write down, your reasons why you refuse to give evidence."
Witness – Because I might be implicating myself.
His Honor – You just give evidence; that is all.
His Honor (pointing to the petitioner) – Who is that?
Witness – Mrs Linnett.
Do you know Loates? – I do not.
Do you know Beales? – I do.
Have you committed misconduct with Mrs Linnett? – I refuse to answer.
Were you living in Little Lonsdale street in 1917? – Yes, but not with her.
Were you living in Queensberry street, North Carlton [sic]? – No.
Mrs Atkins (from the body of the court) – You were.
Witness – I was living in Little Lonsdale street, and Mrs Linnett was living at another place.
His Honor – Did you commit misconduct with the petitioner? I refuse to answer.
Mr Woolf – Did you not come up to me and say that you had not committed it with her?
His Honor – Did you tell Mr Woolf a lie?
Witness – I never committed adultery with petitioner, although we lived in the same house.
His Honor – Are you prepared to swear that you never committed adultery? – Yes.

William Alfred Linnett on being sworn was asked by his Honor whether he knew anything against his wife.
Witness – Only what I saw in the papers about the middle of August last.
His Honor – Do you remember offering to sell your wife for £2 to a man named Loates? – No, I never.
Mr Woolf – Do you remember your wife getting a maintenance order against you at Geelong on 21th July, 1914 for 10/ a week?
Witness – I never left her without support.
Did your wife's mother give evidence in that court that she heard you offer to sell your wife for £2? – Yes.

His Honor, in granting the petitioner a decree nisi with costs, said the only thing he was sorry for was that he could not make the petitioner's mother pay the costs.

The Ballarat Star, 17 June 1919, p. 1

Mr Justice Hood's final comment expressed his annoyance with Mrs Atkins's interference in the divorce proceedings. Her interjections from the body of the court may have amused onlookers, but they delayed resolution of the case. Once the divorce decree was made absolute, both parties were free to marry.

William Linnett died from accidental poisoning in April 1921 and, in the same year, Rose Linnett (née Atkins) married Victor Charles Mulder. William's and Rose's first born daughter Amelia May Alice (Jessie) took her step-father's surname "Mulder". She died in 1933, at the age of 20 years. Victor enlisted in the Army Citizen Military Forces in World War 2 and he died in 1975. His wife Rose followed him five years later in 1982. Amelia (Jessie), Victor and Rose are buried together in Melbourne General Cemetery.5,6,7,8,9

The remaining family members, Ida and William Linnett, are buried in Springvale and Coburg cemeteries respectively. 10,11

1 Divorce Case File 1919/25 (VPRS 283/P2 unit 9, item Case No. 1919/25)
2 Divorce Case File 1919/27 (VPRS 283/P2 unit 9, item Case No. 1919/27)
3 Birth Registration no. 2362/1915
4 The Age, 27 March 1916, p. 1
5 Inquest Deposition File, 437-1921 (VPRS 24)
6 Marriage registration no. 3365/1921
7 Death Registration no. 3120/1916
8 Charles Victor Mulder's service record (NAA: B884, V350819)
9 Melbourne General Cemetery records
10 Springvale Cemetery records
11 Coburg Cemetery records

Dorothy Randle was a musical prodigy, an artist of the pianoforte. She began studying music seriously at the age of six and, by the age of eleven, she scored a high distinction in examinations of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music of the London Associated Board. Her achievement was even more remarkable because this level of examination was normally taken by senior students. In June 1920, at the age of fifteen, she was awarded a scholarship to study at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London.

Dorothy, born in Carlton in 1904, was the "baby" of her family. She was the youngest of three children born to Charles and Elizabeth Randle, and she had four adult half-siblings from her father's first marriage. Charles Randle was a linotype operator at The Argus newspaper, and the family lived at 893 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton.

Touch of an Artist
Girl Wins Scholarship

Through close study and natural ability, Miss Dorothy Randle, the 15-year-old daughter of Mr and Mrs C. R. Randle, Rathdown street, Carlton, has won a scholarship which entitles her to two years' training at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Her mother will take her to England next year, so that she will be able to take advantage of the privilege. Friends intend to arrange a complimentary concert in her honor, and Dr. E. H. Sugden is interesting himself in her behalf. Miss Eileen Cody, a pupil at the Convent of the Good Shepherd, Abbotsford, and Miss Randle, are the only two students in Australia who have won the Academy scholarship. Commenting on Miss Randle's pianoforte work, the examiner referred to her touch as "that of a little artist." She passed the test at the examinations held here last October by the Associated Board, with Mr Benjamin Dale judging. This young musician began to study seriously at the age of six. In 1917, she passed with much distinction the examination of the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music of the London Associated Board. Miss Randle has studied under Miss Garguervich for nine years. Her musical repertoire includes the studies of Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, Schumann, and Greig.

The Herald, 8 June 1920, p. 7

Dorothy had to wait another year before she could take up her scholarship. She was farewelled by family and friends in June 1921, with a concert at Carlton Hall in Princes Street. The farewell gift of travelling rugs was a practical choice, given that Dorothy and her mother were going to live in a colder climate for the next two years.

A farewell was tendered to Mrs C. Randle and her daughter Dorothy at the Carlton Hall, Princes-street, on Tuesday evening, June 7, by a number of friends, to bid them au revoir and success prior to their departure for London, where Miss Dorothy Randle, winner of the London Academy of Music scholarship for pianoforte, goes to continue her studies. A large attendance of friends and well-wishers were present and an enjoyable evening was spent. A feature of the evening was the appearance of the young Australian quartette party which was formed by Miss Randle. Mr. G. M. Prendergast, M.L.A., on behalf of those present, presented Mrs and Miss Randle with handsome travelling rugs.

Table Talk, 16 June 1921, p. 34

During Dorothy's second year of study, in June 1922, tragedy struck the Randle family. Her brother Kenneth, who had mental health issues, shot himself in the head and died a few hours later at the Melbourne Hospital. His suicide note reads: "Forgive me for what I have done. I did not want to but I have suffered torture with my nerves. I ask God's forgiveness. Also dear mother's and my darling little sister Dorothy's." 1,2

1 Inquest Deposition File 1922/540 (VPRS 24)
2 Kenneth's death was not the first in the Randle family. His sister Clarice died in infancy and his half brother, Percy Charles Randle, was killed in action in France in 1916.


At the Morgue today Dr. Cole, the Coroner, recorded a finding that the death on June 15 of Kenneth Charles Baden Randle, 22, was due to a gunshot wound in the head, which was self-inflicted while Randle was mentally depressed. Charles Robert Randle stated that deceased was his son, and had been suffering from a nervous breakdown and insomnia for some time. He had been off duty for three or four months. Veronica Gunn, boardinghouse-keeper, said Randle boarded at her place in Rathdown street, Carlton. On June 15 he complained to her of pains in the stomach. He was then in bed. Later on she heard a short, sharp report, and, going up the passage, found deceased lying in the doorway of his room. She never knew that he possessed a revolver. David Clarke, police constable, said the revolver was loaded in four chambers, and contained one discharged cartridge.

The Herald, 22 June 1922, p. 3

Dorothy was awarded the two-year diploma at the Royal Academy of Music in 1923. She continued her studies for another year, then left England in December 1924 to return home to Australia in early 1925.


Miss Dorothy Randle, the Melbourne pianist, who returned from England recently after an absence of several years, will give her first Australian recital at the Playhouse on Friday, April 3. She has been engaged as a soloist to play at the first of the Royal Victorian Liedertafel concerts of this year which will take place at the St Kilda Town Hall on Monday, April 27. A welcome home will be given Miss Randle by members of the Austral Salon on Monday, March 30. Miss Randle won a scholarship for the Royal Academy of Music London, where she studied for three years She gained her L.R.A.M diploma in 1923 after having previously obtained the first and second years' medals of the academy. She has now completed her third year with honours, and concerts in which she played under the baton of Sir Henry Wood and Sir A. C. Mackenzie. She has played also before H.R.H. Princess Marie Louise. Miss Randle was offered a concert tour through England, but in view of the third year examinations of the academy she had to refuse the offer. She hopes, however, to return to London. Miss Victoria Anderson, contralto, will assist Miss Randle at her recital.

The Argus, 24 March 1925, p. 13

The newspaper headline "MOTOR CAR CHASES PONY" sounds like a machine versus beast contest, but this was no sporting event. Albert Freeman recognised a buggy, driven by Francis Thomas Rankin, as the property of Freeman's livery stable in Carlton. Freeman took off in hot pursuit, but Rankin managed to evade capture, leaving the pony and buggy behind. But that was not the end of the matter. In June 1921, Rankin reported his horse and buggy stolen, and this proved to be his downfall. Did he really think he could fool the police?


How a buggy, which was stolen on October 4, 1920, was recovered, and a charge sheeted home to the thief in peculiar circumstances, was told at the Carlton Court today. One part of the story related to a man mounted on a pony being chased by a motor car. Francis Thomas Rankin, 28, fishmonger, was charged with larceny as a bailee of a horse, harness, and buggy, valued at £60, the property of Alfred Freeman, livery stable keeper. Rankin, who was defended by Mr. H. Shelton, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. On a second charge of having been in unlawful possession of two buggy lamps, suspected of having been stolen, Rankin was sentenced to a month's imprisonment, concurrent with the other sentence.

Evidence was given that Rankin hired a horse and buggy from Alfred Freeman's livery stable, Drummond street, on October 4, 1920. Rankin paid £1 deposit, and was to have returned the buggy at 6 o'clock that day. He did not return with the buggy. The horse was recovered eight days afterward at a dairyman's stable in Fitzroy. On June 13 Albert Roy Freeman, son of Alfred Freeman, at 11.15 p.m. was driving a motor car north from Prince's Bridge, when he saw Rankin driving a pony and buggy which he recognised as his father's property. He stopped Rankin, and asked him where he got the buggy. Rankin said he had bought the buggy for £25, and had spent £20 on it. Freeman went to a constable on point duty, and while he was absent Rankin un-harnessed the pony, mounted it, and rode away toward the Morgue. Freeman and the constable followed in the motor car. When they were within 50 yards of the fugitive, the latter jumped off the pony and disappeared in the darkness.

On June 20, at 11 a.m., Rankin called at the Carlton watchhouse and reported that his horse, buggy, and harness had been stolen from his stable in Malvern. He said he had reason to believe that the buggy was in Freeman's stable. He was taken to the stable, where he was identified by Freeman's son. After having made a false statement, Rankin admitted that he had stolen the horse, buggy and harness. When recovered, the buggy was painted a different color to what it was when it was hired out. All the property but one lamp was recovered.

The Herald, 29 June 1921, p. 7

Francis Thomas Rankin's Victorian prison record (VPRS 515) shows no previous conviction, but in February 1911 a 17 year old youth of the same name pleaded guilty in Glebe Police Court (NSW) to a charge of stealing a pair of shoes from his employer. He was given a suspended sentence and, adding ten years to his age, it is quite possible that he was same person, older but not necessarily wiser, who appeared in Carlton Court in June 1921.


Francis Thomas Rankin, a youth 17 years old, who had been in the employ of Messrs. Grace Bros., and who pleaded guilty on Tuesday last to a charge of stealing a pair of shoes valued at 10s 9d, the property of the firm, was brought before Mr. Barnett, S.M., at the Glebe Police Court this morning for sentence. Detective Malone presented a report which stated that, although other shoes had been missed from the department in which Rankin was employed, he had not been connected with their disappearance, and had never been in any trouble before. Rankin expressed contrition, and promised that the present trouble would serve as a warning to him for all the rest of his life.

Mr. Barnett: You have made a very bad beginning at your early age, and I do trust this will act as a warning to you. You are sentenced to a month in gaol, but I will suspend the sentence on your finding a surety in £20 for your good behavior for 12 months.

The Sun (Sydney), 2 February 1911, p. 4


In July 1876 The Herald announced, in glowing terms, the impending opening of the new branch of the London Chartered Bank, on the corner of Elgin and Drummond streets. The article went into some detail about the design and features of the imposing three storey building, which replaced the bank's original, more modest, branch on the corner of Lygon and Faraday streets. However, there was one key piece of information that did not stand up to fact checking.

The various metropolitan banking institutions are pushing business in the several suburbs of Melbourne and, judging by the ornamental, commodious and substantial character of the buildings erected, or in course of erection, the new field bids fair to become a most profitable one. Among the banking buildings now in course of erection calling for special notice is that of the LONDON CHARTERED BANK, CARLTON. The London Chartered was the first banking institution to introduce an agency to the most northern portion of the city proper – Carlton, and the enterprise has, since it was established some four or five years ago, been so encouraging that it has warranted the corporation expending a large sum of money on the erection of an edifice, which, besides being a credit to the bank, will at the same time be an ornament to the thriving suburb of Carlton. The new bank is situated at the corner of Elgin and Drummond sreets, having a frontage to the former street of sixty-six feet and to the latter thoroughfare, a frontage of thirty feet.

The building has an elevation of fifty feet, the main entrance being in Elgin street. The style is a composite of the Corinthian and Ionic orders built in brick, with cement fronts. Though by no means elaborate, the structure may be characterised as handsome and substantial, set off as it is by massive cornices, arched windows on the basement floor, with pretty, light looking iron balconetts opening from elegant, full lengthed windows on the first floor. The banking chamber is entered through massive double doors, from the street. This room is 30 feet x 20 feet, its height being 18 feet. The floor, or that part of it dedicated to the use of the public, is laid with Minton's tesselated tiles. The tellers' and accountants' departments are fitted up with cedar counters and fittings, screen doors, etc., en suite, whilst the walls and cornices are further enriched with scroll work and elaborate entablatures

Messrs Terry and Oakden are the architects of the edifice, which was commenced on 18th February last, by Messrs Beardall and Glencross, the contractors, who may be congratulated, not only in the speed with which they have executed their task, but also on the thorough workmanlike and faithful manner with which they have carried out the ideas of the architects. Of course this happy state of affairs is in a great measure due to the careful supervision of Mr James Cope, under whose superintendence the building has been erected. The contractors anticipate handing over the bank before the end of the current month, and business, it is expected, will be transacted in the new establishment on the 1st August next. The amount of the contract will exceed £4000.

The Herald, 6 July 1876, p. 3

Mr P.C. Russell, Manager of the Carlton Branch of the Commercial Bank, took exception to the statement: "The London Chartered was the first banking institution to introduce an agency to the most northern portion of the city proper – Carlton." The following day he issued a gentlemanly rebuke to his business rival, the London Chartered Bank.


Sir. – In your notice of the London Chartered Bank Carlton, in this evening's paper, you unwittingly do this bank an injustice, by saying that the institution under notice was the first to introduce an agency to Carlton, some four or five years ago. Allow me to say that the Branch of the Commercial Bank of Australia (Limited), was opened in Lygon street, on 12th October, 1868, and for about three years was the only bank in Carlton, where in respect of business it still occupies the pride of place. Having been in charge of the branch from its commencement, and believing that the results of my management are satisfactory to my head office, I feel a natural jealousy of even an accidental supremacy being accorded to my esteemed colleague and respected rival.
� Your obedient servant,
P. C. Russell,
Manager, Carlton Branch,
6th July 1876.

The Herald, 7 July 1876, p. 3

In his haste to set the record straight, Mr Russell had slightly exaggerated the time interval between the bank openings. The Age of 23 August 1870 announced the opening of the Carlton branch of the London Chartered Bank, just under two years after the Commercial Bank opened for business in October 1868. Both banks were originally on the east side of Lygon Street, in fairly close proximity – the Commercial Bank was between University and Grattan streets, and the London Chartered Bank on the corner of Faraday Street. In 1873, the Commercial Bank moved to new purpose-built premises on the west side of Lygon Street (now numbered 259). The London Chartered Bank, not to be outdone by the competition, followed with its own new branch three years later.

How many commissioners does it take to reach agreement on naming a prominent Carlton icon? This was the issue in July 1880, when a general meeting of 67 Melbourne Exhibition Commissioners considered a proposal to rename the Exhibition Building as the Carlton Palace.


A general meeting of the commissioners was held yesterday afternoon in the council chamber at the Town hall. Sir Samuel Wilson presided, and there were 67 commissioners present. The executive presented the following report to the commissioners: –

"1. In their opinion the time has now arrived when the buildings used for exhibition purposes should have a distinctive name for purposes of reference, and to enable foreign commissioners to address their communications to a central office. It is therefore recommended that the building be henceforth known as The Carlton Palace."

In reference to clause 1 in the report, Mr. Vale objected to the name of "The Carlton Palace." It was as unsatisfactory a name as could probably have been selected (hear, hear.) It was the name of a suburb, it was true, but it was also the name of a house the historical connexions with which were most unpleasant. He proposed as an amendment that "The Victoria Palace" should be the name of the building. Mr. Wilks seconded the amendment.

Mr. Munro said the reason for selecting "Carlton" was that a number of foreign exhibitors already addressed their exhibits and documents to the "Carlton Palace," he presumed because the building was in the Carlton gardens. He did not think the word "Victoria" was sufficiently distinct.

Mr. J. Smith proposed as another amendment that the Exhibition-building should be named "The Palace of Industry".

Mr. Bright, in seconding this amendment, suggested that the word Melbourne should be added. Mr. Smith accepted the suggestion.

Mr. Wilks pointed out that the building was a permanent one, and was subsequently to be used for other purposes than that of industrial exhibitions.

Mr. Gillbee could see no reason for altering the name from that of the Melbourne International Exhibition Building. It was absurd to alter that designation.

Mr Richardson supported Mr Vale's amendment.

Sir G. Verdon suggested that as the late Prince Consort was intimately connected with the first Exhibition, the building should be called "The Albert Palace."

Mr Nimmo supported the proposal to call the building "The Victoria Palace" because the whole colony had contributed to its cost.

Mr L. L. Lewis proposed as a further amendment that the name "The Melbourne International Exhibition" should be retained. (Hear, hear.)

Mr Blackett seconded this amendment, which upon being put to the vote was carried by a very large majority.

The Argus, 22 July 1880, p. 7

The Age used more direct language in reporting Mr Vale's objection, which did not reflect well on the name of "Carlton".

"Mr. Vale strongly opposed the recommendation, and in support of his objection referred to the orgies in Carlton House during the time of the Prince Regent, afterwards George IV., which had brought disrepute upon the nation, and which had caused the name of Carlton to become a by-word and a reproach."

The Age, 22 July 1880, p. 3

In the same month, the Carlton Gardens were proposed as the site of a railway station and connecting line to the northern suburbs. If this ambitious rail project had gone ahead, the Carlton Gardens would be a very different place. The inner circle railway, opened in May 1888, skirted the northern municipal boundary of the City of Melbourne at North Carlton. The city itself had to wait more than 100 years for a new railway station, Melbourne Central, to open in January 1981.


The old question of the suitability of the Carlton-gardens as a site for the central railway station was brought under the notice of the Minister of Railways on Wednesday by a deputation from Hotham and Brunswick, accompanied by Mr. Millane. They pointed out that a more central position than the Spencer-street Station must be eventually decided on, and recommended the following connecting line to the Carlton-gardens site:–
Along Lonsdale-street to Stephen-street, and thence by a curve to the gardens. On this line they pointed out there might be two stations, namely, one at the end of Lonsdale-street, and the other between Elizabeth and Swanston streets; and they also suggested that from the Carlton-gardens suburban lines could be constructed to Coburg and Heidelberg. Mr. Gillies promised to inquire into the matter.

The Australasian, 3 July 1880, p. 21

Magpies are now a common sight in the city and suburbs. In the 19th century, the birds were popular as pets – so popular that they were sometimes stolen. In July 1886, George Watson was imprisoned for the theft of a magpie and bird cage from the Nugget Hotel in Bouverie Street, Carlton. While imprisonment may seem a harsh sentence for such a minor crime, Watson had an extensive criminal record and he also assaulted the police officer who made the arrest.

At the City Court on Thursday, before the mayor (Mr. J. C. Stewart) and a bench of honorary magistrates, George Watson, a man with a very bad criminal record, was charged with having stolen a bird cage, and a magpie valued at �5, the property of Mr. William Holmes, the licensee of the Nugget Hotel, Bouverie-street, Carlton. A neighbour who saw Watson come out of the yard of the hotel carrying the magpie in its cage, informed Mrs. Holmes, who went after him and recovered her husband's property. Constable Coghlan came up, and was instructed to arrest Watson. He did so, but the prisoner resisted violently, kicked him about the legs, tried to trip him, and used very bad language. Constable Coleman assisted to place Watson in a cab, and they drove him to the watchhouse. The Bench considered the cases proved, and sent Watson to gaol for six months on the first charge, and three months on the second.

The Argus, 30 July 1886, p. 3

Note: The Nugget Hotel, on the west side of Bouverie Street, was first licensed in 1864, and members of the Holmes family held the licence from 1867 to 1888 inclusive. The hotel was delicensed in 1908.

Local courts were sometimes called upon to adjudicate in cases of disputed ownership of birds. Such a case was heard in Carlton in May 1884, much to the amusement of those present in the courtroom.

The audience in the Carlton Court this morning was kept laughing over a quarrel about a cockatoo. Plaintiff, a constable, would not have it that the bird could possibly have strayed, and not been stolen, notwithstanding the recent illustration afforded by the cockatoo which entangled its chain on the top of the spire of [a] Brunswick-street church, and hung swinging till it was shot. This bird-fancier policeman found his pet caged in another man's yard, and told the Bench that he went and had a conversation with it, so that there might be no mistake. Mr Stephen, the lawyer on the other side, expressed a hope that this cockatoo was not like the celebrated parrot at the "well-known" Hotel. A lady just arrived in Melbourne did all she could to make it speak. When she had lavished every endearment, the bird broke out into the most horrible swearing that could be imagined. Mr Stephen wanted to know if this was the kind of conversation in which the policeman indulged with his cockatoo. A precedent, applying to this case, was afforded by one in another Melbourne suburban court. Two families quarrelled over the ownership of a magpie. The children on the one side said maggy called out "Milk Oh!" in imitation of Mr. Walker Chalks. So the magpie was tickled in every possible way to make it say these words, but it wouldn't. The magistrates decided for the other party. As they were triumphantly carrying the magpie out of court, it began to screech "Milk Oh, Milk Oh!" like a clock running down.

The Herald, 28 May 1884, p. 3

Note: "Milk Oh" or "Milko" is a colloquial term for a milkman, and "Walker Chalks" is the name of a theatrical character representing a milkman.

A constant supply of clean, dry socks was essential for troops fighting in the muddy trenches of France, their only defence against the dreaded condition, trench foot. Thousands of Australian schoolchildren and women, working at home or in community groups coordinated by the Australian Comforts Fund, rose to the knitting challenge. Specialised pattern books were available and socks had to meet a strict standard. There was to be no seam which could rub against the soldier's skin and the socks had to be big enough to allow for shrinkage. The women of the North Carlton Presbyterian Church 1 would have been particularly aware of the need as their minister, the Reverend John Lelean Cope, had just returned from a period of service as a chaplain in France. During the course of World War 1 Australians knitted over 1 million pairs of socks as gifts for the troops. It has been estimated that, at 10 hours of work per pair, that would be an extraordinary 10 million hours of work. The Australian population then numbered less than five million.

1 This church, now demolished, was in Nicholson Street near the corner of Princes Street. The manse, in Princes Street, survives and today houses the Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre.

(From June number of the "10th Brigade News")

An Australian soldier has had the experience of wearing a pair of socks, knitted by a member of the North Carlton Presbyterian Knitting Club, after they had been at the bottom of the sea for several weeks. The members of the club have received a letter, dated 5th April, from Miss Mabel R. Bishop, of Weymouth, Dorset, England, in which she states that the vessel conveying the socks to England was torpedoed. All the men on board were saved, but the cargo went to the bottom of the sea. Her uncle, a British sailor, was assisting to salve the vessel, when he came across a pair of socks, with a note pinned to them, stating that they were knitted by the club. She sent them to an Australian soldier in the big Anzac camp at Wareham, England. They were none the worse the worse for their immersion. Miss Bishop has written the history of the socks for members of the club. It is understood that the whole of the cargo which was on the vessel has been salved, so that all the socks on board will have reached the soldiers.

Riverine Herald, 25 July 1917, p. 4

The Melbourne Trades Hall Council's decision in July 1918 to fly the red flag at the Trades Hall in Carlton proved to be a "red rag to a bull". Australia had been at war for four years and flying the red flag was seen by some as a symbol of anarchy and communism, and an act of contempt for the British Empire and those Australians who were fighting abroad.

Anti-British Sentiment.

Not satisfied with flying the red flag on Labour days, the Melbourne Trades Hall Council has decided that it shall fly every day from the flagpole at the Trades Hall. This decision was reached at a meeting of the council last week. A motion that the decision of the council be submitted to the individual unions was defeated. Recently the council agreed that the flag should be flown to mark special occasions in the history of the Labour movement. This, however, did not suit the peace-at-any-price section of the council, the members of which regard the Union Jack with undisguised contempt and a successful effort was made to publicly exhibit the feelings of this section by the constant display of the red flag. In the minds of these men the flying of the red flag proclaims that the Trades Hall has cut itself adrift from the British Empire and has no sympathy with the aims of the Allies in the war. According to an official Labour publication the triennial conference of the Australian Labour party at Perth adopted the red flag as the emblem of the party.

The Argus, 4 July 1918, p. 4

The mother of a serving soldier expressed her opinion in a letter to The Herald.
"A Soldier's Mother" writes:—

Help us to protest against the Red Flag flying at the Trades Hall on any occasion. It is an insult to Australian mothers whose sons are fighting for freedom at the front, while these men who want the red flag to fly are living in comfort. Fly the Union Jack or nothing! Let us go hand in hand with our boys.

The Herald, 5 July 1918, p. 1

Meanwhile, Victorian Government officials considered whether flying the red flag was sufficient grounds for the original crown land grant, dating back to 1875, to be cancelled.


Mr F. G. Clarke. Minister for Lands, stated today that he did not propose to take any action because the Trades Hall Council had decided to fly the red flag on its building, which was erected on a site that was a Crown grant. Expert State officers explained today that as the site of the Trades Hall is a Crown grant vested in trustees, the present occupants can only be disturbed by passing an Act of Parliament. Official records show that the Crown grant held is dated October 11, 1875 Under the terms of the Crown grant a trustee can only be removed from the register in case of death, residence outside the State, or refusal or inability to act on the trust. When a vacancy occurs for any of these reasons, the Governor-In-Council can appoint a new trustee. It is also provided in the grant that should the trustees permit or suffer the land and premises to be used for any purposes other than those for which the land was granted (Trades Hall and Literary Institute); allow premises to become out of order or repair; alienate, or attempt to alienate, the land, it shall be lawful for the Crown to re-enter upon the site, and hold it as if no grant had been made. In the opinion of expert land officers the flying of a red flag, while it may possibly furnish a Government with a reason for asking Parliament to revoke or vary a grant, is not sufficient to enable a Ministry to cancel the Crown grant.

The Herald, 5 July 1918, p. 8

Individual unions were not given the opportunity to vote on the proposal to fly the red flag and some, like the Lift Attendants' Union, decided to vote with their feet and withdraw their affiliation with Trades Hall. It was rumoured that the Tent and Sailmakers' Union had refused to make the flag, but this was denied by Trades Hall Council President, Mr E.F. Russell.


Mr E.F. Russell, President of the Trades Hall Council, said today that it was not true that Tent and Sailmakers' Union had refused to make the Red Flag which the Trades Hall Council has decided is to be flown from the flagpole at the Trades Hall. Mr Russell stated that the delay which had occurred In procuring the flag was due to the fact that the special material required was difficult to obtain. The order had been placed, however, and it was expected that the flag would be ready shortly.

The Herald, 11 July 1918, p. 6

There were calls for the Commonwealth Government to intervene and new regulations under the War Precautions Act were introduced in September 1918.

As a profession, chemists have a high standing in the community, but they can sometimes slip up on the paperwork. In July 1920, the Health Commission prosecuted two Carlton chemists – Zal Markov of Elgin Street and John William Smith of Lygon Street – in connection with the sale of cocaine, also known as "snow" or "snow dope". At the time, cocaine could be legally sold by chemists. However, the Commission was concerned about the health effects of the cocaine habit and called for tighter restrictions on sale of the drug.


The Health Commission has decided to conduct further prosecutions against chemists in connection with the sale of cocaine – usually sold under the name of "snow" or "snow-dope" – and certain chemists will be charged at Carlton court tomorrow, and at Northcote on Monday next, with selling cocaine without complying with the provisions of the Health Act or Poisons Act. Dr. E. Robertson, chairman of the Health Commission, stated yesterday that the effects of the cocaine habit upon the community generally were worse than those of opium, and it may become necessary to impose restrictions upon the sale of cocaine by wholesale or manufacturing chemists, who at the present time were not affected by the law. It was imperative that there should be some inspection of chemists' poisons books to see that the law in regard to the sale of poisons and narcotics was being observed.

The Age, 8 July 1920, p. 5

In order to obtain evidence for the successful prosecution of Zal Markov, police enlisted the services of Frederick James Morton, a vaudeville artist with a known cocaine habit. Morton was given a marked ten shilling note to pay for the drug, because it had to be proved that a financial transaction had taken place.

Two Chemists Fined.

In the Carlton Police Court on Friday, before Messrs. A. A. Kelly, P.M. (chairman), D. Dell, and R. S. Calender, J.P.s, Zal Markov, chemist, Drummond and Elgin streets, was charged with having sold cocaine hydrochloride without the prescription of a duly qualified medical practitioner, and also with having failed to label the packet containing cocaine with the word "poison," giving his name and address. Mr. N. O'Bryan appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. J. Barnett for the defence.

Plain-clothes Constable J. Sutton, Fitzroy, said: –On Friday evening, June 4, in company with Plain-clothes Constable P. Gooden and a man named Morton, I went to the corner of Elgin and Drummond streets where defendant carries on business as a chemist. Morton was given a marked 10/ note, and entered Markov's shop. He returned shortly afterwards with a small parcel, containing cocaine, in his hand, which he gave to Gooden. When interviewed, Markov said Morton usually produced a prescription when purchasing cocaine. The marked note given by Morton to Markov was returned by the latter to the police. Markov said he was sorry for the occurrence, asked for it to be overlooked, and said that it would not occur again.

Frederick James Morton, describing himself as a vaudeville artist and pianist, said: – I reside in Fitzroy street, Fitzroy. On June 4 the police gave me a ten-shilling note. This I took into Markov's shop and said, "Give me ten bob's worth of 'snow'." He gave it to me without question and made no note of it in a book. I went outside and gave the parcel to Gooden. Two years ago I gave a prescription for hydrochloride of cocaine to defendant. I have had a fair amount from defendant, more frequently than I could say. I have had it from him on 100 occasions. To Mr. Barnett. – I have been charged with vagrancy. I have never been a conjurer. My vaudeville experience consists of clubswinging, skating, dancing, sharpshooting, and whip-cracking.

Defendant said that Morton asked for the balance of his prescription, and witness gave him ten shillings' worth of cocaine which he labelled poison. He denied that Morton asked for "snow," as he (witness) would not know what "snow" meant. On the first charge, Markov was ordered to pay a fine of £7, with £4/5 costs; and on the second charge, £3.

John William Smith, chemist, Lygon street, on two similar charges, pleaded guilty through his counsel, Mr. Barnett, and for selling cocaine without the necessary prescription, was fined £10, with £5/12/6 costs. For failing to have the necessary label bearing name and address on the packet, a fine of £5 was imposed. Miss Elizabeth James, housekeeper, in Smith's employ, was also proceeded against on two charges of a similar nature. These were, however, withdrawn.

The Argus, 14 July 1920, p. 11

Zal Markov's chemist shop later moved across the road to 144 Elgin Street, next to the Carlton Post Office. Markov Place, a short laneway running off the south side of Elgin Street, is named after him.

Image: National Archives of Australia

Remedies for sexual dysfunction have been around since biblical times and in 1920 the moral guardians of Melbourne took exception to the wording of an advertisement for Dr Ricord's "Essence of Life". Carlton chemist Meredith Green and two of his colleagues appeared in the District Court in July 1920 to face charges of possessing, for distribution, printed matter containing an advertisement of an obscene or indecent nature. In a shrewd move for the defence, Mr L.M. Cussen submitted as evidence a printed pamphlet on the treatment of syphilis, as proof that certain words were not indecent or obscene when read in a medical or therapeutic context. The writer of this pamphlet was Dr J. O'Brien, a medical practitioner who happened to be presiding on the bench that day. Dr O'Brien felt compelled to retire from the bench, as his involvement in the case could be seen as a conflict of interest.


Considerable interest was aroused in the District Court today, when charges arising out of the distribution of pamphlets advertising Dr. Ricord's Essence of Life, were heard against three well-known chemists. Mr Cohen, P.M., and a full bench heard the cases. The accused men were Meredith Green, manufacturing chemist, of 100 Madeline street, Carlton, who was charged with having had in his possession on April 15, for distribution, printed matter containing an advertisement, which was of an obscene and indecent nature; Frederick William White, chemist, of 215 Elizabeth street, and Henry Wiltshire, chemist, of Trafalgar road, Camberwell, who were each charged with having distributed, between April 9 and 15, printed matter containing an advertisement of an obscene and indecent nature. Green was fined £3, and White and Wiltshire were each fined 20/.

The pamphlets were alleged to have dealt with certain nervous diseases in terms which were deemed indecent. Inspector T. Maker conducted the prosecutions, and Mr L. B. Cussen appeared for the defence. Evidence was given by Plainclothes Constable M. J. Kiernan, that in company with Plainclothes Constable Stephens, he visited Green's premises on April 15. Green admitted to witness that he distributed pamphlets relating to Dr. Ricord's Essence of Life, but claimed that it was a genuine medicine, and that Dr. Ricord was an eminent French physician, who had made a study of nervous diseases. A visit was also paid to White's shop on April 14, and to Beddome and Co., chemists, Bourke street, where Wiltshire was then acting manager. Both men admitted having distributed the pamphlets. For the defence, Mr Cussen submitted that the advertisement was a bona fide medical pamphlet, and that there was no evidence of publicity, as the pamphlets could only be obtained on application. He expressed surprise that police proceedings were instituted at this stage, as the pamphlets had been distributed for 30 years.

Mr Cussen submitted a document treating of syphilis, written by Dr. J. O'Brien, who was a member of the Bench. He claimed that this was of a similar character to the challenged pamphlet. Dr. O'Brien then announced that in the circumstances he would retire from the Bench, despite the assurance of his colleagues that they failed to see any similarity. The pamphlet was written at the request of the Government for youths of a certain age. In giving the decision of the Bench, Mr Cohen stated that they were satisfied that the advertisement was not a bona fide medical pamphlet. One of the justices was of the opinion that it was simply a medical prescription, but the majority were satisfied that a breach of the law had been committed. Mr Cusson stated that he intended to secure an order to review to test the case. His application for a stay of 14 days in the case of Green was granted.

The Herald, 22 July 1920, p. 9

Dr Ricord's "Essence of Life" had been on the Australian market for decades and was widely advertised in newspapers. The wording of some advertisements was quite explicit and left little doubt as to the therapeutic purpose of the treatment.

MANHOOD, Health, Strength and Vigor Recovered in Four Weeks

The only Infallible Remedy for Nervous or Sexual Debility. Used for a quarter of a century with unparalleled and unprecedented success throughout the world. Dr. Ricord's Essence of Life restores manhood to the most shattered and debilitated constitutions, from whatever cause arising, in four weeks. Failure impossible if taken according to the printed directions, which are very simple, and require no restraint or hindrance from business. This valuable remedy affords relief and permanently cures all who suffer from wasting and withering of the nervous and muscular tissues, spermatorrhoea, and all urinary deposits, which cause incapacity or degeneracy, total or partial prostration, and every other exhaustive derangement of the system, regenerating all in the important elements, of the human frame and enabling man to fulfil his most sacred obligation.

The Bendigo Independent, 14 May 1904, p. 1

As an inner city council, Melbourne was well aware of the need to provide public playgrounds for children, many of whom lived in substandard housing with little or no outdoor space. In July 1923, Melbourne City Council voted to open all its parks and gardens for Sunday recreation, against the wishes of the Carlton evangelical churches. At the time, most public parks were fenced and the gates were locked to restrict access after hours and on Sundays. However, a fence and locked gate was unlikely to keep out "undesirables", like the larrikins who congregated at Lincoln Square in Madeline (renamed Swanston) Street.

Playgrounds To Be Cleared of Undesirables

But for the restriction imposed by the Government, the City Council would undoubtedly throw open all its parks and gardens for Sunday recreation. Yesterday it showed its attitude toward Sunday sport by unanimously deciding to throw open all children's playgrounds for use on Sundays. This decision was made in direct opposition to a request from the Carlton evangelical churches asking that children be prohibited from using the grounds on the Sabbath. The provision of playgrounds for children in the congested suburbs is receiving considerable attention from the council. Fifteen years ago a playground was made in Lincoln square, Carlton, and, later, two more playgrounds were established at Prince's Park, Carlton, and Flagstaff Gardens, West Melbourne. Last week the council opened two new playgrounds at Clayton Reserve, North Melbourne, and Raisbeck Reserve, Flemington. A third playground will be opened shortly at the Powlett street reserve, East Melbourne.

Complaints have been made that the playgrounds are, on occasions, taken possession of by larrikins, and the younger children thus deprived of the use of the playgrounds. This is contrary to the present regulations, which prohibit the use of the grounds by males over 12 years old. At the next meeting of the Parks and Gardens committee consideration will be given to the action to be taken to prevent the invasion of the grounds by others than young children, and also for the framing of suitable regulations for the control and supervision of the grounds.

The Herald, 10 July 1923, p. 6

More information on Lincoln Square

In 1923, there were two very different incidents of indecent exposure in Carlton and Princes Hill. The Sunraysia Daily of 14 July reported that a naked man on the roof of a house in Drummond Street had attracted a crowd of onlookers. This man – possibly experiencing a mental health episode – claimed to be a circus performer and this was part of his act. The show was over when Constable Myers got the man down from the roof and took him to hospital for observation. 1

While the "circus" incident was amusing in a way, the second incident, involving three school girls in Princes Hill, was more serious. The alleged perpetrator was the notorious criminal Norman Bruhn. When the case was heard in Carlton Court on 10 July, Bruhn's lawyer tried to have the charge downgraded on the grounds that his client, who was drunk on the day, had not intentionally exposed himself and he had never before been charged with such an offence. He also disputed the girls' evidence. The Bench disagreed and sentenced Bruhn to six months' imprisonment.

Man Sent to Gaol for Six Months.

"These offences are becoming very frequent, and we feel that we must make an example," said the chairman of the Bench, Mr. G. D. Munro, J.P., at the Carlton Court yesterday, after hearing a case in which Norman Bruhn, a labourer, aged 28 years, was charged with having wilfully behaved in an obscene manner in the presence of three small schoolgirls. Mr. G. F. Carden, J.P., was also on the bench.

Three girls, aged 13 years, attending the Prince's Hill State school, gave evidence of Bruhn's misbehaviour on June 25, as they were returning from school. They ran down the street, and turning, saw Bruhn, who had crossed the street to a right-of-way, continuing the offence. The father of one of the girls was informed, and the man was pursued. When caught he was identified by the three girls. The father of one of the girls said that when told of the offence he pursued the man, and found him in a lane between Patterson and Pigdon streets. Witness said, "Want you to come back and face three girls." The man was identified by the girls. While witness was endeavouring to get a car to take the man to the watchhouse, Bruhn ran away, but after a chase was caught and taken to the Carlton watchhouse.

Mr. J. Barnett, who in the absence of Mr. Jones appeared for Bruhn, pointed out several contradictions in the evidence of the girls. He said that Bruhn was prepared to deny intentional indecency. Bruhn, who had been under the influence of liquor on the day of question, had never been charged with such an offence before. Sergeant Cronin, who prosecuted, said that Bruhn had been convicted for larceny, receiving, and cruelty to a horse.

Mr. Munro. – The girls have given their evidence very well and very clearly. The Bench is satisfied that an offence was committed.

Bruhn was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

The Argus 11 July 1923, p. 17

Norman Bruhn was born in Geelong in 1894 and by the age of 20 he already had a few brushes with the law. He enlisted in the A.I.F. (Australian Imperial Force) in December 1914 and his war service record was far from exemplary. Bruhn was charged with drunkenness, going A.W.O.L (absent without leave), desertion, and escaping while in hospital for medical treatment. He was court martialled in 1917 and 1919, and sentenced to periods of detention. Bruhn returned to Australia and was discharged in 1920, and in 1922 he was declared ineligible to receive the medals normally issued to returned servicemen. 2

Back in civilian life, Norman Bruhn became involved in criminal activities and spent the next few years in and out of prison. In 1926, he evaded arrest on charges of robbery under arms and robbery with violence by going interstate to Sydney. He joined the infamous "razor gang", that ruled by fear and extortion. His criminal life came to an end in June 1927, when he was shot in the inner city suburb of Darlinghurst and died later in hospital. Four months later, in October 1927, Bruhn's criminal associate Squizzy Taylor, was shot at Barkly Terrace in Carlton. He died shortly after his arrival at St Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy. 3,4,5

Notes and references:
1 Sunraysia Daily, 14 July 1923, p. 3
2 NAA: B2455, BRUHN N (National Archives of Australia)
3 Norman Bruhn Prisoner number: 36147; Page: 258; Volume: 71 (VPRS 515)
4 Sunraysia Daily, 16 August 1926, p. 3
5 Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 1927, p. 11

Donald Vernon Cantwell was a rising star in the world of banking. The Melbourne-born lad joined the staff of the English, Scottish and Australian (E.S. and A.) Bank as a junior clerk in 1909 and, over the next two decades, he worked his way up to senior positions of accountant and branch manager. Cantwell served in World War 1 and was wounded in action in France. While overseas, he married Jessie Thomson, the daughter of shipwright Duncan Thomson, in Edinburgh in June 1919. Two months later, the newlyweds boarded the "Ceramic" bound for Australia, arriving there at the end of September 1919. 1

In 1930, Cantwell was appointed manager of the Carlton branch of E.S. and A. in Swanston Street and his career path was assured. However, his private world was falling apart. He had been living beyond his means for some time and had falsified bank transactions to make up the shortfall. In a letter to the branch inspector, Cantwell made a full and frank confession and tendered his resignation. The matter could have been dealt with internally by the bank but, because Cantwell had abused his position of responsibility as branch manager, he was prosecuted in July 1930.

Expenditure More Than Income.

Before Mr. Bond, P.M., in the City Court yesterday Donald Vernon Cantwell, 37 years, bank manager, was charged with having on 16th May last, while a servant of the E.S. and A. Bank, stolen £16 2/0, and with having on 14th April stolen £162 10/.

Mr. A. L. Read, who appeared to prosecute for the bank, said the accused was the manager of the Swanston-street branch of the E.S. and A. Bank. On 16th May accused prepared a debit note purporting to represent the amount of exchange on London payable in respect to an amount of £300, said to have been the amount represented in a transaction of the Australian Tie Company, which had a current account at the bank. The exchange rate was set down on the debit note at 5⅜ per cent. Accused, it was alleged, presented the note to a teller in the bank, who paid Cantwell the money. With regard to the amount of £162 10/, the same procedure was followed. A debit slip was prepared by accused in respect to a cheque for £2500 by Steele and Co. Pty. Ltd., which was also supposed to have sold money in London to the bank, and in this instance the exchange rate was 6½ per cent. The allegation was that both transactions were bogus.

Leslie W. Male, inspecting officer of the bank, said accused entered the bank's service in 1909, and subsequently he became accountant at the bank. He became manager early this year. The writing on the debit slips was in accused's hand writing. The money had not been accounted for by Cantwell. On 24th May last accused handed witness a letter signed by him and addressed to the branch inspector. The letter contained the following confession: –

It is with extreme regret and shame that I have to confess I have been guilty of misappropriating the bank's funds through wrong entries in the official accounts. To the best of my belief the total is about £500, extending back twelve months. No customers' accounts are involved. I realise nothing I can say absolves me from responsibility and punishment. For some time I seemed to be living beyond my income, which, in view of my position and the circle of customers I mixed in, has not been great, although I appreciate that, in view of my age, I have been well treated by the bank. None of the money has gone in gambling, drinking, or such like vices. My habits and reputation are well known to you. The greatest factor has been a lack of care and attention to my private affairs through my becoming too absorbed in the business of the bank even in my leisure hours, and also to the fact that I purchased a motor car. I gradually fell in arrears in my private accounts. I beg to be permitted to resign on my making restitution. I make this plea not for myself, but for my wife's sake. She is not strong. The staff at the bank is blameless.

Evidence was given by representatives of the Australian Tie Company and Steele and Co. Pty. Ltd. to the effect that they did not enter into the transactions mentioned in the debit notes written out by accused. Mr. E. Gorman, K.C., who appeared with Mr. J. O'Driscoll, for accused, said accused could have obtained the money he needed from the majority of his friends. His wife had been ill for over five years, and acting on medical advice, he had sent her to her home town in Scotland. The expense had been too much for him. He would forfeit his retiring allowance of £575, so that the bank would not actually lose anything. He had given the inspecting officer every assistance in investigating the irregularities. Harry Louey Pang, a merchant, said that accused bore a fine character. If he had known he had been in need of money he would have willingly advanced accused £500. Other business men gave evidence as to the good character of accused.

Mr. Bond said it was unusual for the City Court to be asked to deal with such a case, but he had accepted the responsibility. He regretted that a man in a position of trust should have abused it. It was painful, but he would have to sentence accused to six months' imprisonment on each of the two charges, but the sentences would be concurrent.

The Age, 12 July 1930, p. 16

Donald Cantwell served three and a half months of his sentence at Pentridge prison and was released early on 27 October 1930: "By special authority (30/7031 X11289) on entering into his recognisance before a justice of the peace in the sum of £100 with one good & sufficient surety in a like amount, conditioned that for a period of two years then next ensuing, he shall (1) abstain from any violation of the law and be of good behaviour, (2) lead an honest and industrious life." 2

Cantwell was a free man but, with his sullied reputation, he was unable to work in the banking industry. Although he was serving a two year good behaviour bond in Victoria, Donald and his wife Jessie were able to board the ship "Moreton Bay" on 5 November and depart for the United Kingdom, arriving at Southampton on 13 December 1930. The couple travelled as 3rd class passengers and Donald's occupation was recorded as "cost accountant". Their initial destination was Jessie's home town of Edinburgh, and electoral rolls later show them living at several different addresses in England. Donald Cantwell died in 1973, just short of his 83rd birthday, and his estate was valued at £840 for probate purposes. His wife Jessie followed him in 1980. 3

Notes and References:
1 Cantwell's war service record (NAA:B2455) indicates that, in addition to his war injuries, he was treated for the venereal disease gonorrhoea.
2 Central Register of Male Prisoners (VPRS 515) Cantwell, Donald Vernon: No. 40538
3 The Age, 5 November 1930, p. 6

Shirley Reid
Belle of the Ballroom

Image: The Argus Week-End Magazine, 5 November 1949, p. 5

With her distinctive auburn hair and glamour girl looks, Shirley Reid cut a fine figure on the dance floor. But there was more to competitive ballroom dancing than wearing high heels and elegant dresses. Shirley, who lived in Amess Street, North Carlton, spent many hours of practice perfecting her art. She was rewarded in July 1947 with the title "Belle of the Ballroom of Australia".


With the completion of the Amateur Open and Tango championships of the Victorian Society of Dancing last week, the competition season is well under way. During the next few weeks a number of important championships will be held. The biggest of the competitions still to be held are the Australian Dancing Society championships, which commence on August 23, and the old-time championship of the V.S.D. on August 21. The A.D.S. titles will be decided during a week's festival of dancing at the Exhibition Buildings [in Carlton]. The four main sections of the A.D.S. championships are the fresher, novice and open amateur, and the professional titles, for which Victorian and Inter-State couples, will compete. In addition there will be a jitterbug contest. The prize for the winning professional couple will be an overseas trip for the London "Star" championships of 1948. The old-time championship of the V.S.D. is the counterpart of the just-completed modern championship, and is also regarded as one of the most important events of the Victorian dancing season. The title will be decided at Brunswick town hall.

Two other big events of interest to dancers are the Inter-State freshers' competition, of which the final will be decided at the Trocadero Palais on Monday, and the provincial old-time championships of the V.S.D. Heats and semi-finals of the inter-State freshers' competition have been running for a number of weeks. The V.S.D. provincial championships will be held at St. Peter's Hall, Ballarat, on Saturday. Miss Shirley Reid, who won the title of Belle of the Ballroom of Australia at Sydney Trocadero two weeks ago, will be guest at Bon and Noel Gibbins' gala night at Moonee Ponds town hall on Monday. The other 40 finalists of this contest will also be present. Miss Reid, who comes from North Carlton, was judged Victorian winner at Heidelberg town hall. She then went to Sydney and gained the Australian title.

The Age, 24 July 1947, p. 7

Shirley was voted "Personality Girl of Danceland" in 1947 and she went on to be a Victorian entrant in the Miss Australia Quest in 1949, when she was 21 years of age. Her image appeared in local and interstate newspapers and, in a celebration of the colour red, she was photographed with Caulfield Cup winner "Red Fury" and a "red-coated" collie dog at Flannery's stables in Mordialloc. Shirley Reid did not win the title of Miss Australia – that honour went to Margaret Hughes of Rose Bay in Sydney – but she won the heart of fellow dancer Michael Davis. Their engagement was announced in The Herald in February 1950 and they were married in St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, in December of the same year.1,2,3,4

Notes and References:
1 The Herald, 14 September 1949, p. 13
2 The Argus Week-End Magazine, 5 November 1949, p. 5
3 The Herald, 22 February 1950, p. 17
4 Weekly Times, 20 December 1950, p. 47


Image: Courtesy of Daniel Mayne
Imperial Hotel, Rathdowne Street Carlton, in the 1880s

Rabbits have been the scourge of the Australian landscape since the advent of European settlement. Thomas Austin is popularly credited with introducing rabbits into Australia in 1859. Austin, who enjoyed a spot of recreational shooting, released European rabbits at his property "Barwon Park" in Winchelsea, near Geelong, in the Colony of Victoria. A few years later, The Age of 26 February 1863 reported, with some understatement, "the rabbits at the park have increased to a nuisance." However, rabbits had arrived in Australia decades before they were released by Austin, most likely with the first fleet or even via the ships of early explorers. The Hobart Town Gazette of 17 June 1826 enthusiastically reported "a gentleman who has obtained a reserve of Betsy Island in the Derwent, is bringing out a large importation of rabbits". The island was chosen because of its absence of natural predators, and Bruny Island was also being considered as another suitable site for rabbit farming. The genie was out of the bottle and it was only a matter of time that rabbits would reach plague proportions.

In August 1883, a Frenchman named Antoine Le Blanc (Leblanc), demonstrated his latest invention that killed rabbits with gas produced by a chemical reaction of carbon bisulphide. Antoine was a dyer by trade and he knew about chemicals. He assured onlookers that the gas was not injurious to their health, but deadly to rabbits.

A trial of what appears to be a cheap and efficacious invention for the exterminating of rabbits took place on a piece of ground adjoining the Imperial Hotel, Rathdowne-street, Carlton, yesterday. The process by which it is intended to destroy rabbits is of an exceedingly simple character, and entirely free from danger to human life. A long wooden tunnel was used to represent a rabbits' burrow and in this four rabbits were enclosed. At the end of the tunnel the apparatus, consisting of a meter, in which the gas which suffocates the rabbits is manufactured, was placed, and in a remarkably short time after the pipes which convey the gas into the burrow was turned on the rabbits were lying dead. The whole proceeding did not occupy more than ten minutes, and the rabbits which were enclosed in the burrow succumbed immediately upon the gas reaching them. The chemicals used to make the gas are not of an explosive nature and cannot, it is contended by the inventor, in the least degree injure the health of anybody superintending the operation. One of the greatest advantages of the device is the cheapness of its working, it being estimated that 100 rabbits can be destroyed at the cost of 1s. The inventor is a Frenchman named Antoine Leblanc.

The Age, 17 August 1883, p. 7

Note: The original Imperial Hotel was a single storey building on the corner of Rathdowne, Neill and Kay streets. The hotel was renamed the "Imperial Club Hotel" and rebuilt in 1890.
Antoine Le Blanc lived at 147 Rathdowne Street, which was located between Neill and Reeves streets at the time.

Antoine's invention was not the only rabbit exterminating device on the market. He issued a challenge to his competitors via an adertisement in The Age in February 1887.

I, A. Le Blanc, challenge anybody in the colony of Victoria or any other colony to produce a more effectual exterminator of rabbits than I can produce. I am willing to give a trial before competent judges, appointed either by the Government or by parties interested, and have no objection to what test my invention is put to.


The Age, 26 February 1887, p. 11

Two decades later, in 1906, Antoine demonstrated a more compact model of his rabbit exterminator. This time he used a fully-grown cat to prove the invention's efficacy, an action that would not have been condoned by the RSPCA. Antoine Le Blanc may have despatched a number of rabbits but, as a species, they have survived trapping, shooting, gassing, poisoning, and biological control methods such as myxomatosis and the calici virus. What next?

A trial of a new rabbit exterminator was held on Friday at the wool stores of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Limited, Melbourne. The machine is the invention of Mr A. Le Blanc, 477 Drummond street, Carlton. It is a galvanised iron can, about the size of a large billy-can. It has a tight fitting lid, with a funnel in the centre, a short spout projects from the can, to which a piece of hose can be attached to lead into the burrow. Chemicals are put in the can through the funnel, and these generate a gas, about the same density as air, and of great penetrative power. For the trial on Friday a box nearly air-tight was fitted with a glass panel in the top, so that the effect of the gas could be easily seen. The tin was charged with chemicals, and a garden hose about 20 feet long conveyed the gas to the box. A strong, well-grown cat, placed in the box, was killed in five minutes after the gas was turned on. Then the hose was detached, and three half-grown rabbits were put in the box, one at a time. In each instance, they were killed in less than a minute with the gas remaining in the box. The machine can be made for about 3s, and a charge to generate sufficient gas for a small burrow costs about 3d. No pumping or manipulation is required after the chemicals are placed in the can.

The Ballarat Star, 13 November 1906, p. 3

Note: 477 Drummond Street was on the west side, between Neill and Princes streets, and adjoining the entrance to Somerset Place. The whole area was redeveloped as part of the Housing Commission's slum clearance in the 1950s and 1960s.

By the time this second demonstration took place, Antoine had divorced his German-born wife Charlotte in 1900, and two of their three children – Charlotte and George – had died in 1885 and 1904 respectively. Antoine died in 1914 and his surviving son Henry (Henri) was killed in action in 1916, defending his father's homeland of France against his mother's German compatriots. Henry's mother Charlotte died in 1919. 1

1 Biographical information has been sourced from birth and death records, Divorce Case File no. 1900/74 (VPRS 283) and Henry Le Blanc's World War 1 service record (NAA: B2455, LE BLANC HENRY).

More information on Thomas Austin and the rabbit invasion of Australia

Robert Gibbin (alias Roberts) worked as a public executioner and flagellator and he was familiar with the prison system and its inmates. In August 1901, he found himself at the receiving end of criminal justice when he was charged with carnal knowledge of two teenage girls. Mary Alice Maud (Maude) Stobaus (13 years) and Louisa White (14 years) had run away from home in May 1901 and had several encounters with Gibbin, who lived in a small two-roomed cottage in a laneway off Berkeley Street, Carlton. Gibbon's defence was that the girls had imposed on him and begged to stay overnight at his cottage, that he was physically incapable of the alleged carnal acts and that he had no means of paying the alleged amounts of money to the girls. There was a verbal exchange between the accused and the girls in court, which prompted a warning from the judge.


In the Criminal Court today, Robert Gibbin, a middle-aged man of stalwart build, was charged with carnally assaulting two girls each under sixteen years of age. The Crown case, as outlined by Mr Finlayson, had some very painful features. Two girls, who are now inmates of the Reformatory, ran away from home early in May. They obtained employment in a bag factory. On Monday, 20th May, one of the girls, named M.A.M. Stobaus, 13 years of age, met accused in the street and promised to come to his place on the following Saturday. She did so, bringing with her another girl of about the same age, named Louisa White. They remained at Gibbin's place – a two-roomed cottage in Carlton – for about an hour during which time it was alleged that the assaults were committed. Accused gave each of the girls five shillings. On the 25th July the girls were arrested on a charge of being neglected children, and were committed to the Reformatory Schools. M.A.M. Stobaus gave evidence in accord with Mr Finlayson's opening.

Accused: You have been tutored, and no mistake!
Witness (to accused): I was at your house on the following Thursday night, when you gave me half-a-crown.
Accused: I had not enough money to jingle on a tombstone.

Louisa White, an attractive girl in short clothes, also gave evidence.
Accused: What rot! A bundle of lies from beginning to end.
His Honor: Ask questions. You may keep those comments for the jury.

Accused then made a statement to the jury. He said that at the date of the alleged offences he had not enough money to jingle on a tombstone, and that showed that the girls were lying. Another thing, he was physically incapable of acting as alleged. The girls stated that they first came to his house one evening in May, but the fact was that they first came there about the middle of June, about the hour of midnight. They begged and begged to be allowed to come into the house. He cursed them to all eternity, but they would not go away. They came on the following night. He cautioned them, but they said they would be good girls, so he gave them their breakfast and chased them away. He then promised them 2s 6d each to get rid of them. On the third night the girls came once more, and he gave up his bed to them, but threatened them with the police if they ever came back again. Accused called three witnesses to prove that he was without means in the month of May.

William Collier, woodman, said that he had lent accused sums from sixpence up to 4s during the past twelve months.
William Smith, milkman, gave similar evidence.
His Honor: Why do you lend him money?
Witness: He pays good interest. Sometimes he would borrow four or five shillings, and he would pay it back in a couple of days with a shilling or two for interest. (Laughter).
The third witness said that accused once asked him to make up a condition pill, according to an American prescription.

Mr Justice Hood told the jury to be careful not to let their sympathy for the two girls run away with their judgment. The accused had suggested that the girls had been "tutored," but it was difficult to see what the motive would be for perjury on their part. Accused was found guilty of the charge in regard to the girl Stobaus, and was remanded for sentence. The second charge, of carnally assaulting the girl Louisa White, was not proceeded with.

The Herald, 20 August 1901, p. 4

Robert Gibbin was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, but on 9 November 1901 the Bendigo Advertiser reported he had petitioned to have the case re-opened, on the grounds that the girls had been "tutored" and their allegations were not supported by evidence. The petition was unsuccessful and Gibbon went on to serve his sentence. Gibbin was not the first public executioner and flagellator to be charged with a sexual crime. In 1883, Thomas Walker (alias Hangman Jones) was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, with hard labour and a flogging of 15 lashes, for the indecent assault of a girl under ten years of age.

Related Items:

The Stobaus Family Saga
The Hangman's Tale

A chance meeting near the Woolpack Hotel in Drummond Street, Carlton, in August 1917 had unexpected consequences for a married woman named Dorothy Cantlon.


A remarkable story of assault was told to the police on Thursday by a married woman named Dorothy Cantlon, who now lies in Melbourne Hospital with injuries to the head. According to the statement she made to the police, Mrs. Cantlon left her home at 528 Drummond-street, Carlton, about 2 p.m. yesterday to draw her pension at the orderly rooms. Near the Woolpack Hotel she met Mr. Shaw, a butcher, talking to a man seated in a motor car. Mr. Shaw, it is said, told his friend to drive Mrs. Cantlon wherever she wanted to go. The man drove her to several places, and finally they went to an hotel some distance from the city. On the return journey to Melbourne along Plenty-road, it is alleged, the driver suddenly turned to his companion and said, "Are you Mrs. Joe Cantlon?" And when she replied in the affirmative he added "I'll fix you up, because Joe Cantlon separated me from my wife." With that Mrs. Cantlon asserts that the man threw her out of the car, and she was rendered unconscious on striking the ground.

The next chapter of the story was supplied to the police by a cattle dealer named Edwin Lynch, of South Morang, who was yesterday droving some cattle along Plenty-road to the city. He noticed a man driving a car along the road at a very fast pace, and he called out to the driver to slacken speed. The car, however, struck one of the beasts, and then swerved into three others. Lynch spurred his horse and overtook the car and obtained the number. On inspecting the cattle, he saw a woman lying on the road, bleeding from a wound in the head. Lynch informed the Heidelberg police that he heard the woman, who gave the name of Mrs. Cantlon, say that she was struck on the head when she fell out of the car. The injured woman was admitted to Melbourne Hospital. An early arrest of the driver is probable.

Leader (Melbourne), 11 August 1917, p. 38

The elephant in the room is, of course, the war, which had now been dragging on for a full three years. Dorothy Cantlon's husband Joe, although at 38 considerably older than most volunteers, had enlisted early and had embarked for the war zone by May 1915. When the incident reported here occurred he had been away for more than two years. A bit of company and a jaunt in a motor car, still something of a novelty in 1917, must have seemed attractive to his wife. Joe Cantlon had joined the Victoria Police at 21 in 1898 and became a detective in 1901. For more than a decade there are regular reports in the press of arrests he made and evidence he gave in court cases. Detective Cantlon was very well-known and his suspension from duty in March 1912 "created no little excitement in police circles". More than a dozen Victorian and interstate newspapers reported on the case; most referred to "a charge of a serious nature" but one was willing to specify that it related to "misconduct relating to a married woman". An inquiry was held immediately and Cantlon admitted the charge. His discharge from the service was recommended and he immediately resigned. Later that year he and a partner, also ex Victoria Police, were advertising their services as a private detective agency. The grievance of Dorothy Cantlon's driving companion may have been related to that work.1,2

1 The Sunday Times (Perth), 24 March 1912, p. 1
2 The Age, 26 June 1912, p. 12

Where do you go when the police are on your trail? John Daniel Cutmore, better known by his nickname "Snowy", thought he had found the perfect hiding place when the police came calling in August 1920. However, his plan to escape via the chimney came crashing down – along with a liberal dusting of soot.


In the pouring rain five members of the Police Force – Detective-Sergeant Sullivan, Detectives Rohan and Milne, and Plainclothes Constables Birch and Beatty – walked from a tramcar in Nicholson street, Carlton, at eight o'clock this morning, entered a house, and arrested Herbert Kipling, 23, brassfinisher, on the charge of having in his possession veils, gloves, and other articles suspected of having been stolen. John Daniel Cutmore, 26, laborer, was subsequently arrested. The police went to a house in Barkly street, Carlton, and looked for Cutmore. Hearing the policemen's footsteps, Cutmore tried to get up a chimney. His head and shoulders were covered with soot, but he could not make progress that way, and skipped back into the darkened room. The police had heard his movements and lighting a lamp they found him under a bed, which they displaced in their search. Cutmore was taken to the city lockup, charged with having in his possession women's wearing apparel suspected of having been stolen, and with having shot at Peter Linas with intent to commit murder. Linas is a waiter, and on February 9 was employed at a restaurant in Elgin street, Carlton. At 11.45 p.m. a brawl was started in the eating-house, and a man was ejected. Shortly afterwards he returned and fired three shots from a pistol. Linas was shot in the leg. Plainclothes Constable Birch obtained a warrant for the arrest of a man known as "Snowy Kenyon."

The Herald, 24 August 1920, p. 9

Snowy Cutmore, who was known by several different aliases, had a criminal record dating back to 1914, yet he managed to escape conviction on the serious shooting charge. His defence was that he was in Geelong on the night of the shooting and several witnesses confirmed his alibi. He was subsequently found not guilty, but he was sentenced to one month's imprisonment for having had in his possession articles of women's apparel believed to be stolen.


In the Criminal Court yesterday, before Mr. Justice McArthur, John Daniel Cutmore was charged with shooting at Peter Linas, waiter, with intent to murder, or, alternatively, with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Mr. Hearder prosecuted ; Mr. Larkin appeared for accused. It was alleged that on 9th February last in a restaurant in Elgin-street, Carlton, Linas was putting Cutmore out of the establishment when Cutmore produced a revolver and fired and wounded him. Accused, who was arrested on 24th August, gave evidence on oath, which was supported by other witnesses, that on the night of the alleged shooting he was in Geelong. Cutmore was found not guilty and discharged.

The Age, 20 October 1920, p. 14

John D. Cutmore, 23, laborer, was sentenced to one month's imprisonment at Carlton yesterday for having had in his possession articles of women's apparel believed to have been stolen from a Johnston-street shop. Notice of appeal was given.

The Age, 4 September 1920, p. 14

Seven years later, in October 1927, Snowy Cutmore was killed in a shootout with notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor at Barkly Terrace, Carlton. Squizzy, who was also shot, made it to St Vincents Hospital but died shortly after admission.

Related Item: Last Drinks for Squizzy

In 1922 The Herald newspaper launched a quest to find the most beautiful woman in Victoria. The rules of entry were simple and all that was required was a photo of the entrant, with her permission to have it published in the newspaper. Unlike later iterations of beauty contests, the entrants were not required to don a bathing suit and parade before the judges, nor was a woman's marital status a bar to her entry. The winners were judged by a group of artists, including Max Meldrum, in August 1922. Readers of The Herald were also invited to vote for the people's choice winner.

Of all the beautiful women in Victoria, what were the chances of not one, but two, Carlton locals making the final six? They were Mrs E. Tyrrell (née Beatrice Alice Montgomery, but known as "Betty") and Gladys Pratt, and they knew each other from their days at Carlton North (Lee Street) Primary School. This is how they were described in the days leading up to final judging.


Mrs E. Tyrrell (Miss Betty Montgomery), whose beauty is immediately placed in the somewhat indefinable category of "unusual." Her slight figure makes her appear taller than she really is. On meeting her, you don't realise for the moment that her dark, almost black hair, is bobbed. It looks just as if it ought to be bobbed, anyhow. Her rather pale complexion also seems as if it should be pale. Otherwise it may not suit her. A "quiet" beauty might be added to the "unusual."

Of the many charming characteristics of Miss Gladys Pratt, the most charming is her smile. She has those eyes which novelists refer to as "laughing eyes," and her smile is – well, it is bewitching. She is tall – or, at all events, above the average height for a girl – and has a shapely figure. A fresh complexion and lovely brown hair complete the picture. Miss Pratt is by profession a retoucher, but one suspects that her own protographs do not require much treatment.

The Herald, 4 August 1922, p. 1

The judging took place on Saturday 12 August and Mrs Tyrrell's "unusual" beauty won on the day. In the time-honored tradition of many beauty contest winners – past and present – she declared she never expected to win. Her young husband, Mr Edward Tyrrell, begged to differ.


After their final meeting, which lasted for nearly two hours, the judges in the Victorian Beauty Quest (Miss Violet Teague and Messrs A. Colquhoun, Max Meldrum, C. Web Gilbert, and W. B. McInnes) announced their decision at one o'clock on Saturday. The State's six beautiful daughters were placed as indicated on the first page of our picture selection. Carlton had pride of place, two residents of that suburb – Mrs E. Tyrrell (Miss Betty Montgomery) the winner, and Miss Gladys Pratt, who was placed sixth, being included. When the judges met at 11 o'clock on Saturday to consider their verdict, they had not the slightest idea who was going to win. Each came with his or her own convictions and the process of elimination was begun, no committee could have been more thorough than they, and no jury could have been more conscientious or more painstaking

Mrs Tyrrell £100
Miss McFadyen £25
Mrs Meikle £10
Miss Toohey £5
Miss Newton £5
Miss Pratt £5

Special prizes will be awarded to the girls placed first and second by popular choice.


It was two o'clock when the Queen of the Beauty Quest – a bride of two months' standing – arrived at "The Herald" in response to an urgent telegram informing her of her inclusion in the six. Nearly everyone else seemed to know by this time, and it came as a surprise to find that the winner was still unaware of her honor. "No," she said, breathlessly, "excepting that the wire said I was in the six." When she was informed of her victory, Mrs Tyrrell looked at her young husband, blushed happily, and sank further into her chair. "No!" she gasped. "Oh, but yes," said the torturer, "and what does it feel like to be the most beautiful woman in Victoria?" "But I'm not," she protested. "Yes, you are." The voice this time was that of Mr Edward Tyrrell, the proud young husband of the blue-eyed brunette. "I told you you would win, didn't I? Let us have a kiss for luck." And the happy pair embraced each other joyously, forgetting for the moment everything else in the world – including the interviewer. "I don't think I'm beautiful," Mrs Tyrrell said seriously, "and really this is the last thing I expected." "Oh, I knew you would win," the confident voice was Mr Tyrrell's. "I told everyone you would. Of course you are beautiful. This just shows how good my judgment really was."


Mr and Mrs Tyrrell met for the first time in Melbourne last year and they became engaged on Christmas Day. The wedding took place on January 14. Prior to her marriage Mrs Tyrrell was Miss Betty Montgomery. She was born in Prahran, and later lived in Carlton with her parents. She attended school at Carlton with Miss Gladys Pratt, also one of the six. As Miss Montgomery, Mrs Tyrrell is well known in the theatrical profession. She appeared in "Humpty Dumpty," "The Sleeping Beauty" and other pantomimes and in "Chu Chin Chow" on its revival in Melbourne. On three occasions she has accompanied pantomime companies to New Zealand. "Mother sent my photograph in," "she said, "and when she did I told her I would share the prize with her if I won it. Of course I never expected to win it, but, as I have, she is going to get half." Mrs Tyrrell's parents are still living at Carlton. Her father is a foreman in the employ of the Vacuum Oil Company. They looked very happy, these two young people, as they left to convey the news to Mrs Tyrrell's mother.

Weekly Times, 19 August 1922, p. 8

Note: The Weekly Times may have been slightly out in their chronology. If Betty and Edward had married in January she could not have been "a bride of two months' standing" in August 1922. The more likely scenario is that the engagement was made public in January, as indicated by a notice in Table Talk of 19 January 1922. The marriage registration number of 6359/1922 suggests the wedding took place later in the year.

Once the winner was announced, the newly-wed Tyrrells had very little time to themselves as a string of visitors turned up on their doorstep. As the sixth place winner, Gladys "Jessie" Pratt did not attract the same amount of attention and she probably preferred it that way.

Mrs. Tyrrell Has Many Callers

"Please, may I see the beauty?" A five-year-old girl knocked at the door of Mrs Tyrrell's home in Carlton on Saturday afternoon, and made this request. Her wish was gratified, and she went away happy. Since the result was published, there has been a constant stream of callers on Mrs Tyrrell, and her husband declares that he has hardly had time to speak to her. Three little chaps who sell sweets at the Paramount Theatre called on her yesterday afternoon, and shyly asked her to accept a gift of chocolates from them. One of them explained that he had drawn her in a sweep. "I had to kiss them all," Mrs Tyrrell said today, "they were so shy, and such grand little chaps." This morning, the Beauty Queen received from a Fitzroy jeweller a blue enamel brooch, consisting of a horse shoe and a black cat – for luck. She has been inundated with requests for photographs, and a leading city milliner has asked her to accept a nice hat. Other people are seeking her permission to use her photograph on all sorts of things, and with it all, she is not getting much rest. Mrs Tyrrell has been bearing a great deal of news concerning herself, of which she was not previously aware, she heard yesterday, for instance, that Mr Montgomery, her father, was French. As a matter of fact, he is a Scot, and is employed as a foreman by the Vacuum Oil Co.


It is a world of coincidences. Some years ago, though not so many, since Mrs Tyrrell is still under 19, she and Miss Pratt attended the same school in Carlton. They were close friends, but, like many school-mates, they drifted apart. They did not meet again until the chosen 30 came together at the Oriental Hotel a couple of weeks ago. Each congratulated the other heartily on Saturday evening After having congratulated her former schoolmate, Miss Gladys Pratt – most of her friends call her Jessie – said she was very glad the positions were not reversed. Gladys is a smiling, thoughtful girl with a great fondness for singers and singing. She has a sweet soprano voice, and we may hear more of her.

The Herald, 14 August 1922, p. 10

Gladys Pratt lived with her family in Station Street, North Carlton. Her father, Thomas Pratt, operated the Jubilee skating rink and cycling school in Nicholson Street, North Carlton, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The skating rink later became the Jubilee Picture Theatre and in 1922, the year that Gladys was awarded her £5 finalist prize, the new Adelphi Cinema opened on the site. In the 1960s, the building was reborn as the San Remo Ballroom.

Back in the 1920s families were generally larger than they are today. Even so, a family of twenty two children born to the same woman would have been noteworthy. In 1923 Carlton woman Lillian (Lilian or Lily) Ralston (née Williamson) petitioned for an annulment of her second marriage to Robert Ralston, the brother of her first husband James Ralston, on the ground of affinity. Lillian was in a de facto relationship with another man, Alfred Chalker, and they had three children together. Her motivation in seeking the annulment was to marry Chalker and thus legitimise these three children. However, as pointed out by Chief Justice, Sir William Irvine, this action would render the children of the second marriage illegitimate. He reluctantly granted the annulment.


Some time ago Lilian Ralston, aged 44 years of Queensberry street, Carlton, who said that she was the mother of 22 children applied to the Chief Justice (Sir William Irvine) for an annulment of her marriage with Robert Ralston, of City road South Melbourne, on the ground that Ralston was the brother of her late husband. Mrs. Ralston was represented by Mr. Joske and Mr. Book (instructed by Mr. A. Nolan). Ralston did not appear in court until summoned by the Chief Justice to do so. He then said that he refused to live with his wife, as the woman was of dirty habits, and failed to keep the house tidy.

The Chief Justice, in delivering reserved judgment yesterday, said that the petitioner was in 1897 married to the brother of the respondent, and by him she had several children. The first husband, James Ralston, died in 1904, and in 1906 the petitioner and the respondent were duly married, according, as they supposed, to the rites of the Independent Presbyterian Church. They lived together as man and wife for many years. In 1918 the respondent appeared to have left the petitioner but no relief was sought on the grounds of desertion. The petitioner said that since the respondent left her she had been living with another man, to whom she had borne several children. She asked for the relief sought on the ground that it would enable her to marry the man with whom she was living, and to legitimatise the children borne to him.

Having regard to the Registration of Births Act 1915, he (the Chief Justice) thought it improbable that the intention on her part could be carried out. He had, however, not to decide that question. He had no doubt but that the marriage was within the prohibited degrees of affinity, and was voidable at the will of either party. Both parties had believed – as he was quite sure many others did – that the laws which removed a deceased wife's sister from the prohibited degrees of affinity also applied to a deceased husband's brother. Had he any discretion he should certainly exercise it by refusing the petition. The annulment fixed the brand of illegitimacy upon children of two people who had been supposed by themselves and everyone else to have been living in honourable wedlock. He had reserved the case to see if there was any escape from the course, but he was unable to find any. The decree would be made absolute.

The Argus, 1 August 1923, p. 17

Note: The woman's name appears as "Lilian" in newspaper reports, but the signature on the divorce petition is "Lillian". Birth records were registered under the name "Lily".

In her divorce petition (VPRS 283/P0002, 1923/63) Lillian stated that there were four living children from her first marriage and three from her second. Adding the three children fathered by Alfred Chalker (including a pair of twins), the tally of ten living children falls well short of twenty two children stated by Lillian. Cross-checking with birth and death records it appears that, while Lillian was fertile, many of her children died within days or months of birth, and not all births were registered. Alfred Chalker and Lillian Ralston legitimised their marriage in 1923 and Lillian died in 1947, aged 68 years. Only three of her many children – Alfred, Evelyn and Beryl – were named in the death notice that was published in The Age of 6 October 1947.

While Lillian's court case was being reported in the newspapers, The Herald launched a campaign to find the parents of the largest family in Melbourne. The winner was Mrs Baxter of Amess Street, North Carlton, who had twenty two children – the same number as Lillian Ralston.


The search conducted by the Paramount Theatre to find the largest family in Melbourne has resulted in the discovery of a family of 22 children, whose proud mother is Mrs Baxter, of 16 Amess street, North Carlton. Seven of Mrs Baxter's sons went to the war, and all but one returned. Dr. Maloney, M.H.R. will present Mrs Baxter with a cheque for £5/5/ in the theatre tomorrow afternoon, before the screening of the picture "Who Are My Parents?". The search has discovered several families of 21 children, and several more of 14.

The Herald, 10 August 1923, p. 7

This was not the first time Teresa (Bridget) Baxter and her family made the headlines. In May 1916 several newspapers reported that five of her sons had enlisted in the AIF (Australian Imperial Force). This could be read as a patriotic story to encourage families to send their sons to war. Teresa's son Thomas William Baxter (Service No. 1658) enlisted in October 1914 and was killed in action in Belgium in September 1917. Teresa Baxter died in 1952, aged 96 years.


Mrs Teresa Baxter, of 133 Wilson street, West Brunswick, wife of Mr Robert Baxter, has been the mother of 20 children – 17 boys and three girls, only two of whom are dead, and has five sons in khaki. In addition, she has reared eight of her husband's sister's children. She is a native of Brunswick. Her soldier sons are: – Private T. W. Baxter, single, an engineer, formerly employed by the Hoffman Brick Company. He was with Captain W. J. Symons, V.C., at Gallipoli, and was wounded on August 8, 1915, after which he returned to, and is still doing duty at the front. Private George Baxter, formerly of the Hoffman Brick Company, was married last week, and will go to the front shortly. Sergeant Robert Baxter, single, formerly of Messrs Kemp and Sheehan's, brassfounders, Collins street. He has been wounded three times, and is now doing Home Service duty in Egypt. Percy Baxter, formerly with Messrs Angliss and Company, of Northcote, is a bottle blower. He is single, and is now at the front. Leonard Gordon Baxter, single, formerly employed by the Hoffman Brick Company. He is now in the Castlemaine Military Camp, and will be leaving for the front shortly. Mrs Baxter has also a number of nephews and other relatives at the front, and she is proud of the fact that she belongs to a fighting family.

The Herald, 15 May 1916, p. 10

Note: Photos of Teresa Baxter and her five soldier sons were published on the front page of The Herald on 16 December 1916.

Cats are well known for their ability to find themselves a cosy spot on a cold winter's day. In August 1950, a Carlton cat decided that the spare wheel of Mr Matthews' car was a nice spot for a cat nap – until the car took off.


THIS all began when Mr Gorden [sic] Matthews, of Nicholson Street, Carlton, walked into The Herald office, and said he had driven around Melbourne for two hours with a cat sitting on the spare wheel under his station waggon. With newspapers spread on the roadway, photographer Bob Buchanan lay full length to get his picture. Photographer Laurie Richards, returning from another assignment, saw him and took this photograph.1 A City Council water truck driver switched off his sprays just in time to save a drenching. Buchanan peered, swivelled, and made encouraging noises The cat wouldn't budge. Richards and Mr. Matthews got to work to lower the spare wheel. Mr Matthews stripped the thread; Richards skinned his knuckles. A woman in the crowd told another that she'd heard the men were removing an unexploded bomb.

Fifteen minutes later the spare wheel dropped. The cat looked out a camera clicked and the cat jumped, and raced up Flinders Street past The Herald loading dock. The photographers raced after him. At the last driveway the cat and an incoming Herald van jammed on their brakes. The cat veered and went for cover under a car, farther up the street. The photographers jockeyed for position. The cat moved east toward Spring Street, under cars until Peter Hansford, a bystander, crawled underneath one car and made a grab. The cat dashed back down Flinders Street among the Herald vans. It bounded underneath one about to leave for Warragul and crouched down on the spare wheel, but Peter Hansford pulled him out.

The crowd cheered, the cat blinked, and Buchanan handed him to Mr Matthews and took the shot he'd set out to get nearly half an hour before. So the cat drove back in the station waggon to join other mouse-catching cats "on the payroll" of the factory at which Mr Matthews works – but this time on the front seat!

The Herald, 10 August 1950, p. 3
1 Note: Photographs of the cat's adventure in Flinders Street are included with this article.

Related Item: Catnapping in Carlton

Image: Daughters of Charity Archive
The Midday Handout at St Annes in Rathdowne Street

Homelessness has always been an issue in Carlton, but in recent years it has become a more visible presence, with people sleeping rough under shop verandahs or begging in Lygon Street. The reasons for homelessness are many and varied and there is no "one size fits all" solution. However, the basic human need for food and shelter is always present. In August 1954, Herald reporter Desmond Zwar went undercover as a "hobo for a day". One of the places he visited on that day was St Anne's Hall, a Roman Catholic girls' hostel on the corner of Rathdowne and Victoria Streets, Carlton. The Daughters of Charity, who managed the hostel, offered a midday handout of food to people in need.


Already a queue was forming outside the grey hostel. Shabby men on a seat near us, three other dead-beats were drinking wine out of a bottle. Dotted about the gardens, shabby men were watching the door of St. Anne's and the clock across the road. By 11.45 a.m. I was getting hungry again. Archie said. "When we go over to the queue, watch out for plain-clothes coppers. A young bloke like you should be registered with the Employment." On the seat a few yards away one of the wine drinkers suddenly staggered to his feet and lunged at his mate. The punch missed and the mate pulled the man down to the ground, swearing at him. Oblivious of the scuffle, the third man went on drinking. The hands of the clock said 12 noon, so we joined the queue – 22 of us. Old men with beards young men with thin, haggard faces and blood-shot eyes … a well-dressed fat man, reading a paper. At 12.10 p.m. the queue moved forward. A middle-aged woman in a pink smock handed out parcels. Each man touched his hat as he reached her, muttering thanks. I touched my dripping hat, and clutched the warm newspaper-wrapped parcel. Like the others I quickly shoved it into my pocket and made for the gardens. Inside the paper were two thick slices of bread with a generous helping of stew in the centre. It tasted good. Bright sunshine was warming my back. I looked over to the other seat and the three wine-drinkers had resumed their swilling.

The Herald, 7 August 1954, p. 5

Desmond Zwar had food and shelter for a day and a night, then he filed his report and returned to a relatively comfortable life. The memory that stayed with him was the generosity of the people he had met and their willingness to share what little they had.


Town gas was used for street and domestic lighting in the 19th century and this was sometimes hazardous. In September 1874, Rev. James Ballantyne of the Erskine Church had just taken up residence at Victoria Terrace in Grattan Street, Carlton, when a gas explosion caused extensive damage and injured his wife and son Alfred. (The house is now numbered 15 Grattan Street, Carlton.)


Late on Tuesday night a serious explosion of gas took place at the residence of the Rev. Mr. Ballantyne, Victoria terrace, Carlton. It having been resolved by the provisional committee of Mr. Ballantyne's church to pull down the present parsonage and erect a new one, the residence of Dr. Wigg was obtained by them for the rev. gentleman's accommodation in the meantime ; and on Monday a greater part of the furniture had already been conveyed to the house in Grattan street from the parsonage. Mr. Ballantyne and his son having occasion to visit one of the back rooms about half-past 10 at night, took a lighted candle with them. Immediately on entering the room a terrible explosion took place, which for a little time almost deprived both gentlemen of feeling. As soon as possible after their recovery from the shock they sought to discover the cause of the catastrophe. It was evident that a serious explosion of gas had taken place, but in what manner the accident was caused there was no evidence to show.

As far as Mr. Ballantyne and his family are concerned, the effects of the explosion upon them are of a very serious nature. Mr. Alfred Ballantyne has received extensive burns, both on the hands and face, the latter being so swollen and distorted as to defy recognition. Mrs. Ballantyne, who is also a great sufferer, was in the front room at the time, and has sustained severe burns on the head, face, hands, and breast, portions of the hair about her forehead being completely burnt away. The Rev. Mr. Ballantyne himself, though actually in the room when the explosion occurred, is less injured by the consequences than any of his family. Mr. Ballantyne's father, an old gentleman on the verge of his hundredth year, was lying on a water mattress in one of the upstairs rooms, he having been placed there under treatment for a fractured thigh, and has luckily escaped all actual injury. Since the explosion the family has removed once more to the parsonage, except Mr. Ballantyne's father, whom it was thought advisable not to molest for another day or so. The interior of the house presents a scene of wreckage hardly describable. Shattered windows, skirting-board ripped from their places, fissures in the walls, plasterless ceilings, and paper hanging from the walls in festoons, all give evidence as to the severity of the shock. The explosion seemed to generally affect the whole house, the upper rooms being almost as much injured as those on the lower floor. In some instances the window sashes and venetian blinds with which they were fitted were blown bodily out into the road. The furniture and fittings of the house have all suffered from shock and fire, the doors having been burst open, the locks wrenched off, and other damage committed, which will render the place useless as a habitation for some time.

Dr. Wilkie, who is the medical attendant of Mr. Ballantyne and his family, was called to the scene of the accident as soon after the occurrence as possible, and immediately rendered all the medical assistance that lay in his power. He again visited the family on Wednesday, and found Mrs. Ballantyne and her son in a very precarious state, although at present, he is of opinion, out of any immediate danger from the consequences of the injuries they have received. Although Mr. Alfred Ballantyne's face is terribly affected by fire, Dr. Wilkie states that his eyesight is uninjured, and this he attributes to the fact that, immediately the first signal of the explosion was given, he must have closed his eyes. Of course, as is usual on the occurrence of such accidents, several conjectures have been made as to the cause of the explosion. As yet, however, nothing definite has been discovered, and the leakage, wherever it is, has not been revealed. An official investigation, it is stated, will be made in the matter, the police having already prosecuted inquiries as to the cause of the occurence. We are happy to be able to state on Dr Wilkie's authority, that the members of the Rev. Mr. Ballantyne's family who were sufferers by the disastrous explosion which occurred at his residence a few evenings since are progressing favourably, and at present not in a actually dangerous state.

Weekly Times, 19 September 1874, p. 9

Twenty two years later, in September 1896, Mrs Elizabeth Brodie and a domestic servant named Margaret Hegney (Heagney) made a fatal mistake in using a lighted candle to investigate a gas leak at a house in Drummond Street, Carlton. Both women were engulfed in flames and died later from burns and shock.


Mrs. Elizabeth Brodie, who was injured by the explosion of gas at the residence of her husband, 198 Drummond-street, Carlton, on 10th inst., died at 5 a.m. yesterday, at 228 Bourke-street, the residence of her sister, Mrs. Alfred Hickman, whither she was removed after being treated at the hospital. The accident occurred owing to Mrs. Brodie and her servant, Margaret Hegney, endeavoring to discover a leak of gas with a lighted candle and the clothing of both became immediately a mass of fire. By the prompt efforts of Constable M. A. Piggott, who was at the moment passing, the flames were soon extinguished, and though the servant was severely burned, Mrs. Brodie was not considered to be in danger. The day following the servant made favorable progress, but after a few days she relapsed and died. Mrs. Brodie's death is still more surprising. Dr. Malcolmson, of Port Melbourne, acted as her medical attendant, Dr. Bird being called in to consult when her condition became critical. The cause of death was heart failure due to shock. The matter having been reported to the City Coroner, Dr. Youl, he has decided that no inquest is necessary, all the facts connected with the unfortunate case having been elicited at the inquest on the body of Margaret Hegney.

The Age, 21 September 1896, p. 5

The hero of the tragedy, Constable Michael A. Pigott, was presented with a gold medal in recognition of his services. He resigned from the police force in October 1903.


On Monday afternoon Constable Michael A. Pigott was presented with a gold medal in recognition of his courageous conduct in endeavoring to save the lives of Mrs. Brodie and Miss Hegney on 9th September last. The ladies mentioned resided at that date in Drummond-street, Carlton, and by some mishap an explosion of gas took place, setting fire to the clothing of both. Pigott, who was at the time passing the house, immediately rushed in at the risk of his own life, carried the sufferers outside and extinguished the flames which had seized upon their clothes, sustaining nasty burns to his own hands. Though not seriously injured, Mrs. Brodie and Miss Hegney suffered severely from shock, and after lingering for several days, both died. Mr. Brodie and Mr. Hickman, a friend of the girl who perished, desiring to acknowledge the plucky act, communicated with the Police department, and the necessary consent having been obtained, the medal was handed over to Pigott.

The Age, 4 November 1896, p. 3

Relations between Australia and China have been strained in recent years and, as history has shown, people of Chinese origin were not always welcome in Australia. The Chinese Immigration Act of 1855 imposed a landing tax, collected by customs officials, on arrivals from China into Victoria, and the Chinese Immigration Restriction Act of 1888 introduced further sanctions. The Anti-Chinese League held meetings at the Trades Hall in Carlton and elsewhere in Melbourne and regional Victoria. The meetings promoted the view that the Chinese, as a race, were untrustworthy and were taking jobs away from Australian workers.

On a fine spring day in September 1893, the perceived religious, cultural and social differences between the people of China and Australia were put aside, if only for a day. A special event in Carlton demonstrated that charity has no borders.


A fancy dress carnival was held at the Exhibition-buildings on Wednesday last. In all 700 Chinese took part in the proceedings, defraying all the expenses (some £200) by subscription amongst themselves. Dresses, banners, flags and even men were imported from the other colonies, and evidently the very greatest pains had been taken to perfect the men in the various evolutions – some of them requiring no small amount of skill and strength – that were gone through. In the evening a grand display of Chinese fireworks was given, and altogether the Chinese residents in a most generous and public-spirited manner came forward to assist the good cause of the charities.

Before the proceedings commenced at the Exhibition on Wednesday a general procession marched from Carlton Hall, in Princes-street, through the principal thoroughfares. It was composed chiefly of prominent residents of Carlton and being of an entirely comic character caused great laughter among the crowds through which it passed. There were burlesque policemen on horseback wearing prodigious noses, a most humorous representation of his satanic majesty, clowns, Indians, an outrageous fire brigade, and a host of other caricatures of persons and institutions. The energy of the promoters found its reward in the attendance of large numbers of visitors at the grounds.

A pleasant little ceremony took place in the trustees' room at the Exhibition Building on 13th inst. The mandarins, amongst whom were the leading residents and merchants of Melbourne, were invited to accept the hospitality of the trustees. Mr. L. L. Smith, M.L.A., expressed the pleasure felt by the people of Carlton at the generous manner in which they had assisted the cause of charity. They had been at great expense and trouble to assist the community, and he felt sure that their action would do much towards strengthening the respect of the whole community towards them. Mr. Ah Cheong, in returning thanks, said whatever difference there might be in race and habits between the English and the Chinese, in the sacred cause of charity they were prepared to forget those differences. He returned thanks in a few grateful words for the compliment that had been paid his compatriots.

Leader, 16 September 1893, page 25

Gresham Robinson must have felt dismayed when he read the comments by welfare campaigner Miss Selina Sutherland, published in The Herald newspaper. Mr Robinson, the principal of Carlton College, was also Honorary Secretary of the Carlton Refuge. Although the Refuge was not named and shamed by The Herald, the tone of the article reflected poorly on the institutional care of young women who may have otherwise been forced into a life of prostitution. Gresham Robinson penned a letter to the editor of The Herald and this was published in September 1900.

To the Editor of "The Herald."

Sir. – The attention of the Committee of the Carlton Refuge, a home for fallen women, has been drawn to an article in an issue of a recent date, giving the result of an interflow which your reporter had with Miss Sutherland, the well-known and highly-esteemed philanthropic worker. In the course of her remarks, Miss Sutherland speaks in very disparaging terms of the work done by institutions of the type of the Refuge. It would be inferred from her statement that the treatment meted out to inmates is of such a kind that in place of providing the sympathetic and healthful surroundings for these unfortunates, which one would naturally expect, the principles that guided the management were more akin to sweating in its worst form than to a gentle humanity. The committee emphatically protest against the assertion that the girl who enters the Refuge "starves for a year in virtue, getting nothing more than a little food and a couple of print dresses at the end." The appearance of the inmates will at any rate controvert one part of this statement – the food, though plain, is evidently not stinted. When the year of voluntary withdrawal from the outside world is ended, it is the custom to allow no girl to leave the walls until both herself and child have been provided for, either by securing a situation for the mother, or placing her again with friends, and at the same time seeing that each has a suitable supply of clothes. Each girl thus gets a fair start, and by her training in laundry work has the means of obtaining a good living at her disposal. Every care is thus taken to prevent that second lapse, which Miss Sutherland says so often follows from want of care. The committee are well aware of this lady's splendid effort to ameliorate the condition of the outcast from society, and knowing the importance that is in consequence attached to any remarks of hers on questions of this nature they think it as well that to prevent misconception the public should know that the Carlton Refuge is not amongst the institutions referred to by Miss Sutherland.
– I am. etc.,

The Herald, 5 September 1900, p. 3

Miss Sutherland, head of the Neglected Children's Society, was well known for speaking her mind and challenging the status quo on welfare matters.


Some of the homes for unfortunate women run by other denominations are not by any means perfect, in the belief of Miss Sutherland. They take the women for 12 months, and set them to work in their laundries. At the end of the year they are turned out with a couple of cheap dresses and some under linen. They have no money, in most cases no friends, and too frequently they ask themselves, "What is the use of starving for a year in virtue if I can get nothing more than a little food and a couple of print dresses at the end?" Then, follows often an aimless drift or a reckless plunge down stream again. That's what happened to the mother of two. Bred in the gutter, seeing only a drunken father and mother by day and night, varied with frolics in the squalid lanes, her low mentality and almost suspended will were unequal to the task of self-protection. She fell. Her second fall was almost a necessity, and so will be her third, if she is presently thrown again on the world to make a show of fighting for herself. These women in the homes must be given the opportunity to earn some money for themselves. At the end of their probationary period portion of their earnings should be handed them for a new start, the balance to follow in three or six months, according to their desserts. Miss Sutherland's parting exclamation as the heart-saddened and utterly perplexed pressman took his leave was. "Oh! If you newspaper men would only shake some brains into the members of Parliament, and more thought into the minds of the people!"

The Herald, 28 August 1900, p. 3

Gresham Robinson was the principal of Carlton College for 16 years. The College had its origins in Cardigan Street, Carlton – not far from the Refuge – and opened in February 1872, with George Neighbour as founding principal. By the time Mr Robinson was appointed principal, the College was "Carlton" in name only, having been moved twice – to Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, and Royal Parade, Parkville. Gresham Robinson spent the last 24 years of his teaching career as principal of St. Thomas's Grammar School in Essendon. He retired in 1937 and died in 1944. 1,2,3

Selina Sutherland died in October 1909 and her work was continued by the Management Committee of Sutherland Homes. New homes were established at 28 Drummond Street, Carlton, and at a country property in Yan Yean Road, Diamond Creek. The foundation stone for the Carlton home was laid on 9 December 1911 and the two-storey brick building, designed by J.F. Gibbins & Son,  was built by A.J. Padgham. The Carlton home, which operated until the 1950s, was used primarily as a receiving home, with many children being transferred to Diamond Creek. The Diamond Creek home closed in the 1990s.4,5

1 Sands & McDougall, 1872, Advertisements p. 51
2 The Argus, 17 April 1937, p. 28 (Week-End Magazine)
3 The Herald, 12 July 1944, p. 6
5 Australian Architectural Index

In September 1917 the Weekly Times reported on the annual meeting of the Victorian Association of Crèches.

"Carlton Crèche states that everything is satisfactory. Mothers benefited, 85; children's attendances, 3730. The committee has purchased a piece of land in Neil [sic] street, Carlton, to build a new crèche later on, as the present premises are unsuitable."

Weekly Times, 1 September 1917, p. 14

Crèches were relatively new at this time but did exist in some inner-city suburbs. This report highlights the speed and efficiency with which private philanthropy could act in the face of perceived need. In May 1913 The Age had reported on the formation of a "large and influential committee" to work for a proposed new Carlton crèche. "Though they have a number of donations in hand, with the promise of more, they are quite at a standstill, owing to being unable to obtain a suitable building and would be pleased to hear from anyone who may have a building to let or on lease suitable for creche purposes."1

By the following February, a good site had been found at 558 Lygon Street, an eight-roomed house (now demolished) just south of Princes Street. There was plenty of play space and the position on a bus route made the service available to East Brunswick mothers, as well as those living further south. By mid-year the Carlton crèche was open, charging 3 pence a day per child or sixpence for 3 but, as it was estimated to cost 9 or 10 pence a day to feed and care for each child, fundraising activities and requests for donations were constant. The committee had decided on an important innovation. "The existing crèches take only the children of women who go out to work, but the Carlton committee intends to make provision for receiving and caring for the children of women who are obliged to purchase their supplies in the markets and also for the children of women who may be attending any of the hospitals themselves as outpatients, or who may have a sick child to take to hospital." Users of this occasional service were to pay a penny an hour.2

By June 1916, after two years of operation, the committee had cleared all its debts including £900 for the land and building. Now its intention was to raise funds for new accommodation. As reported above, this goal had been reached by September 1917. The foundation stone was laid in June 1919 and the new crèche opened before the end of that year. It is believed to be the first purpose-built creche constructed in Melbourne and was to serve the mothers and babies of Carlton into the 21st century, when the building was converted to apartments.

1 The Age, 27 May, 1913, p. 12
2 The Argus, 1 July 1914, p. 6

The furore caused by flying the red flag at Trades Hall in Carlton had a resolution of sorts in September 1918, when new regulations under the War Precautions Act were introduced. The far-reaching regulations prohibited "the exhibition or use, without the permission of the Minister in writing, of any red flag on any building, or on any land used in connection there-with, or on any ship or other vessel, or in any public place, or in connection with any procession or demonstration." The only exemption allowed was the official use of the red flag for signalling or to denote danger.

New War Regulation

The flying of the red flag, or any flag, may be prohibited under a War Precautions Regulation issued yesterday. The regulation provides that the Minister for Defence may, by notice the "Commonwealth Gazette," either absolutely or subject to such conditions and restrictions as are from time to time specified by him in writing prohibit the exhibition or use of any flag on any building, any land in connection with a building, vessel, or public place, or in connection with any procession or demonstration. The exhibition or use of a flag in contravention of any condition or restriction specified by the Minister shall be deemed to be in contravention of the regulation. Any person who exhibits, uses, authorises, or permits the exhibition or use of any such flag, in contravention of the regulation shall be guilty of an offence. Where any building or land on which a flag is exhibited or used in contravention of the regulations is owned, managed, or controlled by any association, society, or committee of management, the trustees, executive council, president, secretary, and other officers of the association, society, or committee shall be severally guilty of an offence.

Permit for Special Days Desired

The Trades Hall Council at a "special call" meeting last night considered the question of flying the red flag on the Trades Hall. A resolution providing for the flying of the flag every day was rescinded, and a substitute motion approving of flying the flag on special labour anniversaries agreed to. The decision of the council will be conveyed to the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt), and a desire expressed to fly the flag on occasions to be specified.

The Argus, 13 September 1918, p. 6

Absolute Prohibition.

Following the recent issue of a regulation under the War Precautions Act, a proclamation was issued on Saturday over the signature of the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) prohibiting the display of the red flag. The notice applies the prohibition to "the exhibition or use, without the permission of the Minister in writing, of any red flag on any building, or on any land used in connection there-with, or on any ship or other vessell, or in any public place, or in connection with any procession or demonstration." The only exemption is in the case of the official use of the red flag for signalling or to denote danger.

The Argus, 23 September 1918, p. 6

Climate change is a global issue and recent weather events – extreme temperatures, fire, flood and storm – are a portent of more to come. Back in 1921, the Royal Artillery Hotel in Carlton fell victim to extreme weather conditions that saw the kitchen destroyed by a lightning strike. Fortunately, this happened in the early hours of the morning, when the hotel was closed for business, and there were no reported casualties. The Royal Artillery Hotel, on the corner of Elizabeth and Queensberry streets, is now known as The Last Jar.

Wind, Lightning and Rain.
Hotel Damaged at Carlton.

Melbourne's population, with the exception of the very deep sleepers, was awakened from its slumbers in the small hours of yesterday morning by a storm of unusual violence which passed over the whole metropolis. Soon after midnight heavy winds sprang up from the north-west, and increasing in violence they attained gale velocities by 2.30 a.m. Then came thunder and lightning, followed by a heavy downpour of rain. The few people – market gardeners going to the markets and night workers returning to their homes – had an extremely unpleasant experience. The wind veered round in all directions and increased the force of the rain, making overcoats and umbrellas useless as protection against the storm, which raged at its height for half an hour.

Fences and hoardings collapsed in different parts of the suburbs, but the greatest damage appears to have been caused at Carlton, where the rear portion of the Royal Artillery Hotel, at the corner of Queensberry-street and Elizabeth-street, was struck by lightning and blown to a heap of debris. The lightning evidently struck the chimney of the kitchen, a detached building of brick and stone, and threw it 30 feet away into the yard. The wind then lifted the roof from the walls and caused a complete collapse of the building, which fell inwards and smashed the furnishings beneath it. Fortunately the occupants of the hotel were all in bed in the main building, which was not damaged.

According to the report at the Weather Bureau the storm, which was of a cyclonic nature, came from over the Bight, and affected the greater part of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and as far north as Wilcannia, in New South Wales. It brought some heavy falls of rain in north eastern Victoria, the maximum being 270 points in Harrietville. Conditions improved during the day, but a few light showers fell last evening.

The Age, 30 September 1921, p. 10

The Royal Artillery Hotel was not the only Carlton hotel to be struck by lightning. At midday on Christmas Day 1893, the Glen Castle Hotel in Pitt Street, Carlton, was struck by lightning and suffered extensive damage, estimated at £100.

During the heavy storm that passed over the city about midday yesterday, the Glen Castle Hotel, Pitt-street, Carlton, was struck by lightning. Two chimneys were demolished, and slates were torn from the roof and hurled all over the street. In two of the upstairs rooms the ceilings were knocked down and the furniture destroyed by falling bricks and slates. At the time of the occurrence the hotel was filled with people, who were taking shelter from the rain, which at the time was falling in torrents, but fortunately no person was injured. The property is stated to be owned by the Yorkshire Brewing Company, the licence being held by Marie Gandiol, late of the Café Continental, Queen's-walk. The damage to the property and furniture is estimated at about £100.

The Age, 26 December 1893, p. 5

The Glen Castle Hotel, at 22 Pitt Street Carlton, was first licensed in 1870. It was renamed the Newhaven Hotel in 1896 and Football Club Hotel two years later in 1898. The hotel was delicensed in 1915 and the building was demolished in the late 1920s.

Mrs Wersberg had some special events coming up in her social calendar and she wanted to look her best. She engaged the services of costumier Mrs Greenwood to make her a silk dress, but she was not happy with the result. The dress, modelled by Mrs Wersberg, appeared in court before Judge Dethridge in September 1922. Judge Dethridge, who was appointed to the County Court Bench in 1920, admitted was he not the best person to adjudicate on the matter. The ruling in favour of the defendant may have been different if the 1920s version of the "fashion police" had been called as expert witnesses.

Judge Says No.

An unusual spectacle was presented in the County Court yesterday when a woman clad in a French silk evening dress stood in the witness box while Judge Dethridge paced the bench regarding the dress from every aspect, in search of the defects which the witness declared were in the making. Mrs Wersberg of Lygon street, Carlton, claimed from Mrs J. Greenwood of Brunswick street Fitzroy, costumier, £10/10 damages alleging that Mrs. Greenwood had so made up the material for the dress than it was "utterly spoilt." The defence was a denial of negligence, and a declaration that the dress was properly fitted and finished. Mrs. Wersberg, under cross examination said that she first wore the dress at a wedding and noticed the hang of the sleeve and other defects. A week later she again donned the dress for another wedding although she was not satisfied with it. "Being a poor ignorant fool of a man," said Judge Dethridge, "I have to do the best I can. The plaintiff, being a woman, is in a much better position than I am in such a matter, but I have come to the conclusion that there was nothing to complain about in the dress."

Judge Dethridge gave judgment for Mrs Greenwood with costs. Mr Reginald Hayes (instructed by Mr J. Barnett) appeared for Mrs Wersberg and Mr Hennessy (instructed by Messrs. Derham, Robertson and Derham) for Mrs Greenwood.

The Argus, 7 September 1922, p. 5

September 1922 was not shaping up as a good month for the Royal Ambulance Service Company of Faraday Street, Carlton. Several disgruntled shareholders took action in the Carlton Court for the recovery of money they lent or advanced for shares in the company, dating back to December 1921. Nine months later, the company had failed to issue scrips to investors, as proof of their shareholdings. The company's defence was that registration had been held up because of the word "Royal" in their business name, and this could be rectified by the alternative spelling "Royle". The Bench decided in favour of the investors and ordered the Royal Ambulance Service Company to refund their money.


In the Carlton Court yesterday, before Messers. Clyne (chairman) and Bright, J.P.'s, the Royal Ambulance Service Company and T. A. Harris, as chief officer of the company, were proceeded against by Charles Greatz for the recovery of £64 being money lent, and money advanced for shares in the company. Mr. J. Barnett appeared for Greatz. Greatz stated that in December last, he lent the company £44 which had not been repaid. On December 20, he paid Harris a further £50, which was to purchase for him 200, 5 [shilling] shares in the company. He had not received the scrip. For the company Harris said that the delay was due to the State Government holding up the registration of the company because of the use of the word "royal." It was now proposed to substitute the word "royle."

Mr. Barnett - What assets have you, with which to pay these men?
Harris - We have a car partly paid off.

The Bench made an order for the amount claimed, with £4/9 costs. Similar proceedings were taken by Wesley Penaluna and C. Cramer against the company for the return of £25 and £49/10/ respectively. An order for payment of the full amount, with costs, was made in each case.

The Argus, 21 September 1922, p. 6

Just over a week later, the Royal Ambulance Service Company was back in court again to answer an extraordinary charge of breaching the terms of the Geneva Convention. The business premises at 221-223 Faraday Street displayed signage in the form of a red cross on a white background. The image was widely recognised as the emblem of the Red Cross and its use was – and still is to this day – protected by international and local laws.


Proceedings were taken in the Carlton Court on Friday against members of the firm trading as the H. H. Royal Ambulance Service Company of Faraday Street, Carlton, for having without authority unlawfully used the heraldic emblem of the red cross on a white background. The defendants' names are Herbert Henry Royal, Edward Lauriston, Cecil Wear, William Parr, Thomas George Wilkins, Wesley Penaluna, Thomas James Whelan, Charles Cramer, Charles Leake and Thomas Alfred Harris. Evidence was given by Detective Rowe that on August 25 he visited the premises of the company, and saw two large red crosses painted on the outside wall, which was painted white. He asked Harris if the company had obtained permission to display these crosses, and was told that he did not know. Harris gave evidence that the crosses had been put there in ignorance of the law.

The defendants were each fined £1, with 7/- costs.

The Argus, 30 September 1922, p. 18

While the fines may have seemed nominal, the company was also bearing the cost of refunding money to some of its shareholders. Within a few weeks, when the company name was legally registered as the "Royle" Ambulance Service Pty. Ltd., its capital was reported by The Argus as "£7,500, in 5/- shares". This was a remarkable reversal of fortune – or a case of creative accounting – for a company whose only asset a month before was reported as "… a car partly paid".

Six months later, the company was in liquidation and they had been evicted from the Faraday Street premises for non-payment of rent. In April 1923 the Carlton Court heard a case of disputed ownership of goods ordered by a former employee. Company secretary, John Maher, declared that the company was a fictitious one that had been formed without capital. In January 1924 Thomas Alfred Harris, one of the defendants in the illegal signage case, was committed for trial in the City Court for making false statements in the business registrations for several companies. Harris, it seems, had an alter ego as "Cecil Henry Oliver Wear".

Accusation of False Statements.

Thomas Alfred Harris, of Elgin place, Carlton, was charged at the City Court yesterday, before Mr. R. Knight, P.M., with having, between March 16 and October 29, contrary to the Partnership Act 1915, wilfully made false statements in relation to registration with the registrar-general of firms under the names of "Taxi-cab and Touring Agency Company," "The H. H. Royal Ambulance Service Co.", "Royal Ambulance Service," and "Co-operative Ambulance Services." The particulars detailed in the charge were that the usual residence of Cecil Henry Oliver Wear was given as "Victoria grove, East Brunswick," and that the names of Cecil Henry Oliver Wear and Thomas Alfred Harris purported to represent two persons, whereas they were identical ; that the usual residence of William Royle was taken as "221-23 Faraday street, Carlton," and that "300 Burwood road, Hawthorn," was given as the address where it was intended to carry on business as the address of John Harris, jun.

Mr. F. G. Menzies conducted the prosecution. Harris was undefended. Evidence had been heard by the City Court on December 5, and the case adjourned. Yesterday, Harris, who pleaded not guilty, was committed for trial. Bail was allowed.

The Argus, 30 January 1924, p. 17

In May 1924, Thomas Alfred Harris (aka Cecil Henry Oliver Wear) was found guilty and sentenced to two months' imprisonment. Harris's prison record (VPRS 515/P0/34563) shows that he had a string of convictions dating back to 1917 and going forward to 1941. According to ASIC, the Royle Ambulance Service Proprietary Limited (ACN: 004 097 796) was de-registered on 13 May 1926.

The business premises in Faraday Street, previously occupied by the short-lived Star Art Metal Company, became a motor garage and continued in that capacity until the late 1970s.

Where's a good place to hide your money? Herbert Barnard, bookkeeper at Maples furniture warehouse in Carlton, was in the habit of stashing the day's takings in a piano. This hiding place was known to staff at the warehouse and, when the money disappeared one night in September 1923, the theft turned out to be an inside job.


Before leaving the premises of Maples warehouse, 271 Lygon street, Carlton, on the evening of September 21, the bookkeeper, Herbert Barnard, secreted money in a piano. The next morning he heard an employee, William Redmond, say that the back door of the factory was open. Going to the piano, he found that the money had been stolen. At the Carlton Court yesterday, before Mr A.A. Kelley, P.M., and Messrs Richards and Hendry, J.P.'s, William Wilson, wood merchant, aged 23 years, was charged with having stolen £194/18/5 in coins and notes, £6/19/ in cheques, £2 in money orders, and a receipt for £4/12/, the property of Maples.

Charles Francis Farrell, manager of the warehouse, said that it was the duty of the employee Redmond to lock and bolt the warehouse door from the inside, and gain exit from the factory. Redmond knew the "whole run" of the place, including where the money was hidden. Plain-clothes Senior-constable McCaffrey said that he interviewed Wilson in his woodyard in Drummond street. Wilson said that he had met Redmond at the corner of Grattan and Lygon streets on the Friday evening before the robbery, and talked with him for about half an hour. Wilson denied any knowledge of the robbery. Witness later said to him, "Redmond has told me that he took the money from Maples and gave it to you." Wilson denied that Redmond had given him any money, but subsequently Plain-clothes Constable McMillan interviewed him, and as a result went to his woodyard and recovered �67 of the money. Wilson also said that he had the rest of the money in his home in Vere street, Collingwood. Witness went there, and after prizing out a mantelpiece found £82 between the woodwork and the bricks. In a statement Wilson said that he had met Redmond on the Friday night, and had been given a bag of money to mind until the morning. At a later date, however, he admitted that the version of Redmond was correct – that the robbery had been planned on the Thursday, and that on the Friday night after the lights in Maples had gone out Redmond had entered the premises and taken the money, which they then divided. Wilson was given Redmond's share to mind until the next morning. Both denied any knowledge of what had become of the balance of the money – £50

Mr. Sonenberg asked for the matter to be dealt with in that court. The money, with the exception of about £45, had been restored, and the relatives of Wilson were willing to make restitution for the crime

Mr Kelley: –Wilson must be sufficiently punished by sending him for trial. His lying statements hampered the police.

Wilson pleaded not guilty, and was committed for trial at the Supreme Court on October 15. Bail was fixed at £100.

The Argus, 29 September 1923, p. 15

William Wilson was given a nine months' suspended sentence, conditional upon him entering into a good behaviour bond for two years. His younger partner-in-crime, William Redmond, appeared in the Children's Court and was sentenced to six months' detention at the Castlemaine reformatory. He was released on parole in November 1923 and, according to his prison record (VPRS 515/P0000/36897), he had no further convictions.

On 25 September 1956, Carlton was rocked by an explosion described by a local resident as "like an atom bomb." In the 1950s, Australians were acutely aware of the power of atomic bombs. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the closing days of World War 2 was still fresh in the minds of many returned service personnel, and the British government had conducted nuclear weapon test explosions in Australia. The explosion in Carlton involved a test of a different kind and, while the casualties were minor, the consequences could have been more serious.

Image: Courtesy of The Age

Gas explosion in Princes Street, Carlton, near Station Street. The explosion site is notable for its lack of safety precautions - no hard hat or safety harness for the workman, and children are standing on the edge of the deep hole to get a good view.

Two small children had a remarkable escape from injury yesterday when a gas pipe exploded in Princess [sic] Street, Carlton, yesterday and dug a hole 20 feet deep in the footpath. The children, Carol Weares, 5, and Johnny Johnston, 4, of Neill Street, Carlton, were passing when the explosion occurred, but they escaped with shock. They were flung into the hole and were covered with mud.

The explosion occurred when compressed air forced through the pipes by Gas and Fuel Corporation workmen shattered the underground pipe. A sheet of flame leapt six feet high, mud was flung and covered the roadway for 60 feet. A flying piece of steel cut the overhead wires and brought one down. A 10-lb. [10 pound] rock put a huge dent in the roof of a passing car. The driver, Mr. Lindsay David Turner, of Westafolds, Templestowe, farmer, was driving home from the show.

The Age, 26 September 1956, p. 1

The explosion also made front page news in The Argus, which reported a list of casualties.

The children, who were treated at Royal Children's Hospital, were:
Carol Anne Weares, 5, of Neill St., Carlton, severe shock, minor facial acid burns, and scratches.
John Johnson, 4, of Neill St., severe shock and lacerations.
The motorist injured was Mr. Lindsay Turner, of Templestowe, treated on the spot for a bruised right arm.

The Argus, 26 September 1956, p. 1

In the 1950s, Neill Street was open to traffic at its eastern end and Princes Street was a narrower roadway. Neill Street was closed, at both the Nicholson Street and Rathdowne Street ends, in the 1980s to avoid a bottleneck of traffic feeding into Alexandra Parade and the eastern freeway. The land bounded by Princes, Station and Nicholson streets was acquired by the Roads Corporation in 1994 for road widening. 1,2

1 Victoria Government Gazette, 22 December 1982, p. 4188
2 Certificate of Title, Vol. 10172, Fol. 530


Smoking was banned on public transport in the 1970s and the ban has since been extended to enclosed tram stops and railway platforms. The adverse health effects of smoking were not known or acknowledged in 1900, yet there were restrictions on smoking on trams. The cable trams at the time consisted of an open-sided dummy car and an enclosed trailer car. The latter design protected passengers from wind and rain, but failed to adequately disperse smoke issuing from tobacco products. The Melbourne Tramway Company had a bye-law in place banning smoking on enclosed cars. However, as for any rule imposed by authority, it was not always honoured in compliance. Former tramway worker Andrew Humble should have been well-versed in the bye-law and its enforcement, but a Sunday tram trip along Rathdowne Street and subsequent court appearance in October 1900 proved otherwise.

At the District Court yesterday the Melbourne Tramway Company proceeded against Andrew Humble, an ex-employe, for smoking on an enclosed car, in violation of No. 2 of the company's bye-laws. Mr Geo. Moir appeared for the company, and explained that on Sunday, September 30, defendant and a companion got on to the front platform of a car in Rathdown street. Both were smoking, and Humble twice refused to desist when requested to do so by the conductor. He continued smoking until the tram reached the city, where an inspector for the company took his name. Evidence in support of the charge was given by J.J. Leyne, tramway conductor, and for the defence Mr Masters said his client got on the car because the dummv was crowded. He had admitted his offence to the company, and tried to effect a settlement. Had he received a reply from the company he would not have given them the trouble of appearing in court at all.

Mr Moir: The company desired the case to come into court. They are anxious to stop the practice of smoking on the enclosed cars, and feel that they will be helped by the publicity gained through prosecution.

Mr Dobbin, P.M., said he was surprised defendant was not put off the car. If he wanted to smoke he should have waited for the next car, or walked. He would be fined 20/, with 23/6 costs.

The Argus, 17 October 1900, p. 6

Related Item: The Cable Trams of Rathdowne Street

Soldier settlements schemes were in their infancy in 1917 but problems were already being encountered. There were many complaints like this one about lengthy bureaucratic processes, unsuitable land being bought and soldiers being offered previously unworked land which would require many years of labour before it produced a financial return.


Sir, – I earnestly beg you will grant me space to show the serious delay that occurs where returned soldiers are endeavoring to get settled on the land. I gave the only son available to fight for country and Empire. He is returned wounded, and useless for trade for which he was apprenticed. We spent much time in travelling, eventually finding a property at Hurstbridge. Orchard in full profit, the owner of which, through ill-health, desires to sell at a price £200 less than shire valuation. It is now seven weeks since all papers, duly signed, were placed in the hands of the department. Up to now nothing further has been heard. Private buyer wish for it, but from patriotic motives the owner desires to sell to returned soldier: but even patience has its limits. If private firm were selling, it would be settled in a week. If the 3 per cent who apply for improved property out of the few who have returned are to experience such slow methods, what will happen when war ceases and our boys come back in hundreds of thousands, apart from others who no doubt will leave the old home to settle on land? I am afraid the Angel Gabriel will sound the trumpet on the day of judgment before they are fixed up.
– Yours, &c.,
301 Nicholson-street, Carlton, 23rd October.

The Age, 24 October, 1917, p. 13

John Butler's comments on his son's situation are restrained but the reality was quite stark. When he enlisted in January 1916, Ernest William Butler was 19 years and 8 months old and had been apprenticed as a cutter to a Bourke Street tailor for five years. He left Australia on RMS Malwa in March 1916 and joined his unit of the 24th battalion in France on 5 August of that year. His active service lasted less than a month. He was wounded on August 24, his injuries including damage to his right arm, and was almost immediately evacuated to hospital in England. In February 1917 he sailed on the Benalla, apparently for a home furlough, but was discharged medically unfit in Melbourne in June 1917.

Ernest Butler's name does not appear in soldier settlement records. Perhaps he was discouraged by the slow processes. A very small enterprise with returned soldiers hand weaving tweed fabric had just started operating in Carlton on the corner of Queensberry and Leicester Streets and it is possible that he found employment there. In any case, despite his father's comment, the electoral roll describes Ernest as a cutter in 1919 when he was still living in Nicholson Street and also throughout the 1920s after he married and had moved to Preston.1

1 Geelong Advertiser, 1 August 1917, p. 2

Image: CCHG
Former Carlton Crèche
101-111 Neill Street Carlton

Child care centres are now run along business lines but when the Carlton Crèche opened in October 1919, benevolent concerns for the children of less fortunate parents were the main drivers. The crèche at 101-111 Neill Street was not the first in Carlton. A small crèche operated from a private residence as early as 1900 and, in 1914, larger premises were found at a two-storey house at 558 Lygon Street, Carlton. The new crèche was different in that it was purpose-built and believed to be the first of its kind in Victoria. The two-storey, red brick building has an austere institutional look, reflecting community attitudes at the time when respectable mothers stayed at home and looked after their children.

Carlton Crèche was officially opened by the Lady Mayoress, Mrs. Cabena, on 28 October 1919 and the event was reported in the daily newspapers. Interestingly, The Age and The Argus quoted different financial figures.


The new Carlton creche building, situated in Neill-street, was opened yesterday afternoon by Mrs. W. W. Cabena, the Lady Mayoress. She unlocked the door with a gold key, which was presented to her by the committee of the creche. A very large number of ladies and gentlemen were present, and all had an opportunity of inspecting the building, which contains two stories. The rooms, which are large and airy, are suitably furnished, and much of the furniture was provided by Cr. W. Brunton, who last Tuesday sent a cheque for £50 for the purpose. The new building has cost £2000, and of that sum £513 has been raised by donations, subscriptions, &c., and £675 has been lent free of interest. Cr. Bell thanked the Lady Mayoress for her interest and presence, and said that the Lord Mayor and she were to be congratulated on the way they had carried out the mayoral functions during their term of office. Good wishes for the success of the creche were expressed by Revs. C. Jones and J. L. Cope and Cr. Brunton.

The Age, 29 October 1919, p. 10


The Carlton Creche, which for many years was established in Lygon street, has been transferred to a new building in Neill street, Carlton. Yesterday the new institution was formally opened by the lady Mayoress (Mrs. Cabena), in the presence of a large number of people. Councillor Brunton welcomed the Lady Mayoress, and, on behalf of the committee, presented her with a gold key. Before unlocking the door the Lady Mayoress congratulated the president (Mrs. M. Cook) and the committee on having completed the new building. Subsequently the visitors inspected the institution, and admired the completeness of the accommodation and equipment. The new premises cost approximately £2,400. Part of this expenditure was covered by the sale of the old creche, and the rest, short of about £600, has been subscribed by residents in the district. The committee owe a great deal to the generous assistance of Councillor and Mrs. Brunton.

The Argus, 29 October 1919, p. 12

In 1935, a generous bequest by the late Mr. John Florant funded the purchase of an adjoining property and renovations to the existing crèche building.

CARLTON creche, which is one of the oldest in Melbourne, yesterday held its 21st annual meeting, when a happy and somewhat unusual state of affairs was revealed in the fact that the creche was financially very much better off than usual. This was largely due to a generous bequest received during the year from the estate of the late Mr. Florant, an old resident of Carlton, who left a sum of £904 each to the Carlton and Richmond creches. In addition, the gifts in cash and kind were more numerous than usual, and altogether the committee is so elated that it has bought an adjoining property. The building on this will be demolished, and on the site will be built a new annexe, which will include a large sun room, lavatories, &c. Provision will be made for playing space for the children, and the present building will be renovated. The creche has cared for 9003 children in the past year, an increase of 300 on the previous year's figures.

The Age, 2 July 1935, p. 6

During World War 2, working mothers were no longer frowned upon for leaving their children in care – they were doing their patriotic duty by working in the war industries and backfilling positions vacated by men fighting for their country. This created an unprecedented demand for child care and many crèches operated around the clock to cater for night shift workers. At Carlton Crèche, the matron lived upstairs on the premises and probably survived on very little sleep during the war years.

Post-World War 2 saw major demographic changes in Carlton, with an influx of migrants from Europe. The Housing Commission, which came into operation in 1938, stepped up its slum reclamation program and built high-rise flats nearby in Rathdowne, Drummond and Lygon streets. Later gentrification of Carlton and changing community attitudes towards working mothers were reflected in the population catered for by Carlton Crèche. The children of recently-arrived migrants, economically and socially disadvantaged parents, and double income professionals played together and enjoyed the same level of care.

Carlton Crèche amalgamated with the Queen Elizabeth Centre in 1988 and closed ten years later in December 1998. The building has been redeveloped as residential apartments.

Victorian Heritage Database No. H1864

Victoria's first free kindergarten was established in 1901, at the Baptist Church Hall in Bouverie Street, Carlton. Miss F.M. Wilson was the founding directress and she was later joined by volunteer Miss Mary Lush, who succeeded her as directress upon her retirement in 1914. Over two decades, enrolments grew and the church premises, which were shared with other community groups, were no longer suitable for the care and education of young children. Many of the local children came from economically disadvantaged families, who also needed material support. In October 1921, an appeal was launched to raise funds for a new purpose-built kindergarten in Carlton. 1


An appeal has been launched on behalf of the Free Kindergarten at Bouverie street, Carlton, whose welfare is guarded by the Baptist Union of Victoria. A site for a new building has been selected and paid for, and it is proposed to erect a modern brick building at a cost of about £4000. By the new enterprise a terrace of condemned houses which has long been an eyesore to the neighborhood, will be demolished, and in its place will arise a Children's Community Home. The Bouverie street centre was the first Free Kindergarten to be opened in the State of Victoria. The generosity of the Baptist Church, Collins street, enabled a social service worker, Miss F.W. Wilson to make a start at Bouverie street twenty years ago.

"A Free Kindergarten is a community home, and the ordinary accommodation provided in a mission hall can never be satisfactory," stated a helper in emphasising the need for the new development. "The old hall has no bathroom, and most unsuitable lavatory accommodation. There is no 'quiet room' where the Directress can interview anyone in trouble, and yet never a week passes without some sad story of somebody's heartbreak. We have no 'relief room'. Our clothes for distribution are packed in tiny cupboards in the kindergarten room, and this work has to be done with a publicity which is far from desirable. Then the fact that we are working in two separate halls, on opposite sides of the road, brings its own difficulties. The old Mission Hall is used for boys' clubs, gymnastic classes, mission services, etc. All breakable articles, including pictures, must be daily removed and daily replaced. For our mothers' meetings and any evening meetings, forms, crockery, etc., have to be carried across the road by the teachers and carried back after the work is over, so that the room may be ready for the children next day."

"It often seems the 'last straw' to very tired women. In spite of these difficulties, the work has been carried on, but it is apparent to all that there is much loss of efficiency, much unnecessary and troublesome work, and much wastage of valuable time, as well as inevitable depreciation of furniture and equipment. Nothing that concerns the welfare of the children is outside the province of the Kindergarten teacher, and her duties may include the giving of a hot bath, the binding up of a wound, the curing of a violent temper, or the stimulation of a slumbering intelligence. As regards the physical care of the children, the kindergarten, with the valued co-operation of the district nurse, watches carefully for any physical defect, and, if necessary, sees that medical advice is obtained. Emulsion or other medicine is supplied to those children who need it, and whose parents are unable to provide it. The children enjoy a daily lunch of cocoa and biscuits, and during the winter forty hungry children have a daily meal of nourishing soup. The eagerness of many a little one for the food is not a mark of greediness but of sheer hunger."

In aid of the building fund the children of this centre will give a kindergarten display in the Melbourne Town Hall on Friday afternoon at 2.30. Lady Forster has promised to attend. The programme will be given under the guidance of Miss Mary Lush, who for many years has acted as honorary directress at Bouverie street.

The Herald, 11 October 1921, p. 5

Lady Forster, the wife of Governor-General Sir Henry William Forster, was a supporter of the free kindergarten movement. With her help, the required funds were raised and the foundation stone of the new kindergarten was laid by His Excellency the Governor, the Earl of Stradbroke, in September 1922. The new building, at 233 Bouverie Street, was opened three months later in December 1922. 2

Opening To-day.

This afternoon the new building of the Carlton Free Kindergarten in Bouverie street will be opened. Established more than 20 years ago the kindergarten, which is carried on under the auspices of the Baptist Union of Victoria has done valuable work in fostering the ideals of love, reverence, obedience, and cleanliness among the children. The honorary directress (Miss M. Lush) is looked upon as a fairy god mother among the children, and so appreciative are mothers of her work that many have assisted in raising money to meet the rest of the new building, while others have donated crockery, pictures, and ornaments. The rooms are spacious and well ventilated and contain all the elements to brighten the life of the child. Dolls' houses, miniature beds, chairs, tables, and cupboards are available for the girls, and large house-building blocks and other forms of amusements for the boys. A large glass case containing numerous goldfish is erected on a raised platform. A fine bathroom, with hygienic appliances, is also provided. A gentleman interested in the kindergarten's work has had a garden laid out, and the care of the plots will be entrusted to the boys. It is proposed to erect swings in the near future.

The Argus, 2 December 1922, p. 27

Miss Mary Lush (née Mabel Mary Hailes Lush) retired from her honorary position at the Carlton Free Kindergarten in 1928. She continued her involvement in the Free Kindergarten Union of Victoria and as a lecturer at the Kindergarten Training College. Her book "Progressive Kindergarten Methods" was published in 1926. Mary Lush's pioneering work in the field of pre-school education was acknowledged in 1952, when she was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire). She died at Richmond in 1958, aged 77 years. 3,4

1 The Argus, 13 October 1921, p. 10
2 The Argus, 18 September 1921, p. 7
3 Ruth Benjamin. Lush, Mabel Mary (1881�1958), Australian Dictionary of Biography [Note: The ADB entry cites an incorrect date of 1954 for Mary Lush's OBE.]
4 Weekly Times, 9 January 1952, p. 30

The COVID 19 pandemic has shown that some people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid mandatory vaccinations. The decision by Samuel Wilson's parents not to register his birth, and therefore avoid vaccination, had ramifications decades later. Sarah Wilson died intestate (without leaving a will) in June 1922 and there was no documentary evidence of her intended heir. In October 1922 Samuel challenged the claim of his aunt, Elizabeth Dow, as heir to his mother's deceased estate.


Claiming that he is the sole issue of his parents, but unable to produce a birth certificate, Samuel Wilson, laborer, of Drummond street, Carlton, was the caveator in a will dispute, which was brought under the notice of Mr Justice McArthur in the Practice Court today. Wilson's parents, now deceased, objected, it is alleged, to their son being vaccinated, and decided not to have his birth registered. Sarah Wilson, late of 165 Barron street, Coburg, died on June 23, intestate. Her estate is valued at £560. Letters of administration were granted to Mrs Elizabeth J. Dow, sister of the deceased. Mrs Dow and Samuel Wilson now both claim the estate, as next-of-kin.

After hearing legal argument this morning, Mr Justice McArthur set the case down for trial before a judge of the Supreme Court next month. Mr T. Powers (instructed by Mr F. J. Tucker), who appeared for Wilson, stated that although no birth certificate could be found, there was ample evidence that Wilson was the legitimate son of the deceased. Mr R. H. Gregory (instructed by Messrs Eggleston and Eggleston), contended that the burden of proving, that Wilson was the legitimate son of Sarah Wilson devolved upon the caveator.

The Herald, 5 October 1922, p. 7

The onus was on Samuel Wilson, who lived at 442 Drummond Street, Carlton, to prove his identity and parentage. His evidence consisted of sworn affidavits by himself and people who had known him and/or his parents. All testified that Samuel Wilson was, to the best of their knowledge, the son of John Charles Wilson and Sarah Wilson (both deceased). In her application for letters of administration, Elizabeth Dow states that she and her two younger sisters, Margaret Tuck and Elizabeth Membery, were the only living relatives of Sarah Wilson. She denied any knowledge of her late sister having had a son.

The case was to be heard before Mr Justice Weigall in the Supreme Court in February 1923, but Samuel Wilson's caveat was withdrawn. Based on the affidavits, he appeared to have a strong case but, for some reason, he had decided (or was advised) not to pursue the court action. It may have been a matter of legal expenses – after all Samuel Wilson was a married man with seven children – or possibly he had negotiated a private arrangement with his aunt Elizabeth Dow.

Note: Affidavits and other relevant documents have been sourced from: Sarah Wilson, Grant of administration (VPRS 28/P3/187/656).

Constable Bourke was off duty and out of uniform, but the savvy Carlton policeman knew something was up. A would-be pickpocket, George Bray, had chosen the wrong target and this landed him in the City Court in October 1923. The offender, who had prior criminal convictions and had exhausted his pleas of leniency, was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment. George Bray was an inveterate pickpocket and, within months of his release from prison in 1924, he was back behind bars. As his rap sheet (VPRS 515/P0/36902) shows, he was in and out of the Victorian prison system until 1941. After his release, he may have gone interstate and graduated from picking pockets to more serious crimes. A man named George Bray, of a similar age and description, turned up in Adelaide and was reported multiple times in the South Australian Police Gazette. He gained a reputation as a standover man and was charged with violent robbery in November 1942. Eight years later, in November 1950, George Bray was found murdered in the Adelaide suburb of Morphettville, thus ending his life of crime.

Melbourne, Monday.

While waiting in a crowd returning from the show, at the Bourke street tram terminus, near Spencer street, on Friday afternoon, Constable Bourke, of Carlton, who was in plain clothes and off duty, felt a hand enter his hip pocket. Turning swiftly round, the policeman saw a young man standing behind him, but with the constable's move, the hand was adroitly withdrawn. Moving unconcernedly away, Bourke decided to become a spectator, and kept the young man under observation. Watching closely, Constable Bourke saw the suspect lift up the coat of a man in front of him, and insert his hand in the man's hip pocket. Stepping up the constable quickly seized the wrist of the young man before he could withdraw. At the City Court to-day, George Bray, 23 years, was charged with being a suspected person, and with loitering with intent.

Bray pleaded not guilty to both charges, but was convicted. Detective Grieve stated that he had known Bray since he was a boy in knicker-bockers, when he had commenced picking pockets. A number of prior convictions were acknowledged by Bray, who was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment.

Ballarat Times, 2 October 1923, p. 7

In the same month of October, another police officer used his olfactory senses to "diagnose" what could have been a medical emergency, but turned out to be a case of public drunkenness. "Pinkie" is a slang term for cheap or home-made wine.


"Pore thing, look at 'er lips. It's 'emorridge, I'm sure!" Men and women gathered around the prostrate form of a female, whose head was resting against a tombstone, and whose face was softened by the proximity of bunches of pansies and violets recently placed on a grave in Melbourne Cemetery. Her eyes were closed. "I'm sure it's 'emorridge; look at the blood! Send for the police," persisted the sympathetic woman. Other sympathisers gathered round the prostrate form and uttered kindly words into apparently deaf ears. At intervals the suffering one moaned. "There's more 'emorridge comin', I'm sure," still persisted the sympathetic woman, as she gazed at the fluid flowing from the mouth of the woman, whose head still nestled among the pansies and violets. A constable came and sniffed suspiciously. "Pinkie, not 'emorridge," was his laconic verdict.

At Carlton Court Mr. Wade, P.M., fined her 10/ for being drunk and disorderly in a public place. The "pore thing" was not present in court.

The Age, 25 October 1923, p. 12

Carlton was a lawless place in the 1920s, with members of rival push gangs fighting for their share of the territory. "The Push" was implicated in the bombing of the Carlton Picture Theatre on a Saturday night in October 1926.

Manager Receives Threatening Letters.

Carlton "pushes," who have terrorised business people of the suburb for months past, staged a dastardly outrage at the Carlton Picture Theatre, Faraday-street, Carlton, on Saturday night. What is believed to have been either a "home-made" bomb, or several sticks of gelignite were thrown into two outhouses at the rear, of the theatre, completely wrecking them, and causing damage to the concrete floor of the stage. There were few people in the theatre when the explosion occurred, and they showed admirable coolness in refraining from a wild dash from the premises. The explosion resembled the booming of large cannon, and brought shopkeepers running into the street.

Constable G. L. Browne was travelling along Lygon-street in a cable tram, when the report sounded. Windows rattled in the vicinity, and a distinct tremor passed along the line of shops near the theatre. Browne jumped from the tram, and investigating the cause, quickly located it. When he raced down a narrow lane at the rear of the picture theatre he saw smoke issuing from one of the doors. At first he thought it was a fire, until he smelt the acrid odor of gelignite. When the smoke cleared Browne noticed that two of the outhouses were in ruins, and there was a large crack in the concrete floor of the theatre stage. Hundreds of people surrounded the theatre, but the constable says that he saw nobody running away from the scene of the outrage.

Mr. Z. Markov, Eildon-road, St. Kilda, the theatre manager, was not present when the explosion occurred. Naturally he was very much incensed at the attack made on the property. Mr. Markov made some startling allegations against several pushes in the locality which should be thoroughly investigated by the police. "For months past we have been receiving threatening letters from the pushes," said Mr. Markov. "I have often found notes thrust under the door of my office warning me that unless members of the push were not interfered with in the theatre I would be dealt with. Attendants, who have been obliged to eject disorderly young men during the performance, have also been challenged to 'come outside and fight.' Of course, I never took the threats seriously, believing that it was all a big bluff. I never dreamed that the pushes would go to such lengths. The damage to the theatre is only slight, and it is covered by insurance, but there might have been loss of life."

Mr. G. Roatley, Forrest-street, Collingwood, assistant manager, said that he unlocked the doors of the outhouses at 7 p.m. and switched on the electric light. The place was then in order, and there were no suspicious characters in the lane at the time. Some twenty minutes later the theatre shook beneath the impact of a terrific explosion. The report was such a severe one that he was surprised that the damage was not more extensive.

The Age, 25 October 1926, p. 9

The bombing incident made front page news in the Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser, where it was reported that: "All the crockery in a house 50 yards away was smashed, and the occupant Mrs. Cummings, suffered shock." Sands & McDougall confirms that Mr John Cummings lived at 65 Dorritt Street, Carlton, and his house would have been within 50 yards of the blast. 1

The lane at the rear of the theatre, where Constable G. L. Browne raced to locate the source of the blast, is now called Faraday Lane. It is a closed laneway, but in the 1920s it joined Cardigan Lane and ran along the rear of houses on the west side of Dorritt Street, coming out near Grattan Street at the southern end. Cardigan Lane was discontinued when the land was acquired for expansion of the Royal Women's Hospital in Cardigan Street.

1 Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga), 25 October 1926, p. 1


The new Carlton Post Office at 146 Elgin Street, officially opened in April 1884, was welcomed by residents and businesses alike. But not everyone was happy with one aspect of the building. In November 1887, a correspondent identified only as "Old Subscriber" wrote to The Age complaining about the clock at the front of the building.


SIR,– Thanks to the liberal indulgences shown to the readers of your deservedly esteemed paper, they are enabled to ventilate matters of public interest, and each I conceive to be a post office clock. That magnificent structure, the Carlton post and telegraph office is disfigured by the puny-faced clock upon its front. After dark it requires the magnifying power of a horse's eye to distinguish the time. The Carlton people are assuredly entitled to as much consideration as Collingwood and Fitzroy. Aspirants to the honor of representing Victoria ward in the City Council, here tis a trump card to place before the electors. Your kind insertion of this letter may perhaps attract the notice of the powers concerned.
Yours, &c.,
7th November.

The Age, 9 November 1887, p. 7

Four years later, in November 1891, the Carlton Post Office was the victim of an audacious burglary, in which cash, stamps and postal notes were stolen. The burglary occurred overnight and the keys to the safe were taken from the trouser pocket of the postmaster, Mr J.B. Smith, while he slept in a bedroom upstairs. The burglary was believed to have been committed by a person or persons who had a detailed knowledge of the post office layout and where valuables were stored. However, they missed a stash of sovereigns and other money amounting to £600, so they may have been interrupted.


On Sunday morning it was reported that the Carlton Post-Office had been broken into and plundered, £45 in cash, stamps, and postal notes being carried away by the robber, who was supposed to have possessed an intimate knowledge of the interior of the place. The crime was discovered by Mr. J. B. Smith, the postmaster, and so far no clue to the identity of the robber or robbers has been obtained, save that there were found an old hat and a penknife supposed to have been left there at the time of the robbery. When the postmaster locked up on Saturday night he made an examination of the whole of the place, and thus assured himself that all was safe. There were on the premises besides himself his family and a sick friend. The family sleep upstairs. The sick friend slept downstairs. Mr. Smith having locked up retired to rest, as did all the others. He placed his keys, including the keys of the safe, in one of the pockets of his trousers, and laid this article of apparel near the foot of his bed. In the safe was £645, mainly in cash, but there were also stamps and postal notes.

When Mr. Smith woke at 7 o'clock on Sunday morning and proceeded to dress himself, he was startled to find the keys gone from his trousers. He also saw that the door of his room was open ; so was the door leading into the sitting-room, the window of which which is just above the portico. This window – or rather glass door – was also open, and not far away was the pocket-knife with which the catch had apparently been operated on. Downstairs the door leading into the business part of the place was open, so were the doors leading to the back, and, more important still, the safe-door. Three cash-boxes, containing value for £45 were gone, but another containing a number of sovereigns and other money which amounted to £600, remained. It is therefore supposed that after the three boxes had been hurriedly passed out the robber or robbers were disturbed, and lost the bulk of the intended plunder.

There is a division of opinion as to whether the robbers climbed up at the back and then crawled along a ledge to a portico in front, or climbed up the portico direct with some other assistance. There seems little doubt that having got in they opened the back doors ready for flight, and went out the back way. It was easy to jump the fence at the back into the open right-of-way. From the method of the robbery, it is patent the robbery was committed by someone thoroughly familiar with the premises. The portico is 15ft. or 16ft. high. It was about 10 o'clock on Saturday night when the postmaster went to bed. His son was up during the night attending to the sick friend, and all was then apparently still safe. The hour of the robbery cannot be fixed. There were also stolen from downstairs a hat and coat. The old hat left behind was found close to the wall in the back yard. It is supposed it was discarded by one of the robbers, who donned stolen article.

Source: Weekly Times, 14 November 1891, p. 20

Despite its "puny-faced clock", the Carlton Post Office continued to trade in letters and parcels until 2021. The Post Office was built in 1883 by James Kennedy for the Public Works Department and the design has been attributed to J.H. Marsden, an assistant architect who executed the working drawings. The building is described in the Victorian Heritage Database as a fine example of the palazzo type post office.

Snakes are known to be active in the warmer months of the year, when they come out of hibernation. In November 1900 the Carney family of Faraday Street, Carlton, fell victim to a snake attack of a very different kind.


Last Saturday Mr. C. Carney, of 244 Faraday-street, Carlton, gave his son George, aged about 5 years, a penny with which to purchase lollies. The boy went out, and on returning handed his mother a box like a pill box, containing a number of small white articles, nearly oval in shape, and about a quarter the size of a pea. He stated that he had tasted "one of the lollies," but had not liked it, and had thrown it away. Mrs. Carney and her husband each ate one of the articles, and her sister, Miss Shiel, ate two. They all became ill, suffering from giddiness and twitching of the limbs. Dr. Ostermeyer was called in, and treated them for poisoning. Mr. and Mrs. Carney recovered quickly, but Miss Shiel, who had taken the larger quantity, retained some of the ill effects. The boy was found to have nothing the matter with him. Dr. Ostermeyer called at the Detective office on Saturday night, and reported the matter, and inquiries were made by Detectives Considine and Coonan. They ascertained that the "lollies" were purchased at a confectioner's shop in Lygon-street. The boxes bore no labels or directions, but the contents, it seemed, were called "pythons," and were intended for the amusement of children. Each of the "pythons," when set to with a match, develops into an article about 6 inches long, and resembling a serpent. It is an old curiosity – Pharaoh's Serpent – revived. The detectives found that a large number of children had purchased "pythons," at 0�d. [a halfpenny] per box, on Saturday from two confectioners in Lygon-street, who had been supplied with them in the morning by a traveller living at Abbotsford. The traveller stated he obtained the goods from a confectioner who imported them from London. The confectioners informed the detectives that they warned the children that the "pythons" were not lollies and were not to be eaten. The traveller undertook not to sell any more. Dr Ostermeyer states that the original toy was made with sulpho-cyanide of mercury, a compound, allied to the one made famous in the New York poisoning case recently, or alternately was made with bi-chromate of potash, also a virulent poison. What is the precise poison in this latest "python's nest" remains to be investigated by the proper authorities, to whom Dr. Ostermeyer has reported the matter, and for whom he has kept samples. He has himself purchased them since at two otherwise exclusively confectioners' shops, and is anxious that the necessary steps should be taken to sheet it home to the persons responsible for recklessly or ignorantly introducing such things into a confectioner's stock in trade. 1

The Age, 12 November 1900, p. 3

1 Dr William Ostermeyer had a practice at 60 Elgin Street, Carlton, in 1900.

In July 1901, the Australian Town and Country Journal published a recipe for "Pharaoh's Serpents' Eggs", with a warning that the fumes are poisonous. The alternative "non-poisonous" recipe, using bichromate of potash and nitrate of potassa, would be considered toxic by today's standards.

"The pills you refer to are very common, and are known as Pharaoh's serpents' eggs. They are made in the following way:
Dissolve mercury in moderately diluted nitric acid by means of heat, taking care that there is always an excess of metallic mercury remaining; decant the solution, and pour into it a solution of sulpho-cyanide of ammonium or potassium. Equal weights of the two solutions should be thus mixed. A precipitate will fall to the bottom of the beaker or jar. This is collected on a filter, and washed two or three times with water, and then put in a warm place to dry. Take for every pound weight of this material an ounce of gum tragacanth which has been soaked in hot water. When the gum is completely softened it is to be transferred to a mortar, and the pulverised and dried precipitate gradually mixed with it by means of a little water, so as to present a somewhat dry pill mass, from which pellets of the desired size are formed by hand, put on a sheet of glass and dried again. They are then ready for use. The fumes from these pills are poisonous.

A substitute nearly as good as the original mercury compound, and superior in not being poisonous, is prepared in the following way:
Pulverise separately two parts bichromate of potash, one part nitrate of potassa, and three parts of white sugar. When well pulverised mix intimately. Make small paper cones of the desired size, and press the mixture into them. They are then ready for use, and must be kept away from moisture and light."

Australian Town and Country Journal, 6 July 1901, p. 12

Underage enlistment was common in World War 1. The record appears to be held by an English boy, Sidney Lewis, born in 1903, twelve years old when he enlisted and 13 when he fought at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The best known Australian boy soldier is Private James Charles Martin who was 14 years and 9 months when he died at Gallipoli.


When Queen Mary was in Melbourne in 1901, on the occasion of the opening of the first Federal Parliament, she visited the Women's Hospital, Carlton, and was photographed with a baby in her arms. The baby is now Private J. A. Wharton, of the Victorian Infantry. His parents live in Richmond. He is a husky fighter, aged 16 years, with 14 months active service to his credit. He enlisted when 14½, giving his age as 18, and came scatheless through the terrible fighting at Bullecourt and in other engagements. Recently he sent a cutting of the photograph mentioned from the Melbourne "Herald" to the Queen, and was immediately invited to Buckingham Palace, where he spent last Sunday, dined with the King and Queen, and the Queen acted as mother to him, personally showing him over the Palace. The incident has revealed Private Wharton's age, and it is improbable that he will be again sent to the front.

Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser, 29 November 1917, p. 2

It makes a great story but does not entirely stand up to scrutiny as indicated in a more detailed account of Private Wharton's escapade, published in the Weekly Times in November 1917. He actually enlisted early in 1917 and sailed from Melbourne on May 11, his 16th birthday. By November his parents had not received word that he had been to the front. In any case he could not have fought at Bullecourt, the battle for which took place some months before. A letter received recently showed that he was still in England at the beginning of September. The background to Private Wharton's enlistment, however, is a reminder of the fervour with which many Australians joined the conflict. Jack's father, now Corporal Joseph John Arthur, enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force early in the war, and Jack, the eldest of eight children, shared with his mother the task of helping to keep the home together. He was employed as a lorry driver, and was earning £2/2/ a week, but was anxious to get to the front.

"He gave me no rest," says Mrs Arthur, who lives at 12 Shelley street, Richmond. "He pestered me for over twelve months. I told him that he was my sole support, and I could not let him go. At last he worried me so much that I promised that if his father came back he could go. His father did come back, having been wounded in the leg, and sure enough Jack kept me to my promise. As he was only 15, and did not want the authorities to find this out, he enlisted under the name of Wharton, which was my maiden name and I signed his papers."

Weekly Times, 24 November 1917, p. 1

Mrs Arthur's husband, Corporal Arthur, fought on the Somme, at Pozieres, and elsewhere. He was wounded and returned to Australia, but in November 1917 he re-enlisted, found fit for home service only. Corporal Arthur died in 1952. His boy soldier son outlived him by only 4 years.

The armistice of 11 November 1918 brought to an end the bloody war that saw over 60,000 Australians killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. When the news reached Melbourne, crowds of people flooded into the city to celebrate. Some wild scenes were reported and a Carlton tram became a casualty of the celebrations.


" As the evening wore on and the crowds increased some remarkable pranks were played by the more boisterous elements. In their first flush of enthusiasm groups of youths and men were content to sit on the top of the tram cars as they crawled through the city. But later, after the traffic had been stopped and the cars were lying stationary on the various route bases, crowds of men and women seized the cars and lifted them bodily off the tracks. At the intersection of Collins and Lonsdale streets [a geographical impossibility, as the streets run parallel to each other] the crowd, after marching up the street gathering a volume of recruits on the way, attacked a Carlton tram. [They] dragged the dummy into Lonsdale-street along the slight decline that leads to Elizabeth-street. Then cheering and shouting they started the journey. Inside and on top of the car were excited men and hysterical women. The tram gained momentum, and after travelling some distance attained a speed which was nearly dangerous for the adventurous passengers. They, apparently, did not care. The solitary constable on the scene set after the flying tram. It was too much for the crowd. They seized the policeman and hoisting him shoulder high ran after the car, which was stopped before any damage was done "

The Age, 12 November 1918, p. 5

The mood was jubilant, but more sedate, when the first contingent of returning Anzacs marched through the city streets on Saturday 23 November. Locally, as reported by The Argus, "Carlton wore a subdued aspect, as all who could possibly do so found their way to the city and joined in the general jubilations there. In the streets of Carlton and on many of the houses flags were flown in profusion." The Australian flag was seen flying from public and private buildings everywhere, but at Trades Hall in Lygon Street, the divisive issue of flying the red flag was once again raised.

Trades Hall Decision.

The Trades Hall Council has decided that unless permission is granted by the Federal Government for the flying of the red flag on the Trades Hall no flags at all be flown from the building. The proposal caused a long debate at the council meeting. The moderate section of the members fought the suggestion strenuously but fruitlessly. The decision of the council is said to have been prompted by resentment in the action of the Federal Government in refusing permission for the flying of the red flag on certain days. A delegate stated yesterday, "We are against giving preference to other flags over our flag, which is the red flag." Several amendments were moved at the council meeting. One of these was that only one of the two poles at the Trades Hall be left flagless as a protest. Another was that the question should be referred to the unions. Both amendments were defeated, and the decision for "red flag or none" was declared agreed to on the voices. Many leading union officials deplore the decision, which carries the implication that the Australian flag, which has been flying over the hall since the armistice was signed, must be be hauled down. The emblem was still mast high yesterday, and a leading member of the council asked if it was intended to lower it, enigmatically replied: "It's flying yet, anyhow."

The Argus, 30 November 1918, p. 18

Later that day, The Herald reported that the Australian flag had been lowered and both flagpoles were bare.


In pursuance, apparently, of the decision of the Trades Hall Council that no flags shall be flown from the poles at the Trades Hall until such time as the Federal Government gives permission for the red flag to be flown, a caretaker of the Trades Hall this morning removed from one of the poles the Australian flag, which had been flying there since the announcement of the signing of the armistice. Both flagpoles on the twin towers of the Trades Hall are now bare. When the red flag was flown at the hall on the occasion of days of Labor events, the Australian flag was also flown from the other flagpole.

The Herald, 30 November 1918, p. 20

The Jubilee Picture Theatre in Nicholson Street, North Carlton, was well placed and on a direct cable tram route from the city. Nicholson Street was also the dividing line between rival "Push" gangs from Carlton and Fitzroy, and their activities caused problems for local residents and businesses. George Frederick Carden, owner of the picture theatre, was well aware of the "Push" menace and he took steps to deny admission to rowdy characters. His picture theatre was, after all, a venue for family entertainment.

In June 1920, there was a shooting incident in Fitzroy and a young man named Alexander Abikhair was charged with firearms offences. Abikhair faced court on charges of carrying a firearm without permission, and shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm. He pleaded self defence on the shooting charge, claiming he had been assaulted and feared for his life, and he got off with a fine on the firearms carrying charge. A few months later, on a Saturday night in November 1920, the same Alexander Abikhair was involved in a serious shooting incident inside the Jubilee Picture Theatre, while a film was in progress.

Shots in Theatre
Youth Before the Court

Following on a street disturbance, three revolver shots were fired in the Jubilee Theatre, Nicholson street, North Carlton, on Saturday night. As a result, Martin Millson [Millsom], 26, laborer, a resident of Palmerston street, was found to be shot in three places, and was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital by Plain clothes Constable J.H. Wagener, who arrived at the theatre soon after the affair. He is still an inmate of the institution. He passed a fair night, and his condition today was satisfactory.

At the Carlton Court today, before Messrs R. J. Hardy (chairman), T. Crosby and D. Shiels, J's.P., Alexander Abikhair, 18, motor mechanic, who appeared in his shirt sleeves, was charged with having shot at Martin Millson with intent to commit murder. Senior Plainclothes-Constable T.P. McCaffrey stated that on Saturday night, somewhere about 8 o'clock, a man named Martin Millson was shot when inside the Jubilee Theatre, Nicholson street, North Carlton. He was shot in three places – in the right thigh, in the left knee, and in the hand. The man was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital, where he is at present under treatment. This morning he (Constable McCaffrey), with Plain-clothes Constables Birch, Beattie and Wagener, went to a motor garage in Palmerston street and interviewed the accused Abikhair. At first he denied any knowledge of the shooting, but subsequently he admitted having fired three shots. He (Constable McCaffrey) asked for a remand for a week.

Mr J. Barnett (who appeared for Abikhair): What is the condition of the man Millson?
Senior Constable McCaffrey: I am informed that he had a good night. The bullets have not been extracted.
Mr Barnett asked that the bench would fix bail.
The Chairman: It is a most serious thing to shoot at a man in a picture theatre. Other people might have been shot.
Mr Barnett: Shooting is often shown on the screens at these theatres.
The Chairman: If that is the effect on the minds of some of those present it is a question whether such shows should not be closed.
Mr Barnett: There is a censorship over the pictures. (To Senior-constable Beattie): This lad is a respectable lad and comes from respectable parents?
Senior-constable McCaffrey: Yes.
The Chairman. Did you get the shooting iron?
Senior-constable McCaffrey: No; Abikhair said he lost it when he rushed out of the theatre.
The Chairman: Accused is remanded until November 29. We don't feel disposed to grant bail.
Mr Barnett: Then I will have to go to the Supreme Court for it. I was going to ask you to fix the bail at £500. If you don't grant it it means putting us to a great deal of trouble. In 99 cases out of a 100 the Supreme Court grants bail in such cases.
The Chairman: He has not given up his shooting iron.
Mr. Barnett: I understand that there was a brawl between two pushes, and in the picture show when the lights were, out there was a scramble, and the lad acted in self-defence. It is not a capital offence, and if you don't grant bail it may prejudice him on his trial. No doubt, it is a serious offence, but is only a felony, when it is all said and done.
The Chairman: Can you get substantial bail?
Mr. Barnett: Yes; I can get up to £1000. I know his people.
The Chairman (after a consultation): Well, we have yielded to your persuasive powers. Bail is fixed, a surety of £1000 or two in £500, and accused in a like amount.

The Herald, 22 November 1920, p. 7

The committal hearing in December 1920 revealed details of push gangs active in the area and the events leading up to the shooting. According to evidence presented for his defence, Abikhair was a marked man caught up in a dispute by rival push gangs. He was fortunate that his family was able to fund the considerable bail amount of £1,000.

Youth Committed for Trial.

Before Messrs. R.T. Hardy (chairman), D. Shiels, and T. Crosby, J. P.'s, in the Carlton Court yesterday, Alexander Abikhair (19), motor mechanic, was charged with having shot Martin Millson [sic]. Sergeant Kane, who prosecuted, said that for some time there had been trouble between pushes known as the "Wanderers", "Thistles", "Checkers" and "Woolpacks", near the Jubilee Picture Theatre, Nicholson street, North Carlton. The trouble culminated on the night of Saturday, November 20, when Millsom was shot three times. Millsom said that he was a labourer residing in Rathdown street, North Carlton. On November 20 he went to the Jubilee Picture Theatre. While the lights were turned down he heard a voice say, "Come on, Wanderers." Three shots were fired. One he received in the knee, the second in the left 1eg, and the third in the right hand. Witness could not say whether accused had fired the shots. The man who did fire them ran 40 yards. Witness chased and caught him between two seats. Then his strength failed him, and the man escaped. A bullet was extracted from his knee, and the second bullet still remained in his thigh.

In answer to Mr Barnett for the defence, witness said that he was not captain of the "Thistles". The "Checkers" were not a branch of the "Thistles" so far as he knew. Plain-clothes Constable T. P. McCaffrey said that Abikhair first said he was at the Temperance Hall, Russell street, on the night of the shooting. Afterwards he said that on the afternoon of November 20 he was threatened by a push that he would be hanged to a tree in Curtain Square, and was told that the tree had been marked out. In the evening he was at the Jubilee Pictures, when a girl said she believed the "Checkers" were after him. Shortly afterwards a revolver was presented at him and a voice exclaimed, "A man ought to shoot you." A shot was fired and Abikhair called out "Don't come near, or I'll shoot." He admitted having fired three shots. He was rolled under a seat, and when he got up he ran out of the theatre as far as the Exhibition Gardens, and later went to the Temperance Hall, in the city.

The Bench committed Abikhair for trial. Bail was fixed at £1,000.

The Argus, 7 December 1920, p. 8

Alexander Abikhair had a few anxious months to wait before his case was heard before Judge Woinarski at the Court of General Sessions in May 1921. He was found guilty of unlawfully wounding Martin Millsom, but he escaped a prison sentence. Judge Woinarski used the case to comment on the shortcomings of Victorian firearms legislation and recommended the adoption of England's Firearms Act, which placed restrictions on the sale and manufacture of firearms.


Having been found guilty of unlawfully wounding Martin Millsom, 26, a laborer, in Carlton, on November 20, Alexander Abikhair, 19, laborer, of Drummond street, Carlton, was brought before Judge Woinarski in the Court of General Sessions this morning and sentenced to nine month's imprisonment. On his entering into a surety of £50 to be of good behavior for three years, the sentence was suspended. Following on a street disturbance between rival "pushes," near a Carlton picture theatre, three revolver shots were fired and Millsom was found shot in the thigh, left knee and hand. To a charge of having shot Millsom with intent to do grievous bodily harm, Abikhair pleaded not guilty on Friday, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty of unlawfully wounding. Abikhair gave evidence on his own behalf that the revolver was pointed at him by Millsom, and, believing himself in danger, he grabbed the revolver out of Millsom's hand and fired. Abikhair also stated that he was in a greatly excited condition.

An appeal for clemency was made today by Mr C. Morton, who appeared on Abikhair's behalf, in consequence of the absence of Mr H. Shelton (instructed by Mr J. Barnett). Charles Harling Parker, who stated that Abikhair had been in his employ during the past 17 months, gave him an excellent character. In passing sentence, Judge Woinarski said that fortunately for Abikhair the jury had taken the view that he was not the person who had brought the revolver into the theatre. It was of the opinion that Abikhair had been attacked by a number of rough larrikins and that in the struggle Abikhair had possessed himself of a revolver.

Judge Woinarski declared that if he had been satisfied that Abikhair had brought the weapon into the theatre, nothing would have prevented him from sending the prisoner to gaol and passing a severe sentence. Strongly deprecating the promiscuous use of firearms in public places, Judge Woinarski, in the course of his remarks, referred to the Firearms Act now operative in England and urged the necessity for the adoption of a similar enactment here. The Act, he said, placed restrictions on the sale and manufacture of firearms.

The Herald, 9 May 1921, p. 9

Alexander Abikhair was born in 1901, the son of Syrian migrants Joseph and Zelpha Abikhair. His birth was registered under the name "Elias Joseph Abi Khair" and the family name was later changed to "Abicair". At the time of his arrest and trial, he was living at 390 Drummond Street, Carlton. Alexander did his motor mechanic apprenticeship with Edgar Tozer of Palmerston Street, Carlton, then set his sights higher by enlisting in the Australian Air Force (later Royal Australian Air Force) in 1923. He served in the Middle East during World War 2 and rose through the ranks for his distinguished service. In 1947, in a recommendation for promotion, he was described thus by his commanding officer:

"Has an exceptional capacity for organising technical work, both field and workshop, down to the last detail. As an officer he is unimpressive [he was only 5 feet 2½ inches tall] but he has a strong personality and is a good C.O. Keeps well abreast of modern techniques. Strongly recommended."

After a successful career in the Royal Australian Air Force, Alexander Abicair (née Elias Abi Khair) retired in 1955, having repaid any debt he may have owed society for his youthful transgression at the Jubilee Picture Theatre. He died in New South Wales in 1976, aged 75 years.

Note: Biographical information on Alexander Abikhair (Abicair) has been sourced from birth records, electoral rolls and service records (NAA: A12372, R/3366/H).

Money laundering is well known as a criminal activity, but what about stamp laundering? In the 1890s Thomas Webb developed a technique to clean the ink marks from cancelled stamps, rendering the annotations invisible to the naked eye. Webb was a printer and stamp dealer by trade and he had both the skills and means to sell the treated stamps to unsuspecting customers, or exchange high value stamps for sets of lower denominations, thus making a modest profit. While not in the same criminal league as money laundering, the cleaning and re-use of stamps was illegal because it defrauded the end-buyer and deprived the government of revenue. Thomas Webb was caught in a joint operation by the Postmaster-General and Victoria Police, and forensic examination by the Government Analyst confirmed that the suspect stamps had been cleaned. Webb made a full and frank confession and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment in January 1897.1

However, a few years later Webb was back to his stamp cleaning activities, this time using the name "John Charles Turner". One of his stamp fraud victims was Miss Eliza White, post-mistress of Rathdowne Street, North Carlton. Police visited Turner's business premises in Lygon Street, Carlton, where they found the incriminating evidence of cleaned stamps and oxalic acid, a chemical commonly used to clean ink stains. Turner tried to talk his way out of his predicament and his wife suggested that if the money was refunded and they agreed to leave the Colony of Victoria, the matter could be settled out of court. This was not an option, given Turner's prior conviction, and he had his day in court in November 1899.2


At the General Sessions this afternoon, before Judge Hamilton and a jury of twelve, an elderly man named John Charles Turner was charged on two counts, with fraudulently removing writing from stamped material. Mr Finlayson prosecuted on behalf of the Crown, and Mr Morgan defended the accused. Mr Finlayson, in opening the case, said that in June, July or August of this year, the accused had been selling stamps to the post-mistress at North Carlton. It would be proved that those had the cancellation marks cleaned off.

Horatio McWilliams, constable attached to the Postal department, Melbourne, said that the accused carried on the business of a printer at 144 Lygon street, Carlton. On the 13th of October witness, in company with Detective-sergeant Nixon and Detective White, visited his place. Accused said he did not know exactly where he had got the stamps from that he had sold, but that he thought they came from amongst a collection of his. He denied that he knew that they had been cleaned. His place was searched and a great number of stamps, some cleaned, were found. He was asked if he had any acids, and eventually he replied that his wife had some oxalic acid, which she used for the purpose of cleaning hats. The acid was procured and handed over to Mr Blackett, the Government analytical chemist.

During a subsequent visit, accused's wife said that they wanted to know whether, if all the money that had been received for stamps sold were refunded, the stamps were given up, and the accused cleared out of the colony, could the matter be settled. Witness replied, "No." On another occasion the wife said that she thought the "last time" would be a warning, and that she never thought he (accused) would touch any stamps again. In the Carlton Police Station yard accused said he had been kicking himself for having sold the cleaned stamps. He said he first used acid to clean the stamps because they would be more valuable to a collector with post-marks instead of cancellation marks on them. To Mr Morgan: Accused was a stamps collector. Witness did not know that collectors often took stamps to post-offices to have them post-marked to make them more valuable.

Eliza White, postmistress at North Carlton, deposed that she had purchased certain stamps (produced) from the accused. They looked perfectly genuine. He had been selling her stamps on an average once a month for the past two years. Angus Cumming, comptroller of stamps and accountant at the G.P.O., identified a large number of stamps produced as Victorian. Cuthbert Robert Blackett, analytical chemist, stated that he had examined the sheets of stamps produced. Ink marks had apparently been removed from several, and witness was able, by a chemical process, to partly restore them to show the original marks. Oxalic acid was the most efficient chemical for the purpose of removing ink marks. The ordinary post-marks, however, could not be removed. The case had not concluded when our report closed.

The Herald, 2 November 1899, p. 4.

The trial resumed the next day and things were looking grim for Turner (alias Webb). His only remaining defence was that he had cleaned the stamps as collection items and they were not intended for re-use. The jury took only half an hour to deliver a guilty verdict and Judge Hamilton sentenced Turner to three years' imprisonment, with hard labour.


The trial of Thomas Webb, presented under the name of John Charles Turner, on a charge of being in possession of stamps from which certain ink marks had been fraudulently removed, was resumed before Judge Hamilton and a jury of twelve at the General Sessions to-day. Mr Finlayson prosecuted on behalf of the Crown and Mr Morgan appeared for the accused. His Honor, in summing up, said that it was not an offence for a person to have in his possession stamps from which writing had been removed, but it was if the writing had been remitted fraudulently. His Honor then reviewed the evidence. After half an hour's retirement the jury brought in a verdict of guilty on two counts.

In answer the usual questions by the associate, accused said he was 48 years of age and a printer by occupation. He admitted having been convicted of a similar charge on the 1st of February, 1897, under the name of Thomas Webb, and undergoing a sentence of six mouths for it. Before his Honor passed sentence, accused denied that he was guilty of any felonious intent. The stamps in question were portion of a lot he purchased for L45 [£45], and he had closely inspected them with a microscope. Many of the stamps produced in evidence were never intended to be anything else but used and cleaned ones. He admitted that he had cleaned stamps, but only for the purpose of getting them post-marked. This was a usual course pursued by collectors, because a post-marked stamp was more valuable than a cancelled one. None of the cleaned stamps were ever intended for sale. On the occasion of his previous trouble he fell into a trap set by Detective Macmanmy, and he made a full confession, but this time he had nothing to plead guilty to.

His Honor remarked that he had no doubt whatever about the correctness of the jury's verdict. He did not think that anybody could entertain any doubt about the evidence. The offence was a most serious one, and the legislature thought the crime of such magnitude that it had rendered a guilty person liable to fifteen years' imprisonment. This was the second time that the accused had been convicted, and his Honor had decided to impose a sentence of three years, with hard labor. The accused looked disparingly [sic] round the court, and then limped down the stone steps with the aid of a stick, to the dark cells beneath.

The Herald, 3 November 1899, p. 1

After serving his prison sentence, Thomas Webb opened a stationer's shop in Richmond, which gave him another means of adding to his income. In October 1908 he appeared in Richmond court to answer four charges of having sold postcards "suggestive of indecency". He pleaded financial problems due to ill health of himself and his wife, and received a fine of 40 shillings, in default one month's imprisonment. Two years later, in August 1910, he was back in court to answer similar charges. Thomas Webb was found guilty and sentenced to another twelve months' imprisonment. According to his prisoner record this was his last recorded custodial sentence in Victoria. He was born in 1851 and would have been 59 years old at the time of his release. 3,4,5

Notes and References:
1 Leader, 9 January 1897, p. 23
2 Oxalic acid was effective in removing pen and ink stains from stamps, but it did not remove indelible printing ink or post marks. The formula used by Webb was one teaspoon of salts of lemon (potassium oxalate) to a cup of water.
3 The Herald, 17 October 1908, p. 8
4 The Argus, 19 August 1910, p. 5
5 Prisoner Record No. 27777 (VPRS 515)

The Police Strike of 1923 saw scenes of lawlessness descend on the streets of the city, culminating in "Melbourne's Black Saturday" over the Melbourne Cup weekend. Volunteer "special constables" – many from military backgrounds – were called in and given powers of arrest to restore law and order. Looting of shops and businesses was rife and many arrests were made. The charges were heard in the City Court, before Mr. Knight, P.M., on Monday 12 November. Among those charged were four Carlton men – found guilty of illegal possession of a skunk fur stole, suits, shirts, pyjamas and one solitary tennis shoe – and all of them received the standard three months' imprisonment sentence.


Great interest was manifested in the series of cases before the City Court yesterday, when another batch of persons arrested during the rioting on the evening of what is known as "Melbourne's Black Saturday" received sentences. Many well-known members of the legal profession filled seats in the court and the whole of the sitting and standing room of the chamber was occupied by the spectators.

A Costly Fur Inside His Coat
Detective Greeve prosecuted in the next case, in which John Ferguson, 23, laborer, residing at 138 Princess-street, North Melbourne [sic], was charged with looting. Ferguson, when apprehended by the detective, had a heavy skunk stole, six feet in length, wound about his body inside his coat. It was stated in evidence for the accused that during the evening a man had approached him holding two furs, and saying, "Do you want one, digger? I can't get away with two of them." Accused replied in the negative, whereupon the man threw one of the furs at his feet. Mr. Knight refused to accept the explanation.
Three months' imprisonment.

Harold Laughlin, 25 years, chair fitter, Drummond-street, Carlton, was charged with unlawful possession of a tennis shoe. Constable Bassett gave evidence that at 10.45 p.m. he saw accused standing beside a broken window at the London Stores. Accused walked away and dropped the shoe. Laughlin, whose young wife was in court, said he picked up the shoe in front of the London Stores and dropped it again.
Three months' imprisonment.

John Birch, 32 years, laborer, Palmerston-street, Carlton, was charged with being in unlawful possession of five shirts, three suits of pyjamas and two suits of clothes. Mr. Barnett, who appeared for accused, asked for a lenient sentence as Birch suffered from heart trouble. Mr. Knight, in sentencing Birch to three months' imprisonment, said he would be going to a quiet place, where he could get medical treatment if necessary.

The Herald, 13 November 1923, p. 10

Note: A report in The Ballarat Star of 13 December 1923 confirms John Ferguson's address as 138 Princes Street, North Carlton.

While the city was the main focus of riotous mob behaviour, incidents were also reported in the inner suburbs. Two Carlton businesses suffered stock losses and property damage from looters, one of whom was caught in the act.


Just before midnight on Sunday a crowd of roughs returning from looting in the city attacked two small shops in Lygon-street, Carlton. Mr. A. N. Keys, mercer, had two plate glass windows of his shop broken and a large quantity of mercery and hats stolen. The adjoining drapery shop of Mrs. E. Walpole also suffered, the window being smashed and drapery from the window and the inside stock being looted. The looters were chased by a special constable but got away. A few minutes later, however, one returned to the damaged windows, and as he was helping himself to more loot was arrested by the constable who was hiding inside.

The Age, 6 November 1923, p. 8

Towards the end of November Inspector Charles Kane, a resident of North Carlton, died suddenly. He was acting superintendent of the Melbourne police district during the strike and the stress may have contributed to his demise.


Regret was expressed in police circles at the news of the death of Inspector Charles Kane, which occurred yesterday at his home, Canning street, North Carlton, at the age of 58 years. He had been in ill health for some time. Inspector Kane, who was an efficient and popular officer, joined the force in 1887. He was stationed at Brighton and at Mitcham, and on promotion to the rank of senior-constable was transfered to Casterton. Later he acted as sergeant in charge at Stawell and Carlton successively. On being given the rank of sub-inspector he was transferred to the city. He was inspector in charge of No. 1 Division at the time of his death. He leaves a wife, three daughters, and a son.

When the police mutiny broke out Inspector Kane was acting superintendent of the Melbourne police district, and, with the chief commissioner of police (Mr A. N. Nicholson), he attended the parades at the earlier stages of the trouble and attempted to persuade the men to adopt sane measures. Soon after the mutiny he became ill and was given sick leave. He returned to duty only on Monday.

"I deeply regret the sudden demise of Inspector Kane," said the chief commissioner of police (Mr. A. N. Nicholson) yesterday. "He was a true and faithful officer, and, though a disciplinarian, was always fair." At the conclusion of business in the City Court yesterday Mr. R. Knight, P.M., on behalf of the members of the Bench, expressed regret at the death of Inspector Kane, who had at one time acted as police prosecutor in the court.

The Argus, 30 November 1923, p. 8

Walter John Wheatley and William Herbert Jensen had plans to rob the North Carlton branch of the English, Scottish and Australian Bank (E.S. and A.), on the corner of Nicholson and Richardson streets. The would-be robbers chickened out at the last minute and no money was stolen but, after a tip-off to police, both were arrested and charged. Wheatley and Jensen made two crucial errors that sealed their fate: They involved Mrs Stella Smith in their escape plan and they were carrying homemade bludgeons.

The initial hearing was held at Carlton Court in September 1938, then the case proceeded to the Court of General Sessions in October. In an unexpected turn of events, the trial was aborted after a member of the public approached a juror and spoke to him about the case. Judge Stretton discharged the jury, but apportioned no blame to the juror, who was the innocent victim of another person's action. At the retrial held in November 1938, both men were found guilty of conspiracy to rob the E. S. and A. Bank.

Two Men Guilty

The retrial of Walter John Wheatley, 32 years, scaffold rigger, Nicholson-street, Carlton, and William Herbert Jensen, 24 years, laborer, Elgin-street, Carlton, on a charge of having conspired to rob the E.S. and A. Bank, Nicholson-street, was begun before Judge Magennis in General Sessions yesterday. The case was before the court last month, when, owing to a juryman having been spoken to during the luncheon adjournment, Judge Stretton discharged the jury, and ordered a new trial.

The Crown case, as outlined by Mr. M. Cussen, Crown Prosecutor, was that on September 14 Wheatley and Jensen called at a house in Station-street, North Carlton, and Wheatley told a Mrs. S. Smith that he and Jensen were going to "hold up" the officials of the E. S. and A. Bank. Mrs. Smith said, "You are pretty game, aren't you ?" and Wheatley replied, "It won't take long – we will run through the wood yard, down this lane, and hide in your place until the hue and cry is over. I'll make it worth your while." Mrs. Smith said it would be all right, and asked Wheatley if he had a gun. He replied, "No; we will pick that up later." As soon as the two accused left, said Mr. Cussen, Mrs. Smith informed the police, and the accused were seen loitering near the bank by First Constable McGuffie. Later Detectives Currer, Ward and Newton arrived in a motor car, and as soon as the accused saw them they ran. Passing houses, Jensen and Wheatley threw two bludgeons over fences. The bludgeons were made of short lengths of clothes-line wire, covered in cloth, with a ball of shot at the ends. They were recovered by the detectives, and, after his arrest, Wheatley, it was alleged, said he had made them. He also said that they were going to "hold up" the bank, but at the last moment had "got the wind up." Accused pleaded not guilty.

Mr. R. V. Monahan appeared for Jensen, and Mr. T. Rapke for Wheatley. At the close of the Crown case, Jensen gave evidence in denial of his guilt. He said Wheatley had on Sunday, September 10, made a proposal to rob the bank, but witness thought he was joking. On the following Wednesday he met Wheatley, who spoke to him about some prospective work, but when he again broached the subject of robbing the bank witness flatly refused to have anything to do with it. Wheatley declined to give evidence. After a short retirement the jury returned with a verdict of guilty, and accused were remanded for sentence.

The Age, 3 November 1938, p. 14

Wheatley and Jensen were sentenced by Judge Magennis on 11 November 1938. Jensen maintained his innocence throughout, claiming that he thought Wheatley was joking, but he must have known it was serious once the bludgeon was in his hands. He was placed on a good behaviour bond, while Wheatley was given a custodial sentence as the instigator of the plot. Walter John Wheatley had three prior convictions, two involving offences against underage girls, under the name "Walter James Harrison". 1,2

Bank Robbery Plan

Sentence of imprisonment for 18 months was imposed on Walter John Wheatley, aged 32 years, of Nicholson street Carlton, scaffold rigger, by Judge Magennis in General Sessions yesterday on a charge of having conspired to rob the E.S. and A. Bank, Nicholson street Carlton. William Herbert Jensen aged 24 years, of Elgin street, Carlton, labourer, who had been found guilty on the same charge was released on a bond of £20 to be of good behaviour for five years.

Judge Magennis said that the conspiracy was to a great extent futile and was not likely to have been successful from a pecuniary point of view. But both men were armed with bludgeons in such a way that if they had attempted to carry out their plan, anyone on whom they were used would have suffered severely. Wheatley, said the judge appeared to have been the originator of the plan and had gathered the bludgeons together in a deliberate cold blooded way. Mr. T. Rapke appeared for Wheatley and Mr. R.V. Monahan for Jensen.

The Age, 12 November 1938, p. 33

1 The Argus, 13 August 1930, p. 16
2 Prisoner no. 39063. Walter James Harrison. Walter John Wheatley. (VPRS 515)


James Lawrence's transfer from Echuca, on the Victorian border with New South Wales, to Carlton was an important step in his career as a postmaster. His transfer in March 1901 afforded him a promotion and the opportunity to work in a metropolitan post office in the largest city in Victoria. James Lawrence arrived in Carlton with glowing recommendations, in both his work and community life, from the people of Echuca. However, the new job may have proved too demanding after the laid-back lifestyle of a country postmaster. Certain allegations were made about his conduct and investigations revealed irregularities in his post office practices. These were addressed by a board of inquiry in December 1902.

Inspector George H. Matear, who was called in to audit the books, found Lawrence's habit of smoking his pipe while working particularly irksome. The unusual explanation, given by a post office worker, was that smoking helped to counteract the smell of pensioners, who attended the post office to receive their payments.


A board of inquiry, consisting of Mr. Betheras, inspector in the Federal Public Service (chairman), Mr. Miller, accountant at the G.P.O., and Mr. Springhall, superintendent of the mail branch, was held to-day to consider certain charges laid against Mr. J. Lawrence, postmaster at Carlton. The charges were:–
(1) That accused was negligent and careless in the discharge of his duties.
(2) That he was guilty of misconduct, the misconduct being discourteous and insulting towards the postal inspector.

The first charge was divided into several charges, which were as follows:–
(a) Not giving his personal attention to the performance of money order work;
(b) disobeying the direct instructions of the Deputy Postmaster-General to personally perform the money order duties;
(c) neglecting to check the stamp advances of the assistants weekly;
(d) neglecting to note in the minute-book the result of the checking recorded in such minute-book by the Postmaster between 7th December, 1901, and 15th October, 1902;
(e) neglecting to keep postal notes paid book in accordance with instructions;
(f) not having bank pass-books written up for seven or eight months;
(g) neglecting his official duties by spending too much time in his quarters during the day;
(h) carelessness in having a surplus of £l/6/2 in his postal cash which he was unable to account for;
(i) not signing on and off in attendance book prior to August last;
(j) and any other irregularity which might arise out of the evidence placed before the board.

Mr. Lawrence, in addition to his postal work, had to pay pensions to 460 old pensioners. This work had been done by the previous postmaster without assistance, who also had the Fitzroy office to look after, and had paid pensioners there as well. As regards the charge of discourtesy, that consisted in Lawrence smoking in Inspector Matear's face whilst he was auditing the books, and that he was insulting in speech and manner towards the inspector. S. Ellis, who is at present relieving Lawrence, stated that Lawrence's books were not in a muddle, that the postal note book, previous to the inspector's visit, was not a proper record, and that Lawrence had not signed the attendance book.

Several witnesses were examined, some of whom said that Lawrence spent a good deal of his time in his private quarters, and a female assistant said Lawrence took the work of payment of pensioners voluntarily off her hands, that he did smoke, but it was "because of the odor from the pensioners." Geo. H. Matear, the inspector, then stated that he considered Lawrence's conduct towards him was disrespectful, and when spoken to about smoking, he declined to take instructions on that score from anyone other than the Deputy Postmaster-General. This closed the case for the department.

Bendigo Advertiser, 24 December 1902, p. 3.

The board's decision was held over until the end of January 1903, when The Argus reported that "The Postmaster-General has adopted the recommendation of the board which recently inquired into the official conduct of the postmaster at Carlton (Mr. Lawrence). This will involve the removal of the officer to another office". It was not stated whether James Lawrence had been demoted, but he later returned to the life of a country postmaster at Shepparton, Stawell and Hamilton, where he retired in January 1914.

The Carlton Post Office at 146 Elgin Street, where James Lawrence served as postmaster, was built in 1883 and officially opened in April 1884. The building design incorporated residential quarters for the postmaster, who was required to live onsite. The post office was closed in 2021 and the building has since been sold.

During World War 1, soldiers faced all sorts of hazards, even before they had reached the battlefields. In December 1914 several newspapers published details of an incident on a troopship, relayed by Leslie Fairnie to his brother Robert back home in Princes Hill. While those on board enjoyed the unexpected free beer, a fair amount would have been wasted in the washout. Oh the tragedy of war!


Breaking loose on a transport at 2 a.m., a heavy beer barrel turned out the guard with bayonets, and gave a graphic imitation of Victor Hugo's run-away carronade. The amusing sequel is described in the following letter to Mr R. Fairnie, Linlithgow, Bowen crescent, Princes Hill, North Carlton, from his brother Leslie: –

"Had our first touch of rough weather yesterday and today. This morning, at 2 o'clock, I awoke in the hammock, to hear an awful bumping in the mess. When the light was switched on we found the barrel of beer had broken through the door of the canteen, and was careering around the mess. One sergeant made a grab and tried to stop it, but it merely waltzed him along the passage. Then the taps on the top and side broke, and all those who drank beer woke up and attacked it with jugs and cups. After some time we managed to re-plug it and rope it down (saving about 3d. worth). During the circus the phonograph fell over, and cups and crockery began to smash. The guard rushed up to the door with fixed bayonets, and the sergeant of the guard slid (not walked) in to see what all the trouble was. The sequel was this morning, when the canteen-keeper went around with a note-book and pencil, trying to collect sixpences for the beer consumed."

"It was the same down below on the troop deck. The water came through the open ports and paper, clothes, books, etc., began floating about, while excited soldiers in little shirts chased them. Some, I believe, put on their life-belts. This morning the sea was easier, although the boat still rocks a bit. Yesterday was Cup Day. To commemorate the day I put on a clean pair of socks and polished my boots. Notwithstanding we were some thousands of miles out, we got the Cup winner by wireless, also the latest war news. This is all for to-day.
Love to all.
(Signed) LES."

The Herald, 15 December 1914, p. 1

More information on Leslie Harold Fairnie

Matron Elizabeth Reid was not expecting to have an overnight guest staying at her crèche in Lygon Street, Carlton. On the afternoon of Wednesday 13 December 1916, a woman dropped off "her sister's baby" at the crèche, but she failed to return after the appointed hour. The woman gave her name as "Mrs Reese", and before leaving she removed the baby's silk dress and gold brooch, taking them with her. Mrs Reid cared for the 9 month old baby overnight and took him to the Carlton Police Station the next morning. It was then that the full story of the baby's circumstances unfolded. He did not belong to Mrs Reese's sister and he had been stolen, together with a go cart and other items, from the shop of Foy & Gibson in Smith Street, Fitzroy, while his real mother, Mrs. Boyle, was making a purchase.1


The nine-months-old baby of Mrs Boyle, of Easey street Collingwood, which disappeared from Smith street, Fitzroy, on Wednesday afternoon has been recovered but the gondola go-cart and its contents – two pillows and a silk parasol – are still missing. At 10 minutes to 5 o'clock on Wednesday evening a woman called at the Carlton Creche in Lygon street, and asked permission to leave her sister's baby for an hour. She gave her name as Mrs. Reese and the matron, Mrs Reid, said, "Very well, put him in the basket there." Prior to doing this the woman took off the baby's white silk dress in which was fastened a gold brooch and after depositing the child in the basket left the creche, taking the dress with her. The woman did not return for the baby and in the morning the matron took the baby to the Carlton Watchhouse. The Collingwood police were communicated with and shortly afterwards Mr. and Mrs. Boyle arrived and immediately identified the child as theirs, which had disappeared from Smith street on Wednesday.

The Argus, 15 December 1916, p. 6

The Go Cart Thief was identified as Mary Rees, wife of John Frederick Rees and mother of two children. Mary pleaded guilty to theft and managed to avoid a prison sentence. Surprisingly, she was not charged with the more serious crime of child stealing.

Accused Before Court.

The story of a stolen go cart, with an infant of nine months, was unfolded before Messrs. A. Wheeler and J. T. Foley, J's.P., at Fitzroy court yesterday. Accused was Mary Rees, alias Watson, 24, married, a frail-looking woman, who was charged with having stolen a gondola go cart, two pillows and sundry other articles, of the value of £6 6/, the property of Johanna Boyle, of Easey-street, Collingwood. There was a second charge of having stolen a go cart valued at £2 10/, the property of Eliza Tobin, of Condell-street, Fitzroy. Both charges were taken together. Sub-Inspector Crisfield prosecuted and accused was undefended. The evidence for the prosecution was that on 13th inst., shortly before 4 p.m., Mrs Boyle, while shopping at Foy and Gibson's, Smith-street, Fitzroy, left the go cart, with the infant in it, inside the shop. In the space of five minutes she missed the go cart and its contents, and later reported her loss to the police. She valued the cart itself at £6 5/.

Mr. Wheeler: That was without the baby (Laughter.) Witness said she recovered the baby next day at Carlton watch house. (It had been left at the Carlton Creche by accused, but that did not come out in the evidence.) It was further shown that on the same date accused pledged the cart at the Mont de Piete, Elgin-street, Carlton, for 30/. When interviewed by Detective Clugston on 24th inst. She admitted her guilt. In regard to the other go cart, Mrs. Tobin lent it to a friend, who had it stolen from her in Smith-street. On the day it was stolen accused sold the cart to Morris Orbuck, secondhand dealer in Queensberry-street, Carlton, for 5/6.

Other Charges.
Previous to the go cart cases, the same accused, with her husband, John Frederick Rees, 25, confectioner, were [sic] charged with having between 29th September and 21st October stolen three blankets and a mirror, valued at £1, the property of Elizabeth Rutland, from whom they rented two rooms in a house in Gertrude-street. The male accused denied the charge, but Mrs. Rees pleaded guilty to the three offences. She said she was induced to steal owing to her husband being out of work. The female accused had two young children who were both being cared for. Mr. Wheeler said her conduct as a mother in taking a child away from its mother was particularly heartless, but as she agreed to place herself under the care of the Salvation Army authorities, she would be committed to their custody for twelve months. The male accused was sentenced to a month's imprisonment.

The Age, 30 December 1916, p. 11

Mary's husband John Frederick Rees went on to commit other acts of larceny, forgery and uttering and he was in and out of prison for a number of years. He was released on parole on 20 October 1930. 2

1 The crèche operated from a two storey house at 558 Lygon Street, Carlton, from 1914 until 1919, when a new purpose-built crèche was opened in Neill Street, Carlton. The house in Lygon Street was one of many demolished to make way for the high rise Housing Commission flats.
2 Prisoner Record no. 35377 (VPRS 515)

Feelings were running high during the conscription referendum campaign of 1917 and support for the "Yes/No" vote was often seen as divided along religious lines. According to some newspaper accounts, Carlton was under mob rule on the evening of Saturday 15 December 2017, when a disturbance at a meeting of the Victorian Protestant Federation at St Judes church hall in Lygon Street morphed into a "Yes/No" stoush a few blocks away in Faraday Street.


Last night's Herald, with the signature appended of one of its reporters, relates some riotious proceedings at Carlton on Saturday evening. Our Melbourne correspondent has endeavored to obtain verifying particulars of the incident but the Carlton police say that they know nothing of it, because it never took place. The matter will, no doubt, be further investigated by the police authorities.

The Herald's report reads as follows: – That organised bands are taking advantage of the general unrest to set law and order at defiance, was indicated at St. Jude's Parish Hall, Lygon street, Carlton, on December 15, when a mob entered, interrupted the proceedings, and assaulted those who had attended. The meeting was called by circular, which announced that a meeting would be held in the hall at 8 o'clock, with the object of establishing a branch or branches of the Victorian Protestant Federation in Carlton. The motto of the Federation, "For God, King and Empire" was quoted, and the statement embodied that it would be "an opportunity for all Protestants to link up and show a united front in preserving the rights and liberties enjoyed by them under the British flag." It was noticed that when the National Anthem was sung a large number of people at the back of the hall remained sitting and silent. As soon as the chairman, Mr T. Lewis, opened the proceedings by reading the circular convening the meeting, an uproar arose. "We have no God, no King, no Empire!" they shouted, and continued to interrupt by ribaldry and choruses. The assertion of the chairman that the meeting had no political significance whatever was replied to by three cheers for Dr. Mannix. Hoots, catcalls, and general clamor prevented the chairman from continuing, so he introduced the principal speaker, the Rev. T.S.B. Woodfull. Mr Woodfull fared no better than the chairman. He was howled down and cheers were again given for Dr. Mannix.

"Surely Protestants have some right to meet together," Mr Woodfull said, but only those close by could hear him. "We Protestants do not interrupt the meetings of those of other faiths. Why cannot you go away and leave us in peace?"

As appeals for fair play were useless Mr Woodfull said the police would be asked to remove interrupters, and the police were called. Several men were put out, but still the uproar continued. Eventually the police ejected all those who were hostile, and the business of the meeting went through, though the noise of the roaring, surging mob without made hearing difficult. When those inside left the hall they were pelted with stones and eggs and struck with sticks. Several women who were afraid to leave by the front door were let out at the back into Keppel street. They were immediately assailed by a crowd of angry women and roughly handled. Mr Woodfull fought his way through the crowd and reached a tram. His ability to give, as well as take, hard knocks seemed to keep the cowardly mob back. He was pelted from a distance, however. Eggs and stones were thrown at the Rev. E.S. Watsford, and the Rev. J. Good was chased through the streets and forced to seek shelter in a private house after he had been struck with stones. Here he was besieged until the women in whose house he had taken shelter made her way out with a basket on her arms as if going shopping. In reality she went to ring up the police. When the mounted troopers appeared the besiegers dispersed. One man who had attended the meeting was pursued right round the Melbourne Cemetery by rioters, and only his fleetness saved him. Finally he was rescued by a soldier who, with a lady, was driving past in a jinker. The soldier took him up, and, whipping up the horse, dashed through the crowd amid a shower of missiles.

This did not satisfy the malice of the mob, for on Sunday afternoon several young women who were recognised as having attended the meeting, were assailed and chased through the University grounds, and had to appeal to the police for protection. As the mob followed they shouted, "There go two of the Protestant dogs in Good's mob!"

J.T. Beckett, 159-162 Flinders St.

The Bendigo Independent, 18 December 1917, p. 10

Despite The Bendigo Independent's claim that the police knew nothing about the alleged riot on the Saturday night, several arrests were reported in Melbourne newspapers the following Monday. Carlton footballer William "Mickey" Dunn was charged with offensive behaviour and fined 20 shillings, while two women from Carlton and Abbotsford were fined twice the amount of £2 each.


William Leslie Dunn, aged 20 years, a felt hatter, was charged in the Carlton Court on Thursday, before Messrs. D.E. Hayes (chairman) and W. Brunton, J.P.'s with having behaved in an offensive manner on Saturday night last. Sergeant Stallard prosecuted and Mr. W.J. Tucker appeared for the defence. Constable H.G. Hinkley said: -At 10 minutes past 11 o'clock last Saturday night there was a mob of about 200 people on the corner of Faraday and Cardigan streets. Accused was prominent among the mob and he started an argument with a man named Hobden, saying to the latter, 'I'll have you on," at the same time assuming a fighting attitude Dunn also acted in a threaten-ing manner, yelling and calling out, also boo-hooing. He was subsequently arrested.

To Mr Tucker -I am not making a mistake as to Dunn taking part in the disturbance and rushing through the crowd. Constable R. Ballantine said: -Dunn was among the crowd, and he behaved in an offensive manner, and wanted to fight anyone. Hobden was a "Yes" man and Dunn "No," and it was over this question an argument started. Constable T.D. Morgans gave corroborative evidence. Accused, who said he was a prominent Carlton football player, denied the charge.

To Sergeant Stallard. – I was wearing a "No" button but had no argument in connection with the referendum. The police were telling deliberate falsehoods.
A fine of 20/ was imposed, in default seven days imprisonment.

Mr Tucker said that his client wished the Court to know that he (Dunn) had nothing whatever to do with the disgraceful proceedings which occurred at St Jude's Hall earlier in the same evening, and the magistrates said that there was no reason to suppose that he had.

The Argus, 21 December 1917, p. 7


In the Carlton Court on Friday, before Messrs. R. S. Callender (chairman) and H. J. Love, J.P.'s, Julia Mary Hart, 508 Drummond street, Carlton, and Mary Richardson, 8 Albert street, Abbotsford, were charged with having behaved in an insulting manner on December 15. Sergeant C. Stallard prosecuted. Both women pleaded guilty.

Constable R. Ballantine said that at half past 10 o'clock on the evening in question a crowd of about 150 persons had assembled on the comer of Cardigan and Faraday streets. The two women were there, calling out in a loud tone of voice, "Come out, all you Billie Hughes rotters and wasters, and we'll give you the same as we gave old Good." This remark had reference to a disturbance which took place earlier in the evening, when the Rev. J. Good, vicar of St. Jude's Anglican Church, Carlton, was chased and stoned by a mob. A number of persons in the crowd had pieces of roadmetal in their hands. Mounted troopers and other members of the police force arrived and dispersed the crowd.

Constable H.G. Hinkley said that Hart and Richardson were calling out loudly, and boohooing and behaving in an insulting manner. The two women were each fined £2, in default 14 days' imprisonment.

The Argus, 29 December 1917, p. 9.

Weddings are memorable for all sorts of reasons, so what would make a man forget that he was married with five children, then marry another woman and claim to have no memory of the wedding ceremony? Joseph Abraham Cane married Violet Freeman at St. James's Old Cathedral in 1909 and they had five sons, born between 1909 and 1917. He was a grocer and storeman by trade and served in World War 1. Following his discharge on medical grounds, he did not return to his wife and family, but instead courted and married another woman, Mary Elizabeth Lewis, in 1918 under an assumed name. This landed him in the Criminal Court in December 1920 to face a charge of bigamy.

Soldier Forgot Ceremony

How a returned soldier unlawfully took unto himself a second wife and was unable to recall a single incident connected with the "marriage" ceremony, was described by Mr N. H. Sonenberg in the Criminal Court last week. Mr Sonenberg was engaged as counsel for Joseph Abraham Cane, who pleaded guilty to a charge of having committed bigamy. Cane was released on his entering into a bond to be of good behavior for two years. It was stated by the Crown that Cane had gone through the form of marriage with Mary Elizabeth Lewis, 11 Victoria parade, Windsor, his lawful wife, Violet Cane, of 454 Lygon street, Carlton, being then alive. Mr Sonenberg explained that Cane lived with his first wife until 1916, when he enlisted and was sent on active service. He returned seven months later, but re-enlisted, and was badly wounded at the front.

Depositions taken in the lower court were read by Mr Sonenberg. They disclosed that Miss Lewis met Cane in 1917. After the marriage, on June 6 [sic], 1918, she lived with him in Richmond, and subsequently went to Sydney. Cane had been "the best of men" to her, and she did not feel aggrieved. Counsel explained that about three days before the "marriage" ceremony took place, Cane had a fit, and fell from the top of the stairs to the bottom at Miss Lewis's mother's house. Cane, he said, had no memory for several days when he was subjected to such attacks. On May 31 last, in a surgical operation, a piece of bone was taken out of his left leg, and was afterwards grafted on to his head, which had been seriously injured. "Many men do not know what they are doing when they are getting married," jocularly added Mr Sonenberg, who said he was not going to suggest that as a ground for leniency. (Laughter).

Mr Justice Schutt (addressing Cane): The offence is a very serious one, and may be attended with very serious results. However, the peculiar circumstances of the case have induced me to exercise leniency toward you, especially in view of the fact that the second woman, who has most reason to complain of your conduct, says that she has no grievance against you. The offence should not go entirely unregarded. I purpose to inflict a sentence of six months' imprisonment, and to suspend that, releasing you upon your entering into a surety for £100 to be of good behavior for two years.

Weekly Times, 18 December 1920, p. 54

Note: The marriage registration confirms that the wedding took place on 20 June 1918.

Joseph Cane's "war injury" may have accounted for his memory loss, but an examination of his service record reveals factual inconsistencies. Cane enlisted in March 1916 and he became ill (with adenitis) two months later in May on board HMAT Port Lincoln. The examining doctor noted: "… old head injury … due, he says, to trephine for unconsciousness following a fall at boxing. This occurred some years ago." He concluded: "Head injury pre-existent. Adenitis occurred during, but not owing, to active service." However a later report, dated April 1918, states that Cane suffered a fractured skull from a shrapnel wound at Gallipoli in May 1915. According to this report, Joseph Cane spent 11 weeks in hospital and returned to Australia in November 1915. Joseph Cane enlisted twice, in 1916 and 1917, but there is no enlistment record for him in either 1914 or 1915. In response to a specific request from the Deputy Commissioner of Repatriation in 1923, the Officer-in-Charge of base records stated categorically: "There is no record in this office of any service prior to 10/3/1916." Was this a case of sloppy recordkeeping or did Joseph Cane somehow falsify his war service history?

Private Cane was officially discharged at Melbourne in April 1918 and he lived with his fiancée, Mary Elizabeth Lewis, and her mother in the months leading up to the wedding in June. Mary's mother, Mrs Lewis-Driver, had her suspicions about Cane's bona fide and she wrote to the Officer-in-Charge of base records asking if he was single or married. The reply, confirming that Cane had enlisted as a married man, was dated 20 June 1918 – the same day as the wedding – and probably arrived too late. The wedding went ahead, with Cane using the assumed name "James Alfred Lewis" and occupation "Engineer" for both himself and his father on the marriage registration. (Comparison of the signatures on the marriage registration and Joseph Cane's enlistment form shows similar handwriting.) Joseph Cane was charged with bigamy in July 1919 and wife desertion in October 1920. He was arrested by police in Sydney and extradited to Victoria in November 1920.

CANE, JOSEPH ABRAHAM, is charged, on warrant, with bigamy at Melbourne, on 20th ult.
Description:– Discharged soldier, 33 or 34 years, 5 ft. 3 or 4 in., medium build, dark complexion, black hair, clean shaven, Jewish appearance, scar on one side of his head, peculiar turn in one eye, generally wears a dark sac suit and a dark-blue hat. Offender went through a ceremony of marriage with Mary Driver, 53 Nott-street, Port Melbourne, his wife Violet Cane, 171 Palmerston-street, Carlton, being then alive.–O-7190. 28th July 1919.

Victoria Police Gazette, 31 July 1919, p. 39

Following the bigamy trial in December 1920, the wife desertion charge was heard at Carlton Court in January 1921 and Cane was ordered to pay maintenance for Violet and their youngest son Stanley. He fell behind in maintenance payments and by 1929 he was considerably in arrears. Violet was out of work and struggling to support Stanley, who was 12 years old. She approached the Commonwealth Investigation Branch in June 1929 to find out if any other person was making a claim on her husband's war pension. The Branch advised Violet that her husband's pension had been cancelled in February 1924 and no payments had been made beyond that date. Furthermore, the Repatriation Department had no record of a woman known as "Mrs Driver" or "Mrs Lewis". The investigation also revealed that, in 1924, Violet's eldest son Alfred was in the care of Sutherland Homes and her three middle sons – William, Joseph and Rupert – were in state care.


Joseph Cane, whose address was given as care of Rodder's bottle yards, Nicholson street, Carlton, was charged at the Carlton Court on Friday on the information of his wife, Violet Cane, of Oxford street, Collingwood, with having on January 10, 1921, failed to obey an order of the Court by which he was required to pay 15/ a week for the maintenance of his wife and 10/ a week for the maintenance of his child, Stanley Cane. Violet Cane in evidence stated that the arrears of payments due to her were £78 and for the child £52. It was ordered that Joseph Cane be imprisoned until the arrears were paid.

The Argus, 9 September 1929, p. 17

Note: There is no record of Cane's 1929 imprisonment in the Central Register of Male Prisoners (VPRS 515).

In 1941, Stanley Cane followed his father's example and enlisted, but his service lasted only 157 days. His record states "sub-normal mentality" and "dementia", with an annotation in large block letters "PARONOID [sic] SCHIZOPHRENIA".

Violet Cane (née Freeman) died in Carlton in 1953, aged 65 years. No death record has been found for her bigamous husband Joseph Abraham Cane, but he is believed to have died in Victoria.

Note: Biographical information on Joseph Abraham Cane and his family has been sourced from birth, death and marriage records, electoral rolls, war service records (NAA: B2455, CANE J A, NAA: B741, V/6344 and NAA: B883, VX57459) and prisoner records (VPRS 515).

In the aftermath of the police strike of 1923, the government of the day took a hardline approach against the officers who refused to report for duty. While there was public outrage and blame shaming at the scenes of rioting and lawlessness that took place in Melbourne during the strike, an article published in The Herald newspaper in December 1923 sought to present a balanced view from both sides of the argument.


Too much politics has dulled Mr Lawson's sense of fairness. When the Government determined that it would not, under any conditions, give the police strikers a chance to get back into the force, it acted, as we thought and said, with impolitic and unnecessary harshness. While we could understand and appreciate the argument that the discipline and loyalty of the Police Force must be vindicated, there were so many faults on the side of the Ministry, so many circumstances explaining, if not mitigating, the hot-headed blunder of the men that, in common with a majority of the people in the community, we considered that a generous admission of its own faults by the Government and an opportunity given to the best men amongst the strikers to admit and redeem their error would be a display of strength, not weakness.

The strikers themselves barred the way to such a settlement by allying themselves with the Trades Hall and refusing to break off the association despite the advice of their best friends. The Government held the whip hand, and chose to use its power. On that aspect there is little to be gained by further comment. The majority of the men who went on strike have found other employment and the remainder, are now deeply committed to the Trades Hall. But if the case is to be discussed further, let the facts be honestly and fairly stated so that the hurt and bitterness may be the more quickly healed.

Mr Lawson's history of the trouble is not a fair statement. It is an ungenerous piece of special pleading that suppresses material facts. Its deliberate intention is to throw the whole of the blame on the strikers and to clear the Government of all responsibility. We have never tried to relieve the strikers of blame. We have never suggested that their action was excusable, but a sense of common fairness revolts against the idea that the Ministry should get away with the claim that their attitude to the Police Force has been consistently fair and generous.

It is not true that the sole cause of the strike was the objection of a few unruly men to necessary supervision. Over 600 policemen have left the force, and it is safe to say that the great majority of these never had any dealings with the supervisors. The objection to "spooks" was merely the breeze that fanned the smouldering discontent into flame. When the Premier deliberately ignores that long history of growing discontent, and his own Government's contribution to its causes, he is unfairly attempting to mislead the public. His explanation of the trouble marches neither with facts nor with common sense, and his protestation of sympathy with the decent men amongst the strikers rings hollow, when it is tagged on to an attempt to load them with his own rightful share of blame.

The Herald, 3 December 1923, p. 4

Note: Harry Sutherland Wightman Lawson was Premier of Victoria from March 1918 to April 1924.

The fairness of the newspaper article was acknowledged by a group of Carlton women representing the dismissed police officers.

Sir, –The wives and mothers of former policemen, now down and out, thank you for your just leading article on Monday on the police dispute. These men are not police strikers or mutineers. They were all dismissed. Had there been a tactful man to deal with the situation it would have been settled at the outset. The men have suffered cruel injustice both from the Government and some newspapers. They were never given a fair chance to take up their duties again. They struck the worst Government it has been their misfortune to come under. Many of them have given the best years of their lives safeguarding property and people. One looks to the newspapers to be true and just, and it's not so much being tossed aside to look for work that is hurting our men today as the cruel, lying injustice that is being heaped on them. We think that all sense of honor and fairness has long since died as far as the Government is concerned, and yet the people won't wake up.
Yours, etc.,
Carlton, Dec. 4.

The Herald, 6 December 1923, p. 17

Some rioters who were found guilty of criminal damage or illegal possession of stolen items appealed against their prison sentences in the Court of General Sessions. Most of the original sentences imposed by magistrates were upheld, however John Ferguson of North Carlton had his charge of being in illegal possession of a skunk fur stole dismissed.


Judge Woinarski, in the Court of General Sessions today, refused to disturb the conviction and the sentence of three months' imprisonment recorded against Horace Alfred Williams, 22, bag-sewer. Williams was convicted of unlawful possession of clothing, suspected of having been stolen, on November 4, the night of the riots. Williams, it was stated, was found in possession of the clothing at 1 a.m. on November 4, near Flinders street. He was being chased along Flinders street by two civilians. At the time, a shot was fired by someone unknown. The goods were subsequently found in a waiting motor car. Williams denied possession of the goods. The appeal of John Ferguson, laborer, of Princes street, North Carlton, who was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for having been unlawfully in possession of fur stole, was also dismissed.

The Herald, 6 December 1923, p. 3

Did a miracle happen in Carlton in December 1923? A Carlton man had a Lazarus moment when he woke up from five days of sleep to find two police constables in his bedroom. His neighbour and a friend had called the police because they thought he was dead. They were so sure of his demise that they were already discussing his funeral arrangements. While the man had been ill, he was not terminally so, but his pigeons may have suffered in the summer heat because they had not been fed or watered for days.

Man Who Slept for Five Days.

There is a well-known story of the late Mark Twain, who, when a report of his death, which originated in America, was widely published throughout the United States and Europe, telegraphed from Vienna:–"Story of my death much exaggerated." The genial humorist's experience was brought to mind last night in relation to an Italian, who had been confined to his bed for several days on account of illness. About 8.15 p.m. a highly agitated Italian called at Russell-street, and informed the police that there was a man lying dead in an upstairs room of a house in Barkly-place, off Bouverie-street, Carlton. The informant stated that he lived next door to the house in question. The local police were communicated with, and Senior Plain-clothes Constable S. W. Crawford and Plain-clothes Constable Waggener were detailed to make inquiries.

Before entering the supposed house of death the two police officers had a conversation with the Italian about the arrangements for burial of his compatriot. To this end it was suggested that the Trades Hall be notified of the man's demise, as he was a member of the Plasterers' Union. At this stage the Italian who had visited Russell-street was joined by another man of the same nationality. This man, in frightened tones, told the constables that the pigeons which belonged to the man next door had heen neglected for several days, and fearing that all was not well with his neighbor he had decided to make an investigation. The two Italians said they went to the back of the house, but found the gate locked. They scaled the fence, and then climbed through an upstairs window. They saw a man stretched out on the bed apparently lifeless. The men hurriedly retraced their steps, and lost no time in calling on the police. They added that they had not seen the man in the adjoining house since Friday last.

Fearing that a silent tragedy had been enacted next door, the two plain-clothes constables procured a candle, and, followed by the two timorous Italians, they entered the house and walked upstairs. As they mounted a staircase leading to the room where the Italians had made their alleged sinister discovery they heard someone exclaim, "Who is there?" They immediately ran up the stairs, and, bursting open the door, entered the room. An altogether unexpected sight greeted them. Sitting bolt upright in the bed was a half-dressed Italian, who appeared to be very much bewildered at the sudden entry of the police. It was the supposed corpse. When he satisfied them that he was not dead, the man stated that he had been sick for the last few days, and had been unable to go to work. He thought he must have slept since Friday.

The Age, 20 December 1923, p. 9

The Age reported the incident in Barkly Place, while The Argus gave the address as Barkly Street, in a different part of Carlton. Barkly Place was a laneway off Bouverie Street and, according to the Melbourne City Council rate books for 1923, the street had only two small houses of three rooms each, and neither of these was occupied by a tenant with an Italian name. Based on this description, and the fact that the supposed "house of death" was of two storeys, Barkly Street was the more likely location.

Cecil Wear, motor mechanic, had a successful business day in December 1926. He had sold two cars and celebrated with a few drinks. But it all came undone when he got behind the wheel of a car. He had been spotted in Elgin Street, Carlton, by Constable Ballard, who made an heroic attempt to stop him driving. The hair-raising ride ended a block away in Faraday Street, where Cecil was arrested.

Drunken Driver Imprisoned.

Cecil Henry Oliver Wear, 49 years, motor mechanic, Elgin-place, Carlton, was charged at Carlton court yesterday with, while under the influence of liquor, having driven a motor car, and with having resisted a constable in the execution of his duty. Constable Ballard said he saw Wear stagger out of a lane at 5.15 p.m. on Wednesday, and get into a motor car in Elgin-street. Witness chased the car and jumped on to the footboard. He ordered defendant to stop and challenged him with being drunk. Defendant said "What's the matter with you. Get off here. I know what I am doing." By this time the car was swerving all over the road, and witness had a difficult job to hold on to the footboard, so be tried to reach the hand brake. Defendant knocked his hand away and accelerated. The car swerved into Cardigan-street, almost colliding with several vehicles. The traffic was very thick, and witness continued his efforts to reach the brake or get into the car. Near Faraday-street witness pulled the steering wheel to turn into that thoroughfare. They narrowly missed a horse and jinker, but luckily reached a garage without mishap.

Defendant got out of the car, and witness attempted to arrest him, but he snatched his arm away. Advised to go quietly and submit to a charge of drunkenness, defendant said, "I know I have had a few drinks to-day, but you are not going to take me down there, are you? I know you want to make something out of this. Come inside and I'll see you all right. Come on, and I'll fix you up with the sugar." He was taken to the police station and struggled all the way and at the watch house Constable Mageness asked him how many drinks he had taken and he answered, "It might be ten, twelve or twenty. I'm not saying how many. I sold a couple of cars to-day, and this is the result." He was thick in his speech and staggered all over the place. He declined to be examined by a doctor. Defendant, who denied the charges, said he had had only six or seven whiskies and, "not being Rechabite, they would not hurt him."

He was sentenced to fourteen days' imprisonment for having been drunk while driving a car, and his licence was cancelled. For resisting the constable a fine of 40/, in default 14 days' imprisonment, was inflicted.

The Age, 11 December 1926, p. 16

Cecil Henry Oliver Wear was no stranger to the justice system. Also known by the name "Thomas Harris", he had a number of convictions dating back to 1917. He was associated with several failed companies and was imprisoned for making false statements in business name registrations. Following the 1926 drunken driving charge, Cecil Wear went on to record convictions for false pretences, imposition, larceny, forgery and uttering. According to his prison record (VPRS 515/P0/34563) his last term of imprisonment ended in February 1941.

The garage, where the car was finally stopped and Cecil attempted to bribe Constable Ballard with the offer of "sugar", was quite possibly at 221-223 Faraday Street. It was the former premises of the Royal Ambulance Service Company, one of the companies with which Cecil Wear was associated.

In the 1930s, gas-fuelled pressing irons were promoted as an economical alternative to electric irons. Instead of a power cord, the gas iron had a flexible tube that connected to the gas supply. When ignited, the gas fed a series of burners within the body of the iron, which in turn heated the sole plate. While gas irons were efficient in heating, the naked flames could pose a fire risk. In December 1931 the fire brigade identified a gas iron, left burning during the lunchtime break, as the most likely cause of a fire that gutted a two storey factory in Holtom Street, Princes Hill.

The two young women who were inside the factory at the time were commended for their efforts to save their workplace, especially Miss Lily Crothers who tried to put out the fire with buckets of water. However, her heroic action in going back upstairs in an attempt to call the fire brigade could have ended in tragedy. We hope that the women, who lost personal items in the fire, were suitably compensated by their employers, Messrs H. and N. Simons.

£7000 FIRE
Factory Blaze in Carlton
Effort to Check Flames

About £7000 worth of damage was caused by a fire which broke out in the factory of Messrs H. and N. Simons, cap manufacturers, corner of McIlwraith and Holton [sic] Streets, North Carlton, at 12.30 p.m. today. Miss Lily Crothers, a girl employe, made a plucky attempt to check the blaze. She was defeated by the dense smoke and intense heat, and was lucky to escape unharmed. The firm's stock, which included linings, tweeds, rolls of silk and other raw materials, as well as about 1400 caps, was destroyed. The damage to the interior woodwork of the building and the windows is estimated at £500.

Gas-Iron Theory

The Fire Brigade theory is that the blaze was caused by a gas-iron, which was left burning on a long wooden pressing bench when most of the hands left the factory for lunch at 12.20 pm. This iron was surrounded by caps and inflammable materials. It is probable that the draught from the doorway played on to the gas-jet inside the iron, blowing it on to one of the caps, which ignited. Miss Crothers and another girl employee, Miss Rita Beasley, of Brunswick, were the only people in the factory when the fire began. Another girl had gone to a shop some distance away to buy her lunch. Miss Crothers and Miss Beasley were having their lunch in a room at the back of the first floor of the building, which is of two storeys, with brick walls and iron-barred windows.

Only Trickle From Hose

"It was about 12.30 pm." Miss Crothers said today. "Suddenly we realised that smoke was flooding up the stairway. We ran to the stairs and hurried down. A pile of boxes, containing caps, was blazing on the ground floor. Miss Beasley ran outside to call Mr H. Simons, who lives nearby. I stayed behind to see if I could do anything to stop the fire. I tried to turn on the fire hose, but it wouldn't work. Only a trickle of water came through. There were some filled fire buckets on the floor, and I emptied them on to the flames. The fire was then burning fiercely. The heat was terrific, and the smoke stung my eyes and made it difficult to me to see."

Beaten Back By Smoke

"The telephone is on the first floor, and I tried to run upstairs to ring the Fire Brigade. When I was nearly to the top I had to retreat. It was all I could do to breathe, because of the smoke. When I got downstairs again I grabbed two of the buckets and tried to fight my way to the back of the building where there is a water tap. I just couldn't make it. The smoke and flames were too thick. I had to drop everything and get to the door as quickly as I could. Perhaps I wasn't in any really grave danger of being trapped, but the flames were leaping right through the place, and I had an uncomfortable feeling that I might be cut from the door."

Brigade Called

The brigade was called by a house-holder nearby, who saw the rolling smoke, and telephoned Eastern Hill. Detachments of men and hose carriages from Carlton, North Fitzroy and Brunswick were immediately ordered to the fire. When the firemen arrived flames were shooting from every window. A breeze was blowing, and this passed through the windows and fanned the flames. The men could do nothing but train their hoses on the fire to prevent it spreading. They had it under control within a few minutes, but a squad of men was left on duty to watch the smouldering shell of the factory. Mr H. Simons, who, with his brother, Mr N. Simons, owns the building and operates the factory, said that an endeavor would be made to find temporary quarters at once or to repair the burned building so as to enable business to continue. If neither of these courses was possible, about 16 employes would be out of work.

Insurance £6800

Miss Crothers and Miss Beasley lost their coats and handbags, which they forgot until they were outside the building. The stock contents of the factory were insured for £5300, and the building for £1500.

The Herald, 4 December 1931, p. 7

The factory on the corner of Holtom and McIlwraith streets was built in 1918 and extended ten years later in 1928. After the 1931 fire, the Simons brothers wasted no time in getting production back on track and they applied for a building permit (application no. 13389) within two weeks. The cap manufacturing business continued for several decades and the building is now residential.

Note: A photo of the fire-damaged factory building appears on page 4 of The Herald on 4 December 1931.

Harris Henry Marks, also known by the name of Henry Marrs, died a lonely death in December 1941 at the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum in Cheltenham. He had been found in an emaciated state at a house in Drummond Street, Carlton, and taken to the Asylum by the police, who quite reasonably assumed he was destitute. Following his death a few days after admission, the nursing staff discovered evidence amongst his tattered belongings that he was a man of considerable wealth. He had a daughter named Annie living in Davis Street and she was able to fill in the details of his life and the events that lead to his ignominious death.


The life and habits of the wealthy "pauper," Harris Henry Marks, 82, tailor and dealer, who died on Sunday night in the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum possessing £3378, were described by his eldest daughter to-day. Marks was carried into the home a few days ago weak from starvation. The daughter, Mrs Annie Rosenthal, of Davis Street, Carlton, said today that it was only a week since her father had been at her home. He had then disappeared. She described him as a roamer. He had been a comedian, composed songs, been equivalent to a modern A.R.P. [Air Raid Precautions] warden in the last war, a machinist and a second-hand dealer. Born in Russia, he went at an early age to England, where he married and raised a family of four. They came to Australia, where four more children were born. When war broke out he returned to England and served in the air-raid defences. He returned to Australia seven years later. It was probably at this time he saved his money.

His life changed after the death of his wife, whom he married as a beautiful girl. He walked everywhere and often disappeared. "Once, when it was raining," said Mrs Rosenthal, "he arrived here with a bus ticket in his hand. He complained that he had been forced by the rain to catch a bus." He would buy himself a few cakes when he was not eating at my house. His foolishness over money came back on him. He should have bought comforts for himself."

Harris Marks will be buried to-day in the Jewish portion of the Fawkner Cemetery. The funeral leaves the Melbourne Chevra Kadisha Funeral Parlors at 3.30 p.m. today. No will has been discovered. His family consists of eight children, 14 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Most of them are in Sydney.

The Herald, 30 December 1941, p. 3

Mr Marks died intestate and, without a will and nominated executor, Letters of Administration were granted to the Public Trustee for Victoria, acting on behalf of his daughter Annie Rosenthal of 55 Davis Street, North Carlton. His personal estate amounted to £3,529, comprising a small amount of cash in hand, money in an account with the State Savings Bank, and fixed deposits with the Bank of Australasia and Bank of Adelaide. The Letters of Administration (VPRS 28/P3/330/523) identified eight beneficiaries – children and grandchildren – as the only surviving next of kin and persons entitled by law to share in his property.

The summer months can be a time of variable weather conditions. On Christmas Day of 1948, Melbourne recorded a maximum temperature of 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit (36.5 Celsius), the highest of all capital cities in Australia, while Brisbane enjoyed a relatively mild 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius). The warm and sultry conditions continued in Melbourne for the next few days, resulting in the temporary closure of Essendon aerodrome due to low cloud and fog. On the evening of 27 December, a thunderstorm in Carlton had tragic consequences.


THREE men and a woman were trapped for 10 minutes under a big tree that fell across a seat on which they were sitting in Argyle Square gardens, Carlton, during a thunderstorm last evening. All four were injured, and were admitted to Royal Melbourne Hospital. They were:

John Patrick Mulaney [sic], 62, Smith st, Collingwood (fractured leg); Austin Guthrie, 85, Drummond st, Carlton (fractured leg) ; William Larkins, 58, Barkly st, Carlton (shock); Elsie Quilty, 49, Johnston st, Fitzroy (abrasions).

The tree, which was uprooted by a wind gust, fell along the length of the seat before the occupants could get clear. It was lifted off the injured by a large group of nearby residents.

The Argus, 28 December 1948, p. 1


John Patrick Mullany, 62 years, of Smith-street, Collingwood, died in Royal Melbourne Hospital yesterday, following injuries received when a tree was blown over on a seat in Argyle-square, Carlton, on December 27. Mr. Mullany was admitted to hospital with a fractured leg. Three other people sitting on the seat were also injured.

The Age, 31 December 1948, p. 3

In December 1952, a summer storm cut a swathe through the city's parks and gardens. The Melbourne City Council store yard in Pigdon Street, between Wilson and Arnold streets, suffered property damage. No injuries were reported.


In the worst storm that city councillors can remember, hundreds of pounds worth of damage has been done to Melbourne's parks and gardens. In yesterday's howling gale the chairman of the City Council's parks and gardens committee (Cr. A. E. Carlyle) ruefully surveyed the mounting damage. "It will take the staff days to clear up the debris and restore the damaged areas," he said.

At the height of the gale a heavy iron roof was blown from a City Council store yard in Carlton. It was carried about 30 yards, and during its flight hit overhead electric wires, throwing showers of sparks into Pigdon-street.

The Age, 12 December 1952, p. 4

The weeks leading up to Christmas are traditionally the busiest time for retail sales, but also a time of increased shoplifting activity. In 1954, two North Carlton housewives went on a shoplifting spree that landed them in court. Their husbands would have found out about their exploits when their names were published in the newspaper.


Two respectable Melbourne mothers, tempted by Christmas goods displayed in the city, robbed six leading stores, the City Court was told yesterday. Mr. C. J. McDonald, for the women, said that the husbands, who held good jobs, did not know about the thefts. There were young children in both families. Each woman was fined a total of £30 on six charges of larceny. They were Mrs. Ellen Horton, 29, of McIlwraith st., North Carlton; and Mrs. Melvia Eppongstall [sic], 25, of Richardson st., North Carlton. Senior-constable Raymond Solin said he was called to Woolworths, Bourke st., store on November 21, at 12.30 p.m. He said the store supervisor told him she had caught Mrs. Horton and Mrs. Eppongstall [sic] stealing goods. Constable Solin said both women admitted the theft, and made statements that they had taken socks, ties, gloves, handkerchiefs, polish, toothpaste, a jumper, scarf, and material from Snows, Treadways, Woolworths, Rockmans, Sharpes, and Paynes. Constable Solin said they admitted they began by taking a piece of green material from Rockmans. They said after that it was easy, and they just kept on taking stuff from the shops. One woman would pick it up, and the other would put it into her shopping bag, said Constable Solin.

Mr. McDonald asked Mr. Mohr, S.M., for three months for payment of the fines.
Mr. Mohr: Do you mean without their husbands knowing?
Mr. Mohr said they could each pay £10, and the remainder over six weeks.

The Argus (1954, 10 December 1954, p. 11

Note: Electoral rolls for 1954 confirm that Ellen Dora Horton lived at 20 McIlwraith Street and Melvia Doreen Eppingstall lived at 221 Richardson Street.

Decades earlier, in December 1889, a self-confessed kleptomaniac appeared in Carlton Court to answer a charge of stealing two rolls of silk, valued at £15, the property of Ball & Welch of Drummond Street, Carlton. Mary Ann Wilkie, a "respectable looking" married woman, had an extensive record of theft going back to the 1870s. She had served time in gaol on several occasions, but she continued to offend.


Rather a respectable looking woman named Mary Ann Wilkie was charged, before the Carlton-Bench, this morning, with stealing two pieces of silk valued at L15 [£15], the property of Messrs Ball and Welch. It appears that at about 9 o'clock this morning the woman went to Messrs Ball and Welch's, and sat down in a chair whilst she made some purchases. The assistant had occasion to leave for a few moments to go to a different part of the establishment, and on his return he noticed that two rolls of silk were missing. Suspicion at once fell upon the prisoner, and observing that the woman was endeavoring to conceal something beneath her dress, the assistant moved the skirt on one and found the missing goods. The services of Senior-constable Cassidy were called in, and the woman was given into custody. On being searched at the local watchhouse it was discovered that the woman had a large bag, or pillow-slip, fixed under the skirt of her dress, which appeared to have been placed there as a sort of receptacle for goods stolen in this way. In asking for a remand Senior-constable Cassidy stated that the woman was a notorious shop-lifter, and had been previously convicted for similar offence. In answer to a question from the Bench as to whether she had anything to say, the prisoner said, "I couldn't help it, your Worships. I've got a beautiful home, and my husband holds a high position. I have a large family. My husband, who is a contractor, lives in Little Collins street. I get a sort of mania, and cannot help taking things, especially if I take a drop of drink." The prisoner was then remanded for a week, bail being allowed in one surety of L50, and the prisoner in her own recognisance of a like amount.

The Herald, 5 December 1889, p. 1

Mrs Wilkie was subsequently sentenced to 12 months' gaol and she was back in custody again in August 1894 for a similar offence. Her last reported theft was ten years later in August 1904, when she was convicted of stealing articles of wearing apparel and household linen from her employer, Harry Walting of Macarthur Square, Carlton.


Mary Ann Wilkie, aged 58, was charged at Carlton court yesterday with stealing various articles of wearing apparel and household linen, valued at 20/, the property of Harry Walting, an inspector in the employ of the City Council. From 9th ult. until 22nd inst. accused was employed by prosecutor to look after his house, and wait on his wife, who was ill. On 17th inst. his wife died, and the burial took place at Bacchus Marsh, accused being present at the funeral. On 23rd inst. she was removing her boxes from prosecutor's house in Macarthur-square, but they were brought back from the van, and, on a search being instituted by Constable Mills next day, some of the stolen property was found in a trunk that was about to be removed. The remainder was recovered at a house in which accused resided in Powlett-street, East Melbourne. The defence was that before her death Mrs. Walting informed accused that she could have whatever she cared for in the house, and that some of the things were taken home by prisoner for the purpose of being ironed. Accused was fined £5, in default of distress a month's imprisonment.

The Age, 26 August 1904, p. 7

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