Tuesday, 30 December 2014



In 1931, Ivan white awoke to the horrifying sounds of screams from his, across the road neighbours, on Brighton Road, Helmsdale. He jumped out of bed and ran across to the bungalow. Looking through the window, to his horror, he saw his neighbour, Stanley Jones, bashing his wife in the head with a hammer...

Stanley Jones was married to Gertrude, and together they lived with their 18 year old daughter Marjorie and an 35 year old female boarder by the name of of Ms Sullivan.
Stanley owned a Billiard Saloon Hall in Glenelg that had always been reasonably rewarding financially, but in recent times had become somewhat of a strain on his hip pocket.

On the night in question, Mr Jones came home from work and dinner with his Wife, daughter and Boarder. The foursome ate, and Ms Sullivan and Marjorie excused themselves and both returned to their rooms.
Ms Sullivan, later in her Police statement, said after she had left the dining room, and returned to her room, Mr and Mrs Jones had sat at the table, engrossed in amicable conversation.
At some point the same evening, after saying goodnight to his wife, Stanley began to write a note explaining that he was sorry for all the trouble he had caused and the “The Billiard saloon was the cause of it all”..
At about 2:45am, Stanley went into his daughter Marjorie's room and slit her throat with a razor. Marjorie couldn’t scream, but she managed to get up and make her way to her Mothers room, bleeding severely from her wounds. As she entered Gertrude's room, Stanley, Her Father, struck her in the back of the head with a hammer.
Marjorie fell to the floor at the foot of her Mothers bed.
Gertrude began to scream, and as she did, Stanley came at her with the hammer swinging wildly, whilst also trying to slash her with the razor.
In another part of the house Ms Sullivan had been awoken by the screams, and realised something terrible was happening in the house, she jumped out through a window to escape, and ran into neighbour Ivan white as he crossed the street to see what was going on.
Looking through the window at the horrors before him, Ivan tapped on the window. Stanley turned and looked him in the eye, with a savage expression on his face, and turned back to beating his wife around the head with the hammer.
Mr White rushed down the street to the nearest telephone box and called the Plice, who arrived within in five minutes.
The police entered the house to find Marjorie was still alive, but in a very bad way, they followed a trail of blood through to the rear of the house and into the backyard where they found Stanley, who taken the razor to himself and slit his throat from ear to ear. He was still alive.

Both Stanley and his daughter Marjorie succumb to their wounds before medical help could arrive.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas 2014
this week we are posting some old photos of Christmas in South Australia from over the past (almost) 200 years.
All photos are courtesy of The South Australian State Library

A 'Y' class steam train, decorated for Christmas, pictured with its crew and other men at Gladstone. A raised water tank behind the train is advertising 'Burford's - circa 1900

 The photos below feature Adelaide Christmas Pageant floats featuring Father Christmas, Noah's Ark and Nimble on Grenfell Street outside the Rigby newsagent and Cole's Book Arcade

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Father Michael Ryan

Father Michael Ryan:

Father Ryan first arrived in South Australia with Bishop Murphy in the year 1814, and was the first Roman Catholic priest On South Australian soil; he held the high ecclesiastical positions of Vicar-General and Apostolic Administrator in his time.
He was the first Catholic priest to say Mass in Kapunda in 1845
Father Ryan was appointed with the task of building a church in Kapunda.
 Father Ryan found a suitable place to hold mass for those who couldn’t get to the St Johns church; the area is now where Kapunda Institute stands. Eventually he chose the site for St Rose of Lima church to be built. The original church has since been destroyed and a new one built in its place.
On the 3rd of April 1864 Father Ryan performs wedding ceremony for Horace McKinley and Martha Craig.

On 15 August 1864 Father Michael Ryan laid the foundation stone for the Sevenhills church at Sevenhill.
Father Ryan died of apoplexy on 24th August 1865 (Historically the word "apoplexy" was also used to describe any sudden death that began with a sudden loss of consciousness, especially one in which the victim died within a matter of seconds after losing consciousness.)

At his funeral it was stated
Father Ryan was a pious and zealous member of the Catholic Church— a man of modest and unassuming manners. In him the members of his Church have lost a truly benevolent pastor, the poor a ready counsellor, and the needy a friend.”

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

James Yates

James Yates

In 1850, Adelaide was a small colony, with very little to do once work had finished for the day. Gaol Executions, although distressing and grotesque, attracted large crowds of onlookers.
The execution day of James Yates was no different. On that day, the crowd grew to six hundred strong, despite the inclement weather.
Yates had been found guilty of murdering a Shepard at Skillagogee Creek, a fellow workman known locally as “The Sergeant” because of his past military service.
Without going into too much detail about eh case (as it is long an extensive – but if you want to read more, please visit here: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/3931229?zoomLevel=5&searchTerm=James%20yates&searchLimits=l-state=South+Australia|||l-decade=185 ) Yates was found guilt of a brutal murder by way of repeated blows to the head.
He denied any wrong doings in court, claiming loudly that he was innocent, and later that it was self defence as the old Sergeant had been quite drunk and came at him first..
Yates hanging was a horrible one, with the know of the noose getting caught behind his neck, and his constant struggling witnessed by the large crowd. He was eventually let down, and his body evaluated before being buried inside the stone walls of The Adelaide Gaol.

The following poem was written by condemned man, James Yates, this poetry, although badly written, was heartfelt and in appreciation of his lawyer, Mr G.M. Stephen, for his tireless, although unsuccessful, efforts to save him from the gallows.

If I had always refrained from drink 
and paid attenshion to the word of God 
I never would have had to have rued the day 
Or on the wretched scaffold to have trod

Since i have now come to this untimely end 
And in this world i found one onely friend 
Who tried his utmost for me to defend 
I hope God will reward him in the end

His honner the guge to me he has proved kind 
Nearley three weeks he has gave me to make up my mind 
For this wicked world to leave behind 
And in the next i hope soon my God to find

I was brought up by my tender parents 
Who always was to me so kind and free 
But little did they ever think 
That I should di on the gallows tree

James Yates

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Eerie Experiences

This week, two South Australian stories of "Eerie Experiences" submitted to "The Australian Woman's Weekly" in September 1964

First Published in “The Australian Women's Weekly :Wednesday 16 September 1964”

DURING the war I was a member of the A.W.A.S. stationed in a country town. One day I was involved in an accident, and during the time it took for me to be extricated from the wreckage; I yelled over and over, "Mum! Mum!"
On recovering consciousness in hospital I was handed a telegram from my mother 600 miles away. It read,"What has happened? Are you all right? Love, Mum."
I discovered that at the moment of the accident she heard me as if I were in the next room screaming for her. She sent the telegram and was in a state herself until she heard from me.
MRS. J. COLLINS, Woodville, S.A.

First Published in “The Australian Women's Weekly :Wednesday 16 September 1964”

My home is old and rather large. All the main rooms
open into a long passage. For several years I often had the feeling, as I walked down this passage, that I was being followed.
If I turned I would see, out of the corner of my eye, a sudden movement as though something about two and a half feet high had just raced out of sight.
This experience was never frightening. It was rather like having a very inquisitive pet that was also very timid.
I came to think of this movement as "he."
One day while I was in the sitting-room he must have become especially curious, for when I pulled the door open to go out, there he was in the doorway.
In the second before he moved I saw that he was very short and thick-set, his head was unusually large and oddly flattened on top, and his face was waxen in texture, although I saw no features. As he scuttled off I saw that he had very short legs.
The poor little thing must have been badly frightened, for I have not seen him since. Still, it's not every day one frightens a short-legged ghost.

"SHORT-LEGGED GHOST," North Adelaide.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Cemetery Superstitions

Cemetery Superstitions

Something a little different to the normal "History, Mystery and Paranormal" here on The Haunts of Adelaide, Superstitions, particularly Cemetery superstitions.
These superstitions come from across the world and some are somewhat grotesque to our modern sensibilities, but not doubt were essential ways of thinking regarding to dealing with death at the time.
An old superstition for people accused of being witches was to bury the alleged witch face down in the coffin, it was thought that this would stop the witch breaking free and digging her way out to cause trouble again. Strangely this custom was also adopted for any families first born infant that passed away – it was also customary for the married couple to never have any more children as a curse would fall upon those children’s heads.
In one part of Northern Ireland there is a cemetery where only Men are buried, and only Men can visit. It is said if women dare to step foot in the graveyard, the spirits will rise and eject her from their burial grounds.
In France there is a cemetery where there are over 7000 Saints buried in a predominately Catholic religious area. Visitors must remove their shoes, as a sign of respect when entering this “Holy Place”, and those who don’t, often befall bizarre accidents within the grounds, and sometimes on their way home.
Another old custom is to leave a pipe and tobacco for the last person buried in the cemetery to have some comfort and something to do. It was often thought the last person buried had the duty of protecting the cemetery until the next person was buried (In some cases, that person could be a guard for eternity)
Another strange belief in some areas is that the last person buried in a cemetery in a year, would be the harbinger of death for the following year, going about the local village collecting the souls of the newly dead.
Have you ever wondered why some ancient cemeteries have wells located in them? Most people wouldn't drink from that well as they would believe the bodies buried so close would taint the water, but in actual fact, the well was put there for the dead to drink from!
It was an ancient held belief that the dead were an extremely thirsty bunch. So cemeteries started installing wells, and leaving wooden bowls for the dead to take water back top purgatory, so everyone could satisfy their first in the afterlife!
The Irish started the custom of placing cemetery dirt upon the body of the dead before it was lowered into the cemetery grounds. It is seen as a blessing to the already buried souls in the cemetery, and thought to settle them from causing problems, not only for the newly interred, but also the local townsfolk. This custom was never undertaken for those who committed suicide.
Cemetery soils are blessed by Priests, usually a whole cemetery will be sanctified, although this may not be the case with current modern multi-religious cemeteries, which may choose to only bless the very area where someone is buried.
The ground is though to contain special powers because of the blessings, and for this reason, cemetery dirt is often used in witchcraft practices and Voodoo magic

Another old religious custom is to bury the dead with their heads pointing west. You may have noticed some older cemeteries the heads of the dead all point west and their feet east, this was because it has long been written that The Last Judgement will come from the East – so the dead should be facing Jesus when he arrives.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Elliston: A Cursed Town?

Elliston: A Cursed Town?

The coastal township of Elliston, located some 650km's from Adelaide, on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula is a small beach-front town known for whale, sea lion and dolphin spotting on the tranquil waters of Waterloo Bay.
Elliston also features the largest mural in the southern hemisphere, covering 500 square meters. The mural was painted by local artists and community members.

The area was first described by Matthew Flinders in his ship log in 1802 - and subsequently explored further.
The area was further explored in 1840 by Edward Eyre on a journey to Western Australia. The township didn't acquire its name until 1878 when Governor Jervois noted it on a regional map.
The township in the late 1800's was a small, mainly fishing community, surrounded by farming land. Many small Aboriginal tribes also called this area home, and camped on the outskirts of the small town as they moved between ancient tribal sites, little did they know they would play such a large part in this communities dark disturbing future...
In 1836, of the settlers who came to South Australia, some made their way onto the Eyre Peninsula to the vast fertile soils. Some of the European settlers decided the land in the area we now call Elliston was sufficient for settlement, farming and fishing. So they made plans to start their small community.

A tribe of about two hundred Aboriginal people lived on the outskirts of Elliston. Two young Aboriginal hunters went about the business of bringing food back to the tribe, on their journey they came across a farm where sheep were being kept. Upon their arrival at the farm, the farmer who owned the property arrived home, and took note of the two Aboriginal hunters. On the next day, after the usual counting of heads of sheep, the farmer noted four sheep had gone missing. He linked the missing sheep to the two Aboriginal hunters he had seen the day before and reported the missing sheep and the two hunters to the local police.
A local policeman descended upon the camp of the closest Aboriginal mob and began asking who stole the sheep from the farmer the day before.. The Elders replied that no one had taken any sheep . The policeman was suspicious and asked . “Who went out hunting yesterday?”
The tribe named the two men, knowing they had done no wrong, and told the policeman they came back with wombat and kangaroo. The officer suspected the Aboriginal elders were protecting their hunters by lying about the sheep. He arrested the two hunters, who spoke no English and kept them in the gaol.
Weeks later a judge was sent from Adelaide for the trial of the two hunters, which was held in a large barn in Elliston. The Aboriginal hunters mob stood outside in the dark, watching through holes in the walls and through tiny windows, and listened as their hunters were accused. The hunters, who spoke no English, professed their innocence in their native tongue. The hunters told the judge they hunted wombat and kangaroo, but the judge couldn’t understand them and said, “Hang them! Give them an example. Show them what will happen if they steal again!”

The townsfolk took the two Aboriginal hunters and hung them that night in the center of town. The two bodies were left swaying all the next day as a warning to the Aboriginal people. The Tribe wept and mourned their lost family members and the next night cut them down and took them away to bury them in their own tribal custom. Whilst some of the tribe cut the young men down, others sneaked through the town to the building where the Judge was sleeping, they coaxed him from his slumber with a "whoobu-whoobie" ( An Aboriginal device that can sound like a horse neighing, or a dog growling) and knocked him unconscious.
They then hung the white judge from the very spot he had hung the Aboriginal hunters.

On the next morning, when the townsfolk found the judge hanging, the town banded together and formed a posse. The local policeman rounded up horsemen from farms and told the local farmers of the Judges demise. The posse rode to the Aboriginal camp and herded the tribe, men women and children, together, any that tried to escape were shot, whipped or beat with sticks. The posse herded the tribe to the local cliffs and forced them off the side to their deaths.
Only four Aboriginals from the tribe survived the brutal justice of the townsfolk. three teenagers, one girl, two boys and a baby. The baby survived by its mother taking the full impact of the fall. The teenagers that survived lay quiet and still, waiting for some time as the white men at the top of the cliff looked for survivors to kill. Eventually the posse moved on and the children made their escape down the beach towards Streaky Bay.
The news of the massacre spread swiftly amongst the Aboriginal tribes and they began to flee the area towards Talewan, and the Gawler Ranges, not wanting to suffer a similar fate at the hands of the merciless white folk of Elliston
History repeats, and within ten years, the townsfolk of Elliston, repeated their horrible massacre of more local Aboriginal tribes near the local "sweep holes", for very similar reasons to the first massacre. After the second massacre, No Aboriginal people have ever lived in Elliston.

It was well documented that when a farmer killed his sheep in the town, the Aboriginal tribes would collect the guts whatever was left and use it for their own purposes, if there was no food from their own local resources around.
The only evidence the Police had against the two hunters was tracks in the scrub.
It wasn't until many years later that the Aboriginal men were proven to be innocent, two white men admitted to stealing the sheep to start their own farm in a near-by town. The two Aboriginal men were hung for no reason, and a whole innocent tribe was put to death for the death of one man, who had not given a fair trial to a fellow human being.

Local legends persist, and amongst Mobs in the area, the place is considered cursed. It is said that amongst the cliffs where the Aboriginal Mob fell to their deaths, that at times, their voices, screams and cries can be heard. Reports of phantoms have also been made near the cliffs and near the sweep holes.

Iris Burgoyne: The Mirning - We are the whales - publshed by Magabala books
Black armband Blogspot
Elliston Community Website
Across the bar to Waterloo bay: Elliston 1878 - 1978. - Compiled by the Elliston book commitee
A special Thank you to Andrew Brown who reminded me of this story!

Original story written Dec 6. 2011
Edited 31/1/2012 © 2013 -Allen Tiller

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

War Tunnels

War Tunnels

A brand new train and train-line, with a newly completed viaduct and brand new tunnels in Belair in the newly founded colony of South Australia was quite the achievement. Although, the colony did not expect to see men standing around in the fields near Blackwood, wondering why their new shiny train could not make it up the steep incline, and so it was in 1833 when 200 of Adelaide's most proper gentleman were invited on the first trip of Adelaide’s new train line into the Adelaide Hills (As reported in the Observer March 17th 1833)

World War One broke out and the old “sleeps hill” line became a very important part of our War Communications and transport between States. Armed military guards were posted at either ends of the tunnels to stop any espionage attempts.
When the war ended in 1919, a new line was installed, and the railway lines were removed from the old tunnels (the last train ran through there on august 11th 1919). Instead the tunnels now served as a picnic and exploration area to many local people.

In 1932, an enterprising young man came up with the idea of using the tunnels to grow mushrooms. He removed the gravel floor and brought in tons of fresh dirt, and planted his first crop, looking to a bright future of all year round fresh mushrooms for South Australia.
However it wasn’t to be, as unforeseen causes saw his business take many blows. Firstly, an endless supply of unwanted brown snakes found their way into the warm dank tunnels. Then mould and fungus disease obliterated his crop...and to top it all off vandals broke in a destroyed what little he had left.
His mushroom dream finally ended after and outbreak of the fungus “Chatomium” spread throuhg his crop, a disease brought to South Australia from infected mushrooms from Herefordshire, England.
In 1938 – the old tunnels now stood empty once again.
In 1942, the Japanese bombed Darwin, and an outbreak of paranoid hysteria captured the South Australian governments minds. They decided the old Sleeps hills tunnels would be the perfect place to hide the States treasures and important documents.
Plans wee made, and the shorter of the two tunnels was soon overhauled with ventilation shafts, electric lighting, and thick brick walls at either end with heavy iron doors.
A Jarrah platform running 700ft and 18 inches high was installed running the full legth of the tunnel. Next the tunnel was divided in half down its width and dived into sections. A small hand cart was then used to place the States Treasures into their new homes.
Armed troops stood guard as endless trucks of treasures arrived to be unloaded and hidden from the Japanese Threat. War records on microfilm, Government X-rays, taxation documents and other Government papers were stored inside the tunnels alongside some of our most valuable art collections.
The Government spent a lot of money on this new storage facility, that housed not only our state treasure and documents, but also a Travelling painting of King George the VI, which happened to be in Australia at the time. Elaborate fire safe guards were installed and the facility was constantly monitored by the military for dampness, mould and pests.
The other tunnel played a lesser role and became storage for an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, it too was heavily guarded by our military.
The war ended, but this did not stop the military from using the 1st tunnel for the following few years.

There has long been rumour and innuendo that some of our treasures never made it back out of tunnel 1, but I am assured by a source I spoke to recently that everything was accounted for and returned to its proper place after the threat of war diminished.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Gawler -“Flying Saucer”

Gawler -“Flying Saucer”

In 1954 Gawler experienced its first publicly reported “Flying Saucer” report. On Wednesday the 20th of January 1954 Mrs J Tait was at her home south of the Gawler Racecourse. At about 11:20am she witnessed and Unidentified Flying Object flying at incredible height and speed over the foothills to the South East.
Mrs Tait was not alone, her daughter, Rotha and Rotha's school friends, Shirley Struck were also present. The incredible noise the object was making had made them come outside to see what all the fuss was about.
The object, which at first resembled a feather, soon too on the shape of a saucer. It sped through the air at “great height and speed” and was “pure white”. It remained in the air for a very brief amount of time before it shot off at incredible speed in a south westerly direction.
15 minutes later a jet plane flew across the sky heading in the same direction as the UFO.
The RAAF was contacted and they stated they had indeed sent a jet aircraft off at the time stated. The Jet was doing around 600MPH at 10, 000 feet.
Another witness, Mrs W.C. Harrington of Gawler South also the flying object.

When presented with the RAAF's opinion of it being a jet, Mrs Tait Stated that she is perfectly sure that the first object did not resemble and aircraft in the slightest. The first object was round and second object was easily identifiable as a jet air-plane

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Grisly Gawler - Part IV - Circus Strikers brawl

Grisly Gawler - Part IV

Circus Strikers Brawl

In 1931 after a successful string of shows in Angaston, Wirths Circus was on its way to Gawler via train to set up at the Circus at the Gawler Racecourse. Following close behind in a rented truck from Tanunda,. Were a group of men who had gone on strike during the Angaston leg of shows, wanting more money and better conditions.
The Tanunda Police had phoned ahead and warned the Gawler Police of the approaching truck and the state of anger and excitement of the men on board.
The truck rolled into Gawler and the men drove up and down the main street calling out obscenities about the circus and its owners. Constable Philips of the Gawler Police, intercepted the truck at Tramways bridge and ordered the men out. The men verbally abused the officer as they unloaded.
Police Sergeant Hansberry and Mounted Constable Hodgson were called to assist and it didnt take long until violence erupted with some of the men striking at the Police Officers. The men did not account for the Officers being more than willing reciprocate, striking back with their batons, knocking at least four men to the ground unconscious and causing extensive injuries with their batons. Blood was split and bones were cracking under the extreme willingness of the Officers to end the violence these men had started.
The Police eventually rounded up four of the most violent and abusive men and took them to the local station to charge them with Drunkenness, Indecent Language and Resisting Arrest.
Later in the day, several of the striking men from Angaston, turned up to the new Circus site at Gawler Racecourse, ready to cause a ruckus as to why their strike conditions were not being met. Mrs Wirth, refused to discuss the terms with the men and told them to leave the site.
Police continued patrols well into the night to stop any further trouble.
Unemployed men from Adelaide, who were on the Government listings, were brought down to fill the void the strikers had left, and to work for the Circus.
The men arrested were found guilty and duly fined. The other men did not return to cause any more problems that evening, due to the sudden rise in police visibility....

Perhaps a riot was stopped shot on that particular occasion!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday The Haunts of Adelaide

Happy 2nd Birthday
The Haunts of Adelaide

Tomorrow The Haunts of Adelaide turns 2!
 Many thanks to all our readers that have found us and stayed with us over those two years, as we have delved into some of South Australia's, Ghosts, Crimes and Eccentricities...

We appreciate your support and encouragement.

We would also like to thank
The National Library of Australia
The Library of South Australia
The PANDORA Archives
The Bunyip
The Kapunda Herald
The Advertiser
and all the Historians and Genealogists who have helped along the way

Below is some of our artwork from the past 2 years

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Grisly Gawler - Part III - Death in Custody

Grisly Gawler - Part III
Death in Custody

Life was hard in the late 1800's, but, just like now, there was no excuse for crime, and if you were caught, you'd sit in a police cell until it was your time to be judged and sentenced.
In Gawler, you would visit the police cells on Cowan street. In it's day, long before the modern Police Station we see now, there stood a stone building ( as shown in photo's below)
Much like now, back in the day there were rules and regulations Police had to follow whilst they had prisoners in custody, but those rules and regulations didn’t take in to account the human factor. If someone really wants something bad enough, they will find a way to do it, and with that, there were quite a few deaths in custody in the Gawler Police station in the late 1800's.
I am going to touch on one briefly in this article.

In 1872, a man by the Surname Docherty had been arrested in front of his own home for suspicion of stealing horse saddle three months earlier. The arrest was made by Sergeant Woodcock at 5am on
the 16th of October 1872 . He took the defendant back to the Gawler Police station on cowman street and placed him in the cells.
Precautions were taken to make sure the prisoner had no weapons upon his body and he was left alone in the cells, checked upon on a regular basis by the station officers, as was customary.
He was last seen alive at 9pm Saturday night when his dinner was brought to him by Constable Farrell.
Docherty had been totally sober and of no nuisance to the Police officers, not complaining about his situation nor offering any objection to his treatment.
He was found hanging from his belt the following morning by constable Farrell, who called on Sergeant Woodcock to come and assist in cutting down the man .
Docherty had climbed up on his night bucket, and slipped his belt loop through the top rails above the doorway, then fastened the belt,. He then made a makeshift noose, and hung himself.
Due to the extreme summer heat at the time, it was decided to make an inquest into Docherty's death that same day. His friends and Wife were called to the courthouse to offer witness statements as to the mental condition of the man. His wife told officers as of late, her husband, who was usually a quiet man who took no alcohol, had become much keen to drink, and was often out drinking and doing things in the scrub, but she was not aware of what, as he did not say.
The Police had to make a report and report Mr Docherty's suicide as 'The deceased, being of weak intellect, committed suicide in a fit of temporary insanity”!

There were many more reported suicides and attempted suicides in the Gawler Police Station, as well as many other Stations around Australia. In the era, for most people, being arrested was a much more serious thing than it is now. People liked to keep good reputations intact, and being arrested, or worse, gaoled, was the kind of thing that could cost not only livelihoods, but also social status and Church Status in serious jeopardy. Often people once released would move on to new areas to try and wash those old stains from their past.

The link below shows statistics for deaths in custody across Australia in the last few years: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/mr/1-20/20/08_prison.html

The following link shows statistics for crimes over various decades.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Grisly Gawler - Part II - Fatal Tiger Attack

Grisly Gawler – Part II


On the 17th of June 1898, the Bunyip Newspaper in Gawler, South Australia reported a “sensational incident” that occurred at a circus event held in Gawler South, by travelling Circus “Harmston”.
The newspaper reported that on Saturday the 11th of June, the Harmston Circus had put on a great show, but at its closing act “Gomez” the Tiger trainer, otherwise known by his real name, John Issac, entered the tiger cage to put the Tigers through the finale escapes of the Circus event.
As Gomez finished the act and turned his back on the tiger to leave, it pounced on the South African trainer, and sunk its teeth into his neck just under the back of his head. The tiger carried Gomez over the division of the gate, possibly with the intention of pulling its prey to pieces and feasting on his meat.
The crowd, not knowing if this was part of the act or not, reacted slowly to the Tigers act, but soon blood was spotted by the crowd, and they realised this was not part of the act.
Fear and confusion reigned, and the crows ran for the exits, some jumping over the wall surrounding the seating to make a hastier escape. Whilst this was happening, a group of circus attendants began to beat the tiger with sticks to try and free Gomez, who was still caught within the animals jaws.
The attendants beat the tiger off and Gomez stood and walked out the door, but was soon overcome by his extensive injuries, and collapsed. He was immediately taken to Dr Dawes surgery where the good Doctor did all he could to stop the bleeding and ease the man's pain.
On Monday. Gomez had recovered enough to be taken to the Adelaide Hospital, but by Tuesday his condition worsened, and at 5pm on Tuesday the 14th of June 1898 he passed away.

Mr Love, the sole lessee of the show, offered his condolences for Gomez, and talked of him being a man of excellent character and kindness.
However, when questioned upon the safety aspect of how the Tiger act was run, he lay much of the blame on the head of the young, now dead, Tiger Trainer.
He stated that Gomez had not taken the necessary precautions which had been put in place by the circus, and had gone into the cage with only a small whip, which only antagonised the Tiger. Staff outside had metal forks and a pistol if anything occurred, and they had seen to the Tiger being beaten off the trainer.
Love pointed out one thing, that above all other things took the blame away from himself and the Circus, Gomez had not lit the fire which sat above the gate – in his words “an unprecedented act”. He stated “ the animal was cunning enough to see that it had the advantage. The brute was well used to Isaac's attentions, for he had been its regular warder for the past twenty months, and had performed with it as many as nine times a week”

An inquest was opened into the death of John “Gomez” Issacs, and it was noted by Dr Morris of Adelaide Hospital, that he entered the hospital on the Monday in a very fearful state, and also in a severe state of shock, his injuries included a two inch puncture wound on the left side with two smaller punctures also on that side, and two puncture wounds on the right side of his neck. He had lost all movement in his left arm. The wounds had already become inflamed, which the Doctor stated, was akin to being poisoned and his breathing was considerably affected by the strain.
A post-mortem examination was done and it was found one of the wounds had penetrated his spine, breaking the vertebrates, and the base of his spine was inflamed as well as the membranes of his spinal cord.

The Tiger:
“Duke” was the Tiger's name, an 8 year old native of Japan, who was sired by “Bromo” and “Kitty”, two tigers that had found a home with the Mikado.
Duke was a twin, his brother remained with the Mikado in Japan and became an attraction at the Royal Gardens at Uno Park Tokyo.
Duke was five years old when he was trained to appear in public, and in his three years as a circus Tiger, he had had five trainers. His first a Mexican, second a Chinaman and his third an Australia. The second and third men were both mauled by two jungle tigers, and were subsequently replaced.
The fourth trainer, a Singapore native, was recently training Duke, when the Tiger attacked and broke his jaw, through a “sever crushing”. Gomez, the fifth trainer, had only just stepped into the job, and believe it or not, the previous trainer from Singapore, was one of the first to rush into the cage to try and save Gomez from Duke!

Duke was not euthanised, he continued on with the Circus...and another trainer...

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Grisly Gawler - Part I - Felo-de-se

Grisly Gawler - Part IFelo-de-se

In 1879, the township of Gawler was dealt a double blow when two very well known gentlemen, Ernest Neville and John Adamson, decided to end their lives in their home on the banks of the North Para River.
Ernest Neville was a well educated man, he could speak French fluently and was also a very well studied Botanist. His friend, John Adamson was also very well educated and was a very talented musician.
The men lived together in Gawler, but previously lived in Victoria together, and before moving to Gawler, had been employed as gardeners at the very lush house of Mr Dutton, just outside Kapunda, Anlaby homestead
Ernest, when the two men had moved to Gawler, took a job working within the Town of Gawler Corporation (what we would now call “A Council Position”). Ernest was sacked for “incompetency”, but was also facing embezzlement charge from the Corporation for large sums of money had gone missing with the Townships Insurance Agency. The unaccounted for monies was the sole responsibility of Ernest.. Neville didn’t take these accusations well, and blamed the local Methodist community, who he believed had a particular aversion to himself and his friend John.
The men were in a bad state, their house had monies owed for their mortgage, and a Bailiff was appointed to collect the interest due on their home.
From that time forward, it seemed as though the two men had already decided that suicide was their only option, and in studying how to end their lives painlessly, they undertook research in a business like manner.
Firstly they got hold of a bottle of chloroform, under the pretence of suffering from Neuralgia ( A painful nerve injury). They tested the drug on their much believed Bull-Terrier “Mammy”, who the two men referred to as the third part of their “trinity”, the three of them being inseparable. Mammy passed away from a drug overdose.
John, the next day, took Mammy's puppies into town and distributed them amongst their friends.
The following day, Sunday, Ernest did not appear for breakfast where the two men dined with other gentlemen, John accounted for Ernest's absence by telling those present, that Ernest had been up all night and was very tired, and would indeed sleep for most of the morning.
Ernest had, however, been running more experiments, and described some of what he had been up too in a letter to the local medical authority, Doctor Popham, which came to light after their deaths.
In that letter Ernest described taking large amounts of “Laudanum” (also known as Tincture of Opium - is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium), up to an ounce in one sitting – it's effects were not very dramatic on him, sending him off to sleep for about an hour.
When Ernest awoke, he them opened up a wound in his arm and drew three pints of blood (3.5 pints of blood loss can cause organs to begin failure). Ernest passed out, and when he awoke he removed another pint of blood – that did not conclude his experiments, and he expressed to that he regretted not owning a pistol.
Ernest them nursed himself through to Tuesday night, and the two men decided to proceed to the wine cellar below the house, they suspended two ropes from the ceiling: “The ropes which the men used were suspended from the ceiling, and were originally used as ring trapezes. They cut off the rings, tied loop-knots, soaped the ropes, then got on a case together and jumped off it, leaving their bodies about eighteen inches apart.”
The Bailiff, who was residing in the house with the men until the monies was paid, heard a dog whimpering at about 3 am, and went outside to see what the noise about, but could not see anyone about.
He found the two men the next morning after they didn’t come down for breakfast, and he began to search for them.
Doctor Popham brought forward the letter that had been address to him at the Inquiry into the two deaths and stated, He Could not find a reasonable explanation for why John Adamson would kill himself as well as Ernest Neville, other than the extreme regard he felt for his companion, spoken of in his letter.
The suicide was one of passion, two men who loved each other so much, they could not live a day without each others company.

As stated at the inquest: “The affair is altogether most mysterious, and one of the most remarkable occurrences that has ever happened in the colony. At an inquest on Wednesday the Jury returned a verdict of felo-de-se.”

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

George Massey Allen

George Massey Allen

George Massey Allen was probably one of the most controversial newspaper editors South Australia has ever seen since the State began.
In 1860, Allen had been working for the Advertiser, but decided he wanted more, and left to form the first English Language Newspaper in the Mid North (the only previous newspapers in the Barossa Valley and Mid North had been German Language Newspapers).
Allen founded his first paper “The Northern Star” in what was at the time, the second busiest city in South Australia, Kapunda

Allen was a man of principal, but also very outspoken, which often got him in serious trouble with the law.
His newspapers were often very controversial as he often voiced his own opinion, without thinking about the possible outcomes of doing such. This eventually led Allen into a liable case in Kapunda, which saw him found guilty, shutting his newspaper down when he was convicted to serve 6 months in prison.
Upon his release, He found The Northern Star he had founded had since been replaced with The Kapunda Herald, which was doing incredibly well. Instead of going back into the printing business, where his outspokenness would probably see him Gaoled again, he instead went into the Hotel business, buying a local Kapunda pub, in which, he could voice his opinions all he wanted.
Pub life wasn’t what Allen desired though, and eventually he moved back to Adelaide in 1867 and founded a new newspaper called “ The Satirist”.
The Satirist was in direct competition with The Register, and Allen's former employer, The Advertiser. The competition did not phase Allen though, and on at least one occasion, his newspaper outsold both his bigger rivals.
Allen had trouble not being outspoken, and as his newspaper lampooned local politicians, events and indeed his competitive newspapers, he eventually found himself in court again charged with liable. Not having the money to keep hiring Lawyers, and prosecuted again, with a gaol sentence, he eventually had to shut his newspaper down

The prospectus of the South Australian satirist reads:
The lamentably abject condition of the daily Press of South Australia, its want of political principle, its hypocritical fear and timorousness, has forced upon the proprietors of the Satirist the palpable necessity of launching forth upon the unimpassioned waters of honesty, truth, and fearless independence, a journal whose aim shall be to guide, not truckle to, the public opinion of this colony. ... What, then, is the demand of the hour? To find and to sustain a fearless advocate of the people's rights and requirements, one who will dare to speak and teach the truth ...” (27 July 1867, p. 2)
When Allen was incarcerated for six months by Judge Wearing, his wife and six children, who needed his income to survive, became destitute and relied on the kindness of others.
A parliamentary enquiry ensued, and eventually a parliamentary Intervention happened, releasing Allen from Prison, with Judge Wearing declaring he had probably misinterpreted the law somewhat harshly but "the great social advantage which has, I believe, resulted to the public by the cessation of so infamous a print as the Satirist." (South Australian Parliamentary Paper no. 145, 1868/69)

Allen and his wife didn't enter into the media again, instead they took up another Hotel, The Alexandra Hotel in Rundle Street.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

"Don't Move, or You're Dead!" - The Abduction of Monica Schiller

"Don't Move, or you're Dead!"
The Abduction of Monica Schiller

Cadell Training Centre is a low level, minimum security prison located 180 kilometres north of Adelaide. The Prison has long been used to house low level criminals who aren't deemed to be a security risk. It has long been practise to allow prisoners out from time to time for a walk or to do a spot of fishing on the Murray River. The gaol has always installed trust into its prisoners, but that changed on 13th of September 1970.

Three men, Terrence Haley, Raymond Gunning and Andrew Brooks had been released from the centre shortly after 2 pm for a walk – the men decided to abscond the prison, and had hatched a plan to escape South Australia and drive to Darwin, Northern Territory.
The men walked about 8 miles through paddocks and scrub land and arrived at the farm house of the Schiller family home in Murkbo, on the Upper Murray about 3pm

At the farm house were 21 year old Monica Schiller, her Father (Adolph) "Artie" her Mother Myrtle, Grandmother Amanda Zeiglar (who was in her late 70's and asleep in an outside cottage), and Monica's boyfriend, Mr Graham Smith.

The men took the family hostage and ransacked their farmhouse for anything they could find to aide them on their journey north. The stole money, food, water, guns, ammunition and some of Monica's dresses.
They then went about separating the family into separate rooms, putting them on chairs and binding their hands and feet together. Artie struggled, and for his attempts to escape received two hefty blows to the back of his head.

The three men took Monica outside, Her Grandmother, who had been asleep in the cottage outside, saw what was going on and tried to help, only to be giving some food and water and locked inside the cottage out of the way.
The three escapees fled the scene about 5 pm in the Schiller family car.
Artie managed to escape his ropes just after the men left, untied his family, then headed 7 miles in to town on foot to the Post Office where his Sister-in-law worked the telephone exchange, and asked her to call the police.
Detective Sergeant, Bob “Ugger” Giles

The three men first headed south to Semaphore, where they stole another car, then headed north again on to the Birdsville track.
In Adelaide, Detective Sergeant, Bob “Ugger” Giles and some Adelaide journalists charted a flight to head in the direction the kidnappers had gone. As the plane approached the three escapees, they fired shots towards it, hoping to bring it down.

The plane landed well ahead of the men, and Detective Giles, with three officers, seven journalist and two government employees drove back along the track hoping to cut the escapees off. Whilst they were driving, the plane had taken off again and was radioing in the position of the car as it neared the police below.

The officers set up a road block, and a gun fight ensued. Two of the men fled from the car before it had even stopped. One of the officers empties his service revolver of bullets and ran towards one of the escapees, shouting “Don't move or your dead!”
All three escapees were arrested and taken back to Adelaide for trial and sentencing.
Monica was alive, but severely traumatised after her 26 hour kidnapping ordeal.
Detective Sgt Giles returned to Adelaide a hero.
Advertiser photographer Ray Titus won a Walkley for his work at the scene.
Escapees Terrence Haley, Raymond Gunning and Andrew Brooks lie on the ground after being arrested. Retired Advertiser photographer Ray Titus won a Walkley for his work at the scene. Source: News Limited
Terrence Haley was jailed for 15 years but escaped again in 1972, later serving eight years in NSW before being extradited back to SA to finish his sentence. He was released in 1986.
Andrew Brooks and Raymond Gunning were jailed for 12 and a half and 11 and half years respectively.
In 1989 Terrence Haley was shot in the back while at home, lying on his lounge. He was later charged with attempted murder over another shooting that same night in Campbelltown. The charges were replaced with manslaughter and then dropped.
Detective Sergeant Bob Giles talks to Monica Schiller after she was rescued. Source: News Limited

Monica would go on to marry boyfriend, Graham Smith, the couple invited the detective Sergeant Giles to their wedding. As recently as 2006, the couple were still living in the house from which she was abducted.

Det Sgt Giles died in 2005.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Ghosts in the Television

Ghosts in the Television

In our modern age we take television for granted, and with that the special effects that come with it. If Special effects are really good, you wont even notice they are there.

In 1949, Australia had yet to see television, we didn't get that big old box in the living room until September 1956 - and that was only after our Government of the era had instigated a Royal Commission to decide how we, the public, should accept our TV broadcast, how many channels Australia should have, and a vast number of other issues the government thought they should control.

Even though television had not yet hit our shores, we still had production houses making movies, and won our first ever academy award in 1942 with the documentary movie "Kokoda Front Line!, and we also had some world famous movie actors including Otto Heggie (From Angaston), who I have written about in a previous blog

On 2 November 1936, the BBC began transmitting the world's first public regular high-definition service from the Victorian Alexandra Palace in North London (this is now considered to be the birthplace of broadcasting)
Meanwhile in the USA, television made its breakthrough with 1939's Worlds Fair, but wasn't generally accepted by the American public until after the Second World War, when mass production of television sets begun. In 1948, Television broadcasting, as we accept it now, really took a hold in the USA, and the most popular man on television at the time - Milton Berle

So now we have got some history out of the way, I thought I would share this little newspaper story from 1949 describing how to create a ghost for television. There were no photoshop programs, no home PC editing tricks, no "green screen" or Chroma Key settings to talk of, everything had to be done "In Camera", generally live to air!

So how did they do it?

A Ghost On Television
When 'Bli the Spirit' was televised by the BBC recently, the problem arose as to how to produce a ghost for the television camera. How they did it is shown in the diagram below.
The actress who played the ghost, stood between black curtains. This meant that only her form and no other objects were reflected into the mirror at A. The plate glass (B) picked up the reflection from the mirror. The photographer was then able to photograph through the plate glass, picking up the reflection of the 'ghost' as well as the live actors.
Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), Thursday 24 February 1949, page 44