Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Random List

A random list of things I saw on holidays in and around Melbourne: 

The Vegemite factory. 
Bakery Hill. 
Children in plastic balls. 

Meg, in pink, on the left. Tom, in the clear, on the front right. And on his bum. 

A lion. 

This is Johari. Be very afraid. 

Bass Strait. 
Too much cider. 
Gingerbread shaped like a gorilla. 

And it was very tasty. 

A lighthouse. 
The gallows where Ned Kelly was hanged. 
Death masks. 
A cathedral. 
And a very sad story: 

From the Old Melbourne Gaol

This is what it says: 

William Walker. 
Alias: William Perrin, Thomas Jones, and Thomas Walker. 

William Walker was criticised in the press for keeping notes on his hangings. The Weekly Times said he wrote "with a delight that was fiendish and terrible". In fact, Walker was calculating the distance a body needed to fall to get the best result. 

Walker was nineteen when he arrived in Melbourne in 1858. He served several terms for minor offences and was appointed executioner in 1884. He changed his name to avoid his profession being known. He hanged eighteen people in Melbourne and country gaols and developed a reputation as a fierce flagellator. 

Regulations required the hangman to spend at least a week in the same gaol as the condemned prisoner. This was to ensure he was there when needed, and sober. Walker would arrive at the gaol wearing a disguise and carrying his macabre equipment. 

In December 1893, Frances Knorr was condemned to death. No woman had been hanged in Victoria since Elizabeth Scott in 1863 and there was huge public interest in the case. Walker's wife threatened to leave him is he executed a woman. His Carlton neighbours also harassed him. For weeks, he drank heavily and could not sleep. Nine days before Knorr was due to hang, Walker was found dead in his prison quarters. He had cut his own throat. 

There's a story in that, right? 


  1. Welcome back! I hope your pets, possums, and geckos let you know how much they missed you. Or at least how much fun it was digging through the pantry. :-)

    And wow, what a story, yeah. For a real tearjerker of a movie, he should fall in love with the woman, and one night he slips into her cell for a night of passion, and at dawn he gives her his disguise, and she walks out and escapes, and for that crime they hang him. In her dress.

    1. As far as I know there were no possum incursions during my absence. I'm not getting complacent though. They're probably just getting stealthier.

      And I love your story idea! You could write it as either a tragedy or a farce :)

  2. Wow, it sounds like someone had an interesting trip. I wish I had some of those cookies about now :)

    1. Such nice gingerbread! And eaten in the warmth of the cafe, while staring through the glass wall at the meerkat enclosure. Great day!



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