March of the Fox

The fox ventures everywhere; open plain, mountain fastness, or cleared land makes little difference to his movements in search of prey.

Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916); 18 January 1910; Page 26; The Warrigal

On 10 January 1910, a Balladonia member of the Pastoralists’ Association wrote a letter to the Association’s secretary. They said that dingoes and rabbits were numerous in the area and advised that they had news of a fox caught at the Nullarbor Station in South Australia. With a distance of over 120 km separating the station from Eucla in Western Australia, the writer predicted that, in a few years, foxes would be another pest to add to the list.

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Monster Christmas Cake

In 1894, Veryard and Son’s of the Roller Bakery in Perth baked a large Christmas cake weighing six hundredweight (over 300 kg). It was incredibly popular, and, whether they meant to or not, a Christmas tradition was born. They continued to bake cakes, and, each year, the weight increased. In 1895, the cake weighed ten hundredweight (over 500 kg), and in 1896 it weighed fifteen hundredweight (over 750 kg).

Regardless of the size of the cake, every piece sold. Many customers missed out, and, as 1897 progressed, they decided that the Christmas cake for that year had to surpass that of previous years.

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Bert Snell Goes Missing

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are advised that the following story contains names of deceased persons.

On Christmas Eve in 1933, Bert Snell, who was caretaker of the Yarraquin woolshed, over six kilometres east of Cue, left to visit his mate’s camp. He borrowed some tobacco, and they both walked back towards the shed. Bert’s mate eventually left him, and Bert continued on his own.

On Christmas Day, the manager of the station, Fred Boddington, phoned the shed. No one answered. He continued phoning, but Bert did not pick up. Puzzled as to why Bert wasn’t answering, he made his way to the shed to see what the matter was. When he got there, he found it deserted.

Knowing of Bert’s mate’s camp, he went to see if he had any more information. He told Fred that he walked with Bert a short way, and then Bert continued on his own. He had not seen him since. Fred immediately raised the alarm. Bert Snell was lost in the bush.

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II – The Second Inquest

Part II – The Second Inquest follows on from Part I – The Death of Claude Cotton. Click the link below to read the first story.


The result was what most of Geraldton wanted. Knowing there would be a post mortem and a new inquest, letter writer ‘Groper’ turned their attention to Claude’s mother. She was elderly and was said to have been supported by Claude, who regularly sent her half his pay. Concerned at the inquiry being left solely in the hands of the police, they suggested the establishment of a fund to raise money to pay for a solicitor to represent her. ‘Groper’ gave ten shillings and, within three days, they received donations of about two pounds. With the money, they hired Arthur Altorfer to represent Emma Cotton.

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I – The Death of Claude Cotton

At 7:30 am, while lumpers loaded wheat onto the ss Millpool, Captain Arthur Eves gazed out across Champion Bay. As he looked down, he noticed something floating in the water. Unable to see what it was, he descended from the bridge to the forecastle. Using binoculars, he realised that what he was looking at was the body of a man. He sent a boat to retrieve it and subsequently identified it as Claude Cotton, a member of his crew.

The ss Millpool (left) at Geraldton circa 1922. Courtesy of the State Library of Western Australia (Call Number: 028995PD).
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Madoonga Station U.F.O.

As we have been requested in our home State of Victoria to notify the Air Force of any “Flying Saucers” sighted we presume the case to be the same here.

John Morris, 29 April 1955 [NAA: A705, 114/1/197 Page 17 of 210]

The night was clear on Thursday, 28 April 1955. John Morris got up at about 11:15 pm and left his quarters at Madoonga Station near Cue. An orange blur in the distance caught his attention. He called out to his friend, Gary Martin, to look at it. Gary got out of bed and, by the time he got to where John was standing, it had stabilised. An object with orange lights was hovering in the sky. They believed that what they were looking at was a flying saucer.

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U.F.O. Files

January 1953 – Dalwallinu

While hunting foxes northeast of Dalwallinu, Richard Hunter and Keith McNamara noticed something in the sky. It was about 9:30 pm on 13 January 1953. The object resembled a large bright star surrounded by a white vaporous ring, and was travelling in a northerly direction. It passed over them, and after six or seven minutes, it veered southwest, then west. The two men watched it, alternately dimming and brightening, until it disappeared.

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Letters to Aunt Mary

On 29 July 1898, a letter was printed in the Western Mail and was written using the pseudonym ‘Aunt Mary.’ Addressed to the children of Western Australia, the writer asked for help to fill that column of the newspaper. They hoped that children would send in stories, letters, questions, poetry, compositions (anything they liked) as long as it was their work. As an added incentive, children who wrote well could find themselves in receipt of a prize.

I should much like to hear something about the pets belonging to my little readers, and hope I shall soon have so many contributors that the children’s column will swell into the “children’s page.”

Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954); 29 July 1898; Page 51; Children’s Column
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The Padbury Street Ghost

Let us tell the story of the Haunted House.

The Daily News (Perth, WA :1882 – 1950); 9 February 1914; Page 8; A Haunted House

Located behind the Brisbane Hotel and running diagonally from Beaufort Street to Bulwer Street, Padbury Street was a quiet street unknown to many people in Perth. In February 1914, that was all to change.

Along the short street were many two-story houses, lived in by various residents. Two of the houses were empty and available for lease. Of those two, one (number 66) had only recently become vacant. The reason the family gave for leaving: they believed it was haunted.

It was averred that the occupiers had for some time past been hearing weird sounds in various parts of the building, for which they could not account.

The Daily News (Perth, WA :1882 – 1950); 9 February 1914; Page 8; A Haunted House
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The Second Issue of the Victorian Express

An announcement tacked onto the end of an article printed in Fremantle’s newspaper ‘The Herald’ stated that Geraldton’s first newspaper was going to be called ‘The Victorian Express.’ The proprietors were Messrs. S. M. Stout & Co.

At 4 pm, on 11 September 1878, the first issue was pulled by the Government Resident, George Eliot. The town of Geraldton celebrated, and over 100 people gathered to witness the occasion. Residents decorated the buildings and the vessels in the harbour with bunting, and “beer flew around like a deluge.” A long-desired want, in the form of a local newspaper, was finally realised. It was noted that, “The proprietors of the Victorian Express have the best wishes of the community for the success they deserve in their laudable undertaking.

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