Heidelberg Historical Society

From Heidelberg News

This article appeared in the Heidelberg News on Friday December 3rd, 1897. It appears that Cr. Holland's business must have been close to the plumbing equipment store and yards, just below the railway overpass, Burgundy Street, Heidelberg. He lived in a pleasant two storey house in Darebin Street, so Mrs. Holland could well have seen evidence of the fire from the bedroom window.

Fire at Holland's Timber Yard

A fire occurred at Cr. Holland's timber yard, Burgundy street, Heidelberg, about midnight on Monday. The last train had arrived, and the railway officials had closed the station. Mr. Sievwright, assistant S.M., was conversing with Fireman Searle on their way home when they noticed the flames isssuing from the front of Holland's premises. Mr Sievwright hastened to Mr. Davey, the captain of the local fire brigade, who states he received the call at 12:15. He ordered the firebell to be rung, and in a couple of minutes, men, reel and appliances were in attendance and streams of water were flowing under the superintendence of Captain Davey. The building and timber being of a highly inflamable nature the flames devoured them like matchwood and the blaze was so great and so hot that the fences of Mr. Studley's premises across the road were scorched.

The first of the outside brigades to arrive was Preston who travelled over in 20 minutes, but the local fire-fighters had the flames well under control before their arrival. Within 25 minutes of the call at the Heidelberg station there were the Preston, North Fitzroy, Clifton Hill, and Collingwood detachments on the scene. Superintendent Catt assumed command of 22 men. The timber yard extends over about half-an-acre of ground upon which are wooden buildings and timber stacks. It is distinctly, therefore, to the credit of the firemen, and more particularly the local men, that the flames were restricted to the front premises. The workshop, office and timber and iron-mongery adjacent were destroyed. All the books, &c., were burnt except the ledger. The engine and machinery were uninjured, Cr. Holland estimates the damage done at ₤1300, which, however, is partly covered with insurance in the Northern company. There are policies for ₤300 on the ironmongery and ₤600 on the building and stock. The origin of the fire is unknown.

Cr. Holland states he returned home from a committee meeting of the council at about 10 o'clock, and soon after retired to rest. Shortly after midnight he was aroused by Mrs. Holland, who noticed a lurid reflection through the bedroom window. Almost immediately the fire-bell was heard, and as he rushed down the yard, fell over some material and damaged his knees, Captain Davey and his men were on the scene. Cr. Holland expresses high appreciation of the excellent services rendered by the firemen.

In the same edition of the Heidelberg News, some small news items recorded court appearances of various miscreants in the Collingwood and Fitzroy areas. The nature of their misdemeanours and the types of punishments are interesting to compare with current practices.

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Police Court Brevities
Friday.—A Mrs. Richardson was charged with "insulting" Mrs. Hayes, and threatening her life. Richardson had stood over Hayes, while the latter was in bed, menacing her with a pen knife. Bound over in one surety of ₤25 to keep the peace.
Saturday.—Henry Clarkson, for brutally mutilating a dog with a butcher's knife, was fined only 10s. or 3 days "because he was drunk."
Monday.—John Price, drunk, discharged: Elizabeth Batty, "hard case", three days, Bridget Murphy, vag, remanded.
Tuesday.—George Bray, stealing boots from Phillip's shop, Smith-street, one month; Elizabeth Mooney, lunatic, committed; Ethel Westfield, small girl, remanded.
Friday,—Mary Tate and Jane Speech; prostitutes fined 10s each or 3 days; 3 cases wandering cattle dealt with.
Saturday.—George King, trespass while drunk, fined 2s.6d. or 6 hours.
Monday.—Edward Maloney, drunk, discharged; John Butler, same offence, 5s. or 24 hours; Ellen Kemp, deserting illegitimate child, gave satisfactory explanation, dismissed; Peter Spillard, assaulting wife, discharged.
It will be observed that John Butler was dealt with more firmly than Edward Maloney. This is understandable as he is a known rascal and still causes trouble today at Heidelberg Historical Society.
As for Ellen Kemp, there could be quite a sad story here; what would be a "satisfactory explanation" for deserting an illegitimate child? And Peter Spillard was discharged regarding an assault on his wife. No doubt women had an even more difficult time than they do in the courts today.

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