As reported in the Age, the National Library of Australia has released a beta of Australian Newspapers, a website that publishes archives of Australian newspapers. It’s an amazing new online resource for historical research, and it contains a lot of stories about Fitzroy. I’m going to use it to find curious stories to continue my series of posts about the history of Fitzroy. The first story is about a drunken orgy that occurred in January 1916. Here’s the article as it appeared in The Argus, Monday 10 January 1916, p 9. Below is the text of the article.

orgy1 Fitzroy history - indulging in a drunken orgy

orgy2 Fitzroy history - indulging in a drunken orgy

orgy3 Fitzroy history - indulging in a drunken orgy

“PUSHES” IN FITZROY – POLICE TAKE ACTION, Argus, Melbourne, Monday 10 January 1916, p 9.

The ‘push’ nuisance is again becoming a serious menace in parts of Fitzroy, and the police are having a busy time in endeavouring to cope with it. Scarcely a day passes but complaints are made of offences committed and on Saturday and Sunday mornings residents in the vicinity of Marion street were terrified by the pandemonium caused by a crowd of persons male and female parading that thoroughfare. At about 1 o’clock on Saturday morning beer bottles were hurled through windows in half a dozen houses and the inmates were afraid to a venture forth for fear of attack.

More serious was an affray between the police and a soldier in uniform and another man shortly after 1 o’clock on Sunday morning. Plain clothes Constable Mafferzoni was on his way home and stopped for a moment to speak to Constable Hinckley, who was on duty in Gertrude street. Suddenly a discharge of firearms was heard, several shots being fired. The police ran along Gertrude street, turned into Royal lane and thence into a right of way from whence they emerged into Marion street. As they approached a house surrounded by an iron fence a soldier was seen standing along side a small gate. Catching sight of Constable Hinckley he hurled a beer bottle at him. The bottle missed Hinckley, but caught Mafferzoni. The soldier, it is alleged, picked up a chair, and made a rush towards the police. Mafferzoni drew his baton and broke two legs off the chair. The soldier was overpowered and taken in charge. During the fight he received injuries to his head and was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital where several stitches were put in his head. He was then taken to the Fitzroy watchhouse and charged with assault.

In a room in the house about 30 men and women were indulging in a drunken orgy. Immediately the police appeared there was a stampede, the crowd rushing into Marion street, and making good their escape. As they ran some threw beer bottles at Mafferzoni and Hinckley, but fortunately they missed their mark. One man remained behind and attempted to assist the soldier, but he also succeeded in getting away. In the house dozens of empty beer bottles, were found chairs were broken and a sofa overturned.

The soldier gave his name as William Cousins and his age as 29 years. He said that he had left Broadmeadows a few days ago. Cousins will appear before the Fitzroy Court this morning. So far no satisfactory explanation is forthcoming as to the shots fired.

Fitzroy history – indulging in a drunken orgy

5 thoughts on “Fitzroy history – indulging in a drunken orgy

  • 1 June 2009 at 11:18 am
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    not much has changed haha!

    I just wanted to let you know that what you do with all the history stuff on here is really important, thanks!

    Reply
    • 1 June 2009 at 11:38 am
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      Thanks – I find them really worthwhile to research and people obviously enjoy them!

      Reply
  • 6 June 2009 at 2:47 am
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    Hi Luvvie

    As always you are a fount of fantastic information. The family historian in me thinks we may have struck gold here. I shall check this out immediately.

    Reply
    • 6 June 2009 at 9:23 am
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      It’s a wonderful resource! I need to spend more time browsing through it too.

      Reply
  • 11 June 2009 at 12:50 am
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    Luvvie !

    I spent the whole of the weekend sucked into that website – dug up so much stuff on Robert’s 2nd great-grandfather – fantastic stuff!!! Thank you so much for the link. I’m hoooked.

    Reply

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