80 Collins St, Melbourne now stands on what was once an area of small laneways and buildings with a variety of businesses including hotels.
Early in the morning on New Year’s Eve 1921 a man and his daughter were collecting bottles to sell and instead of bottles, in Gun Alley off Little Collins St, he finds, the naked body of a young girl.
She had been raped and strangled. Her reddish golden hair lying stretched out and her legs folded up partially beneath her. Quickly gathering up his daughter he goes to a local butcher’s shop and telephones the Police.
The girl’s name is discovered to be Alma Tirtschke who lived in the nearby suburb of Jolimont with her grandmother. She had been sent the previous day to a butcher’s in Swanston St where her Uncle John worked as a secretary. She was to have collected a parcel of smallgoods and returned directly to her Aunt’s house, left the parcel and then continued home. She had never made it home.
Like many of the laneways of Melbourne “Gun Alley” was lost during the vast redevelopment of the Melbourne CBD cityscape in the 1970’s but the story of young Alma’s tragic murder and the conviction and hanging of Colin Campbell Ross for her murder has not been lost and is just one example of the stories behind the cityscape you will hear on Talk’N Tours “Marvelous Melbourne” audio tour. If you are traveling to Melbourne, don’t miss out on the audio tour that will bring your visit alive.
And the postscript to this story:
On May 27th, 2008 Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls announced that Colin Campbell Ross was posthumously pardoned. After an extraordinary examination of facts found he was wrongly convicted of killing a schoolgirl in Victoria’s Gun Alley murder. The unprecedented pardon had been granted – 86 years after Ross was hanged.
Of course no murderer has been named but you listen to the story and see if you don’t end up with a very good idea of who really should have been charged and hung!