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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Spratt and others [1822] NSWKR 6; [1822] NSWSupC 6

R. v. Antonio

R. v. Bridge

R. v. Clarke

R v. Patshaw

R. v. Dwyer

R. v. Hasler

R. v. Till

R. v. Doyle

stealing a whale-boat - aiding and abetting - convict escape - approver, evidence by

Court of Criminal Jurisdiction

Wylde J.A., 7 October 1822

Source: Sydney Gazette, 11 October 1822 [1]

            Charles Spratt, John Antonio, Henry Bridge, Daniel Clarke, Felix Patshaw, Thomas Dwyer, George Hasler, and Thomas Till were indicted for stealing a whale-boat, the property of the Crown, from the Settlement of Port Macquarie; and John Doyle, for aiding, assisting, and promoting the said felony. The prisoners had been either sent from Head-quarters to Port Macquarie, or from Hunter's River (Newcastle) to that Settlement; which fact, together with that of absconding on the night of the 25th of August, in a whale-boat, was clearly proved. In substantiation of this crime we hasten to give the evidence of the approver, Michael Doras; who, after solemn admonition from His Honor the Judge Advocate, proceeded to state as follows: He said he was one of those that effected their escape from Port Macquarie in the boat; that the design had been planned at the instance of the prisoner Daniel Clarke, about three months before: in whom was vested the title and authority of Captain. It was the intention of the commander to make Cape Barren, and then to increase the size of the ship, by rising upon her. Three weeks provisions had been provided for the voyage; and, till the evening of departure arrived, the oars, &c. were secreted on the premises of the prisoner, John Doyle. Being prepared, they put to sea, viz. the eight prisoners at the bar, Spratt, Antonio, Bridge, Clarke, Patshaw, Dywer, Hasler, and Till; leaving, in their haste to set off latter prisoner Doyle behind. The number that had designed to embark upon this wretched expedition, amounted to twenty-five, about 15 being fortunately unprepared. The sail was manufactured from a hammock and two blankets. About two in the morning the little bark got into the cutting. What about 25 miles from Port Macquarie it came on to blow, and the boat was upset; by this disaster nearly all the provisions were lost. The boat being built of light wood soon became rightened, and the voyage put into land, where they remained till morning. They were compelled to mount the vessel upon their shoulders, and carried her for 3 miles along the beach, ere they could venture into the ocean again. In the evening they made the land, as the captain thought it most prudent to go coastwise. Upon this occasion, they had to cast anchor, it being impracticable to land on account of the natives, where they worked fine for three days, owing to a north-west gale. After this Port Stephens was made, in which place 2 days passed away; from thence they glided by Newcastle, and reached Broken-bay in safety, nearly starved. The prisoner Till then advised, as he knew a settler of the Hawkesbury River, to make for that only haven, in order to procure provisions and other articles, to facilitate the primary object of reaching Cape Barren. Having brought the prisoners, Doyle excepted, safe among the farmhouses upon the Banks of Hawkesbury, it is necessary to say, that some of the party became terrified with the dangers just escaped, and the privations endured, and burnt the vessel, the captain's only hope; and thus all expectations of effecting a further escape vanished. Some of the prisoners were apprehended, while others more prudently surrendered. Notwithstanding the fact stated by the approver, and corroborated by a cloud of other testimony, two of the prisoners, viz. Dwyer and Hasler, wished to persuade the Court that they had actually walked from Port Macquarie!

            The whole of the above prisoners, together with a man, named John Finlay, were also charged upon a second count in the indictment, with feloniously entering dwelling house of Mr Andrew Clink, settler lat Portland-head, upon the 3rd of September. Upon this charge all the prisoners were found Not Guilty. Upon the first count in the information, the prisoners were adjudged Guilty. Remanded.


[1] See also Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Informations, Depositions and Related Papers, 1816-1824, State Records N.S.W., SZ799, p. 409 (no. 58).


Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University