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

Hillier v. Jones, Spark and Church [1837] NSWSupC 69

carriage of goods, common carrier, steam ship

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Burton J., 9 October 1837

Source: Sydney Herald, 12 October 1837[1 ]

Hillier v. Jones, Spark and Church. - This was an action brought to recover the value of twenty-four tierces of beef, shipped on board the Ceres steamer.  It appeared from the evidence, that the plaintiff consigned the beef in question to a house in Sydney, by the Ceres steam-packet, which belonged to a company of which the defendants were share-holders.  On the passage up, the Ceres was run upon a rock near Bungary's Norah and lost.  The question left to the assessors, was whether the losing was through negligence, or was inevitable, or through an act of God; if the former, His Honor held that the defendants were bound to make good any loss that was sustained, if the latter, the loss must be borne by those on whom it fell.  The principal evidence on this point, was that of Capt. Martin, who had formerly been master of the Ceres; but stated that at this time he was a passenger, the vessel being commanded by Captain Livingstone.  He described the vessel as being out of her course, and said that with common prudence the accident might have been avoided.  Several witnesses were called, who proved that the rock on which she struck was well known, and that if she had been in her proper course she would not have been lost.  The assessors found for the plaintiff, damages £120.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Messrs. Kerr and Foster; for the defendants, the Attorney General and Mr. Windeyer.


[ 1] See also Sydney Gazette, 10 October 1837.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University