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Original Documents on Aborigines and Law, 1797-1840

Document 36

Original Document 36

Trial of the native Charley Book. R v Charley: 1835


In the Supreme Court

Criminal Sessions

August 1835

The King


Charley } Natives


George } not in Gaol


On behalf of the Crown

The Sol Gen

Trial by Jury C. J.

22nd Aug: Guilty


Francis ???

Crown Solicitor


In the Supreme Court

Criminal Sessions

August 1835

The King


Charley a Native } For Murder

Tom an Native }Accessaries

George a Native

Indicted for the Murder of Alfred Simmons

Patrick Conway (11th June 1835) Governt Constable States: "Last Saturday week the 30th May while at James Buggs Station I was informed where there was a Black Camp, & where one of the murderers was. I proceeded to the Black Camp along with a Black Constable named Williams & a white man, which place we reached about One O'clock [147] next morning, it being about 8 miles from Buggs station, where I found the prisoner Charley whom I took into custody, we staid there until next day & during that time I asked him several questions about the men that were murdered, at first he would not say anything but afterwards [???] to me that he came up to one of the Shepherds in the Bush Named "Fred" & struck him on the head with his Waddy & wounded him, he told be that another Black man of the name of "Russian Paddy" came up & also struck the man with his "Nella Nella " on the back of the head , & knocked him down, & that another Black came up named 'Black Boy" & said "Three mess-mates make him die directly."   I then took him over to Buggs Station & handed him to Michael Ryan Chief Constable.   The White man who accompanied me to the Black Camp, to seize the murderer is not here, but his name is Henry Curtius & his place of residences at the Gloucester, being an assigned servant of the A A Company. I forgot to state that Charley told me that he could find the bones of the man he assisted to murder, & that he would accompany me or one of the Constables to the spot.


Michael Ryan

(11th June 1835 ) Chief Constable States; "On or about 31st May last, I came to Berrica . James Bugg's station from Mr. Mackenzies ' at Ribbledale , where I found the Prisoner named Charley in the Charge of Conway the Constable, who handed the prisoner over to me saying he was one of the people who had been concerned in the murders of Mr . Mackenzie's men. I questioned him & asked him if he had been killing the men & he told me he had. I asked him the man's name he killed, he told me : "Fred." I then enquired how he killed him, he said that he went up to him and struck him with a Waddy, assisted by a Black named "Paddy" & another called "Black Boy".   I asked him if he would bring me to where the Body was.   He told me he would. On the 1st June I left Berrica in Company with one of the Mounted Policemen, Mr. Mackenzie's Overseer & some Blacks. I brought the prisoner Charley to Mr. Mackenzies station at Riddledale & then proceeded some day when Charley the prisoner, brought me to the skeleton of a man about three miles & a half from Mr. Mackenzies , which I believe to be in the District of Upper Williams River, he showed me the marks in the skull made by the blow of the Waddy, he pointed out there "Paddy": had struck him at the side of the head, he also shewed me when the body was planted about two or three yards from the spot where the Marks of blood were & where he was murdered. He pointed out to me the spot where two other men were murdered, one of which he said was murdered by Paddy & his brother whose name I believe is "Humphrey" & another Black called "Docker". Charley the prisoner further said that the man murdered by him & the others was called "Fred". I believe the Contraction of 'Alfred Simmons" the name of one of Mr. Mackenzie's men who fell at the Station. On my arrival at Harts Station on my way to Strow the 7th Instant the prisoner Charley informed me that two Blacks named "George" & "Tom" had been at Mr. MacKenzie's Station when the murders were committed & assisted in carrying away the plunder. On the 8th [149] Instant I came to Reynold's station, when I entered the house I saw in another part of the hut some Blacks & their Jins [sic] & Tom the prisoner at the Bar was among them, I was accompanied at this time by two of the Military belonging to the 4th Regiment, seeing the Black man "Tom" very much alarmed I directed the Military to Guard the door, so that no one should go out, I questioned him & seeing him very much frightened, I suspected him to be one of the murderers & took him into custody I told the soldiers to see if there were any more there, on which one of the Soldiers pulled out the Black Boy "George" (now at the Bar) from under the bed, on questioning Charley, if the Prisoner Tom was the person, he described to me the night previous he hesitated a long time & said I believe so, and that he always eat sheep, if I recollect right he said ' Buggs " under all he circumstances. I have no doubt in my own mind that the prisoner George & Tom were at Mr McKenzie's Station when the murders were committed.   I have no reason to believe that Reynolds means to come forward to disprove the prisoners Tom & George were present at the time of the Murders. [150] but the impression on my mind is that he does this through the influence of the sister of these two prisoners, who lives with him as paramour.

Thomas Heelan

(11th June 1835 ) States "On the 1st of June Instant, I was called on by Michael Ryan Chief Constable to go with him & a mounted Police Man. Accompanied by three more men of Mr. Mackenzies to prisoner Charley, to Whatton back station, where the prisoner Charley shewed us the spot where one of the murders was committed took place, we were then led to the place where another man was killed & his remains still lay exposed, These bones were put into a bag & carried them with us to another place, where Charlie said the Overseers had been killed, we were afterwards led to the spot, where "Fred" was killed, & when we found part of his Body, on examining the Bones we saw the Prisoner Charley then pointed out the place on the skull were he had stuck him with a Waddy which was severely fractured, & on looking at the other side of the skull there was a great hole which the Black Fellow "Charley" said was done by Paddy, These Bones along with the others we carried over to Mr. Mackenzies Station & buried there, during which operation I put several questions to Charley regarding the murder & he without hesitation said, that he first struck "Fred" down with a Waddy, when another Black Man named Paddy & another named "Black Boy" came up, when they assisted in despatching him Charley told me that when he first held up the Waddy to strike "Fred" said dont kill me I am a budjerce [?] fellow I always kind to blacks. I cannot say that I can identify either of the prisoners Tom & George as being in any of the outrages committed lately at Mr. Mackenzies station. It is possible however from the number of Blacks that were engaged that they might have been there although [151] I did not see them, I have no hesitation is saying that I saw the prisoner Charley along with several other Blacks at Riddledale on the evening of the 13th of May Last. The man commonly called "Fred" is named Alfred Simmons & was the assigned servant of Mr. Mckenzie .

Michael Ryan

(11th June 1835) States further: Charley the prisoner told me that he & all the Blacks went to Mr. Mackenzies station at Riddlesdale , on Wednesday the 13th May last, for the purpose of killing all the White people men there, to take away all the Flour & Sugar & Blankets but finding that Davy the overseer had come down to the Drays and the rest of the men as well as some the Blacks were not able to do it, on seeing the men were armed, their intention was he told me to kill all the White men & serve the women more further, he further told me that a White fellow named by the Blacks Garregumme in consequence of his having been speared sometime since in one of their affrays, about a Black Jin was being with the Blacks in the Bush, that he had the shoes taken from the Overseer at Whatteon Back that he told the blacks to of & kill the White men & bring their shoes & Tobacco to him [152]

William Reynolds

(11th June 1835 ) States Five days before the murders took place   at Mr. Mc Kenzie's Station the prisoners Tom [and???] George came to my station with their mother, I don't think they left my place until the murders had been done a week, the distance from my station to where the murders were committed is nearly 40 miles. I do not think that during the two weeks that they were at my house they were absent more than two hours at a time. They have since been absent & have brought the news of what has been going on & have promised if set at liberty to take me to where two of the principal murders are, but when Ryan the Chief Constable came to my House the 8th Instant accompanied by two soldiers, The Prisoners Tom & George were there with others, they retreated from one room to an inner room, being alarmed at the sign of the soldiers.

David Cambell (11th June 1835) Overseer of Mr . MacKenzie's States   "On Wednesday 13th May instant, we returned home with the Drays in the afternoon - at the moment of Deponents arrival a large party of Blacks , also made their appearance, Nillimo a Black Constable had accompanied Deponent from Berrico James Bugg's Sheep Station also three other Blacks born after Deponent & the Blacks who accompanied him got too Hut, one of the other Blacks came & spoke to Nillimo , he then returned to the others many of whom came away immediately the rest remained until after dark Williams then went to the Black camp and they all soon after left,   the name of the Black who spoke to Nillimo is Mcoderniss [sic?], on Nillimo's return he told Deponent that the Blacks had asked him ( Nillimo ) to go to the Maning River, as they intended to kill all the White men & their Master. John Ross the overseer of sheep in Mr . M c Kenzie's service [153]   had ordered a Watchman from the Reand Station called Wittonback to come to Riddlesdale on Thursday evening last, but he not appearing Ross 7 one of the men when on Friday morning last & found the hut burnt down & no trace of the men stationed there namely and overseer & four men Ross then Returned to Riddlesdale & told this to Depont [sic], all the spare men were   collected and provided to look to for missing men & sheep, the latter were all found excepting three, but no trave of the men, the fold had been reset but the sheep had not been put into it, after these circumstances Depont & the men at Riddlesdale were continually on their Guard until Sunday Morning 17th Instant when a large number of Blacks again came, Nillimo the Black Constable spoke to them, he told Dept that they said that the old Buck Blacks had murdered all the men at the other station & they had found the remains of the overseer Dept desired Nillimo to ask them to bring the body to Riddlesdale promising them Horses for doing so, the Black then went away & brought the body about sunset, Nillimo then said that the Blacks and found remains of two other bodies much disfigured by the Hawkes & {????] that they could not be brought without all [????] also that the bodys of the remaining two men had been devoured by the Blacks without murdered the, Dept gave the Blacks some flour which some of them were making into cakes at the camp.   The others divided [???] [154] 3 of them to Copey the white mens Hutt the latter immediately all went into one hut they had previously been told by Diamond Robert soldier Jack two of the Blacks, who were known to   [??] Whites, that it was intended by the Blacks to Murder all the Whites in the Sunday Night. Diamond & Corbon Robert came into the Hut, when all the Whites were & another [???] stood at the door, who attempted to shut it but was prevented doing so by one of the men, there were a great many Blacks about the hut at the station with [???] it was quite dark, all the Whites rushed out, but the Blacks immediately extinguished their lights & ran off to their Camp. Depont Observed them obtain other lights but no so bright as [??] & they spread all round the Neighbourhood apparently intending to come down upon the Huts on all sides, the men did not consider themselves safe having scarcely any ammunition & therefore they determined to leave the place, which they did & all came over to Berrico James Bugg's Station.

James Bugg (11th June 1835 )

Overseer of AA Company states 'On Friday the 8th day of May Instant about 10 Blacks come to the station they asked Depnt for Flour & tobacco & other things we gave them some corn to roast & some tobacco we did not expect from their manner that they intended doing any mischief, & informed since they were going to a great Corrobary [sic] in the neighbourhood they remained several hours at the station about 3 O'Clock in the afternoon as the Depon was sitting outside his hut Most of the Blacks were at the hut where the men attached to the station live, whilst Deponent was watching the movements of one the other came towards him [155] unawares and struck him across the thighs with a Waddy, on which he fell upon the Ground when the other Black struck with a [?????] upon the head he them became senseless & was unconscious of what passed.

James Smith (11 June 1835) States "On the 8th May instant he was in the hut occupied by the men with 3 other men about 3 O'Clock in the afternoon, he heard a noise in the direction of the Overseers (James Buggs ') hut about 30 or 50 yards distant & heard the Blacks mention the word " Cooli " & the door of the mens hut, was shut immediately, all the men rushed to the door & burst it oped before the Blacks made it past, he Depont then saw two blacks beating Buggs , he also saw a Black woman bring a Musket from Bugg's hut & fire it off in the direction of the Blacks, but Depont does not think any of them were wounded. There were many Blacks about at the time, I & another man named Curtis then got over to Buggs hut & obtained arms, The Blacks in the mean time had got to the back of the men's hut broken out a [??] but I with the other white men went back directly & prevented the Blacks stealing anything.   They continued in the [156] Neighbourhood of the station until sundown daring the men to come out to them. I said the soldiers would be sent after them they said they cared not for the soldiers, they spoke very good English. They said there were plenty more Blacks in the Bush that they would kill all the White men in the neighbourhood, they went to a flock of sheep which was in charge of a Black at the Station and stole a sheep which they carried away and eat.


Charley's Case 1835 No 36

Published by the Centre for Comparative Law History and Governance of Macquarie University, and State Records NSW