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Colonial Cases


Sydney Morning Herald, 10 October 1856

DEATH BY AN ELEPHANT. - We have heard some particulars of the late melancholy occurrence at Matelle, by which Mr. S. Robertson lost his life by the attack of a rogue elephant - a term used to define a beast of the kind who is either driven from the herd, or leaves it himself, for some unknown cause.  It would appear that five gentlemen left their houses together with guns, to look for elephants which were said to have been seen about the near jungles and pastures.  After a long search, three of the party gave up the search, and bent their way homewards, but the deceased and another gentleman determined to prosecute the search a little longer.  Shortly after, on emerging from the jungle they saw within a few yards of them a wild elephant amongst the ferns; they both fired at him (with what success is not known), when the beast charged, and in the retreat towards the jungle both fell, tripped up by the roots of the high fern.  In a moment the elephant was seen by the other gentleman, with Mr. Robertson in his trunk, first throwing him up and down and then swinging him to and fro, his head apparently striking, in the dreadful process, against the ground or some stump of a tree.  The elephant then dropped Mr. Robertson, and made off into the jungle, trumpeting loudly.  The deceased's friend then went up and found Mr. Robertson breathing heavily but sensible, and on enquiry as to whether he was much hurt, he said poor fellow - "Oh! Yes - I am; send for some men to take me home," about 3 ½ miles distant.  His friend - they had no coolies with them - then after covering him with his coat, went in search of assistance, and on returning found Mr. Robertson alive but insensible. His injuries were fatal, as he died on the way home in the litter in which he was carried.  It is supposed that this is the same elephant which killed Mr. Seger some time since. - Ceylon Times.


Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School