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Colonial Cases


Sydney Gazette, Sunday III/147: 19 Jan 1806/ ??  

Discovery of the skeleton of JAMES HUGHES (absconded 15 Feb 1803); "Hughes was an able active man; well known in Ireland for his abominable depravities; and it is hoped, etc."


2 Feb 1806/2b  On the afternoon of Thursday 23d ult. the youngest son [JOHN] of WM WALL was taken lifeless out of a hole of water in the stream leading to the tanks between Serjt. Major's and Pitt's Row; all the resident Medical Gentlemen immediately attended, and adopted the mode prescribed by the Humane Society with an earnestness that reflects honor to their feelings, but unhappily without success.  Mr M'MILLAN Surgeon of His Majesty's ship Buffalo, assisted in the general endeavour to produce resuscitation, and continued his labours until a late hour, but respiration was irrecoverably lost.  [Buried 24 Jan.]


16 Feb 1806/??  St Philips Br.  Child, fa and mo June last & three orphans?  5 skeletons found at Combe Down, Bristol.  From the UK papers.


23 Feb 1806/2b   On Friday se'nnight JOHN MILLER, a labouring man, dropped dead suddenly on a farm at Richmond Hill.


9 Mar 1806/2a  From the observations of persons resident in the neighbourhood of the late unfortunate W YARDLEY, who was supposed to have perished in the flames by which his habitation was consumed, a suspicion arose that he was destroyed by human hands, and the house afterwards set on fire intentionally to conceal the wilful murder.  On the first disclosures of the suspicion every probable means of determining it were promptly resorted to by Thomas Arndell, Esq. Magistrate at the Green Hills: who with the active aid and perseverance of Mr Thompson, chief constable for the district, collected such information as at the present juncture to justify the strong presumption of his inhuman murder: in which we are shocked to state his wife was implicated on strong suspicion, and after undergoing a long examination before Mr Arndell, was committed to the county gaol yesterday se'nnight  A Bench of Magistrates was yesterday convened, before whom a further investigation of this lamentable affair took place; when one principal circumstance in establishing the fact upon evidence appeared, that when the mutilated remains of the deceased were found among the ruins, the head alone remained uninjured by the flames; that the appearance of blood was at that time visible about the lower part of the face, which was very reasonably attributed to a violent blow from a part of the building falling in upon him: but that in consequence of the subsequent suspicion, the interred remains were taken up and more minutely examined; when a handkerchief tied firmly about the head being unbound, discovered to the astonished spectators a large and ghastly aperture in the skull, which might indeed have been attributed to the above cause, did not the cavity appear to have been filled with cloths, and covered with a bandage, as was also the hair of the deceased, which was very much stained with blood - A man servant to the deceased, also in custody, pleaded an alibi; but was, with the woman, remanded for further examination.


16 Mar 1806/4b   MARY YARDLEY and her servant HENRY MURRAY underwent another examination for the suspected murder of the late unfortunate WILLIAM YARDLEY.

   JOHN CAMPBELL, a settler at the next farm to that of the deceased, appeared to answer to the Bench such interrogatories relative to this unfortunate transaction as should be thought necessary.  His deposition comprehended a narrative of all the circumstances attending it; the deponent was the first that rendered assistance in extinguishing the fire; he had, at the hazard of his own life, attempted to get the deceased out of the house, hoping that he might yet be saved; but upon the first touch found the body almost consumed, and desisted from any further attempt; he was afterwards present at the Inquest taken on the body, and saw the handkerchief round the head, which he proposed taking off, owing to some little curiosity being excited by the appearance of blood under the nose: but was vehemently opposed by all his brother jurors, who concluded that to gratify so idle a curiosity could have no other end than to increase the horror of the spectacle.  His evidence with respect to Murray principally went to prove a dislike to his master; and on being questioned as to the conduct and general deportment of Mary Yardley during the time, he said he conceived it becoming, and that she appeared sensibly affected.  The Medical Gentlemen correspond in the opinion of its being a premeditated and deliberate murder; and the Magistracy take every possible pains to discover its authors. - Both prisoners were remanded.

   At noon on Wednesday last a scuffle took place in the back Row East between a labouring man of the name of Boyle, and F. Corbett, a shoemaker, which terminated in a shocking manner.  Boyle it appears had gone into the house of Ann Morgan, opposite to a skilling in which Corbet resided; and being supposed by the latter to have some evil design, was followed into the house and accosted by him;---some violent language was followed by blows; Boyle was rather a powerful man and the other a cripple, unable to abstain a contest;---the latter endeavoured to retreat, but was knocked down, and cruelly beaten; a third person who wished to interpose was threatened by Boyle to be served in the same way; and he therefore thought it advisable to leave the little shoemaker to his destiny; he at length so far effected his retreat as to get into his own little habitation, but was still pursued by Boyle who in the end received a stab with a knife in the back, immediately beneath the right shoulder.  As soon as he was wounded he became languid, but nevertheless walked un affected to the General Hospital, where surgical assistance was immediately administered, though with but little hope of preserving the patient, the knife having entered to right lobe of the lungs.  Corbet  in the mean time effected his escape; but was in less than two hours lodged in gaol.---It is a melancholy reflexion, that there are at this time not less than three persons in custody for offences of the same heinous nature awaiting the event of their rashness upon those doomed by their hands to totter on the pinnacle of fate, and miserably to linger under extreme bodily torture.


23 Mar 1806/2b  ACCIDENTS.   A Coroner's Inquest assembled on Thursday last on the body of an infant daughter [LAETITIA] of  Wm. O'NEAL on the Rocks, whose death was occasioned by her falling into a well the night before, behind her father's house.  The child was five years old, and in the frequent habit of taking water from the well by means of several steps descending into it; from which it is supposed she slipped in by some grievous accident, and never afterwards recovered sufficient breath to give the slightest alarm.  She was a remarkably fine and promising child; the admiration of the neighbours, and the delight of her inconsolable parents, whose distresses are inconceivably heightened by the recollection, that timely consideration might have removed the danger, and saved the little cherub from an untimely destiny.  [Buried 21 Mar.]

                                                     A young lad about 15 years of age, who arrived a prisoner in the Tillicherry, was last Wednesday drowned at Parramatta while bathing.


30 Mar 1806/2 a,b & c  HAWKESBURY [Floods]  Mar. 27.

Five persons are known at present to have lost their lives: one of whom was a labourer at Richmond; the others at Chalker's farm, viz. WALTER SCOTT, a shoemaker, who has left a large family to deplore his destiny, & JAMES BURNS, with two woman, one the wife of BENJAMIN COOLEN, the other the wife of  J COWAN.   Three of these unfortunate persons had taken shelter at Chalker's house, there hoping safety but alas! the highest & the lowest situations seemed alike devoted, and security was nowhere to be found.  CHALKER  was in turn compelled to fly for safety; and taking to his boat with a boy five years of age, and the above three, by fatal accident the boat upset, and they instantly perished.  The child was the first object of Chalker's care, as an endeavour to save either of the others must have failed, and been at the same time fatal to himself, as the distance he had to swim was little short of a mile.  The child at his desire threw his arms about his neck, and instead of giving way to horror endeavoured to embarrass his preserver as little as possible and occasionally to chear him with the assurance, that they were almost out of danger.


6 Apr 1806/2a   Accounts were received on Thursday of the death of JOHN CHAPMAN MORRIS and WILLIAM GREEN, the former a settler and the latter a carpenter; who were drowned owing to a small boat upsetting in which they were rowing about the river in hopes of discerning some of their own and their neighbours lost property that might have sunk. - Several persons who were spectators of their toil anxiously enquired if they could swim, as no confidence could be placed in their wretched vehicle; - to which, in the event they owed their untimely dissolution.

6 Apr 1806/2b   On Monday last an inquest was taken on the body of ROBERT KENCH, a marine on board His Majesty's ship Buffalo, drowned in consequence of his having accidentally fallen overboard the Tuesday night preceding; the body not floating until Sunday last, when it appeared along side, nearly perpendicularly to the spot where he went down. - Verdict Accidental Death.

6 Apr 1806/3a  The particulars relative to the death of the late unfortunate John Chapman Norris and William Green are as follows:---The boat they were in contained 8 persons, amongst whom was T. Reiby, the only one that could swim.---Morris steered the boat and accidentally drove her against a bough that had fallen into the river, occasioning a rent through which the water poured.  Reiby would have stopped the leak with his handkerchief, and thus have gained time to get to the shore, as the distance was trifling; but was prevented by the terrible consternation that seized the whole of his companions, who rushing forward weighed down the gunnel of the boat, under which one of the streaks being open, she filled in an instant.  They all called on Reiby for assistance, and were almost one and all about to grasp hold of him; but conscious that inevitable death must be the consequence to himself as well as them, he threw himself in to the water, and passed under the boat, expecting if they saw him rise they would leap towards him, and by an  overstrained exertion accomplish what their terrors seemed to dictate:---he rose under the bow, and got hold of the end of the peinter, with which he struck off towards the nearest bank, and towed her within a few yards of shallow water; but much embarrassed by the weight of his cloaths and boots, he was obliged to relinquish his hold:---as soon as he gained the bank he assured them he would yet save the whole if they would summon a moment's patience:---their outcries were at this moment dreadful; they were all standing in the boat, which sunk gradually; Reiby tore up a sapling, and wading as far as he could, presented the end of it to four alternately, and by this means saved their lives; a fifth man man aged to gain the bank without assistance; Reiby, as soon as he had disengaged the bough from the last, again plunged in: they had unfortunately all sprung toward the bough as soon as it was presented; and the two deceased persons had kept above water till the other four were saved; Reiby made towards Morris, whose cries for help had not yet ceased; but unhappily assistance came too late one single instant!---his hat alone was to be seen.---This likewise was the case with Green, who has left a widow an d three helpless infants to deplore his loss.


6 Apr 1806/4a & b  MARY YARDLEY, who was confined and underwent many examinations in consequence of some inexplicable circumstances that attended the death of her late unfortunate husband, was liberated by order of the Bench, as from the strictest enquiry no proof had been adduced to constitute grounds of prosecution.


13 Apr 1806/2c   Last Sunday se'nnight the remains of the late unfortunate WILLIAM GREEN and JOHN CHAPMAN MORRIS were interred at the Green Hills.  The body of the latter was found the preceding evening near the spot he went down at, clinging to the branch that had occasioned the disaster which had terminated in his death:- the body of Green was on Sunday morning found by his brother near the same spot, whither he was lead by a strong suspicion that they might not have been separated to any very considerable distance.


20 Apr 1806/2c   A report prevailed on Monday of the death of a man of the name of THOMAS JONES, who was said to have been drowned between Hawkesbury and Toongabbee. - This report was without foundation.

20 Apr 1806/4c  Advert: Letters of Administration in estate of John Chapman Morris.


27 Apr 1806/3b   Re William Green's family.

                            Yesterday se'nnight the body of GEO. ROW was found in a pond of water at the Race Course, where it was supposed to have lain eight days, which had elapsed since the departure of the deceased from one of the lower farms on the River Hawkesbury: he set out on horseback in the morning, and the same day the horse returned without him.

                              On Friday W[ILLIAM] LANE, clerk to the Deputy Commissary at Parramatta, was seized with an apoplexy, and died suddenly.   [Buried 27 Apr.]


4 May 1806/1a & b  On Friday ANTHONY SIZE [buried 4 May], stock keeper at Prospect, was found barbarously murdered, but by whom has not yet been ascertained.  The only accounts we are yet in possession of state that two men passing near his hut with a cart, heard the groans of the unfortunate man, and proceeding towards the place from whence they issued, found him still alive, with his head leaning on a stump, and weltering in his own blood.  They endeavoured to get from him some information that might lead to the detection of the horrible atrocity; but could obtain no other answer than that it was a white man.  They placed him in the cart, and took him into Parramatta, where he was received into the General Hospital; but he had long since breathed his last.  The body was examined by Mr Wentworth and Mr Mileham; who found the head dreadfully mangled, and the skull fractured in many places.  He had to all appearance received several blows on the head with the edge of an axe, which had penetrated several inches; both the jaw bones were broke, as if with the eye of an axe, and a blow of the same kind between the eyes had occasioned the ghastly and fatal fracture.  He presented one of the most distressing spectacles that can be conceived; and lay a considerable time before persons who were well acquainted with the deceased while living, could recognise the body.  The poor man's hut was stripped of every article of bedding, and wearing apparel, and all the provisions he was at the time possessed of: - the body was interred yesterday; and every means will be taken to bring the perpetrators of this horrible murder to condign punishment.

    What could be the inducement to the commission of the crime no person can conceive, as the unfortunate man was in possession of nought that could excite the envy of the most humbly circumstanced in life; and was remarkable at the same time for the harmlessness of his disposition and meekness of his manners.  It was supposed, from the consideration of the combined circumstances, more probable that the deceased unhappily perished by the hands of natives, than that any white man however vitiated in his mind or depraved in courses, would thus wantonly embue his hands in the blood of a poor and unoffending fellow creature.

4 May 1806/3c   On Friday night ELIZABETH HAYLAND, a poor woman who laboured under one of the severest dispensations of providence, the loss of sight, was burnt in a most dreadful manner by her clothes taking fire as she sat alone by the fire side.  The unfortunate woman receives every assistance from the General Hospital that can be afforded her; but little hope can be entertained of her long surviving the dreadful accident.

4 May 1806/4a   Shortly before the Estramina left the River Derwent, two men unfortunately perished by a whale boat upsetting in which they were transporting four valuable kangaroo dogs to the opposite side, neither of which ever reached the shore.


11 May 1806/3b   ELIZABETH HAYLAND, the poor blind woman who was last week shockingly burnt in consequence of her cloaths taking fire, departed this life on Sunday morning, after enduring for many hours the most excruciating torture.

                                The murder of ANTHONY SIZE, the stockman at Prospect, there is much reason to believe was effected by the natives, from the circumstances of several spears and a cap or two worn by them being found in his hut.


18 May 1806/2b   The names of the two men who on the Estramina's arrival from Hobart Town were stated to have been lost in crossing the river in a boat, were CHARLES STAPLES and JAMES FREDERICK, both free-men from this city.


6 Jul 1806/3a   Last week an Inquest was taken at Hawkesbury on the body of WILLIAM JOYCE, labourer to Mr A Thompson, of that settlement, whose fate it was to be killed by the fall of a piece of timber from a timber carriage.


12 Jul 1806/2b & c  On Monday last SAMUEL PERKINS [aged 33; buried 9 Jul.], a private in the New South Wales Corps, died suddenly in one of the passage boats, in a few minutes after quitting the Parramatta wharf.  The deceased had that morning complained of an ailment in the breast and on stepping into the boat threw himself upon one of the thwarts, keeping his right hand closely pressed against the part he complained of.  One of the boatmen requested him to go aft; but receiving no answer, looked intently upon the poor man, whose face was covered with a violent perspiration, which alarming the boatman and passengers, they all went to his assistance, but found him breathless.


20 Jul 1806/3c   Yesterday se'nnight a fine boy, son of I MORGAN, settler at Concord, was unfortunately drowned, owing to a canoe upsetting in which he was crossing an arm of the Parramatta River.  A man who was in the canoe at the same time, saved his own life with difficulty.  An Inquest was taken on the body the day following: whose verdict was dictated by the unfortunate event.


10 Aug 1806/2b  MURDER.- On Sunday morning last the body of DAVID FREIGHT [buried 5 Aug.], servant to Mr Skinner of Pitt's Row, was found by the side of the road near Duck River Bridge in a dreadfully mangled state, with a bundle, which he carried from Sydney the evening before, cinched under his arm, and a knife laying by his side, which from its appearance had been instrumental to the murder.  The unfortunate man was so totally disfigured by the wounds he received on the head and face, as not to be recognised until Monday; when from a description of the clothes the body wore, he was identified by his master.

                                 On Tuesday evening last WILLIAM M'CRELY, a private in the New South Wales Corps, shot himself through the head and shortly after expired.

10 Aug 1806/2c   Two men were last week apprehended at Parramatta on suspicion of the inhuman murder of David Freight on Saturday night or Sunday morning last.  On Wednesday morning they underwent an Examination before the Magistrates; in the course of which nothing appeared that could pointedly tend to criminate either of the parties. - They were however remanded for another Examination.


24 Aug 1806/6b   FRANCIS BARK [@ BURKE], late from Norfolk Island, was last week duly committed from Parramatta on suspicion of the wilful murder of the late unfortunate DAVID FREIGHT, who was some days since found barbarously murdered near Duck River Bridge.


31 Aug 1806/2b   On Monday last at noon an Inquest was taken (under the direction of Wm GORE, Esq. Coroner), on the body of SARAH ARMSTRONG [buried 26 Aug.], a poor woman, who having some weeks before laboured under a severe dysentery, died that morning in the open street, on her way homeward. - Verdict, Death by the Visitation of God.

31 Aug 1806/3b & c  SATURDAY, AUG. 30. MURDER.  FRANCIS BURKE was indicted for the murder of DAVID FREIGHT on the Parramatta road, on the evening of the 2d of August instant, near to Duck River Bridge.

   Mr Surgeon MILEHAM gave testimony, that on the 3d of the month he was called upon to examine the body of the deceased; and found two severe incisions on the head, which had to all appearance been made with an axe or similar implement; and that the jaw bone was fractured apparently by the blow of a club; which several wounds he pronounced without hesitation to have been the cause of death.

   Catharine Eyres deposed, that on the evening of the 2d of August, she, with Mary Connaughty, accompanied the prisoner at the bar from her house at Parramatta as far as Duck River Bridge, where they parted, the prisoner proceeding towards Sydney, and themselves returning to Parramatta.  She further deposed, that upon meeting on the road while Burke was with them, a laden cart, he said he had seen the time when he would have knocked down the two fellows that were with it, and taken the property away; that about a quarter after eight the same night the prisoner returned to her house at Parramatta, with John Blundell, who cohabited with the deponent, and assigned as the cause of his return his having met with Blundell, with whom he had some business; that both the men were much out of breath, which she imputed to their having run a considerable part of the way in order to be in before 8 o'clock, as after that hour they were liable to be taken up by the watch; and that the prisoner told her that Blundell was in charge of a constable when he met him.

   Upon cross examination the deponent said there was no mark or appearance on either the prisoner at the bar or Blundell that could authorise suspicion; not after she had heard of the murder did any single circumstance recur to her that could awaken such.

   Mary Connaughty deposed much to the same effect; but with the following additions to the foregoing testimony:---That upon meeting with the cart, as already stated, the prisoner at the bar's expressions, being addressed to, and more distinctly heard by herself, were, that "there was some good stuff in the cart; and there was a time when he should not have minded knocking down the two fellows, and taking it from them---but this was no place for it."  And that upon his return to the house of Catharine Eyres the same evening, he jocosely said he had had cruel sport on Duck River bridge, having there met with a woman much intoxicated, who had a bundle tied up in a handkerchief; that he enquired what it contained; and was answered by the woman, "have you come for it?' meaning her bundle; that she did acquaint him with the articles tied up in it, viz., tea, sugar,. Tobacco, sloth, and some money; the prisoner then concluding his narrative by saying, that if he had been inclined to do any thing it would not have answered, as two men at the instant came out of the bush, who might have given him a good beating.

    Owen M'Nanimy deposed, that about 7 in the evening of Saturday the 2d of August, it being then dark, he met the prisoner at between 30 and 50 rods from the place where the body of the deceased was found; that the prisoner looked earnestly at him, and then accosted him by name, as he in return did also to the prisoner, whom he well knew, and  who asked him (tho' he, M'Nanimy, was going towards Parramatta), if he had met Blundell going  down to Sydney.  He however observed nothing to constitute suspicion of his guilt in the charge exhibited.

   The evidence being closed, the prisoner said in his defence, that having business with Blundell, whom he supposed to be at Castle Hill, he went thither, but learnt that he had that morning, (the 2d of August), gone on pass to Parramatta; that he went thither also, and was told by Catharine Eyres that he had gone onward to Sydney, but would return in the evening; as his business was of a pressing pecuniary nature he proposed going to meet him, and was accompanied part of the way by the women; that he still continued his route; and meetings with Blundell opposite to Mr. Laycock's farm the exigency of the moment made his return with him to Parramatta necessary.

   In support of what he had advanced he called the testimony of John Blundell, which corresponded; but contradicting that part of both the women's testimony relative to his and the prisoner's having said that he (Blundell), was in custody of a constable when met by the prisoner that evening.

   The Court were much embarrassed by the difficulty of ascertaining periods, as delivered by the different witnesses, so critically necessary in the formation of their judgment.  The women averred to having parted with the prisoner at about 7 in the evening; and at a considerable distance further M'Nanimy met him about the same period; after which, by his own and Blundell's account, they met opposite Mr. Laycock's farm, a distance of between 4 an d 5 miles from Duck River bridge; then returning to Parramatta being at least 8 additional miles, was all accomplished by a quarter after 8.  The evidence was not, however, sufficiently decisive; and he was necessarily acquitted.


31 Aug1806/4c   On Wednesday evening THOMAS DERRY dropped down suddenly, while grinding a little wheat for his own use at a steel mill, and in a very short time expired.   -  Verdict Death by the Visitation of God.  [Buried 30 Aug.]


14 Sep 1806/2b & c   Last Tuesday se'nnight the following very melancholy circumstance occurred at Portland Head. - A servant of JAMES DUNN, being employed in falling timber close to his master's house, a tree of immense size fell upon it, and renting it asunder, killed two fine children as they lay in bed, besides maiming the mother in a most dreadful manner as she sat by the bedside.  Dunn had himself providentially got out of bed an instant before, or must have inevitably shared the fate of his unfortunate children, one of whom was a girl aged ten years, and the other a boy of seven. - An Inquest was taken on the bodies, and under some peculiar circumstances RICHARD MORGAN, the servant, was committed to custody.

   On Thursday a Bench of Magistrates was convened, before whom the above Richard Morgan was accused by his master, James Dunn, with having acted in all respects contrary to his orders in cutting down the tree whereby the death of his ill fated children had been occasioned.  From his testimony it appeared, that in consequence of some improper conduct he had been necessitated to lodge a complaint against his said servant, who under false pretences had quitted his emply while in arrear of work seven weeks, and was therefore ordered to return; that the evening previous to the melancholy circumstances above recited he had instructed him to cut an ealf in that and several other trees, and the he himself would assist in felling them; but that before day-light he had, expressly contary to his orders, felled a tree, by the direction of which nothing less could have been imagined that the more than probable extirpation of which whole family at such a time in the morning. - The testimony of others who witnessed the distressing spectacle shortly after the event had taken place expressed a thorough disapprobation of a man, whose neglect of his master's orders, if such only it could be termed, might nevertheless be censured as proceeding from a malignity of disposition from whence the most disastrous consequences had followed. - The Bench, taking all the circumstances into consideration, thought it incumbent upon them to order a heavy corporal punishment to be inflicted on the offender; who was therefore sentenced to receive 500 lashes, one half to be inflicted at Sydney, and the remainder at Hawkesbury; and afterwards to be sent to another settlement.


21 Sep 1806/2c   On Monday last a Coroner's Inquest assembled on board the Alexander, on the body of JOHN LUKER, mariner, whose death was in consequence of his having gone below and there fallen asleep during a fumigation for the purpose of destroying vermin.  Another of the ship's company who had been equally incautious, was at the point of death, but providentially saved.

   On Thursday morning the body of a seaman [JOHN COLE bur 16th or JOHN STEVENSON bur 19th] belonging to the Albion, who had been some days missing, was discovered floating alongside. - The same day an Inquest was taken on the body; whose Verdict, as in the foregoing case also, was Accidental Death.


9 Nov 1806/1c   On Tuesday last the wife of THOMAS BROWN, in Chapel Row, fell into the fire in a hysteric fit and was burnt in a most dreadfully shocking manner.  The unfortunate woman was rescued from immediate death by the return of her husband, and aid that has reserved for her an accumulation of torture which must paralise the imagination of the spectator, without affording any hope of her long surviving the disaster.

9 Nov 1806/1a   During the night of yesterday se'nnight a man of the name of [T] WHITTINGTON was shot by a centinel at Parramatta, while endeavouring to cross the river.  He had been hailed repeatedly, and before fired at; but persevering in his resolution to escape, met with his fate. - A Coroner's Inquest was taken on the body, whose verdict was Justifiable Homicide.   [Bur 3 Nov.]

9 Nov 1806/2a   The unfortunate woman [BROWN] mentioned in the first page to have been so severely burnt expired this morning between 12 and 1.  In so doleful a case the mind finds some relief in the reflection that her tortures have not been very much protracted; and no less so in the hope that her state of corporeal insensibility was such as in a great measure to favour the idea, that her sufferings were much less acute than might have been conjectured.



Sunday, November 16, 1806/1c


As the daring spirit of these desperate offenders occupies much serious attention at the present moment, we enter into the following particulars on the subject.  It has been some time since clearly ascertained, that five of the delinquents advertised had associated themselves, and infested the grazing farms in the vicinity of Prospect, of which the flock of JOHN M'ARTHUR Esq. appears to have been the chief object of their ravages.  Five sheep have disappeared in the course of one night, notwithstanding every vigilant exertion of the stock keepers and guards, the number of whom were necessarily increased.  Night and day they have been harassed by their daring visitors; their huts plundered as well as their flocks, & their provisions carried off.  Apprehension and alarm were constant, and their effects in the following instance particularly doleful:---

   John Griffiths and Simeon Donnally being out upon the watch on the night of the 8th instant, were suddenly disturbed by the sheep violently rushing to and fro within the fold, which was naturally attributed to an attack from these depredators; in consequence of which Griffiths posted his brother watchman as advantageously as possible, while he himself should reconnoitre, as well as the extreme darkness of the night admitted, the movements of their adversaries.  No sooner had they separated than Donnally from some unaccountable cause, forsook his post, and went within the fold, not improbably to discover whether any person had introduced himself there or not.  The other, having traversed a considerable part of the circuit, at length descried a human form, and could not possible suppose it to be any other than a bush ranger.  He hailed him instantly, and thrice repeated the challenge; but receiving no answer fired upon him, and the charge having taken place he very soon discovered the object of his aim to have been no other than the unfortunate Donnally, who was mortally wounded in the side.  Assistance was procured to take the poor man into his hut, where he soon after expired; and on Monday last a Coroner's Inquest assembled at Parramatta; but the evidence of the stockmen  who did not attend being essential, the enquiry was postponed till the day following; when from the joint testimony of all the witnesses, Griffiths was ac quitted b y the verdict of any thing censurable in the unfortunate transaction; and that the deceased, who was an old man, had acted highly imprudently b y leaving his post, and m ore so by going within the fold; that he was much afflicted with deafness, and in all probability did not him self hear when challenged, which others at a considerable distance did distinctly hear; and that Griffiths was in the most friendly habits with him.



23 Nov 1806/2b    DEATHS.  On Thursday night CHARLOTTE WALKER [Bur 24 Nov.] died in the Brickfields of an apoplexy: but in consequence of unpleasant rumours being circulated relative to the circumstances of her death, her husband was apprehended and kept in custody until yesterday liberated by the verdict of a Coroner's Inquest.

    Between 5 and 6 yesterday evening two fine boys, belonging to THOMAS EVESTAFF in Pitt's Row, were taken lifeless out of a neighbouring well, the length of time they had remained in which was indeterminate.  The ill-fated infants, the eldest of whom [JOHN] was above 3 years, & the youngest [WILLIAM] about two years old, had found their way unperceived into the yard in which the well was, & the cover being unhinged and decayed, yielding to the slightest pressure, unhappily presented to the unconscious babes a fatal and untimely vortex.  The sensation produced by the melancholy event was recorded in the countenances of all that visited the scene of anguish, with the kind balsam of condolence to render less insupportable the distresses of the parents on so severe a trial.


30 Nov 1806/2a    Two seamen belonging to the Atlantic were killed by lightning on Tuesday night, as they were returning to the vessel in a wood boat, owing, very possibly, to the attractive influence of a cross cut saw which lay exposed in the boat.  They each received the stroke on the right side, its visible effects extending from the ear downwards below the breast, on which were several bruises. ---On Wednesday an inquest was taken on the bodies.---Verdict, Death by the Visitation of God.  One of the unfortunate men was a native of New Zealand.

 EDWARD MUNDAY, [bur 30 Nov] a private in the New South Wales Corps, was indicted for killing T WHITTINGTON, while the prisoner was centinel on the Terrace at Parramatta Barracks, on the night of November 1, when upon the evidence it appeared that what he did was in the execution of his duty, and he was acquitted accordingly.

   JOHN GRIFFITHS, watchman at the stock farm of JOHN M'ARTHUR, Esq. was tried for killing SIMEON DONELLY, also a watchman (the particulars of which were before detailed) and acquitted.  [192 1c & 2a]


7 Dec 1806/2a  On Friday last a fine boy, 6 years of age, was unfortunately found drowned in the Hawkesbury River, opposite to the house of David Brown, settler on the banks.  He was the son of J M'DONALD, and was left in a decked boat moored off, while the boatmen went on shore; but returning shortly after, found the child's cloaths upon the deck, and himself unfortunately missing.

   Last Monday a fine infant two years old, belonging to THOMAS HUSSEY, Settler at the Branch, unfortunately fell into a tub of boiling wort, and was scalded to death.  

   On Friday a blacksmith named WALSALL [Bur as WARSELL @ 35 on 7 Dec.] was seized with an apoplexy at Parramatta, and died suddenly.

   The European belonging to the Atlantic whose destiny it was to fall by lightning some days since, was by birth an Englishman; his name was GEORGE MITCHELL, and was of parents highly reputable in London.


28 Dec 1806/2b   On Sunday last WILLIAM DONOVAN [also buried as DENNIS DONNOVAN, convict, on 23 Dec.] was unfortunately drowned in the Cove, in diving there after an iron pot lost from one of the vessels, for which piece of service he was to have received 5 s.  The body was got up the same day, and an inquest taken, whose verdict was accidental death.

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