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Colonial Cases


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VI/261, 1 Jan 1809/1b

On Friday the 23d ult. a fine boy unfortunately fell into a well at Hawkesbury and was got out with some remains of life, but expired shortly after.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VI/262, 8 Jan 1809/1c 

On Sunday last ANN BATTAN fell out of a boat in Cockle Bay, and was unfortunately drowned. - The body was found the same afternoon; and on Monday an Inquest was taken. - Verdict Accidental Death.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/276, 16 Apr 1809/2a

On Wednesday last Mrs. MASON, wife of Mr. WILLIAM MASON, of the Green Hills, was unfortunately thrown from a chaise near MacKellar's Creek, and expired in about half an hour. - The deceased was that morning desirous of taking an excursion to Richmond for the benefit of her health; and requested Mr KABLE to accompany her thither in the chaise with her eldest daughter; to which he consented with some reluctance, as he was desirous of returning that day to Sydney. - Taking the road by the river-side, one of the wheels struck violently against a stump that was concealed by grass, and Mr. Kable unfortunately fell out.  The deceased and her daughter both screamed at the instant, and the horse taking fright, they were likewise thrown from the vehicle, which Mr. Kable had endeavoured to overtake as soon as he sufficiently recovered; the daughter was severely bruised; but was able to accompany Mr. Kable to render assistance to her mother; who complained that one of the wheels had passed over her back, and declared herself a dying woman. - Mr. Surgeon MILEHAM was sent for, with every possible expedition, but Mrs. Mason had expired in her daughter's arms before that Gentleman could reach the spot.  Mr. and Mrs. BADGERY and Mr. FAITHFUL arrived at the place about ten minutes after the melancholy accident, and were very attentive to the offices of humanity.  A Coroner's Inquest was taken at 5 o'clock the same evening, whose verdict was Accidental Death; after which the body was taken home, and interred on Thursday evening.  -  The funeral was numerously and respectably attended, many persons travelling ten to twenty miles to pay this last tribute of respect to a departed much lamented friend, whose kindness of disposition and obliging manners have ever been the admiration of all who were acquainted with her; as a mother and a wife her conduct was exemplary; and her loss will for ever be sincerely regretted by a disconsolate husband and a family of six children.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/277, 23 Apr 1809/1c

On board the Unity, a Coroner's Inquest assembled on Friday, on the body of Mr. CHARLES HOOPER, the chief officer of that vessel, who was found dead in the morning of that day, in his own birth, to which he had the previous evening retired in apparent good health. - The Verdict of the Inquest was Death by the visitation of God; - and yesterday his body was interred on shore; - the event much regretted by all persons who were acquainted with the deceased, who was about 30 years of age, and particularly lamented by Captain COOPER, by whom he was much esteemed.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/282, 28 May 1809/1c

On Wednesday morning the lifeless body of John Driver, who had been many years a stockman in the neighbourhood of Sydney, was found hanging on a tree upon Mr. MOORE's farm, on the Parramatta road; and as soon as the melancholy circumstances was reported an Inquest was by Precept from HIS HONOR THE LIIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, convened, to sit upon the body.  The first idea entertained was, that the deceased had been robbed, and afterwards murdered by the perpetrators, in order if possible to conceal one crime by the commission of a greater; and this conception was considerably strengthened by the circumstance of both the dead man's hands being to all appearance bound behind with a band of stringy bark, but on closer inspection, only one of the hands was found bound, and the other insinuated within an open noose from which it might easily have been withdrawn.  This and other concurrent circumstances led to a conjecture that the deceased had put a period to his own existence, and upon the examination taken by the Coroner, this supposition was confirmed.  The body was suspended from a bough, with a thick rope, and without any exterior marks of violence or any symptom of resistance, which could not possibly have been the case had he perished by the hands of others; neither could he have called for assistance unheeded, as the fatal tree stood within 100 yards of an inhabited house.  All the circumstances being duly weighed, the Jury were unanimously of opinion, that the unhappy man had deliberately put an end to his own life, and therefore returned a Verdict - Suicide!  The deceased was about seventy years of age, and by a penurious mode of living was supposed to have saved a little money, which he never carried about with him: but the causes which had so powerfully operated on his mind as to provoke the horrible determination no one can form the least conception of.  The body was interred on Friday near the place where the act was committed, and a stake driven through it.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/292, 6 Aug 1809/2b

FLOOD AT HAWKESBURY.  At the farm of Mr. S TERRY nine persons, viz.  COOLY, of Toongabbie; MUNSEY, of Hawkesbury; HODGES, servant to a gentleman of Sydney; MAHOMED an Asiatic, his wife and two children, and two black men - had endeavoured to secure themselves on top of the barn, which fell in about 5 on the Monday evening; but as there was no other resource left, they continued upon the roof for about two hours after, when the wife of Mahomed fell through the thatch with one of her children in her arms, and was no more seen. - Cooley endeavouring to save the other child, which clung to Mahomed, the father, slipped off with the infant, and in like manner disappeared; as did Munsey also.  Mahomed and the two black men saved themselves in trees, and Hodges swimming about in the dark at length got into the stream, by which he was carried between 5 and 6 miles before any impediment opposed his rapid course; when happily he found safety among the branches of a tree; from whence he was at length taken by a boat, and conveyed to a place of safety


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/297, 10 Sep 1809/1c

On Monday last died an infant son [James, bur 5 Sep] of THOMAS BREACH, of the Brickfields, at the age of three years and two months, in consequence of a violent burn received by its clothes taking fire 22 days before, while playing near the stump of a tree that had been set fire to.  The agony to which the little sufferer was unhappily a prey for so great a length of time can scarcely be conceived; nor can we give a more interesting picture of its tortures, than by stating they were such as to render its afflicted parents anxious for its dissolution, as no other hope remained of a termination to its most dreadful sufferings.

Editoral comment.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/300, 1 Oct 1809/2a

On Friday afternoon John Dignum died suddenly in the shop of John Harris, butcher, in Chapel Row, and the same evening a Coroner's Inquest sat on the body; whose verdict was Death by the Visitation of God.

Last week a fine boy fell off a plank in the Hawkesbury River, and was unfortunately drowned.  [Possibly George Dowling?]


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/301, 8 Oct 1809/2b

On Wednesday last a Coroner's Inquest sat on the body of WILLIAM STRANGE, [@35] a seaman belonging to the Perseverance, who suddenly dropped dead at a house on the Rocks. - Verdict, Died by the Visitation of GOD.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/302, 15 Oct 1809/2b

On the evening of Thursday last GEORGE PADHILL, a settler at Kissing Point, put an end to his own existence by strangling himself with a handkerchief, one end of which he tied fast about his neck, and the other to a branch of a tree not of sufficient height to prevent his knees from almost touching the ground. - a Coroner's Inquest, summoned from Parramatta, sat on the body on Friday, who returned a Verdict - Suicide!  - The deceased was an old man, supposed to be in tolerable circumstances; but it is conjectured to have been tempted to commit the rash act by a temporary embarrassment of a pecuniary nature.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/303, 22 Oct 1809/2a

Last week a fine boy about 11 years old, the son of WILLIAM CHESHIRE, settler at Nepean, was unfortunately bit by a snake which had entwined round his ancle, and survived the melancholy accident but a few hours.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/304, 29 Oct 1809/2a

On Monday night a Portuguese mulatto, who was servant to Captain Dundas, put a period to his existence with a pistol, the contents of which were lodged in the stomach, after which he lived about half an hour.  The day following an Inquest was taken on the body; who returned a Verdict Lunacy.


SYDNEY GAZETTE, VII/305, 5 Nov 1809/2b

DIED.  On Sunday night last, Mrs. Ann KEARNS, of Pitt's Row, after a long and painful illness.  The day following a Coroner's Inquest was convened, whose Verdict was - Death by the Visitation of God.

   Yesterday a Coroner's Inquest sat on the body of THOMAS JONES, [bur 10 Nov, a Prisoner] a labouring servant of the Crown, whose body was found drowned at Lane Cove on Thursday last.  Verdict - ACCIDENTAL DEATH.


SYSNEY GAZETTE, VII/313, 31 Dec 1809/2c

On Thursday last, between 11 and 12 at noon, JOHN GRAHAM, [bur 30 Dec] formerly of Parramatta, fell into a fainting fit at a house in Chapel Row, and expired in a few minutes.  A Coroner's Inquest was the same day convened, whose Verdict was - Death by the Visitation of  GOD.

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