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Colonial Cases


R. v. Atkin, Chalmers and Milton [1828] NSWSupC 27

R. v. Barlow [1828] NSWSupC 41

R. v. Binge Mhulto (1828) Sel Cas (Dowling) 1; [1828] NSWSupC 82

R. v. Brown [1828] NSWSupC 10

R. v. Hartland [1828] NSWSupC 3

R. v. Johnson, Smith and Gilroy [1828] NSWSupC 21

R. v. Kelly (No. 3) [1828] NSWSupC 9

R. v. Lelland [1828] NSWSupC 61

R. v. Miller [1828] NSWSupC 100

R. v. Pigott and Crampton [1828] NSWSupC 13

R. v. Russel [1828] NSWSupC 1


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 2 January 1828

On Monday last, the last day of the past year, as a person named Fox, a blacksmith, living in Cumberland-street, was crossing his own yard, he sudenly fell down, and breathed his last.  He had not been heard to complain of illness during the day, and had pursued his work as usual, without interruption.  The Coroner's Jury, which assembled on his remains, returned a verdict, died by the visitation of God.


R. v. Hartland [1828] NSWSupC 3


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 16 January 1828


On Thursday evening an event occurred upon "the Rocks," which, for a time, caused much bustle, and enquiry, and gossipping.  One made it to have been one way, and another, another way; but the point in which all concurred was, that the husband of the deceased had lent a hand in the fray.  The Coroner being short appraised of what was going forward, lost no time in calling together a Jury, and taking a view of the dead body, and hearing whatever evidence could be brought together. From the evidence which we have thought proper to subjoin, a conclusion on the real merits of the case may be arrived at.  The Coroner and his Jury came together about ten o'clock, and having carefully examined the dead body, adjourned to the apartment, an house, known by the sign of the Whale Fishery, a public-house, in Cambridge-street.  The room was soon filled with a number of people; curiosity brought some, and duty and necessity brought more.  The first evidence called was a female named Mary Robertson, who deposed that she lives in a house in Cambridge-street, No. 24; deceased and a man named John Hartland also lodged there, and had done so for some time; yesterday evening (Thursday), the deponent heard Hartland call the deceased into his bed-room; deponent was [disposed] to think that the deceased paid no attention to the call; immediately after the voices of both became louder, and, seemingly, in a quarrelsome strain; deponent could hear the deceased say, "if you will not leave me alone, I'll complain of you."  It is known to witness, that the deceased was a free woman, but Hartland is a conditional prisoner---he only holds a ticket-of-leave.  Hartland replied, "now. there is something for you;" witness was not present, but just then hearing a sort of confusion in the room, she placed herself in a situation to see what was going on; saw Hartland give the deceased two kicks in the left side; deceased immediately fell, and witness ran to her assistanc e; the woman seemed to be a good deal hurt; witness accordingly despatched a person for surgical assistance, but to all appearance, life was extinct within ten minutes.

   By the JURY---After deceased fell, and witness had picked her up, she laid the woman on the bed, and bathed her feet in warm water, and then put her into bed; but she was insensible.  Hartland was in a state of intoxication at the time of this quarrel taking place.  Deceased had been out in the early part of the evening, and was far from being sober.  Hartland and deceased lived together on pretty good terms.  Witness never heard Hartland say he would be the death of her.  Not more than ten minutes elapsed, from her having received the injury, before she died.  They lived on the same terms as married people usually do.  Hartland immediately, upon finding what extent of injury he had committed, became quite distracted.  He repeatedly called on her to speak to him; and this was done in the most affectionate manner; but she exhibited no symptoms of perception.

   Dr. EDvans stated, that he examined the body, and was of opinion that a severe rupture in the spleen had occasioned the woman's death.

   Mr. M'Curdy, surgeon, was called upon to attend the deceased.  Was of opinion that no medical assistance, if it had been on the spot at the time of the injury having been received, would have availed anything.

   Andrew M'Call deposed, that he lives in the same house where the affair took place.  He saw the violence committed by Hartland, but heard no conversation between deceased and Hartland.

   This being all the evidence forthcoming, the Coroner briefly commented upon its bearings.  The room being cleared of strangers, the Jury were left to themselves.  In about twenty minutes after, they returned a verdict to the following effect---"We find that the deceased, Eliza Yates, alias Watkins, came to her death from violent injury done to her person, by John Hartland."

   Hartland was upon this, fully committed to gaol, by warrant of the Coroner.


The Monitor, Thursday 17 January 1828

A woman who was living with a man named Harley a Sawyer, (recently come up from the five islands) on the Rocks, was on the night of Thursday last knocked down and kicked by him with such violence, as to occasion her death in a few hours after.  A Coroner's Inquest was held on the body, and a verdict of Wilful Murder returned against Harley, who was accordingly committed to Jail to take his trial.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 18 January 1828

One of the crew of a government boat stationed at the wharf, usually called Cadman's, was drowned in the course of Sunday evening, in a most unforeseen way.  The man had been drinking, and was more than half seas over, when he plunged into the water, and though reckoned a good swimmer, had not paddled far, when his head dropped under water, and he never more appeared alive.  Every exertion was used for finding the body.  After some hours creeping it was found, and conveyed on shore.  It was recognised before a Coroner's Inquest, which was shortly after impannelled.  The Inquest found a verdict of accidental death.


The Monitor, Monday 21 January 1828

The body of Mr. Nicholson's Coxwain, was found by the blacks at 11 o'clock on Monday.  The Coroner held an inquest on Tuesday morning.---It surprised many, that the Inquest was not held in the evening of the same day.  A drowned body lying twenty-four hours in such a climate as this, must render it a dreadful spectacle to view and examine, which it is the imperative duty of the Jurymen to do before they can proceed on their Inquest.


The Monitor, Thursday 24 January 1828




WHEREAS, a verdict for Wilful Murder, against some person or persons unknown, was returned at the inquest taken on the 19th Instant, on the body of Thomas Tucker, a stockman, employed by Mr. West, Miller, residing near Sydney; Notice is hereby given, that a Reward of fifty pounds will be paid to any person or persons giving such information as may lead to the discovery and Conviction of the party or parties concerned; and if the person giving such information be a prisoner, he will also be allowed a Ticket of Leave.

                                     By His Excellency's Command,

                                                                       ALEXANDER M'LEAY.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 25 January 1828

MYSTERIOUS MURDER.---By the sagacity of a favorite dog, the murdered body of an old man was found a few days ago in a hole, where it had been attempted to be concealed, on one side of the road leading from Sydney towards Botany-bay.  The deceased is recognised as Thomas Tucker, a stock-man in the employ of a Mr. West---who has appeared as an evidence on the Coroner's Inquest.  The purport of his evidence is, that the deceased reported, on the previous Tuesday, his having met with a man whom he suspected to be a bushranger.  They had some trifling conversation which led him, the deceased, to form no very favorable impression of his new acquaintance.  Upon the deceased going out nexgt morning, Mr. W. says, he advised him to be cautious of the sgtranger; the deceased replied, he was not afraid, provided the man did not come upon him unawares.  Deceased left home in the morning, an d never returned after.  No intelligence could be gathered of his fate, till a dog, which was faithfully attached to him, led the master towards a spot of ground which seemed to have been recently dug up; the dog here expressed all that canine sagacity could, to induce his master to search the spot closer---he scraped away part of the earth, and Mr. W. having dug into the surface, to his amazement, found the murdered body of his servant plunged into a hole.  The throat of the poor fellow was cut, and several stabs appeared on various parts of the body, which was in a state of nudity.  It was examined by a surgeon, who gave it as his opinion, that the man could not have lived more than three minutes after he was stabbed.  A man answering the description given by deceased of the stranger alluded to, was seen near West's Station, employed in washing a pair of trowsers in a creek---the trowsers are represented to be similar in appearance to those worn by deceased at the time of his departure.  This stranger has since been taken into custody; he is thought to be insane.  The Inquest sat both on Saturday and Sunday forenoon, but without being able to cast any clear light on the mysterious affair.  They have returned a verdict of wilful murder, against some person or persons unknown.

SELF-MURDER.---Mr. Orr, the Coroner for Parramatta, and a sufficient Jury, assembled on Friday to view the body of an inhabitant, named Gabriel Moore, and to investigate the proper cause of his untimely death.  From every circumstance which could be brought to bear it clearly appeared, that the man had died by suffocation, produced solely through his own agency.  He was found hanging by the neck, from a rafter in the roof, and it was thought, from being so very convenient for such a purpose, that the deluded man had made a contiguous loft his gallows, and that having securely fastened his rope, he had swung himself off the ledge of the loft, and so dropped and perished.  There were witnesses who proved the poor man had appeared for several days to be unusually melancholy, and not right in his mind.  Verdict---committed suicide during a fit of insanity.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 30 January 1828

The man named [William] Clarkson, to whom allusion is made in another column, threw himself overboard from the ship Albion, on Saturday evening last, and perished. The Albion was conveying him from Hobart Town, and had just got off the Heads, when he plunged overboard.  So determined was he not to be again subjected to human  laws, and to prevent any probable struggle which might be made by himself or others, to arrest his fate, that he is said to have tied his feet fast together, and, thus fettered, to have tumbled into the passing surge.  He sunk instantaneously---sunk

"Into the deep, with bubbling groan,

Without a sigh, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, (we can't add) unknown."

[See "CAPTURE OF A RUNAWAY," page 3, column c.]

   The Coroner for Parramatta called together a jury of the inhabitants on Friday last.  The inquest assembled at the Female Factory, where one of the women of that establishment lay dead.  Her name proved to be Ann Russel.  She was one of those whom one of the late prison ships brought to Sydney.  Not being assigned to any particular person on her first landing, Ann Russel was translated to the factory, where she was taken ill, and expired of a sudden.  The jury returned a verdict---died by the visitation of God.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 6 February 1828

The trial of a person named Hartland, against whom a coroner's inquest, some weeks back, returned a verdict of murder, is set down in the criminal calendar for trial on Friday next.  This trial is looked forward to by all amongst whom the man Hartland and the deceased were known, with feelings of ardent excitement.



A man known by the name of Bryan Lennagan having come by his death rather unseasonably last week, it devolved upon Mr. G. M. Slade, Esq. the Coroner for Sydney, to convene a good and lawful inquest on the occasion.  A Jury of discreet and otherwise fitting persons being accordingly had, and due investigation made of the body, both Coroner and Jury repaired, on Saturday last, to a snug apartment in the Fox and Hounds, a public-house so designated, being in Castlereagh-street, and there prepared to hear any creditable evidence that might happen to be procurable and forth-coming.

   WILLIAM THORN deposed that he lives in the house of one John Ward, at Breakfast Point, in the district of Concord, and has a quantity of land there under cultivation; part of this land consists of an orchard.  On Friday last, it might be an hour, or two hours after midnight ---

"The very witching time at night,

When church yards yawn, and

Crickets sing, and man's o'er laboured sense

Repairs itself by rest" ---

that Thorn was roused from his slumbers by hearing Franks, one of his men, hallooing to Alick Macdonald, another person who lives on the farm, to rise, for there was a strange boat got round, and then inside of his point.  Macdonald and Thorn accordingly sprung up, and provided with a loaded musket, proceeded to business.  Under a point of land they perceived a boat and two men in her.  Suspecting the lagtter were waiting for others from the shore, Thorn and his party crept silently along in the direction of the orchard, in which, as they got closer, from the smashing of boughs, and other noises, it was shrewdly suspected there was one or more engaged---robbing the orchard, or as school-boy adepts at this pracitce term it, "Boxing the Fox."  On getting round to a gap in the orchard-fence, Thorn and his colleague saw a man hurrying away with a bag on his back.  The bag was protruberant, and to ascertain its contents, became desirable, but as soon as the bearer of it found himself unexpectedly trapped, and the hue and cry upon him, he gave the bag to the ground, still shewing the leg to his pursuers. Thorn deposed that immediately upon per4ceiving this man, he called to Macdonald, and Macdonald called to the running-one several times to stop, but without effect, for the man still kept running on, and was fast distancing his pursuers, when Macdonald again challenged him, with an additional threat, that if he did not instantly stop, he, Macdonald, would shoot him.  Macdonald the next second fired.  The man fired at was then about a dozen paces off.  He still continued to run, and plunging in to a scrub, was temporarily lost sight of.  The searchj made after him for some time was without success, but he was afterwards found laying near a water-hole at no great distance, greatly exhausted from loss of blood.  He was removed to Sydney to the hospital, where the unfortunate man languished painfully for a few hours, and expired; the charge of shot with which the piece had been loaded two or three days before, having become lodged in his back.  He confessed to certain of the constabulary having gone on Macdonald's grounds to steal fruit.  The bag which he threw away contained melons, but he would not give the names of the party who waited for him in the boat, of which we had before occasion to make mention.

   The Coroner said that to his own knowledge there had been a constant resort of depraved and indifferent characters towards the very place where the transaction now under investigation took place---people who made a practice of going up the river in boats by night, or at other time favorable to such a purpose, and procuring a profitable cargo of fruit by plundering whatever gardens lay exposed to them, or in any measure unprotected.  The Jury having considered the case, concurred in returning a verdict, justifying Macdonald in firing, as also the others who were concerned in the death of Bryan Lennegan, the deceased; though they could not consider Macdonald as free from blame, nor from an imputation of having acted with too great haste, inasmuch as it appeared not improbable that the deceased might have been made a prisoner of without recourse being had to so fatal an expedient as that of shooting him.  Upon the verdict being returned, the Coroner discharged Macdonald from custody, expressing his entire concurrence in the sentiments of the Jury, and trusting that the present case would not fail of producing its own good consequences.

   Another Inquest was convened immediately after at a public-house in Pitt-street, known by the sign of the Goldsmith's Arms.  A woman, Mary Williams, who lived in the street, had departed this life of a sudden, but the Jury being uprovided with any reason to shew that the woman's dissolution had come about otherwise than according to the common course of nature, by whom she had been summoned to pay her last tribuite, entered up the verdict usual in such cases, to wit, "Died by the visitation of God."


AUSTRALIAN, 08/02/1828

EDITORIAL concerning the case of William Clarkson.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 13 February 1828

On Friday last a Coroner's Inquest was held at Parramatta, on view of the body of John Fuller, prisoner of the crown, attached to No. 8, iron-gang, who it appeared had been shot dead by a man named Jas. Kelly, at Bural, on Wednesday last.  The result of the inquest was, the returning of a verdict of wilful murder against James Kelly, who has been committed to gaol on the Coroner's warrant.


The Monitor, Thursday 14 February 1828

A Coroner's Inquest was held on Friday at Parramatta on the body of a prisoner of the Crown named Fuller.  Verdict of Wilful Murder against one James Kelly.  Kelly shot the man; the particulars we shall give in our next.  Kelly is in gaol.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 15 February 1828

The dead body of a labouring man, whose name we don't recollect, was found a few days ago on the road leading to Liverpool.



It is with no insincere feelings of painful regret we this day surrender a portion of our columns to detailing the particulars, as adduced on the Coroner's Inquest, attendant upon the decease olf Geo. Galway Mills, Esq. who filled the post of Registrar of the Supreme Court in this Colony.  The melancholy event occurred at Mr. Mills's residence in Pitt-street, about one o'clock yesterday afternoon.

   At four o'clock the same afternoon, a Coroner's Inquest was convened at the nearest public-house to the residence of the unfortunate gentleman.  The inquest continued sitting for nearly two hours, during which, the following evidence was adduced;

   Dr. BLAND, the first witness called on, stated, that in the course of Monday last, the deceased gentleman called upon him, and among many other unusual, and stran ge questions, wished to be informed on what was the easiest method of self-destruction?  Dr. Bland waived giving any answer to this interrogatory, but Mr. Mills seeming to have his mind fully intent on the subject, repeated the question, though not exactly in the same form as he had previously done; he enquired whether laudanum was not a fatal draught almost directly after being taken?  Again Dr. Bland directed his attention to some trifling subject, and Mr. Mills seemed to forget the enquiry he had been previously making; such was the impression on Dr. Bland's mind, of the looseness of intellect which was betrayed in Mr. Mills's conduct upon this visit, that he mentioned the circumstance to a friend almost immediately after.  Dr. Bland met the deceased gentleman in the street this morning, when he appeared calm and composed.  Dr. Bland, however, considered him to have been in a deranged state for some time; has frequently seen him in fits of momentary insanity.  Is of opinion that Mr. Mills had been labouring under a derangement of intellect for several weeks past.

   CHARLES HORTON, a domestic servant in the deceased's establishment, deposed, that this morning (Thursday), his master got up at the usual hour, and took breakfast, and shortly after went out; he was not long from home; and on returning went to his dressing-room.  Deceased had not been long at home, when witness heard a considerable noise, which, at first thought, struck him as being occasioned from a gust of wind blowing to the window shutters; he went up stairs to discover the cause.  He first bent his steps towards his master's drssing-room, and finding the door locked, which was an unusual circumstance in the day time, he called aloud to his master several times, but received no answer. The circumstance of the strange report added to that of the room-door being thus secured, induced him to go to a front window of the room, and lifting it up, he got into the apartment.  The first object that presented itself to his view was, the mangled corpse of his master, who lay on his face upon the floor, weltering in his blood, his right hand grasping a pistol.  Witness immediately raised an alarm, and sent for surgeons and assistance, but life had become extinct; witness had observed, for the last fortn ight, that deceased was at intervals very different in his conduct and manner than formerly; witness was his confidential servant; and to him he mentioned many little circumstances; a few evenings ago, he stated to him that he had become security for some person, to the amount of between three and four thousand pounds, and added that he would have to pay it; witness thinks this to be the cause of his master's death; he was a feeling, a tender-hearted, and a good master; has thought that becoming security for some one preyed on his mind; he often talked about Dr. Douglass and others, who had been suspended from their situations, but never said that he had been suspended; has never seen any pistols in his possession before this morning.

   Dr. COOK was the first medical person who came to deceased.  On entering his chamber, he found him lying on his face in the bed, whereon the servants represented to witness they had just placed the body.  He had on his  spectacles at the time, and held clenched, in his right hand, a pistol.  Is of opinion that deceased must have put the pistol to his mouth; but cannot say what description of shot the pistol contained.  There was no appearance of any shot having gone through the head.  There was a great effusion of blood on the floor, where deceased had lain.

   WM. MACDONALD, gunsmith, deposed, that early this morning deceased came to his shop, and purchased a pair of pistols---the same that were found in the apartment where the catastrophe happened.  He stated it were intention to go up the country, and wished them for the security of his person.  He did not appear to be deranged at the time; but whilst in the shop, he complained of feeling a good deal of pain, from an inflammation in his leg.  He enquired for some balls, when, on being told there were none in the shop, he asked for some buck shot.  Witness was about to weigh him a pound of this description of shot---on further looking at it, he remarked, that a quarter of a pound would be sufficient for his purpose.

   FITZPATRICK, a constable, deposed, that yesterday evening he met deceased in the street.  Was struck with his altered appearance.  He was talking to himself. Observed him suddenly stop, and thrust the point of an umbrella he had in his hand fast into the ground.  He repeated this extraordinary movement several times, exclaining "It must be that---that must be it."

   JOHN MACKANESS, Esquire, stated that deceased, un til lately, was in the habit of giving him a call; but within the last fortnight or so, he had become quite secluded, and never mixed in society.  He knows that deceased laboured under an apprehension that he would be dismissed from his office.  In a strong mind certainly, this would not produce insanity; but in his (Mr. M.'s) opinion, his friend laboured under a considerable aberration and depression of mind.  On Friday morning last, when he saw him, Mr. Mills was unusually cheerful; but thinks he had been labouring under this mania for some weeks.

   On the deceased gentleman was found a phial, containing laudanum, and in his coat pocket a pistol ball.

   The Jury returned the following verdict:- "We find that the deceased, George Galway Mills, Esq. committed suicide whilst labouring under a temporary fit of insanity.

   Thus has closed the life of Mr. Mills, a gentleman whose urbanity---whose social and various other estimable qualities recommended him so universally, both in his public and private capacities.


The Monitor, Monday 19 February 1828

On Tuesday last, a woman of bad character named Duggan went to the house of Mr. Tunks, Publican, at the Brickfields, and called for some rum, which having drunk, she immediately commenced quarrelling with an acquaintance, who happened at the time to be indulging in like manner.  The dispute arose to such a height, that blows ensued, and the woman Duggan, seized a quart pot, which was on the table, struck her companion a blow on the head, which caused immediate death.  A Coroner's Inquest was holden on the body, which returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Duggan.  She was committed to gaol on the Coroner's warrant.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 20 February 1828

EDITORIAL OBITUARY on George Galway Mills.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 22 february 1828

An inquest was held at Parramatta on Wednesday last, the 20th instant, on the body of John Doyle.  Verdict---"Deceased came by his death by a horse running away with a cart, by which he fell, and rfeceived a hurt, which caused death."


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday, 27 February 1828


Jonathan Villavoice was indicted for manslaughter, killing one James Hart, in the district of Patterson's Plains, on the 15th of November last.  Prisoner and the deceased, it appeared, were at work on the same farm.  In an altercation between both, during which Hart, the deceased, struck, or attempted to strike, the prisoner with his scythe, the latter flung a sickle at the deceased, which inflicted a wound on his head, and caued his death shortly after.

   Prisoner in his defence said the act was committed during a moment of irritation, produced by gross provocation, first, on the part of the deceased.  His employer gave him a good character.  Guilty.  Sentence was not pronounced.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 29 February 1828

A Coroner's Inquest was held at one o'clock, in the afternoon of Monday, at the sign of the Punch Bowl, public-house, in Harrington-street, on the body of a seaman, who, after indulging himself by getting drunk, and continuing so for days together, suddenly dropped down dead.  verdict---Died by the visitation of God.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 7 March 1828

The man [William] Clarkson, of whom no honorable mention was made some weeks back, and who, according to report had jumped overboard from the ship Albion, which was conveying him from Hobart Town to Sydney, when the Albion had got off the Heads, and had sunk to a watery grave, is, if an information lodged at the Police Office a few days back, be correct, still likely to be in full possession of life and limb.  The information states that Clarkson had managed to land secretly from the Albion, and to hide securely in a house on the Rocks, till an opportunity offered for his escape from cover, which he is represented to have done by the ship Tyger, that sailed a week or two ago for Valparaiso.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 12 March 1828

Burke Jackson, whose singular fortune and habits could not fail of rendering him an object of public notoriety, expired rather unexpectedly in one of the public streets of Sydney, in the afternoon of Wednesday last, having, according to custom, not known a sober hour for days previously.  Langhley Hall, in Herefordshire, a valuable patrimonial estate descends by this demise to the son and heir of Burke, or he was vulgarly termed Buck Jackson. The age of this eccentric character was about 42 years.

   An instance of suicide occurred in Sydney on Friday.  In the afternoon of that day a report from the explosion of a pistol was heard by several persons employed on Mr. Dixon's premises in Cockle-bay. It was soon found to be caused by a young man named Ferguson, who had been but a short time in the Colony, and in the employment of Mr. Dixon, having made use of the fatal instrument to put a period to his existence.  The infatuated man did not expire instantaneously, he lingered for some minutes in a state of gloomy apathy, but in spite of every effort, life ebbed away gradually, and finally became extinct.  It appeared the deceased had disagreed with his employers, and taken to continual drinking for three days previously, after which he seemed to be bent upon some gloomy act, and asked a person  with whom he was intimate to lend him a loaded pistol.  The Jury came to a conclusion that the deceased had put an end to himself whilst labouring under a fit of insanity.


The circumstance of a very barbarous murder, perpetrated one night last week, on the body of a defenceless woman, the wife of a settler named Mackellar, in the district of Cowpastures, has become current.  By whom, by what means, or for what reason this horrid deed was accomplished, yet remains matter of conjecture.  Mackellar, it seems, some days before, left his home on business, and his wife and children safe there, for the New Country, intending to return soon.  There was but one servant in the house---a government man.  It was he that first gave information, one morning last week, of the murder, to a neighbouring magistrate, who promptly proceeded with others towards the place described; and between the dwelling and an out-house, perceived the murdered body, stretched upon the ground, and steeped in blood---the body was very cold---as if the spark of life had been long extinct, the wound which appeared to have produced death, laying principally on the back of the head.  The face of the servant was very much scratched.  He attempted to account for this by saying he had been engaged the previous day in the neighbouring scrub.  He said it was bushrangers, that had come overnight, and murdered his mistress; but though a blacksmith lived within hearing of the murderous spot, not more than 250 yards away from it, the servant did not think of telling him anything of the murder first, but ran away to apprize others of it, who lived some miles distant.  An inquest having been convened upon the mangled remains of the unfortunate woman (Mackellar), circumstances worked so strongly on the minds of the Jury and Coroner as to justify the latter in committing the government servant to gaol, with a recommendation that he might be speedily brought to trial before the Criminal Court here, on suspicion of being himself the wilful murderer. [See AUSTRALIAN, 19th March, below.]


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 14 March 1828

The blacks are likely to become troublesome once more in the same quarter [Newcastle] as the bushrangers are shewing their activity.  A man attached to Mr. Webber's farm disappeared the other day, and it was conjectured that he had been speared by some of the aborigines.  He was with his flock of sheep, went out with them in the morning, but the sheep came back alone in the evening.  Soon after a black woman gave information that the man had been not only destroyed, but actually eaten by the blacks, and she offered to take any person to the spot where she would find his bones.  The conjecture therefore proved but too true.  [continues]

   A person of the name of Trimbey, met rather a sudden death last week, at Wallis Plains, by running a nail into his foot; from the wound of which he died, within twenty-four hours afterwards.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 19 March 1828


Lot M'Namara was hanged on Monday, between nine and ten, at the usual place of execution, in the yard, in rear of his Majesty's gaol, and in front of the debtors' apartments, in pursuance of the sentence passed upon him on Friday, when he was publicly tried and found guilty of the awful and horrible crime of murder---of murdering on the night of the 3d instant a defenceless woman, Janet M'Kellar, the wife of a settler in middling circumstances, living in the district of Upper Minto. The evidence on which the criminal was convicted, and for which he suffered an ignominious death, as seldom in such cases happens otherwise, was wholly circumstantial; but, notwithstanding, strongly conclusive against him.  While the culprit was standing on the brink of eternity, with the finisher of the law beside him, and the tight noose about his neck, and momentarily about to be turned off, he protested "before the Almighty, and this good congregation, I am entirely innocent of the offence for which I am about to suffer."  "Good bye, God bless you, boys," reiterated the culprit, addressing himself to the gaol gang, who were standing, drawn up four deep, on one side of the gallows, and as the attending clergyman and the hangman retreated down the long ladder steps, "God bless you, boys;"---the drop was let fall.  The culprit was a man somewhat above the middle size, and of a spare person. He struggled long, and to many of the spectators painfully, between life and death; it must have been five minutes before his quivering limbs ceased to move.  We have not room to describe other circumstances attendant on the deed of darkness---the murder.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 21 March 1828


An Inquest was convened at THE AUSTRALIAN Hotel, in the afternoon of Wednesday, before Mr. Slade, Coroner, upon the body of a man, who it appeared came by his death under the following circumstances:---

   Mr. RAYMOND, Surveyor and Searcher of Customs, stated that havinbg heard that morning of one of the small craft of Sydney being slipped out from Cockle Bay during the night previously, he set out in a boat with a party in chase of her.  He took a direction towards the Heads, and crossed several inlets of the harbour for some hours without success.  Getting sight of the craft at last, the custom-house boat luffed up for her.  On nearing the vessel Mr. Raymond said he observed one man to go forward, and laying hold of the rigging, suddenly disappear.  There was some tacking on both sides, but Mr. R. and his party finally came along-side of, and boarding the craft, secured three men, who were working her.  They reported that one of their company had just thrown himself overboard, and was drowned.  Mr. R. however, looking upon this tale as a sort of subterfuge, did not for some minutes give ear to it, till on making further search, the probability of its being true became more evident.  Means were resorted to for finding the body; it did not appear to float on the surface in any direction; it was dragged for, and there being clear water just about, one of the dragmen, in a little time, caught on his boat-hook something weighty, which, on drawing up, proved to be a dead body.  It was got into the boat, and brought to the Government Wharf.

   The Jury proceeded from where they were sitting to examine the body.  It did not exhibit any marks as if death had been produced by other means than by drowning, of which all the Jury, on returning to their room, expressed themselves quite certified.  In reply to a question put by the Coroner, the only evidence said to be desirable was the evidence of some one who could speak as to the identity of the deceased's person.  One who it was considered might be able to expound this question having accordingly accompanied the Foreman to where the body lay for the Jury's inspection, on returning, declared the lifeless tenement to have once been inhabited by a person named Richards, whose employment was that of a brass founder in the Lumber-yard.

   The Jury came to a conclusion which they expressed as follows:---"We find that the deceased came to his death by drowning---a voluntary act on his part, actuated, as the Jurors verily believe, by a hope of escaping from those who were in pursuit of him."

   The boat was a Five Island boat belonging to a person named Williams.

   An examination  of the three other men taken in her, occurred at the Police Office shortly after their capture.  One of the pirates is a free man.  The case  is not yet disposed of.


The Monitor, Wednesday 26 March 1828

On the morning of Friday last, a man named Stafford, more generally known by the appellation of handsome Carpenter, residing in Castlereagh Street, dropped suddenly dead.  The man had been unwell for a length of time.  A Coroner's Inquest was held upon the body, and a verdict returned of, Died by the Visitation of God.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 26 March 1828



During the darkness and silence of Saturday night last, a report got abroad, when 'twas past the hour of midnight, among persons living along the upper part of Castlereagh-street, that murder was stalking in the neighbourhood.  Several consequently sprang from their beds, and ran to ascertain more of this matter.  Every succeeding minute tended to confirm the cry of murder the more, and to spread it the wider, till at last, reaching the ears of the Chief Constable, Mr. Jilks, he set off, with a party of the constabulary, for the house where the appalling act was reported to have occurred; on entering one of the rooms of which, there was found extended on the floor, the body of a man steeped in blood.  There was a bleeding at the mouth, and a lingering warmth about the body, but no vital pulse throbbed therein!---life had departed.  Close to the head of the dead man lay an axe, and this the neighbours, or a majority of the neighbours, denounced as the murderous instrume\nt---but there were others, and amongst them, the Chief Constable aforesaid, who felt disposed to attribute the man's death to natural, rather than to human agency.  The report of its being brought about by foul play, however, became more eagerly received, and on all hands, the affair was considered a very proper subject for "Crowner's quest."

   At ten o'clock next morning, accordingly, the Acting Coroner, Mr. John Slade, convened an Inquest on the body, and evidence to the following effect was heard;

   John Brown, who lives next door to the house deceased ,lived in, deposed, that on Saturday night, or on Sunday morning, between twelve and one o'clock, he heard a screaming at a gate which fronts his dwelling.  From the faintness of the cries, judging them to proceed from a child, and being often repeated, he was induced to get out of his bed, and to enquire the matter.  He did so, and found outside, a little girl, the daughter of the deceased, who implored his assistance for her father, declaring that he was then dying.  Browne, the deponent, immediately bustled to the place described, and there saw deceased weltering in blood---he was then bleeding at the mouth.  The body was quite warm, but lifeless, and laying on the floor.

   The daughter of the deceased---a girl, of about 12 years of age, who cried most bitterly, was examined.  She stated, that her father, on the evening spoken of, was seized with a fit of coughing, in the course of which, blood burst from his mouth, and in a few minutes he became insensible; her fright, at such an occurrence, induced her to run to the neighbours for assistance.

   Mr. Cook, of the Humane Dispensary, said he examined the body---the deceased had, to witness's knowledge, been laboring under an asthmatic affection for solme months past, during which he had been an attendant at the dispensary, and received medical aid.  It was his (witness's) opinion, deceased died by the bursting of a blood vessel.

   Proof was then  gone into of the identity of the deceased; his body was recognised to be that of a carpenter, named Francis Stafford.

   The Jury having heard all the evidence obtainable, and being advised on it by the Coroner, after a short consultation, returned a verdict---"Died by the visitation of God."

   The above is a case which may well call up the best exertions of philanthropy.  The deceased has left an orphan, a female child, precariously protected---a poor pensioner on the general bounty.  


The Monitor, Wednesday 2 April 1828

A duel was fought on Garden Island at an early hour this morning, between the first and third mates of the Ship Elizabeth, Captain Cock, which ended fatally to the former.  A Coroner's Inquest has sat on the body.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 4 April 1828

A report acquired circulation through Sydney and elsewhere, on Wednesday, which we at first felt disposed to consider, and hoped was but a  report without any reality, but we are pained at finding that our doubts and not the rumour were unfounded---the fact proves to be but too true.  Mr. Charles Throsby, sen. expired whilst at his estate at Glenfield, in the morning of Wednesday last.  The hapless gentleman fell by his own hands, a pistol ball being found to have passed through his neck.  Embarrassments of a pecuniary nature are thought to have induced the fatal catastrophe.  At ten o'clock this morning the corpse will be conveyed from Glenfield for interment in Liverpool churchyard.  Mr. Throsby, it is known to most of our Readers, was a Magistrate and a Member of the Legislative Council.



An Inquest was held at eleven o'clock in the forenoon of Wednesday, at THE AUSTRALIAN Hotel, in George-street, before John Slade, Esquire, Acting Coroner for Sydney, on the body of Mr. Charles Penworthy, chief officer of the ship Elizabeth, Captain Cock.  We have been careful to give the evidence adduced before the Inquest on this occasion, as nearly as possible in the precise way it was given---The Jury having been collected, and sworn, accompanied the Coromner on board the ship Elizabeth, which lay at anchor near to the Pinchgut Island, for the purpose of examining the body; which having done, as the deceased lay in his cabin, the Jury returned on shore to where they had met, and proceeded to examine what evidence was forthcoming.

   JOHN BARDWELL, the first witness, deposed, that he is an ordinary seaman belonging to the ship Elizabeth.  About half-past five o'clock this morning (Wednesday), he was roused from his hammock, by a call for the "jolly-boat men," of which he is one.  Witness immediately hastened on deck, and was ordered, along with a shipmate named Smith, by Mr. Adams, the third officer, to put him ashore.  One of the ship's boats was got ready for this purpose, into which Mr. Atkins and Mr. Chalmers (the second officer) stepped.  After pulling a little way from the ship, witness and his companion were ordered to make for the opposite shore, which they did, and the party landed on Garden Island, the two officers leaving the boat, and walking into the interior.  Witness almost immediately saw the other ship's boat put off, with the chief mate and boatswain, who also landed, and took the same direction as the two others, Mr. Chalmers and Mr. Atkins had.  The name of the chief mate was Penworthy.  The boatswain's name is Milton.  They were rowed by two others of the ship's company.  Witness, and the other three who brought the officers on shore, suspecting, for the first time, what was about to take place, from seeing both the mates with a brace of pistols in their hands, followed them into a flat, where he arrived in sufficient time to see the second mate in the act of measuring so many paces.  The first and third mate at this time stood opposite to each other.  Each had a pistol in his hand.  A signal was given by the second mate to fire, and both parties pulled the triggers of their pistols.  The first mate's pistol went off, but without doing any execution.  The third mate's missed fire.  He then re-primed it, and made a second effort to discharge it, but with the like unsuccess.  Something was then said by the chief mate about his having no animosity against his opponent; but, what passed on this subject, was not distinctly heard by witness, from the distance off at which he stood at the time.  It did not, however, prevent a second firing.  The chief mate, whilst standing in the position of firing after the signal had been given, fell by a discharge of the other's pistol.  Witness was ordered to take one of the boats, and hasten for a surgeon.

   FRANCIS SMITH deposed, that he, with the first witness, rowed the boat in which were the second and third mates, to Garden Island.  They had a brace of small pistols with them.  Saw the first and third officer meet together on the ground.  The former said to Atkins "this is the spot I have appointed."  Eleven paces were then measured by the second officer.  Deceased handed Atkins one of his pistols, which was a larger size than what he had brought, which Atkins took.  A signal was given by the second officer, by letting fall a white handkerchief, and both pulled triggers.  Deceased's pistol went off, but did no mischief, but Atkins' missed fire.  He re-primed his pistol again.  Deceased said to Atkins "I have no animosity against you;" "nor have I," said Atkins, "any further than your striking me." Upon this deceased made answer "You gave me the lie; but I''ll go and stand up again."  The second mate endeavoured to reconcile them, when deceased observed, "No, let him (meaning Atkins) have his satisfaction."  Deceased was in the act of firing a second time, when Atkins let off his piece, and deceased immediately, laying his hand on his left breast, exclaimed, "I'm done, by God."  Deceased was smoking a cigar during the whole of the time.

   ROBERT NASH---Was one of the two men who took deceased and the boatswain ashore.  He also witnessed the affray.  It was deceased who proposed firing by pistol, as being the fairest way.  When Atkins' pistol missed fire, the second time, deceased said "You had better have another slap at me."  Atkins made answer, "No, I don't wish it, till he (deceased) had first re-loaded his pistol."  The second mate interposed, to make up the quarrel, which deceased said, "No, I'm determined on it now."  On it being asked if any one present had a pin, deceased promptly stepped forward, and presented Atkins with one, by his own hands.  Deceased and Atkins then re-measured paces, and upon the signal being given again, both turned on the right heel, and Atkins pistol immediately went off, wounding the other, who dropped the p;istol, and falling insensible down, was carried to the boat, and  taken on board ship.  He died in a few minutes.

   Another of the seamen corroborated this evidence.

   Dr. HUGHES, R.N., stated, that being sent for, he repaited to the ship, to the assistance of deceased, but it was all over, the ball had passed through the body, near the heart.  The wound was such as must have been occasioned by a pistol ball; of which the consequence was death.

   Such being all the evidence on the subject of this unfortunate affair,

   The Coroner briefly charged the Jury, and then ordered the room to be cleared of strangers. The Jury, being left to themselves for about fifteen minutes, unanimously agreed in finding a verfdict of manslaughter against Atkikns, the person who fired the pistol, and Mr. Chalmers and Milton, as the seconds.

   Upon this verdict, accordingly the Coroner committed the parties, bail being refused, to gaol.

   With one exception all of the ships in harbour lowered their colours, half mast high, during the remainder part of the day.---The Coroner caused the witnesses (all of whom are seamen belonging to the vessel) to enter into bail bonds to give evidence on the trial, which is to follow shortly. [Editorial comment on preceding page.]

See  R. v. Atkin, Chalmers and Milton [1828] NSWSupC 27


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 9 April 1828

A person named Bennett, who has practised the trade of a house-painter for some time past, was, whilst walking along one of the streets in Sydney, a day or two ago, suddenly seized with a fit of apoplexy, from the effects of which he expired in a few minutes after.  The deceased, it appears, was subject for two years past, to frequently recurring attacks of apoplexy, but recourse being had to copious bleedings by the surgeon, Mr. Connolly, who was usually called in to his relief, when thus effected, dangerous consequences did not ensue.  On the above occasion the man expired outright before any surgical aid could be administered.  A Coroner's Inquest was empanneled shortly after, and after due investigation, concurred in producing a verdict of---Died by the visitation of God.


The Monitor, Saturday 12 April 1828

ATROCIOUS MURDER.---An Inquest was held yesterday on the body of a servant of Mr. Marr of Castlereagh-street, found dead in Mr. Marr's back premises.  Verdict Wilful Murder against William Regan.  The evidence taken by the Coroner went clearly to shew, that Regan had plundered Mr. Marr's house during his absence; and that being remonstrated with by the deceased (his fellow servant) he, Regan shot him dead by firing off a loaded pistol at him.  A more deliberate atrocious murder save that of the late criminal who murdered his unhappy mistress, we have seldom heard of.  The ruffian, with the utmost presence of mind, washed the deceased after he fell and the place on which he lay, with so much care and nicety, that it was some time before the wound inflicted by the bullet was discovered by the Jury, all marks of blood being carefully obliterated.  Some inferior contusions were visible about the head.


The Monitor, Wednesday 16 April 1828

The man called Regan, charged with the murder of Mr. Marr's servant, was apprehended in the course of yesterday in the Government Domain.

   A man named Birkwell has been taken into custody on suspicion of being an accomplice with the murderer Regan. ....

   A Coroner's Inquest was convened at the Sydney Hotel in the forenoon of Monday last, on view of the body of William Gibson Whitfield, who came to his death under circumstances, fully detailed by the following evidence.

   Wm. Cunningham deposed that he is brother-in-law to deceased.  Knows that a quarrel took place, a few evenings ago, between deceased and a person named Guyse, of Liverpool, respecting some bets as to the price of meat.  The consequence of this was, a meeting between the parties, at Surrey Hills, on Saturday morning last.  $(Pounds)50. a-side was the sum fixed upon by each party, as a stake, on the issue of a pugilistic combat, which was agreed upon.  About six o'clock on the morning alluded to, deceased left home for the purpose of meeting Guyse, and desired witness to follow him to the ground, with a bottle of gin.  Several persons attempted to dissuade deceased from fighting, but he would not listen to a proposal of such a nature.  Witness was present during the whole of the fight. It lasted for full an hour and a half, and a considerable time had elapsed before any person interfered between the combatants. At length some one of the crowd observed, it was a shame to allow Whitfield, (deceased) to fight any longer, as he could not stand.  After the contest was over, the combatants shook hands, and each left the ground, taking different directions.  The seconds for Guyse, were George Bloodsworth and Thomas Salter.  For Whitfield, there were James Wood and John Thomas.  Both combatants had to be carried off the ground in gigs.  Previously to the fight, deceased wished that the quarrel might be made up, but Guyse would not consent to an arrangement.

   Lewis Solomon deposed, that understanding a meeting was to take place on the Surrey Hills, on Saturday morning, between deceased and Guyse, he was induced to be present, and witnessed the whole of the combat.  There were many rounds fought, and half an hour's fighting had taken place before any efforts were made wither by the seconds or bye-standers to put an end to the contest.  Witness, however, being convinced that Guyse was much the stronger man of the two, stepped into the ring, and endeavoured to persuade deceased to give over fighting, but did not succeed, for, upon time being called, he again stood up and fought for nearly an hour longer, till witness and another person, forcible took deceased away in a chaise with them.  There was no foul play practised by Guyse, for being superior in weight and strength to his antagonist, he might by falling on him, have terminated the battle in his own favour, long before he did.

   Dr. Bland attended the deceased after the contest was over.  Several severe wounds about the neck brought about his death.

   THE jury agreed in finding a verdict of Manslaughter against Guyse.  The latter is scarcely expected to survive, he is so much beaten.

R. v. Guyse (1828) Sel Cas (Dowling) 307; [1828] NSWSupC 29


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 16 April 1828


[See also Editorial comment and reports in columns a & b.]

INQUEST.---An Inquisition was taken on Friday evening last, before John Slade, Esquire, Acting Coroner for Sydney, at the sign of the King's Arms public-house, in Hunter-street, on the body of an aged man, named James Davis, who had been a domestic in the service of Mr. Henry Marr, of Castlereagh-street. The Jury having been brought together and sworn, proceeded with the Acting Coroner to the house of Mr. Marr, to inspect the body.  The deceased lay in a back kitchen---along the stone floor of which, he was extended.  On the face were several bruises, and about the region of the stomach there was the mark of an incised wound, the circumference of a shilling,  But the feet were crossed in such a way as to induce a belief in the spectators, that this position was not a natural action of the deceased.  There was no destructive instrunent near the body which might explain how the work of death had been brought about.  The lower part of the deceased's clothes were burnt, and some water (there might have been about two quarts) lay splashed upon the floor.  His wounds appeared to have been washed.  The Jury, after this, retired to their room, to hear such evidence as might be forthcoming.

   ELIZABETH LAMBERT deposed, that in the capacity of charwoman she had been employed by Mr. Marr's family for some time past.  About three o'clock in the afternoon of Friday, witness heard the report of a pistol, in a different part of the building to that in which she was at work.  Was hastening, in order to learn the occasion of the report, when she was met by Williams, one of Mr. Marr's male servants, who, placing himself before her in a menacing position, said "I've a great mind to shoot you, as well as the rest."  Witness was very much frightened by the man's holding a pistol in his hand, and begged of him, for "Christ's sake," not to injure her, as she had never done him an injury.  He then said, "If you budge an inch out of this, [???][such??] times as I let you know, it will be worse for you."  Witness accordingly remained in the same spot for full half an hour, during the whole of which time, the man (Williams) kept watch on her, hardly ever letting her out of his sight.  At length he stayed away for nearly five minutes, upon which witness took courage, and ran out by a door leading into the street, and into an opposite neighbour's for protection and assistance.  Before witness heard the report of the pistol, the man (Williams) passed down a flight of stairs close to where witness was at work, ironing, and she then distinctly saw a pair of pistols, partly concealed, under his jacket.  It was almost immediately after, that the pistol was fired off.  On hearing the report, witrness also heard a faint ejaculation of "Oh!" which she immediatedly knew to be from deceased.  The cry was instantly succeded by the sound of a blow, similar to a person striking both hands together.  The man (Williams) had been drinking pretty freely in the course of the day.

   Mr. RICHARD DRIVER deposed, that he left home the above morning, with the whole of Mr. Marr's family, with an intention of going a little distance into the country, and on his return found deceased lying in the situation where the Jury had seen him.  He was then quite stiff and cold.  Deceased had been for many years a servant to Mr. Marr; and, on this day, was left in charge of the house.  He was in every respect a trust-worthy and a confidential servant.  Witness saw a profusion of water about the body; and from this suspected that it had been used to quench the fire; but now thinks it was used for the purpose of washing away the blood.  There was no fire in the kitchen where deceased lay; and witness knows there had been no fire kindled in that room for some time before.  Is of opinion the deceased's body could have been washed without last witness being privy to it.  Is of opinion deceased was first mortally injured, and shot after---and that this took place in  another part of the premises.  It is more than probable that deceased was in the act of stooping, before  a front kitchen fire, employed in cleaning his candlesticks, when some one came behind, and committed the violence observable on the upper part of his body.

   Mr. HENRY MARR stated, that on that afternoon (Friday afternoon), on his returning home, he found his dwelling-house in the utmost state of confusion---between forty and fifty chests and drawers were broken open, and their contents lay scattered about the room.  To have effected this much, must have taken up full 3 hours.  Thinks there were some two or three concerned in the affair.  On first looking at the body, he (Mr. Marr) thought that the bruises about the head had been caused by means of a pickaxe; and is confirmed in that opinion, from having seen the dent of a pickaxe on the drawers and chests which were broken open.  In the deceased's pockets were the keys of the house; and witness has been led to suppose, from a concurrent chain of circumstances, that deceased resisted giving up those keys, and was killed in consequence.  There were a pair of pickaxes within the servant Williams' power to obtain.  Deceased had lived in witness's service for many years.  The man called Williams had lived with him (Mr. Marr) as an assigned servant for four years past; and during that period, prior to the present circumstances happening, had always conducted himself very well.  The latter has absconded.

   Dr. MITCHELL examined the body---Is clearly of opinion that the bruises and contusions about the head did not occasion death---but that it was the pistol shot wound which brought about that event.  A ball entered the chest, and passed out in the lower part of the back.

   The Jury unanimously agreed in finding a verdict of wilful murder against the man-servant, Williams, now proved to be known by the name of Regan, and the Coroner immediately issued his warrant for the man's apprehension.


Another Inquest was convened in the forenoon of Monday at the Sydney Hotel Tap, upon the body of William Gibson Whitfield, a publican of Sydney, who kept the sign of the Cumberland Arms in George-street, when evidence to the following effect was adduced:---

   WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM, brother-in-law to Whitfield, the deceased, deposed that to his knowledge deceased, and a person named William Guyse, of Liverpool, had a dispute on Wednesday last respecting the current price of meat, on which a bet of 20l. was staked---the terms of which deceased was in the act of describing on paper, when Guyse snatched the money off the table, and deceased upon that calling him a mean fellow, they parted, mutually irritated, but without further injuring one another.  On tfhe Friday following, they met again a little way from Sydney, both heated with liquor, and consequently shortly after, at a house in Sydney, when both agreed to decide their differences by a fight for 50l. a side next morning. Between six and seven o'clock, accordingly deceased and Guyse met on the Surry Hills, where a good many persons were congregated, and the witness deposed that by desire of the deceased, whom several on the road recommended not to fight, he (witness) brought to the field a three half-pint bottle of gin.  The fight continued for an hour and a half, and a long time transpired before any one of the bye-standers endeavoured to reconcile or part the combatants.  At length some person  interfered to stop the fray, at the close of which both combatants shook hands and left the ground, each taking a different direction from the other.  An offer was made by deceased to end the quarrel by forfeiting the stakes of 50l. aside, for the benefit of the Benevolent Institution, but without avail.  Whitfield was brought home in a chaise.  He was then speechless and insensible, and continued so till his death, which took place at two o'clock on Monday morning.

   LEWIS SOLOMON deposed that he was present at the fight before described, between Whitfield and Guyse.  When the parties had fought for about half an hour, he endeavoured to persuade the deceased to give up, as his opponent was much the stronger man, but Whitfield refused to give in, saying that Guyse did not know how to beat him.  They then fought for nearly an hour longer, when witness and another forcibly carried Whitfield out of the ring, and drove off with him in a chaise to Sydney.  Deceased occasionally rinsed his moth with gin, but if he swallowed any, witness was of opinion it must have been a very little.

   Dr. BLAND certified that the death of William Gibson Whitfield was owing solely to the bruises he had received about the neck.  The man was unable to swallow any of the medicine that was attempted to be given him.

   The Coroner having run over the evidence adduced on  this unhappy case, left it with the Jury totally whether the survivor was to be returned as guilty of wilful murder or of man slaughter, and also who they were to consider as having acted the part of seconds.  After a few minutes deliberation, the Jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Guyse; immediately upon which the Coroner caused the depositions previously taken to be transmitted to the Attorney General for the Colony, in order that he might act officially upon them, and also upon the verdict issued his warrant against Guyse.   With regard to certain persons who might be considered as assisting the combatants on the above unfortunate occasion, their names are not expressed by the verdict of the Coroner's Jury, which could not determine precisely who the actual abettors were.  Seconds were named on the evening before the fight, but neither, it is said, appeared on the ground, and consequently some two or three bye-standers, friends to both men, casually stepped into the ring to pick them up, and perform the commonly understood offices of second and bottle holder.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 18 April 1828

The man Regan, who it appears by his own confession, if other proof were wanting, is the murder of old Davis, Mr. Henry Marr's servant, was taken on the South-head road, and not as mis-stated, in what is commonly termed the Government demesne, on Tuesday.  He was come suddenly upon from behind, and seized.  On his person there was found a horse pistol; but he looked so like an object of inoffensiveness, and attempted to palm so plausible a tale upon the constables, that they doubted very much for some time of his being the object of their earnest quest.  When asked if his name was not Regan, he protested that it was not, but William Rogan; and he invited the constables to drink some spirits with him whilst on the road.  Having obtained a glass or bottle, he suddenly threw it from him by way of diverting the attention of his guardians, and stopping at the same moment, made a desperate effort to escape, but without succeeding. He says that he lay concealed all Friday and till towards Saturday night, in a drain on Mr. Marr's premises, almost within hearing of the very spot where the diabolical scene was on the former day acted, and then got temporarily away.  He does not deny but that others were implicated in the robbery; but seeing that no hope remains for saving his neck from the hangman's gripe, he persists in refusing to betray any one of his accomplices.  There are some people in custody on suspicion as accomplices; but they are not the parties, he says.  The accusation or defence, however, of such a wretch is little deserving of any considerable attention.  Where the valuable articles of property belonging to Mr. Marr, which were stolen, are, or were concealed, he promises to disclose if they be not shortly found, or surrendered.  He has pointed out a house, but on searching it no part of the spoil could be got at.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 23 April 1828

   In the drain under Mr. Marr's house, in which the murderer Regan secreted himself for some days, there have been found a gold watch and appendages, part of the property stolen from Mr. Marr.  Had Regan waited in the drain, out of which he was forced by hunger, for a night or two longer, it is probable the heavy rain which fell for a few hours one day last week, would have drowned him in it.

   Guyse, who was committed upon the Coroner's warrant some days ago, for being a party in the fight with the deceased Whitfield, has been admitted to bail---himself in 500 (pounds), and two sureties in 250 (Pounds) each, to appear on the first day of next criminal sittings, on a charge of mansalughter.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 25 April 1828


General editorial follow-up re his behaviour since arrest and in gaol.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 30 April 1828

It is said to be the intention of the law officer prosecuting for the crown, in the case of the man Guyse, indicted for mansalughter, to extend the enquiry farther than it has been hitherto carried, and to endeavour to include in the same indictment any other two, or more persons who it may appear acted as aiders or inciters of the "set-to" (a few weeks back) between Whitfield and Guyse, which was followed by the death of the latter.  We only give this in the way of hearsay.  In issuing his warrant for the commitment to prison of Guyse in accordance with the verdict of the inquest, neither the Coroner nor the Jury considered it expedient to include the names of other persons who had been spoken of as acting the part of seconds or bottle holders in the fight, from a consideration probably that such people stood on different ground from those attending others going to decide a quarrel with arms in their hands.  In the one case it very seldom happens, and is never anticipated, that the affair may end tragically, whereas on the other there exists a fair supposition for its likelihood.

  The first capital case that will be bnrought before the Judgment seat is expected to be that of the man Regan, for the wilful murder of Mr. Marr';s old defenceless servant, "Old Davis."  A man named Taylor has been fully committed for trial from the Police Office, on the ground of certain confessions of Regan, whence it has been presumed that he was an accessary to the fact of robbing or of receiving trhe proceeds of the plunder abstracted frolm Mr. Marr's premises subsequerntly to the commission of the murder, with the guilt of which Regan is co-[?????]ed.


The Monitor, Monday 5 May 1828


   CRIMINAL COURT, FRIDAY.---William Regan was capitally indicted for the wilful murder of James Davis, on the 11th of April last.

   Elizabeth Lambert examined.  I was employed as a washerwoman at the house of Mr. Marr in Castlereagh-street---the premises consist of three adjoining houses, and I was in one of them---the inside house---there were no other persons in the house, but deceased, the prisoner, and myself.  Mr. and Mrs. Marr were at the races that day; I saw prisoner with a pistol under his jacket, coming down the stairs of the house, when I was at work; he walked out and went into the next house where the deceased was, and immediately I heard a pistol discharged, very near at hand, and immediately after a sound, as if a blow had been struck.  Witness thereupon ran into the yard, and saw the prisoner coming out of that part of the house where the body was afterwards found, with a pistol in his hand.  Witness exclaimed "for Christ's sake spare my life." Prisoner told me to go in to my own place, and mind my business, that if I spoke a word, he would knock my brains out.  I went in accordingly, and he followed; repeating the same threat, if I moved out of the house.  Witness remained about half an hour, during which time he came to me several times, repeating the same threats,---afterwards I esc\aped, and gave an alarm to some stonemasons that were working at hand, and the Police came shortly after---witness then went with them and saw the deceased lying in a back kitchen.

   Mr. Chas. Driver.  About 4 o'clock on the afternoon of the 11th of April, I called at Mr. Marr's house.  Going into a small kitchen in the rear of the premises, I saw an old servant of Mr. Marr's named Davis, lying with his legs across on the kitchen floor, and quite dead.  There were several marks of violence about his face, but there was no appearance of blood about the body.

   Dr. Mitchell.  On the evening of the 11th of last April I was called on to examine the body of James Davis, on whom a Coroner's inquest was then sitting; found the body lying in a small room in the back part of Mr. Marr's premises; he lay on his back.  On the head there were several contused wounds, which had fractured the bones on the nose and face.  On the right side of the breast close to the chest bone, a ball had penetrated, passing through the right side of the spine, and fracturing the ribs; thinks the bullet was propelled by gun-powder.  The wounds were such as to occasion death.

   Mr. Henry Marr, deposed that on the day in question, he left home with his family to go a little way into the country; on his return two or three hours after, witness found his servant Davis, whom he had left in charge of the house, killed; between thirty and forty boxes broken open, a considerable quantity of property missing, and the prisoner gone.

   Mr. F. A. Hely deposed, to the prisoner confessing to him his having committed the murder, the subject of the present inquiry, by discharging a loaded pistol at the deceased, in order, as the prisoner stated, to rob the house.

   Mr. John Stephen Junr, spoke to the same effect.

   The prisoner offered not a word in his defence.  The Chief Justice recapitulated the evidence at length, putting the case to the Jury, as one upon which His Honor thought they would meet with no difficulty in arriving at an opinion.  Verdict Guilty.  Sentence of Death was then passed upon the prisoner in the usual manner, to be executed on Monday next.  [The trial also reported on Saturday 3 May 1828, exactly.]


AUSTRALIAN, 07/05/1828


Conformably with the sentence passed upon him in the Supreme Court on Friday, after having stood his trial, and been clearly convicted on the strongest possible circumstantial evidence of the appalling crime of murder---the wretched man, William Regan, terminated his miserable career on the gallows, in rear of the gaol, before the hour of ten on Monday morning. [continues.]


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 9 May 1828

On the motion of the Attorney General, a person named Taylor, being first placed at the bar, was discharged from custody by proclamation.  The prisoner in this case had been committed by warrant of the Sydney Magistrates, on the confession of Regan, who was executed on Monday, which declared him to be an accomplice in the robbery committed last month in the house of Mr. Henry Marr, in Castlereagh-street.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 21 May 1828


Re William Clarkson.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 23 May 1828


Dr. Halloran was called upon to exercise his functions of Coroner for Sydney and the County, for the first time since his appointment to that post, on Wednesday.  In the afternoon of that day a jury of householders was called together in a public-house, not far from the King's Wharf, in an aprtment of which there lay the body of a New Zealander, named Mytie, one of the crew of the ship John Bull.  The deceased had, it appeared, no sooner got ashore from the John Bull on the day previously, than he made for a public-house near the wharf, where he was plied with strong drink to such an excess---nineteen half pints, they say, in one hour, that he dropped down and gave up the ghost.  The verdict was, died from suffocation, whilst in a state of extreme intoxication.

   Re William Clarkson.


The Monitor, Saturday 24 May 1828

A Coroner's Inquest was empannelled on Wednesday evening by the newly appointed Coroner for Sydney and the County of Cumberland, on view of the body of a New Zealand man, who had lately come up in one of our merchantmen, now in port.  The man it appears having got possession of some money, went ashore, and straggling into a sly grog shop near the King's Wharf, partook it is said of seventeen half pints of spirits---the drunken man falling insensibly asleep, was put to bed by the occupier of the house, who shortly after found his guest a lifeless corpse.  The Jury brought in a verdict---Died from suffocation whilst in a state of extreme inebriety, occasioned from drinking ardent spirits.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 18 June 1828

A black man in the employment of Mr. Savage, of Pitt-street, suddenly fell dead ab out noon yesterday.  An inquest was convened upon the occasion.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 20 June 1828

Editorial about murder and robbery at Mr. Marr's by Regan; follow-up on accomplices.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 27 June 1828


At the Woolpack Inn, in the Brickfield-hill, an inquest was taken by the Coroner for Sydney, in the afternoon of Wednesday, on the body of a man named John Murphy, a Parramatta constable, who had suddenly dropped dead that morning.  The Coroner having convened and sworn in a proper Jury at the Woolpack, proceeded to the house at the toll-bat leading out on the Parramatta road, where lay the body ready for examination, on the floor of a room in the toll-house, precisely in the same situation as it was subsequerntly sworn the man had died.  There were not on the body any marks whatsoever of violence; and the Jury having satisfied themselves of that, and having duly inspected the dead body, retraced their steps to the Woolpack, to hear such evidence as might be forthcoming.  Fitzpatrick having produced one James Gulley, as a person who could let the Coroner and the Jury into a knowledge of the matter, and Gulley being sworn, deposed as follows:--- I know the deceased.  He was a constable attached to the Parramatta police. Yesterday he came with me from Parramatta to Sydney, on police duty.  On the road he complained of a cold and shortness of breath, and exhibited general symptoms of indisposition.  He would frequently stop at the foot of a hill to take breath.  It was a shortness of breath, not a difficulty of breathing that he complained of.  He did not appear more exhausted on getting into Sydney than on the road.  He did not make any application for medical assistance. Deceased and myself went together to the house of George Marshall, the Bee-hive public-house, and put up there for the night.  Deceased did not make any particular complaint on retiring to bed.  This morning, between seven and eight o'clock, he rose up in his bed, and, looking at his watch, called out to me, who slept in the same room with him, to get myself ready, as there was no time to spare for meeting with the Parramatta coach, which would shortly start.  I got up, and we left the house toghether, but had not proceeded many rods towards the toll-gate, when just about the rise of the hill deceased suddenly stopped, and, placing his hand on his forehead, cried out, "Oh! my eyesight has entirely left me, I cannot see any thing."  He then sat down on the road side, and continued sitting for about four minutes, when he jumped up, apparently quite strong, and instantaneously fell down.  I then helped him up on his feet, and he shewed some convulsive motions.  With help he was immediately removed to the toll-gate house, where he also shewed the same convulsive symptoms.  It was the impression on my mind at the time, that the man was dying.  Medical assistance was instantly sent for, but he died before it could be procured.  He did not live more than ten minutes after getting to the toll-bar.

   Mr. Connolly, surgeon, gave in his certificate, that the deceased had come to his death in a fit of apoplexy; and the Jury expressing themselves satisfied with the evidence as being sufficiently conclusive, recorded a corresponding verdict, of death having ensued in a fit of apoplexy. ---A friend of the deceased on this applied to the Coroner for a certificate to allow the removal of the body to Parramatta, to the friends of the deceased, for interment, which the Coroner immediately gave, and the inquest broke up.---The deceased had been a constable in Parramatta for twelve months, and bore a fair character.---One of the Jurymen stated, that he had frequently heard the deceased complain of having caught cold from having to do duty on the outside of the Parramatta Factory, where, if a night happen to be stormy and wet, there is at hand no covered place whereto the watchman may retire for shelter.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 2 July 1828

Whilst the iron-gang at Wallis's Plains were employed some days since, at felling timber, a tree fell on one of the men, and killed him on the spot.  Two others were severely hurt.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 4 July 1828



The Coroner for Sydney, in the county of Cumberland to wit, was occupied for some little time, on Saturday, in investigating, together with a jury of house-holders, into certain circumstances attending the decease of a female, but recently an inhabitant of Sydney---a female named Ann Newton.  Having duly taken a view of the dead body, Dr. Halloran the Coroner, together with the Jury, adjourned to an apartment in a public-house which displays the sign of the Plume and Feathers, in Phillip-street.  From the testimony of several witnesses, it appeared that the deceased had long displayed a love for the bottle, and in furtherance thereof  drank deep, and long, long draughts of the plegethontic whenever a decent opportunity offered.  One evening last week, having imbibed more than her noddle could soberly carry, the bewildered woman strolled away from her usual place of residence, and was found laying on the ground, near a half finished building, in George-street, by a casual passenger who was attracted to the spot, by overhearing her inebriated bewailings.  A constable happening to come up just then, the casual passenger pointed out to him the miserable object as she lay stretched upon the cold drenched ground, and recommended the constable to lose no time in conveying the wretched woman away to the general hospital, for she was very ill, or to some other place of shelter.  This recommendation, however, had no very sensible effect upon the constable, for like the evil Pharasee, he left her there and went his way.  In the course of the night, during which there were occasional heavy falls of rain, another person was attracted by the deep moanings of this unfortunate woman to the spot where she lay.  She was then cold, and her limbs had become numbed and stiff.  Nature was becoming exhausted, and the candle of life was just then flickering into its socket.  The second constable, like the good Pharisee, lost no time in endeavouring to succour the unhappy woman.  He managed to convey her away for medical aid, but no human skill could administer any remedy that might chance to prolong existence.  The cold and wet, and other suffering had struck into the woman's head, and produced an apoplectic fit, which resulted in death.  In conformity with this, the jury returned their verdict.  But before breaking up, the Coroner could not avoid expressing himself justly indignant at the want of common humanity displayed by that constable, whom we have likened to the evil Pharisee, and directed Fitzpatrick the constable to endeavour to find the man, that his conduct might be represented in the proper quarter.  Fitzpatrick said he feared it would be difficult to point out the particular man, and the Inquest upon  [bottom of this column not available.]


The Monitor, Saturday 5 July 1828

A Coroner's Inquest was held on Saturday, before Dr. Halloran, Coroner for Sydney, on view of the body of a woman named Ann Newton, who came to her death in an unoccupied building in George Street, when in a state of inebriety.  The Jury returned a verdict to this effect. [repeated on 7 July 1828.]


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 9 July 1828

A human skeleton was accidentally discovered the other day, under a tree, in a part of the bush bordering upon Rush Cutting Bay, a rope being attached round the arms and pendent from a branch of the tree.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 11 July 1828

The black natives have been rather troublesome of late in the neighbourhood of Mount Dangar, Hunter's River.  Five of them on Sunday (8th June) attacked an out-station at Mr. Morton James's, on the River Goulburn, and, coming behind two of the stock-keepers, killed one of them, named Ireland, a free man, with one blow of his nulla nulla (the name of their most powerful bludgeon).  The other man, a crown prisoner, named Glasgow, was left for dead, but by timely assistance recovered.  After information was given to the nearest magistrate, the body was decently buried, in the presence of Captain Pike, J.P.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 16 July 1828


An Inquest was holden on Sunday last, at Parramatta, before Mr. Beddek, the Coroner, on the body of an old man---a man about 60 years of age, named Francis Conroy, whom the neighbours, that morning, found dead in bed.  The Jury, after examining evidence, returned a verdict in the following words, "We find that the deceased died by the visitation of God, in a natural way."


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 25 July 1828


Dr. Halloran, the Coroner for Sydney, convened a Jury of house-holders on Wednesday, in order to enquire into the cause of the death of Joseph Cook, whose dead body was at the time lying at the General Hospital in Sydney.  The Jury consisted of the persons whose names follow:- William Reynolds, Thomas Turner, Thomas Berry, Thos. Kidd, John Crane, Peter Howell, Thomas Fitzgerald, Andrew Gilbies, John Whelen, William Brown, William Martib, and Henry Murray.

   Peter Jackson of Sydney, overseer of the light-gang, being sworn, deposed that report was made to him on the morning of the above day, by Peter Howell, inspector of the street gangs, of the sickness of the deceased, which the deponent immediately made known  to Doctor Mitchell, by whose directions the deceased was conveyed to the General Hospital.

   William Pegley, quarryman, next deposed that within his knowledge the deceased had been for sixteen or eighteen months previously to his death, in a declining state of health, that on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, deponent was sent for by the deceased, whom he found extremely ill, apparently fast approaching his dissolution, and that about 9 o'clock on the latter morning, deponent saw him removed from the hut in which he resided, in a cart, to the General Hospital.

   John Gallaghan, another quarryman, deposed that he had been for about 12 months past employed in the gang of which the deceaased was overseer, during the greater part of which time, the latter had appeared in a very sickly and declining state of health, receiving frequent medical assistance; that last night he appeared extremely ill, apparently in a dying state; that deponent sat up with him, and attended upon him the whole of the night; that the deceased was removed by orders, from his hut, to the General Hospital in a cart this morning, but expired before the conveyance reached the Hospital.

   The Coroner, upon this, put the evidence to the Jurors, who returned a verdict --- "That the death of the deceased proceeded from the visitation of God in the natural result of a long and lingering illness."


AUSTRALIAN, Frfiday 1 August 1828

In the charnel-house, belonging to the General Hospital, on the visit of the Coroner's Jury, on the occasion of the Inquest which appears in another column, there was exhibited to view a heap of toothless skulls, by one of which the head of the deceased was supported.


At five o'clock on the evening of Wednesday last, Doctor Halloran, Coroner for Sydney, convened a jury of twelve, "all good men and true!" at the Rose and Crown Tavern, in Castlereagh-street.  The object of the meeting was to institute enquiry into circumstances connected with the decease of a man known by the name of Thomas Worth, a prisoner of the Crown.  The necessary prelininaries of viewing the body, and adjourning and so forth being gone through with, Peter Butler, a Sydney constable, was called on to say what he knew of the matterl; with which, Butler having taken the usual oath, proceeded to comply.

   That morning, he said, that Pearce and Nicolls, two other constables, together with himself, according to orders from the chief constable, set out in the direction of Cook's River, in quest of three men, supposed to be bushrangers, who, it was reported in Sydney, had entered and robbed a settler's house in the neighbourhood of the river aforesaid, not many days before.  After calling in at several habitations of the most secluded settlers in that quarter, in order to enquire after the party they were in quest of, Butler deposed, that himself and companions in arms (Pearce and Nicolls) fell in with a tribe of blacks in the bush; and of those the constables enquired if they had seen any "croppies" (meaning runaways) thereabouts, for by that appellation the "black fellows" usually distinguish then.  One of the most elderly amongst the blacks made answer that he had, and, pointing to a secluded spot about a hundred yards off or so, whence a column of smoke was mounting and curling into air, gave the witness (Butler) and his associates to understand, that three white men "sat down" there.  They, according to Butler's deposition, started off, taking a circuitous route through the bush, and advancing, without being perceived, to the spot where the fire had been kindled, the constables caught the deceased, warming his limbs before it.  The three constables were armed with loaded muskets and pistols.  Nicolls, it was deposed, first presented his musket, and called upon deceased to stand---the other constables also presented their's.  The deceased seeing this fomridable array, immediately turned his back and bolted away.  Butler deposed that upon this, Pearce, Nicolls, and he pursued the fugitive, calling out to him to stop, but the deceased paying no heed to the warning, continued to run on, till Pearce and Nicolls, repeating the call a third and a fourth time, finally discharged their pieces together.  Nicoll's musket was loaded with buck shot---Pearce's was loaded with one musket and three pistol balls.  Deceased, after receiving the fire, continued to run, and witness, with his comrades, continued to pursue.  For a few minutes they lost sight of the fugitive; but shortly after, witness deposed, that he came up with the deceased, in an open part of the country.  The unfortunate fellow was at this time leaning against a tree.  He exclaimed, on seeing the constable, "Oh! I am dead."  Witness then, for the first time, as he deposed, observed that deceased had been wounded, and was bleeding.  Upon this, Butler said, he called to Pearce and Nicolls, who came up, and set off again to revisit the spot where the fire had been lighted.

   On first passing this spot, in haste, the constables said they had observed a quantity of cooking utensils, but on revisiting it those utensils were gone, though not more than five minutes had elapsed between the time of their passing by the spot and their returning back to it.  Deceased was then secured; and, being found unable to walk, a cart was procured, and the wounded man was brought by that means into Sydney, and deposited under medical care in the General Hospital.---In answer to a question  put by a juror, witness said he thought it impossible that deceased could have been secured without firing at him.  I knew him (continued the witness) to be a run away prisoner of the Crown.  He was at large, and an absentee from an  iron-gang, to which he had been sent by the Sydney Bench, for a certain period, some months ago.  We were three in number; and from the situation  of the country where the occurrence took place, could not possibly have intercepted the man.  I believe when Nicolls and Pearfce discharged their muskets at deceased, they did so with the sole view of wounding him, but not fatally.  It is impossible for me to say whose shot---Nicholl's or Pearce---took effect---they fired in the same instant, and much in the same way as if both shots proceeded from a double barrelled piece.  On first sight of the man, I did not know, nor do I believe Pearce and Nicolls knew that he was a prisoner of the Crown at large, although his features were familiar to us.  We did not attempt to fire over deceased's head, but endeavoured to wound him.  On picking up the bag which deceased threw from him on running away, a knife was found, which he confessed belonged to the settler with whose robbery the police had been made acquainted.  Deceased, on my coming up with him, along with the other constables, was drying himself before the fire---he was then quite wet, and but thinly clad.  We were also soaking wet with the rain that had just fallen, which impeded our running.  I positively swear the discharging of the pieces by Nicolls and Pearce at deceased, did not take place as he was standing before the fire.

   Doctor Mitchell, surgeon of the General Hospital, certified that deceased's death was occasioned by the wounds which appeared on the body, and which the Jury had previouslty examined.  The body was wounded in three places by three balls; two in the thigh, a third had perforated the spine, and passed through the body---the latter, in the opinion of Dr. M., was the fatal wound.  The body, at the time ol dissolution, was full of blolod.  The shot which had been extracted by Dr. M. was then produced to the  jury.

   At this stage of the enquiry, the coroner, after some moments' consideratioon, consented to take the deposition of the two constables, Pearce and Nicolls, whom the first witness had  deposed to having fired off their pieces, and thereby caused the fatal injury.  The account given by them corresponded, in the main, with the first witness's testimony.

   Some of the jury, however, not feeling yet satisfied as to the justice of a particular part of the case, it having been rumoured that the constables deliberately fired at the deceased while he was standing at the fire, the hospital assistant was ordered to be sent for, in order that he might acquaint the inquest with any words used by the deceased prior to his dissolution.  Nothning particular on this head being elicited, the jury brought in a verdict--- "That the deceased was shot at by constables, in the execution of their duty."


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 6 August 1828

On Friday week last, as a man named Joseph Sands, who was in the employment of a Mr. Macdonald, a settler near Mangrove Creek, in the Hawkesbury district, was felling timber, a weighty branch of a tree suddenly breaking off, descended upon and caused the death of the unhappy man.  Owing to the distance at which the Coroner resided, and the difficulty of getting together a jury, no inquest could be taken upon the body till the Tuesday following, when the jury found a verdict of accidental death.

   The unfortunate man [Thomas Worth] who was mortally wounded the other day by the two bush constables (Nicolls and Pearce) turns out not to have been more than three days from the station whereat he was employed.  [See also letter from Philo-Jus in AUSTRALIAN, Friday 8 August and 20 August; and Wednesday 13 August from Philalethes.]


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 13 August 1828

A deed of murder, which, it is suspected, was perpetrated in the district of Richmond, has within some days past been brought to light, through the intervention purely of chance.  A little boy, the son of a settler named Skuthorpe, living near Richmond, happening to observe a man's boot peering above the surface of a water hole on his father's farm, ran and told of what he had seen to his mother, who, with another person proceeded to the water hole, and, in endeavouring to fish out, with a stick, what was considered to be a boot only, the boot was discovered to be attached to some weighty matter below.  With assistance it was drawn up, and then followed the drowned body of a man, which was at once recognised to be that of James Magrath, an assigned servant to Mr. S., who suddenly disappeared from the farm in the course of the month preceding.  His fate remained a mystery to the family of Mr. Skuthorpe, will chance brought about a discovery of the body.  There can be no doubt that the unhappy man was foully murdered.  On the head there appeared an extensive fracture, and round the neck was attached a heavy log.  An inquest was convened upon the body; and two men, who were fellow servants with the deceased at the period of, and for some before his disappearance, have been committed to gaol on the Coroner's warrant, in order that both may undergo trial before a court of justice, on the black and heinous charge of---murder.

DEATHS.---On Saturday evening last, Mrs. Sarah Iredale, wife of Mr. Launcelot Iredale, of George-street, Sydney.  Mrs. Iredale gave birth to a son on the 27th ult. and her death has been the distressing consequence of that event.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 20 August 1828



[See also Leading editorial on this Inquest.]

At two o'clock in the afternoon of Monday, the Coroner for Sydney, Dr. Halloran, convened a Jury, consisting of the following householders, vz. T. Wood, Foreman, J. Pearson, J. M'Mahon, W. Blake, J. Pritchett, J. Rooke, T. Stedman, J. Flood, and R. Chapman, at the Rose and Crown Tavern, in Castlereagh-street, whence the Jury, with the Coroner, proceeded to the \General Hospital, to take a view of the body of a man who had expired in the hospital the same morning.  Whilst the Coroner and the Jury were viewing the body, there were present Drs. Bowman and Mitchell, and the Adjutant of the 39th Regiment.  Some trifling delay occurred in the hospital yard, owing to a majority of the Jurors objecting to one of their number, on the ground of being ineligible to sit on the Inquest as a Juror.  The Coroner being pressed upon the subject, consented to swear in another instead of the member objected to; and when the matter had become so far satisfactorily arranged, the Jury entered the apartment wherein lay the body of the deceased.  There could be discovered but one wound, which lay on the right side of the stomach of the deceased, a little below the heart.  It did not appear as if there had been a very considerable effusion of blood from the wound, which was small, and had every appearance of being inflicted by some sharply pointed instrument.

   After this, the Jury, with the Coroner, returned to an apartment in the Rose and Crown tavern, and proceeded to hear evidence in the case.  Fitzpatrick, the Coroner's constable, tendered, as the first witness, Mr. George Morris, innkeeper, who was accordingly sworn.  One of the Jury here rose, to submit to the Coroner the propriety of those persons who had taken their seats in the room, being ordered to retire, on the ground of their not being jurors.  There were at this time several military gentlemen present.  Save the solitary Juror who had started it, there apperared to be none of the remaining Jurors disposed to support the objection, and the majority rather expressed themselves anxious than otherwise, that the gentlemen who were strangers should be permitted to keep their seats.  The Adjutant of the 39th Regiment, upon this, begged to remind the Coroner, that he could have nothing to say in the affair at issue---that his sole object in entering the room was merely to be a hearer of what might be passing; and he also felt desirous of ascertaining, as far as practicable, whether any of his own regiment (the 39th) had been concerned in the unpleasant affair about which the Court was proceeding to make enquiry.  The Coroner observed, that for his own part he was at a loss to discover any possible objection that could exist for the attendance of any persons who might choose to be present at the Inquest.  The Coroner added that, to his own knowledge, coroners' courts in England were thrown open for the admission of every person, indiscriminately, who chose to attend, and he was desirous that this example should be observed in the present instance, inasmuch as if any exclusion of individuals were tolerated, the public, whether military men or civilians, would be apt to consider the judgment in an illiberal point of view.  Upon this announcement of the Coroner, one of the Reporters to the public Press stepped forward, and, addressing the Coroner, observed, that nothing but actual force should oblige him to quit his seat.  The Reporter observed, that a coroner's inquest was a court of enquiry, and that it could not be legally held, where there were allowed to be closed doors---adding, further, that it was the practice in England, to admit every person who chose to be present.  The question was upon this put to the vote, when eleven members out of the twelve declared in favour of the Coroner's and Reporter's opinion.

   The Coroner remarked that the question was not one upon which the Jury were entitled to offer an opinioin, though at the same time he felt gratified that they had arrived at so liberal a conclusion.  Had the Jury come to a different conclusion, the Coroner added, he certainly would have exercised his prerogative of ordering that every individual stranger who was not, or who did not expect to be called as a witrness, should be permitted to take his seat.

   The motion being thus overruled, those who had been on their legs for some time to await the determination of the disputed question, then resumed their seats, and the examination of witnesses proceeded upon.

   Mr. Geo. Morris deposed to the following effect: Yesterday evening (Sunday) about seven o'clock, I was standing at the door of my own house in George-street, nearly opposite the Custom-house, when I observed four persons approaching up the street, who accosted some private soldiers walking in a similar direction, in apparently friendly terms.  I presently after heard the four civilians use some derogatory terms to the soldiers about "pipe clays."  A fight between the civilians and the soldiers then immediately commenced.  A man named Kershaw was one of the party of civilians, whom the soldiers, one of more of them, knocked down, and whilst on the ground, one of the soldiers belaboured him with his bayonet.  It struck me at the time that the soldiers were bent on mischief.  I was half persuaded by some persons in my house to shut the front door, at which I was standing, and to go in, but I determined on remaining a spectator of what was going on.  I saw the same four soldiers alluded to attack four civilians, who were peaceably walking along the street.  They were decently dressed sort of persons, and appeared to be tradesmen dressed in their Sunday clothes.  I took no particular notice of their persons beyond this.  I believe that blows were exchanged between the civilians and military before the latter drew their bayonets.  I was standing about forty yards from the scene of the affray.  The man Kershaw, on falling under the blows and beats from the bayonet, as soon as it was in his power, ran away, and the numbers of civilians which had gathered together on witnessing this act of outrage, became themselves, to the greater part, tumultuous in their expressions, but did not proceed to any acts of violence.  It was my impression that some persons who came up to the scene of riot, were the friends of Kershaw---for upon their interference in the matter, by way of expostulation with the soldiery, the latter instantly drew their bayonets, and commenced charging every person indiscriminately whom they could overtake or get hold of with the same.

   I saw a gentleman of the name of Cohen, who was a silent spectator of the outrage, pursued to the door of his own house, by the soldiers, with drawn bayonets.  Whilst I was standing at the door of my own house, the deceased came running up to me, and catching hold of the collar of my coat, exclaimed, as his body was bent in a leaning posture, with one hand on his side, "Oh, my God."  In the hurry of the moment, and from the sudden agitation of mind, seeing some straggling soldiers with their side-arms drawn, and running in a direction as if in a pursuit after him, I told him to run round the gate of my premises. At this time there were at least a dozen persons inm my house, who had run into it for protection, and I deemed it prudent to close my door.  It was shortly after I had seen the soldiers pursuing some civilians round the corner of the barrack-lane, near to my own premises, that deceased came running to me.

   After the lapse of some minutes I re-opened my door, and then saw a number of constables pass the corner of the lane towards my house, coming in the same direction as the wounded man had.  I called to them to say that a wounded man lay under my gateway.  He was then groaning pretty loudly.  The body was then examined, and found to bear the wound which the Inquest has seen.  Deceased, in my judgment, was not one of the four or five persons who met the soldiers in the first instance.  Their dress was very different to that which the deceased wore.---The military party were very much intoxicated, and very mischievously inclined.  It was impossible for deceased, from the time that elapsed, to have gone away and exchanged his dress.  The four or five persons who were in dispute with the soldiers were clad very creditably.  I did not see the facing of the soldiers sufficiently to tell the regiment they belonged to.  They were in full dress.

   Mr. Philip Joseph Cohen, merchant, residing in George-street, deposed, about half-past 7 o';clock last evening (Sunday evening) I heard a noise in the street, which attracted my attentyion.  I saw three soldiers brandishing drawn bayonets, and making thrusts at whoever came nedar them.  They were like madmen in their behaviour.  The moon was obscured at the time, so that it is impossible for me to say with certainty what was the facing of the soldiers without being close to them, and that just then would have been too unsafe for me to hazard.  A very few minutes after I saw a man come running towards my own house.  On reaching as far as my door he fell down opposite it, from exhaustion.  He had been pursued by soldiers, whom I saw stab the man.  I was going to the assistance of the poor fellow, but was prevented by a shower of stones and brickbats, which were being thrown upon the soldiers by the populace, which was commenced the moment after this man was stabbed.  I saw another man being pursued down the lane, leading from the south barrack gate, who was stabbed with a bayonet.  The soldier who did this had no cap on.  The man turned the corner of the lane, and running towards Mr. George Moriss's, proceeded up the gateway under Mr. M.'s premises.  This was deceased.  The soldier after stabbing him returned towards the barrack gate, and returned into George-street immediately after, still brandishing his bayonet, and was as violent as ever.  He made a run towards my house & entered the gate of my premises, exclaining, "I have got some blood, and will have some more of it yet."  I then shut my soor, under an apprehsnsion that he was making towards me with an intention to stab me also.  I ran up staitrs, not knowing what to expect, and armed myself with a pistol.  I saw nothing more of the affray.

   On venturing to look out of my upstairs window, the street had become quite tranquil.  There were no soldiers to be seen.  The soldier whom I have described as stabbing deceased, I took to be an Irishman, from his strong accent.  He was rather a short sized man, and was very much in liquor.  I think I should know the soldier again from his speech, but would hesitate to swear to his identity.  I afterwards went to the Military Barracks with a constable, and reported what I had seen to Captain Innes, with whom were Colonels Lindsay and Shadforth.  A drum-major remarked that a man had come into barracks about the time alluded to; that he was a good deal inebriated, and without a cap.  The three officers upon this instantly ordered a strict search to be made of every one's bayonet in the Barracks, and to look for the men's caps, to see none were missing.  This was in about thtree quarters of an  hour after the affray was over.  I think the constables must have been very negligent on this occasion, for they were never once seen during the whole time of the affray.

   The Coroner and Jury coincided in the same opinion; the latter expressing a hope that the remark would induce Colonel Morisset to institute an enquiry into the matter.---Witness added, tbhat he did not know at which gate the riotous soldiers entered.  Upon the suggestion of the Jury, the Coroner despatched a note to the Commanding Officer of the Garrison, with a request that the sentinels stationed at the respective gates, from the hours of 7 to 9, might be permitted to attend the Inquest immediately.

   Doctor Mitchell certified that he had examined the body of Terrance Rooney (deceased), who was admitted in to the General Hospital about eight o'clock on Sunday evening, and in a few minutes after expired.  He had received a penetrating wound in the right side, which passed through the liver and intestines.  This, in witness's opinion, occasioned death.

   By a Juror.---I think the probability is, that the instrument used to inflict the wound was a bayonet, or a sword-stick.  They are pretty nearly the same in shape.

   Henry Ward examined---Is clerk to Mr. Samuel Lyons, of George-street.  About the time of the affray happening, saw three soldiers with drawn bayonets in their hands, running about the streets, in a very violent, tumultuous manner.  Saw a man lying down on the flat of his face on the ground.  This was in the middle of George-street.  The man apparently was wounded.  Witness went out shortly after, and inquired of the people, in the streets, where there was a constable.  Upon this there was a shrill whistle set up, by some one, which was answered in another direction.  One of the crowd said, that the two men who had whistled, were constables.  Witness saw them walk away.  A thrust was immediately made at him with a bayonet, but, accidentally falling down at the instant, the thrust missed, and the soldier passed on.  Witness had no thought of harm happening him, when the soldier made at him.  There was no manifestation of disorder among the populace, but what the conduct of the soldiers gave rise to, when the people began to throw stones and brickbats, at them.  The soldier who made the thrust at witness was a middle-sized man, so were those in company with him.  Judged from their accents that they were all Irishmen.  One swore "By the Holy Ghost I'll stick you."  Witness hastened to the house of Mr. Cohen, where a man followed, running and groaning.  A soldier, in less than half a minute after, came running with his drawn bayonet,saying "Here---here's blood," pointing to the bayonet in his hand.  "Where is he, I've not half done with him yet?"  Witness saw the man go under Mr. Morris' gateway.  One of the refractory soldiers had his bayonet drawn to stab a woman, who was in the street, when the latter, clasping her hands together, in a supplicatory tone, asked him if he would "stab a woman."  It is witness's impression that the soldiers would have stabbed any one they met, indiscriminately. The deceased, who was the wounded man, was taken to the hospital.  The constables did not come up until the whole of the affray was over, when they mustered pretty strong, but evinced no sort of concern whatever in removing deceased to the hospital, although there was every appearance of his dying.

   Peter Tyler deposed, that as he was walking along George-street, about a quarter before eight, a man came running in a direction towards where he was standing, and pointing towards two soldiers who were walking under the Barrack wall, said one of the two had stolen his hat and stabbed a man.  Witness advised the man to follow the soldiers, and get them stopped at the Barrack gate, before they entered it.  The man did so, and represented his complaint to the sentinel stationed there; the sentinel paid no attention whatever to the complaint.  One of the guard observed that it was impossible the soldier pointed out could have been concerned in the affray, as he had not a belt nor a bayonet on.  Serjeant Hawkins then appeared at the gate, who said he knew the soldier, and would give him up next morning, if necessary; the soldier pointed out was very drunk, and was led by another man who was perfectly sober. It was remarked by one of the guard, that the drunken soldier had a wrong cap on; the latter immediately said he had lost his cap, but did not say how he had obtained the other.

   Serjeant Hawkins, of the 57th Regt., corroborated last witness's testimony, as to what took place at the Barrack gate.  The drunken man gave up his name as Rose of the 39th; the sober man was leading him to his quarters, and did not deny what the other had stated; he wore a foraging cap, and was without belt or bayonet.  The cap the sober man had on, was one in which the military are not allowed to go out of Barracks.  Cannot swear to the persons of the two men.  The man who charged the drunken soldier with riot, was himself quite sober.  On hearing of the riot in the town, the witness set out with four soldiers to take the rioters into custody; saw at a distance some soldiers running; they were not pursued by any one; there was only the north-east gate they could have got in to the Barracks through, unless they jumped the wall; met a private soldier of the 39th, named Danks, in his regimentals, with his proper cap and side arms on; questioned him on the subject of the riot; he denied having been at all in any row, but said he had been struck; witness took him into the Barracks.  The populace were very violent, and the streets were in a state of great tumult.  The soldiers of the 39th Regt. were accused of being amongst the rioters. 

   It being now half-past nine o'clock, the Inquest, on the suggestion of the Jury, was adjourned till nine o'clock next morning.

   The Inquest resumed its sittings yesterday, pursuant to adjournment.  The report of the evidence is too length to give a detail, and we are consequently under the necessity of deferring notice of it till our next.  The Inquest broke up yesterday evening, and are to re-assemble this morning.---The Jury, in the course of the day, proceeded to the hospital to take the deposition of a man who lay there in a  dangerous condition, from wounds inflicted during the outrage on  Sunday evening.

   The Government has caused a reward to be offered of 100 Pounds, a discharge from the Regiment, and a passage Home, to any soldier who will turn approver in the case of the riot on Sunday evening.

   Adjutant Innes has used strenuous exertions, and offered to bring forward men who, it is believed, can give such evidence as will go to convict the parties engaged in the shameful outrage on Sunday evening.  There, however, is a promise made that whatever evidence they may give, shall not be used against them.


About eight or nine months ago, it may be recollected, some mention was made of a stock-keeper, in the employ of a Mr. West, at a cattle station not very far distant from Sydney, having suddenly disappeared under mysterious circumstances.  A few days after, chance led to the discovery of the body, which was found to be buried in the earth.  A Coroner's Inquest was convened, and a verdict returned of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.  Who the persons engaged in this daibolical act were, still remains a matter of uncertainty.  Some disclosures have been made which have produced the apprehension  of two men who are now in custody.  One of the two bears the name of John Hilton, and hasd been nic-named the blind jewell---the oher John Halls.  Both were free servants employed at the time of the murder near Mr. West's station.  When brought up for examination, before the Police Bench on Saturday, Mr. Hely, addressing the prisoner Halls, said, "I suppose you know for what you have been brought up here."

   Prisoner.  I never have been informed as yet.  I have heard talk of my knowing something about a murder.

   Magistrate.  Was not the warrant under which you were apprehended read to you?

   The other prisoner (Hilton), yes, in the watch-house, for the first time!

   Magistrate.  Let the warrant be read.  Here two warrants, under the hand of Mr. Hely, were read aloud.  Both being addressed to Mr. Jilks, Chief Constable, and his assistants, directing them to apprehend, forthwith, John Hilton, alias blind jewell, and John Halls, who were charged on the Coroner's Inquest with committing wilful murder.

   Magistrate.  Do either of you know a man of the name of Henry Welch?

   Prisoner Halls.  I did once know a man of that name, at a time when he worked on the South-head road!

   [Prisoner Hilton.  I don't know the man at all!

   Magistrate.  Because this man has sworn upon oath, that he saw you throw the body of the deceased into a hole.

   The prisoners remained silent for some moments.  At length said Halls, your Worship, I can prove that I was not near the place when the murder was committed, at the time it is said to have taken place.

   The Magistrates were about enquiring of the prisoner by what means he could establish this as a fact, when they deemed it prudent to stop any further examination on the subject, and remanded both prisoners to Tuesday, in order to obtain some material evidence in the case, which would be forthcoming on that day.  The prisoners were then taken back to a secure cell in the watch-house, under strict orders to \be kept separate.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 22 August 1828

In the afternoon of yesterday, the Coroner's Inquest, which has been sitting on the unhappy and disgraceful affray of Sunday evening last, terminated its enquiries, and recorded its verdict.  On this verdict, three private soldiers of the 39th Regiment have been handed over to the custody of the Civil power; one of the soldiers being charged as the actual murder of the ill-fated ROONEY; the two others as aiders and abettors.

   Matters having proceeded thus far, we shall not endeavour to prejudice the cause in one way or another.  Even handed justice will, doubtless, dispense to the actual offenders what each may be proved to merit; and to that we shall for the present leave them  [Continues re Coroner and Jury.]


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 23 August 1828

CHIT-CHAT.---The whole of the troops in garrison were assembled in the Barrack-square on Tuesday forenoon, and a proclamation issued by the Lieutenant General was read to them; offering a reward of one hundred pounds, a discharge from the regiment, and a free passage to England, to any of them who would give evidence to bring to conviction the man who stabbed the deceased on whom the Coroner's Inquest was then sitting.

CORONER'S INQUEST.---On Monday last a Coroner's Inquest was taken at the Rose and Crown Tavern, on view of the body of Terrence Roony, which then lay dead in the General Hospital.  The Jury having seen the body proceeded to their room, and listened to the following evidence.---

   Mr. George Morris, tavern-keeper, deposed that about the hour of seven on Sunday evening, whilst standing at his own door, he saw four persons come up the street towards the Custom-house, and accost some soldiers who were walking in a similar direction, in apparently a friendly manner; presently after heard some derogatory remark made use of to the soldiers, something like the word "pipe clay," when a fight commenced.  A man named Kershaw, who proved to be a prisoner of the crown, was knocked down.  The soldiers then, and not before, drew out their bayonets, and began belabouring him while on the ground.  It struck witness on first observing the soldiery, that they were not peaceably disposed, and he was half inclined to go in doors, but continued to look on.  Saw the same four soldiers attack several individuals who were peaceably walking along the street.  The four or five town's-people with whom the disturbance originated; appeared to be tradesmen in their Sunday dress.  Is certain that blows were exchanged before the soldiers drew their bayonets.  A number of young men at the juncture came up, and seeing the conduct of the soldiers towards the man Kershaw, and that they were attacking every person passing by, commenced an assault upon them in return with stones and brick-bats---saw Mr. Cohen, the merchant, pursued to the door of his own house by soldiers with bayonets in their hands.  He just reached his own house in time to save himself from their attacks. Other passengers fled to witness's door for protection from the same soldiers.  One man (deceased) came running to witness's door in a wounded state, and ran under the arch-way of the house to get out of the way.  After the riot was over, witness proceeded to the same man, who was groaning but unable to speak.  He expired in about ten minutes.---Mr. Cohen corroborated the facts adduced by the last witness, adding that he saw several men stabbed.  A soldier had his bayonet drawn to stab a woman, when the latter appeared to his feelings by asking him, "if he would stab a woman?" The soldier felt the appeal and desisted.  Other witnesses swore that the same soldiers brandished their bayonets, and said that they had blood, and that they would have more.  The town's people at length became much exasperated, and stones were thrown at the soldiers in all directions.  A report of what was going on reached the main-guard, and a sergeant there, with a picquet, came out and cleared the streets.

   The Inquest at half-past nine o'clock was adjourned to next day.  The only question the Jury having then to decide upon being, who were the soldiers that stabbed the deceased man?  None of the witnesses could speak to this fact, owing to the darkness of the evening and the close resemblance which one soldier has to another.  Thursday morning, The result of the Inquest after a patient and protracted Inquisition, has been the commitment to gaol of three private soldiers belonging to the 39th regiment, viz. Geeson, Herbert, and Walsh, the first as the actual perpetrator of the foul deed, and the other two, as aiding abetting and comforting him in the same.

   THE Attorney-General ought to be informed, that the soldiers against whom the Inquest has found a verdict of murder, were not present whilst the evidence before that inquest was taken.  Consequently, they not only could not cross-examine those witnesses as hath hitherto been the custom before the Coroner but their total ignorance of the names of the witnesses against them, and of all the circumstances of the evidence they gave, actually preclude the men from knowing what species of defence or what witnesses in their behalf to subpoena?  In short, the circumstance of the accused not being present during the Inquisition, appears to us to render the verdict of the Jury doubtful.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 27 August 1828

A few days ago, an assigned servant of Mr. F. Nowlan was bit by an adder, at Patterson's Plains, and died in a few hours after.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 29 August 1828


An Inquest was held at Newcastle, on Sunday last, on the body of a free man named Smith, who was folund dead in the bush in the neighbourhood of Iron Bark Hill, in a dying state.  He was put into a boat to be brought to Newcastle, but expired on the way.  It appeared on the Inquest, that the man died for want of the common necessaries of life.

   Another Inquest was held the same day in the district of Newcastle, on the body of a man who was killed by a tree falling on him.  Verdict---Accidental Death.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 30 August 1828

FRIDAY.---The Court assembled at the usual hour, and about 11 o'clock His Honour Judge Dowling took his seat.  There were put to the bar three soldiers, privates of the 39th Regiment of foot, viz. John Geeson, John Herbert, and William Welsh.  The first was arraigned in the usual form, for the wilful murder on the evening of Sunday the 19th Inst, of one Terence Rooney, a prisoner of the Crown, attached to the Barracks in Hyde Park.  The two latter were arraigned as accessaries to the same murder.  They all pleaded Not Guilty. (The three prisoners at the bar were all good-looking young men, and their countenances betokened no dispositions similar to those which public report ascribes to them on the 17th.  The physiognomy of Welsh and Herbert in particular was good.

   The Attorney-General opened the case.  Addressing the Jury, he informed them, the three prisoners at the bat stood indicted, Geeson as principal, and Herbert and Welsh as accessaries, for the wilful murder of one Terence Rooney.  It will appear before you Gentlemen (said Mr. Baxter,) in the course of evidence that on Sunday evening the 17th inst. Several inhabitants were going along George Street, towards the wharf not far from the South gate, when an altercation took place between them and some soldiers, which proceeded from words to blows.  Upon one party gaining an advantage, the soldiers drew out their bayonets, and assaulted not only their immediate antagonists, but all persons indiscriminately who were walking along the street.  It so happened that a man of the name of Terence Rooney, became the victim of their fury.  It will be proved that the deceased came to his death by the hands of Geeson, one of the prisoners at the bar, assisted in the felony however, by the other two prisoners.

   The Jury, as military men, know well that the arms of a soldier are entrusted to him, not for the purpose of repelling a private inquiry, but in order to protect the country and the public peace and that in all cases where a soldier may happen to experience insult from the inhabitants of a town, it is their duty to apply to their officers or the magistrates for redress, and in the mean time to repel such insults by good nature and a dignified contempt.  It will not be a question for you gentlemen to consider what cause of provocation the prisoner s had for their conduct.  The question for you is, whether the prisoner Geeson, did murder the deceased man, Terence Rooney; and whether, at the time in question, the other two prisoners were near at hand, and were associates, aiding and abetting Geeson in the perpetration of the offence for which they are now on trial.  It will be proved, that the two prisoners charged as accessaries, were active parties in the tumult, from the commencement till the close.

   The learned Counsel here cited various law authorities on cases of murder.

   (Pretty nearly the same evidence adduced on the Coroner's Inquest was elicited by the Attorney-General on behalf of the prosecution, who afterwards underwent a long and severe cross-examination by the prisoner's Counsel, the jet of which was to shew, that the prisoner Geeson was first insulted by words from the citizens, and was knocked down before he drew his bayonet, and that the other two prisoners, by their conduct, were influenced by a mere desire to screen Geeson from being laid hold of by the civilians after the affray had commenced, and that they used their most strenuous exertions to get Geeson away from the populace, whom he was attacking.  Two witnesses were called on behalf of the prisoners to prove an alibi, but this attempt failed.)

   As soon as the case for the prosecution had closed, the prisoners were severally called upon to state, if they had any thing to offer in their defence?  Geeson said "I know nothing at all about the Murder, not a half-penny worth." Herbert said "I know nothing at all about it, from beginning to end." Welsh said the same.

   The learned Judge proceeded to charge the Jury.  He dwelt with much eloquence on the trying situation in which the Jury as military Officers were placed, and exhorted them as gentlemen and men of honour, to divest their minds of all bias in favour of the prisoners on account of their being soldiers.  Indeed he felt confident they would do so, though it was his place to remind them of the sacred duty they had to perform to the Country. His Honour then dwelt with much force and feeling, on the circumstance of the deceased having been a prisoner of the Crown; observing, that his life on that account was not less sacred in the eye of the law.  He then with great patience read over the whole of the evidence, after which His Honour summed up and pointed out the circumstances of the case, and explained the law of murder. He thought that the accessaries (though they had acted with disgraceful and illegal violence) might be delivered of the charge of wilful murder, because it appeared, they did try to appease Geeson.  And if the Jury could think that the latter had stabbed the deceased in passion immediately after he himself had received the blow, and the volley of stones, they had it in their power to mitigate their verdict even against him, to manslaughter.  But the evidence went to shew, that the deceased gave the prisoners no provocation; that the prisoner Geeson seemed indeed to have attacked in his fury all that came in his way; and that he was not content with stabbing the deceased in the first encounter, but sought for him a second time; and that therefore his conduct appeared altogether without just cause or extenuation.

   The Jury retired for about ten or fifteen minutes and brought in a verdict of Justifiable homicide against Geeson.  Mr. Rowe, "You mean Gentlemen I presume "manslaughter!"  Judge Dowling.  "The Jury mean to return that verdict Mr. Rowe." The Attorney-General then moved that the three prisoners be removed to jail, for the night.  The Judge admonished them, and they were taken from the bar, about 2 o'clock this morning.

   The Court was crowded to excess.  We never witnessed deeper interest on a trial of late, except it were upon the famous trial for libel Rex v. Wardell.

   The Coroner for Sydney left town this morning for Cooke's River, to hold an Inquest in that neighbourhood on the body of a man, whose death report says, was occasioned by the accidental discharge of a gun in the bush.

See R. v. Geeson, Herbert and Welsh [1828] NSWSupC 68


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 30 August 1828


BY His Excellency Lieutenant General RALPH DARLING, Captain General and Governor in Chief of the Territory of New South Wales an d its dependencies, and Vice-Admiral of the same, with the advice of the Legislative Council.

WHEREAS some bricks, or pieces of bricks, were thrown at the sentinel, who was posted within the Gaol, between the hours of eight and nine on the evening of Sunday last, by some person or persons from the rocks behind that building:---NOW I the Governor, do hereby offer a Reward of Twenty Pounds to any person, who will give such information to the Principal Superintendent of Police, as will lead to the discovery of the Individual or Individuals who committed this unprovoked attack, so that he or they may be punished for the same.

   I do further give notice, that a prisoner of the Crown, named John Rawlinson, has been deprived of his Ticket of Leave, and been ordered to a distant part of the Colony, for having abused the Picquet on Duty, on the 22nd of this Month; and that another prisoner named John Fagan, has been sentenced for 28 days to the Tread Mill, for having given abusive language to the Military on Sunday last.

   It will thus be seen, that, as the Government has directed proceedings against the soldiers who were declared by the Coroner's Inquest to be guilty of the late outrage, it is equally determined to protect and uphold the military in the faithful Discharge of their duty; and that every one, who shall abuse or insult a Soldier without Provocation, will be punished with the utmost Rigour of the Law:

GIVEN under my Hand and Seal, at Government-house, Sydney, this twenty-sixth day of August, in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty eight.


By His Excellency's Command,



AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 3 September 1828


The sudden death of a woman named Mary Hogan, wife of a constable attached to the Government station at Barren Ridges, on Wednesday last, caused an Inquest to be convened before Mr. Reddeck, the Coroner for the district.  It appeared that the deceased the day previously had been seized with a violent fit of coughing, which produced a rupture of a blood vessel in the lungs, and the death of the sufferer.  The Jury, after a patient investigation of several witnesses, returned a Verdict---That the deceased died by the Visitation of God.

   Another Inquest was convened by Dr. Halloran, the Coroner for Sydney, on Saturday last, at Cooke's River, on the body of a labouring man employed in that neigbourhood, whose death was occasioned by a person in the bush accidentally letting off a gun in the direction of the deceased, but without seeing him.  The Jury returned a verdict of accidental homicide.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 6 September 1828

Letter from L. H. Halloran, Coroner, respecting evidence given by two soldiers, Danks and Russell, at the recent trial.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 6 September 1828

EDITORIAL.  Long and detailed leader concerning the recent trial of the 3 soldiers, and the verdict.  Final paragraph says, "These are our reasons for thinking that the late verdict of "unjustifiable homicide," (afterwards rendered formal by a verdict of manslaughter) should have been "wilful murder against John Geason." The other two being acquitted.

   One day last week, a poor man, whilst employed at work, in digging a well in the toewn of Parramatta, tewo tons of newly dug earth fell on him.

   The Coroner's Inquest, which was alluded to in The Monitor on Saturday last having sat on the body of a person shot in the vicinity of Cooks's River, brought in a verdict of Accidental Homicide.


AUSTRALIAN, 10/09/1828


A Coroner's Inquest was taken yesterday forenoon, before ----- Sweetman, Esq. the Coroner for Sydney, on view of the body of a man named Thomas Langton.  The deceased was an out-door Barrack prisoner.  Yesterday morning, about half-past four o'clock, the man left his lodgings for the purpose of joining his working gang.  On his way he fell in the street a corpse.  He had frequently complained of the cramp in his stomach.  Verdict---Died by the visitation of God.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 12 September 1828

The drowned body of a gentleman, who we regret to say, turns out to be the brother of Messrs. Thomas and John Raine, was found floating in the Parramatta river on Friday last.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 13 September 1828

A Coroner's Inquisition was taken on Tuesday forenoon, in Sydney, by Major Sweathman, the new coroner for the district, on view of the body of as man named Thomas Langton, an out-door barrack man, who, it appeared in evidence on the Inquest, suddenly dropt dead in the street, from a cramp in the stomach.  The Jury brought in a verdict "Died by the visitation of God."


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 17 September 1828


An Inquest was taken on Saturday last before --- Sweetman, Esquitre, Coroner, at THE AUSTRALIAN Hotel, on view of the body of Edward Mason, a person well known about town for many years past, and remarkable for his inoffensive and eccentric habits.  It appeared in evidence before the Inquest, that deceased went to Mr. Greenaway's residence, in George-street, on the preceding evening, being on terms of intimacy, and about twelve o'clock was left by Mr. G., who retired to rest---the deceased continuing in the apartment wherein the Jury found his lifeless body.  In the right hand was firmly grasped a razor.  The deceased's throat was cut literally from ear to ear, and the blood issuing from thence overflowed the room.  Life was completely extinct.  From the whole of the evidence adduced on the Inquest, it was satisfactorily established that the unfortunate man had committed the rash act in a fit of insanity.  The Jury brought in a verdict to that effect.  The names of the Jury were Messrs. Murray, Foreman, Plomer, Franks, Dunn, Egan, Wood, Lamb, Warman, Ball, M'Mahon, Webb, an d Allen.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 26 September 1828


At eleven o'clock in the forenoon of Wednesday last, an inquest was convened by Major Sweathman, Coroner for the County, who, with a jury of twelve householders, proceeded to the Cooper's Arms public house, on the Brickfield-hill, where lay the skull and other ossified fragmnebts of a human skeleton, which had been discovered early that morning in a hole towards the northern extremity of the demesne of Ultimo.  Having viewed these miserable effigies, the Inquest left the Cooper's Arms, and adjourned to the spot whence it was represented the disjointed skeleton had been removed.  This spot lay at the distance of about a mile and a half away; and consisted of a fissure in the riock, extending about seven feet one way and three feet another, sheltered in some measure by the thick patches of scrub overhanging the water in Cockle Bay, which grow about there; from this narrow tenement, into which one of the constables attendant on the Inquest managed, though with no little difficulty, to creep, were produced two pair of trowsers; one pair of light striped jean, the other, of canvas; a [pinch] cap, the same as prisoners usually come on shore with from the prison-ships; three bags, bearing the mark of John Dickson, of the Steam-engine, Cockle Bay; a few New Zealand mats, a razor, a broken fork, part of an old iron pot, and a piece of tin, which appeared to have been used as a cooking utensil.  There was also a long weighty stick; and within a yard or so of the hole, one of the Jury picked up several pieces of broken glass, which had once evidently formed a watch glass.  The skull was produced in the Jury-room, and underwent an exaninbation by Mr. Cook, surgeon, who expressed himself of opinion that the large dent on the left side had been produced by some violent action, such as the blow of a stick.  A fall, Mr. Cook considered, would not have produced so deep a bruise; nor did he think that in short death would have followed infliction of the blow, which would certainly, notwithstanding, have had a stunning effect.  The large stick discovered in the site, was now taken up; the bark at the head, it was observed, had been stripped off somewhat; and being placed therein, it was found to fit the dent precisely.

   A blacksmith, named Roberfts, was the first witness called; it was he discovered the hole, through the sagacity of his dog, which led him up to the spot.  About that very place it appeared, on further enquiry, a man named Phillip Potts, had for some time been observed courting concealment, and, it is added, had frequently been supplied with provisions, in a covert way, by certain of Mr. Dickson's servants.  Two of these servants, whom Mr. Mackie, Mr. Dickson's partner, represented to be men of good repute, were called before the Inquest, and swore that, to the best of their belief, one of the pair of trowsers and the duck frock found in the hole, had been worn by Phillip Pitts, while he was in Mr. Dickson's employ, from which he was sentenced, by the Police, to an iron-gang; and, absconding from the gang, came to Sydney, and took up his retreat about the identical spot where the remains were found.  Another suspicious circumstance was, that Pitts had a silver watch, and from this, the Jury were inclined to think that it was not improbable the pieces of watch-glass belonged to the particular watch Pitts had.  There was, however, one witness examined, who was certain that neither the trowsers nor frock had ever been worn by Pitts, while in Mr. Dickson's employ.  The Jury sat from eleven till half-past four in the afternoon, in investigating this most mysterious affair; and after all, it being notified officially to the Jury that Pitts was alive, and employed in an iron-gang, could come to no definitive conclusion upon the identification of the effigies.  It was at length agreed, that the Inquest should record a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.  The skull was ordered by the Coroner to be preserved, and the remaining bones to be interred.  The Inquest then broke up.

   Another Inquest was holden at twelve o'clock yesterday, on the body of Mr. George Cornick, formerly an assistant superintendent of police, who it appeared in evidence came to his death in consequence of the discharge of a pistol, by his own hands.  The unfortunate man was observed to put the muzzle of the pistol to his mouth, and, with a tremulous hand, to draw the trigger, when the ball passed along the right side of the mouth.  He lingered from Saturday se'nnight to Wednesday, when he expired in the General Hospital, to which he ran immediately after his committing the rash act.  There was every reason to fear that pecuniary embarrassments superinduced the catastrophe.---The Jury, after some  deliberation, at length came to the conclusion, that the deceased had died in a temporary fit of derangement.

   An Inquest was taken on Saturday last before Mr. F. Beddeck, coroner, on the body of James Wilkey, a prisoner of the crown.---From the evidence disclosed, it appeared that the deceased became speechless whilst imprecating the most horrible curses upon the wind and rain, and died in about an hour after.---The Jury returned a verdict that the deceased had died by the visitation of God.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 27 September 1828

CORONER'S INQUEST.---An Inquisition was taken on Wednesday last, at the sign of the Cooper's Arms public-house, on the Brickfields, before -----Sweetman, Esq. and twelve housekeepers, on view of the remains of a human skeleton which had been found on the preceding day, lying between the fissures of some rocks, situate on the northern extremity of Ultimo Domain.  The individual who first discovered the burial place, was a blacksmith, who happening to pass by the spot, had his attention called to the place by some singularity of conduct in a dog who was his companion.  On looking into the fissure, he discovered a human skull, and lost no time in returning to Sydney to report the circumstance to the Police and the Coroner, who thereupon issued his precept for holding the Inquest.  The hole in which the remains lay, on being searched by a Constable in the presence of the Jury, was found to contain a skull, blade bone, two leg bones, and a stick of large dimensions; a knot at the top of the stick appeared to have been struck against something with considerable force, a patch of bark about the size of half a crown piece appeared knocked off, and upon comparing this with a deep mole on the left side of the skull, the parts were found to correspond.  A surgeon to whom the skull was shown, expressed a conviction that the injury in the head had been occasioned from the blow of a stick, and was decidedly of opinion, it had not been sustained by any fall, and that even this blow had not occasioned death; but it was more then probable the unfortunate person had been stunned by the fall.  In the hole was found several articles of wearing apparel, a razor, apparatus for cooking, three flour bags marked with Mr. Dickson's mark of the Steam Engine, a piece of soap, &c.  Some of Mr. Dickson's servants deposed that they had seen clothes of a similar description to the clothes found in the hole, worn by a man named Peter Potts, while in Mr. Dickson's service.  This man it was well known had been harboured near the identical spot where the human remains lay, and subsistence was furnished him by one or more of Mr. Dickson's servants about the time alluded to.  It was between ten and twelve months ago that Pitts was sent away from Dickson's employ to an iron gang, whence he absconded, and according to all appearances, it must have been about the time Pitts was at large in the bush at Ultimo, that the unknown was lost.  The Jury after six hours, returned a verdict of "wilful murder against some person or persons unknown."


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 27 September 1828


Colonial Secretary's Office, September, 23, 1828.


WHEREAS the Jury at the Coroner's Inquest, held on the body of Mr. Robert Raine, who was found dead in the Parramatta River, on Tuesday, the 9th Day of September Instant, have returned a Verdict of Wilful Murder against some Person or Persons unknown; Notice is hereby given, that the above Reward of twenty Pounds will be paid to any Person who shall give such In formation as may lead to the Apprehension and Conviction of the Perpetrator or Perpetrators of the said Murder.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 8 October 1828

A Coroner's Inquest is summoned to be held at the Rose and Crown Tavern, in Castlereagh-street, during the forenoon of this day, on view of the body of a carter, which was found on Sunday morning, by a passenger, in a mutilated state on the Liverpool road.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 10 October 1828

[Part margin missing][Tasmania]

On Monday the 8th Sept., an inquest was held at [Lanbern], the farm of Capt. Coolong, by T. A. [Lascelles??], Esq., Coroner of the district, on view of the body of a male child, which had been found [dead] in the apartment occupied by Mary O'Donnell, a female convict in the service of Capt. Cooling.  The inquiry occupied the whole of the day.  After a most minute examination of witnesses, the Coroner charged the Jury, that if they were satisfied [???] the evidence that the child had been born [?????g], and that its life might have been preserved [by] proper care and attention on the partt of the mother, and if they were satisfied that she had concealed her pregnany, and wilfully neglected to [take] the precaution which she had in her power, [for] the purpose of preserving the life of her off-spring, they were bound to find that the child had been wilfully murdered.  If, on the other hand, it appeared to them that the mother had been seized [by] premature and unexpected labour, and had it [within] her power to obtain the assistance necessary [to save] the child, that they must find accordingly.  The Jury having retired for a considerable time, requested to communicate with the Coroner; this request having been complied with, after some further deliberation, they returned a verdict---That [the] child had been wilfully murdered by Mary O'Donnell, its mother.

   Edward Colley, the reputed father, was held in custody by the constable on a charge of being accessary to the murder, but was discharged after the verdict of the Coroner's Jury.

   It would be highly improper, in the present [case], to say one word about the evidence, as any thing said now might tend to influence the minds of another Jury, who must decide on the fate of the wretched woman.

   She was taken into custody soon after the body was found, and the surgeon in attendance having certified that she was not in a fit state to be removed, she remains in custody at [Lanhern], where she received the most humane treatment from Mrs. ????] and Capt. Cooling, who have provvided her with every comfort which her condition requires.


 A Jury, composed of the following house-holders, viz. Joseph Morley, Foreman, Wm. Cuthbert, Wm. Sutherland, Joseph Andrews, George Wheeler, J. Wheeler, Daniel Smith, Wm. Sandwell, Wm. Morris, Francis Wild, Thomas Williams, and Wm. Caines, was convened by the Coroner for Sydney, Major Smeathman, at the Rose and Crown Tavern, about noon, on Wednesday last, on view of the body of Joseph Potts, who, it turned out, had recently been in the service of Mr. Daniel Cooper.  The Jury having proceeded from the tavern to the General Hospital, where the dead body lay, heard the depsitions of several persons, from which it might be collected that the deceased had been employed on Saturday last to cart a supply of rations to a road party at the 11 mile station on the Parramatta road, some part of the way between which and Sydney, about nine o'clock the same morning, he was perceived by a person named Cox, who resided near the 10 mile-stone, and a servant, who accompanied the latter, stretched flat upon the ground.  These persons, it appeared, had left the Plough Inn some minutes before, and though perceiving a man at that hour laying upon his back by the side of the road, a cart close at hand, with one of the shafts broken, neither offered to interpose, but pursued their road homewards.

   Mr. John Clegg, publican on the road, deposed, that he recollected the deceased, and the time that deceased stopped at his house, to bait his horse at the trough before the door.  After doing which, the deceased stepped into witness' tap-room, where he had a gill of spirits.  This was about sun-set.  He was then apparently quite sober.  Deceased paid for the gill of spirits out of a dump; but witness did not ascertain if he carried any more money than this dump about him.

   Another witness, named Attington, an overseer to Mr. Daniel Cooper, deposed to the circumstance of the deceased being despatched to cart provisions as before stated.  Deceased had on him at the time a new pair of boots.  He was, generally speaking, a sober man, and was somewwhat penurious in his habits.  He was in the habit of receiving wages regularly from his employer; and in all probability was in the possession of cash.

   The next witness called, was the landlord of the Plough Inn, who deposed, that about ten o'clock last Saturday evening, as he was in doors attending to the calls of customers who had drawn up to his house with carts, &c. his attention was diverted by the circumstance of a horse outside running furiously and striking against one of the teams before his door.  Witness first enquired of the travellers who had resorted to his house, if the horse belonged to any of them.  No one would lay claim to the animal; so the land-lord, for better security, directed the horse to be placed in a stall for the night, requesting at the same time, that those who had stopped at his house would mention the circumstance of the horse coming so strangely into his possession, in order that the animal might find an owner.  On the following morning intelligence reached the landlord, that a man lay apparently dying, or already dead, about from a hundred and fifty to two hundred yards from his house, on the high road.  The former immediately set off to the place pointed out, in company with several other persons, among whom was a road-constable, named Brown, and there found the deceased, still living, though speechless, and to all appearance labouring under great pain.  The landlord immediately caused the unfortunate man to be removed to his house, where he endeavoured to apply restoratives, but perceiving that the patient was growing rather worse than better on his hands, he had him conveyed in a cart to the General Hospital, at Sydney.  When the deceased wasa discovered laying on the ground, he had neither shoes nor hat on.  The witness just previously examined, stated that the deceased had both hat and shoes on when baiting, and that the horse under charge of the deceased started away from the house quite tractable.  The landlord of the Plough Inn further proved, that close to the spot where the body of deceased was picked up, the road bore marks of cart tracks, which had taken a semicircular direction; and there were other presumptions, from the prints also about of horses shoes, that a horse had been plunging, and that some accident, as of a cart having been overturned, or the like, had taken place.  There were several pieces of cart timber, and fragments of the iron work, lying scattered about.  One witness was of opinion, that the body of the cart had been picked up by some of the empty carts travelling the road, after the accident happened.

   Doctor Mitchell having, at the request of the Coroner and the Jury, examined the body, certified that he was clearly of opinion death had been produced by an extravasation of blood, owing to external injuries.  The man was brought into the General Hospital about eight o'clock on the morning of Sunday last, and although recourse was had to bleeding, he died of his wounds in the afternoon of the same day. The wounds were such as might have been occasioned from dragging---perhaps from blows---but in Dr. M.'s opinion, the former was more probable.  The deceased was speechless, and showed few signs of sensibility, in other ways, the whole time of his laying in the hospital.

   The Coroner, after summing up the evidence to the Jury, left them to form their own conclusion.  After a few moments' consultation together, the room in the mean time being cleared of strangers, the Jury brought in a verdict of accidental death,  The Inquest then broke up.

   At five o'clock the same evening, the Coroner proceeded to impannel another Jury, at the St. Patrick public-house, in Kent-street, in order that enquiry might be made into the cause of the death of a seaman named Weldon, belonging to the cutter William, laying in Cockle Bay.  It appeared that the deceased had been left in charge of the vessel for the night; but in attempting to get ashore in the cutter's boat with some property, which it was confidently believed he had stolen from the vessel, he managed to get upset, and being unable to swim, sunk and perished.  A half chest of tea was found floating near where the body was subsequently picked up, and both were brought ashore.  The Jury returned a verdict to the foregoing effect.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 11 October 1828

CORONER'S INQUEST.---A Coroner's Inquisition was taken at the Rose and Crown Tavern, in the forenoon of Wednesday last, on view of the body of Joseph Potts, an hired servant of Mr. Daniel Cooper, who came to his death under circumstances of surprise.

   James Cottington was called, and sworn, he has known the deceased for some time.  That he came to Mr. D. Cooper's farm, called the 13 mile station, on the Liverpool Road, on the afternoon of Saturday last, to deliver the weekly ration for the farm men.  He was perfectly sober.  Witness always thought deceased to be a frugal man.  Generally speaking he was considered a sober person; witness had issued from the stores, a pair of new boots last Friday morning.  When his body was found dead on the road, he had no shoes on.  He received wages from Mr. Cooper.

   John Cooper, free, deposed that he lives at the Seven mile Station on the Liverpool road.  At about 8 o'clock P.M. on Saturday, he was at home, and was at supper when he heard some voice calling out---Bill---Bill!  Witness went out of doors and saw a grey horse and the wheels of a cart, from the reflection of a light within the house; believes deceased was the man who called out in this manner.  Next morning witness heard that a corpse had been found, and he immediately remarked that he should not be surprised if it was deceased, from the description given of the horse.

   Mr. John Clegg examined, I am a licensed publican, living on the Liverpool Road.  On Saturday afternoon deceased stopped at my house to refresh.  He baited his horse at the trough before the Inn-door, and called for a gill of spirits for himself, deceased did not stay long, and quitted the house about sun down.  He was then perfectly sober. I have never seen deceased nor his cart and horse since.  Deceased paid me for the gill of spirits, out of a dump.  I did not take notice whether he had any other money about him.  I believe the horse was not fatigued.  It was a spirited beast, but the horse trotted very tractably away from the house.  A female named Cox got into the cart on going from my house.  Cox's premises are about a mile from my house.  Deceased had been with rations to a road gang about two miles from my place.  I heard of the man's death on the Monday following.

   James Cox, free, living between the 10 and 11 mile stone on the Liverpool road deposed, that about 8 o'clock on Saturday evening last, whilst on his way home from the Plough Inn, he found a man lying on the high road.  Witness's attention was called to the circumstance from hearing a man breathe, as of a person asleep.  Witness did not interfere with the man, supposing him to be a drunken man and asleep.  Witness saw a horse and cart standing close by the man.  It was a very dark night; and witness did not see the features of the man, he was lying on his back.  Did not observe the colour of his clothes, nor the colour of his horse, although he saw the horse lying on his side and the man at his back.  The horse was lying quiet, and had the whole of its harness on.  The cart was on its wheels.  Witness was not drunk.  He had not been more than half an hour in the public-house, and had only partaken of two gills of rum, which he and another man drank together.  Does not think the deceased was without a hat.  He was quite close to the man.  Witness's wife came home that evening in a cart.  He was not at home when she returned.  Has not observed any marks on the road, near where the deceased person lay, which might be occasioned from a horse plunging.  Near this spot a government gang of labourers are at work.  It is a road party.  There might have been some marks on the road, such as might have been occasioned from a horse plunging.  The man who brought his wife home in the cart had nothing to drink in witness's house.  He observed the shafts of the cart were broken.  The cart was backed against the road fence.  Cannot say positively that the man was drunk, but he thought so.  The bruise now on witness's face was occasioned by a fall when drunk.  Has not had a quarrel with any person.

   William White sworn, deposed that he resides at the 11 mile station on the Liverpool road, and works with the last witness (Cox) at his business of [blank].  He was in company with Cox at the Plough Inn on Saturday evening last; they left to go home together; on their way they came up with a man lying on his back in the road, and a horse and cart close to him.  Witness left home about 5 o'clock.  It was about 8 o'clock when he returned with Cox; thought the man on the road was intoxicated.  Cox went quite close to the man.  Witness did not see the colour of the horse, which was in the shafts he believes.  The horse was lying on his side.  The man was lying a yard or two in front of the horses head.  Witness and Cox took no notice of what they saw, but hurried home.  Afterwards heard Cox's wife tell her husband, that she came home from Clegg's in a cart.

[The appearance of this witness about the neck, being bloody, and having a cut in the right arm, induced the Jury to proceed on a close examination into the causes which the witness accounted for by saying, that they were occasioned by a fall out of a cart.  Some of the Jury were about to send a constable for Doctor Mitchell to examine the nature of the wounds, and their probable cause, when the same Constable satisfied the Jury, that the man's statement, as to the fall was correct, he having witnessed it.  The witness also substantiated the testimony of Cox, that the cut in his face was occasioned by a similar disaster.]

   Dr. Mitchell certified, that he had examined the deceased body of Joseph Potts, whose death had been occasioned from sundry bruises about the body; they might have been sustained by being dragged, or by blows.  The deceased was brought into the general Hospital on Sunday about half past nine o'clock A.M. in a state of insensibility, and died in the afternoon of the same day.  Efforts were made by bleeding to recover the man, but without effect.

   Mr. John Ireland, keeps the Plough Inn on the Parramatta Road.  On Saturday last about 10 o'clock at night, he ob served a horse come in contact with a team standing at his door.  He then made some enquiry of the persons about the house, to whom the beast belonged?  but could find no owner for it.  Witness examined the horse, and found that part of the harness was missing, the haimes were gone, and also part of the breeching appeared to have been torn away.  Is decidedly of opinion that the horse had been down.  Witness took charge of the horse, and began to make inquiry about it.  Witness got some persons who were about to leave his house, to enquire who the horse belonged to, and to refer the owner to him.  The parties he spoke to were going the Liverpool road.  On the following morning, (Sunday), about sun-rise, he was informed that a man was lying on the road in a senseless state.  Witness immediately sent for a constable, and went to the man's assistance.  He examined the place where the man was lying.  He was in sensible; near the spot lay part of the shaft of a cart, the two sides, and part of the bottom, and some shattered pieces of a cart.  Witness discovered on the road, a spot of blood, about the size of a dollar.  He carried the wounded man off the road and got him washed.  He was speechless.  Witness lost no time in sending the dying man to the general Hospital at Sydney.

   [The Coroner and Jury complimented this witness on his humanity.]

   Deceased had no money in his pocket, and was without hat and shoes.  It is the opinion of the witness that parts of the cart were picked up by the drivers of some empty cart going the road, considers the shoes and hat were stolen from deceased's person.  The Coroner observed, that had Cox and his servant acted the part of the good Samaritan, as the witness Mr. Highland had done, in all probability the deceased might have been now alive.

   The Jury after a few minutes conference, brought in the following verdict:---That the deceased came to his death by accident, occasioned by injuries he received from the overturning of his cart, and the restiveness of his horse.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 17 October 1828

A Hyde Park barrack prisoner, a few days ago, in course of a quarrel with another prisoner, received a severe kick in the groin, and died in consequence of it shortly after.

   The dead body of a strange man, whom no one could identify, was picked up in the course of Tuesday last, in the neighbourhood of Cook's River.  The body was quite stiff and cold, as if life had for some time departed, but it betrayed no marks of violence.


A Coroner's Inquest was taken on the morning of Tuesday last, agt the sign of the Currency Lass public-house in the Brickfields, on view of the body of an aged femasle, named Eleanor Cooper, who had been found in a garden on her own premises a corpse.  Some of the neighbours testified that they had observed the deceased drinking spirits rather immoderately the very day on which she died; but she had been wanting the doctor for some time previously.  This satisfied the Jury, who conceiving her death was perhaps as much owing to natural bodily infirmity, as to hard drinking, the Jury, one and all, concurred in a verdict that the woman had died by the visitation of the Almighty.  She had run her span of life.---The woman was said at the hour of her dissolution, to have seen three score years and ten.

   Another Inquest was convened on the body of a labouring man, who it appeared had, in walking along a precipice in Cockle Bay, slipped his footing, and fallen down into the subjacent hollow, where his head unhappily striking upon a sharp fragment of rock, produced a fracture, which caused his almost instant death.  Here was another case of fatality through drunkennes.  The deceased was reeling  drunk along the precipce, when he tumbled into the embrace of death.  Having ascretained so much, the Jury recorded a verdict of accidental death.

   Another Coroner's Inquest was taken at the sign of the Red Cow public house, Castlereagh-street, yesterday afternoon, between the hours of 3 and 5, on view of the body of Mary Horton, an aged woman living in the neighbourhood, who had been found hanging by the neck from the rafters of her apartment; several witneses were called, from whose evidence the Jury concluded the misguided woman had perpetrated the rash act in a fit of insanity.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 24 October 1828


A Coroner's Inquisition was taken this week at the sign of the London Tavern in George-street, on view of the body of an assigned prisoner of the crown, who had died in the general receiving watch-house.

   It appeared that the man had been sent by his master to the watch house for getting drunk.  He was put into the common receiving room along with other confines, and it was observed immediately upon getting in there, laid down.  His fellow confines suspecting him to be sleeping, did not strive to disturb the man, but on the return of the constable to call over the prisoners, it was found that he slept the  sleep of death.  The Jury, upon hearing evidence to this effect, recorded their verdict, died by the visitation of God.

   The transition from perhaps a warm room to a damp and chilly cell, in the existing condition of the deceaased, most probably produces his death.  A watch-house should by all means be well secured from attempts to break into or break out of it, and it should not be over and above remarkable for comfort.  But there is a medium to be observed in all things.  We would recommend to the Grand Jury now assembled at Quarter Sessions, a peep into and about the various watch-houses in Sydney.  Some one or two we are disposed to presume would be found very capable of improvement.


The Sydney Monitor, Monday 27 October 1828

A very sanguinary murder has lately been committed at Hunter's River.  It was upon the body of a person named Murphy.  The Jury brought in a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.  The murderer is suspected.


AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 28 October 1828


Some time ago a labouring man, known by the name of Murphy, sudedenly disappeared from the district of Hunter's River, in a part of which he had been employed and had earned some money.  Being an obscure individual, his sudden disappearance did not excite very general enquiry.  However, a few of those who knew the man, and were aware of his earnings, thought it strange why he should so suddenly quit the country, his absence not being noticed for the first few days, and suspecting some foul play, kept a wary eye about.  The affair passed over quietly for some days, till two drovers happening to be penetrating through an obscure part in quest of stray cattle, stumbled by chance upon a something like a human foot, which protruded from a mound of earth, having the appearance of being fresh and artificially raised---The men were at first disposed to pass the thing by without notice, supposing it might be the relic of some wretched aboriginal, but attention being again attracted by the sight of a boot apparently quite new, they scraped up the soil and presently laid bare a human body, the body of a European, which was subsequently identified as belonging to the individual Murphy, who had disappeared some little time before.  A Coroner's Inquest as fast as circumstances would admit of was summoned, and a verdict of murder returned against some person or persons unknown.  None of those connected with the foul deed have as yet been discovered.


A Coroner's Inquest was taken at one o'clock on Saturday forenoon, before Major Sweatman, Coroner for Sydney and its district, on view of the body of Mr. James Moss, a publican, living in Cumberland-street, who had died suddenly.  Accordingly a jury of twelve "good men and true" rfepaired to the sign of the Sailor's Return, a public house in the neighbourhood of the defunct person, being respectively named:-- Messrs. William Davis, who was elected foreman, David Duncan, John M'Mahon, Thomas Connor, William Foreman, Thomas Bolton, Thomas Scarr, William Fielder, Charles Pinkstone, James Bell, William Wyebow, and Henry Hansie.

   These twelve householders, with the Coroner, having inspected the body which lay wrapped in sheets at the deceased's residence, returned back to the house of that good old sign, the Jolly Sailor's Return, and in a closed room thereof, sat down to hear such evidence as might be forthcoming.  The first evidence adduced was

   Mr. Surgeon Connolly, who stated that he was called to attend the deceased some days antecedent to his death.  Deceased had been labouring under an acute pain located in the lower region or pit of the stomach---which deceased had himself stated, when attacked, commonly ended in a fit, which witness, for his part, doubted not partook of an apoplectic character; though the fit which terminated deceased's existence, witness felt disposed to consider rather partook of epilepsy, a change not uncommon with persons possessing so powerful a constitution as the deceased undoubtedly had.  On the morning preceding decased's death, witness, it further appeared, had visited, and taken from him twenty ounces of blood, from which, deceased said he felt considerable relief.  On the morning of deceased's death, he renewed the previous conversation, and said he did not wish to be blooded further, as he thought his life safe.  Witness regretted he did not do so, but intended, on his visit that morning, to persuade deceased to let him draw more blood.  Tuesday last was the first time witness attended deceased.  His original, and all along continued complaint was, that of a pain in the stomach.  Deceased, in a conversation which witness had with him, said he expected one of these fits would carry him off.

   Another person named ------ Byrne, sister-in-law to deceased, said, that about a quarter before five o'clock, on Friday evening, deceased appeared unusually ill---he went out of the bar into an inner apartment, and shortly after, pulling off his shoes, lay down upon a sofa, from which he again got up, and going into the bar told the witness she was wanting, at the same time adding, "the Lord have mercy on my soul." He then retreated into the same room, and again laid down.  Those were his last words; and when another person, named Margaret Hansey, with the witness, hung over his couch, he was dying.  Margaret Hansey asked the dying man what his ailment was; her well known voice called back his fleeting spirit, and opening his eyes which the filmy hand of death had partly encompassed, he shut them again, and blew his last breath.  A glass, the witness said, was held to his mouth, but it came away unstained.  He was dead---dead, indeed, they believed---though the feet and other parts of the body retained the warmth of life some minutes longer.

   Upon these facts elucidated in evidence, the Coroner briefly charged the Jury, putting it as his opinion, that there did not appear to have been any improper means used to accelerate or produce death, and the Jury unanimously testified their belief of this, by recording a verdict to the effect, that Mr. James Moss had died by the visitation of God.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 31 October 1828

The Sydney police are in active search after the suspected murderers of the unfortunate labourer named Murphy, which was perpetrated in the district of Wallis's Plains some time ago.  It is thought that one, at least, of the suspected ruffians is lurking about his old haunts in Sydney.



About noon on Tuesday evening, the Coroner for Sydney, Major Sweethman, called together a Jury of householders, at the sign of the Cooper's Arms, a public-house on the Brickfield-hill, in order to have a view of a human skeleton, considerably mutilated, that had the day previously been accidentally discovered in an obscure spot upon the Annandale estate, at a distance of about three miles from Sydney, and to derive conclusions from such evidence as might be forthcoming, to cast some light upon the matter.  Having viewed and inspected the miserable fragment of mortality, both "Crowner" and Jury, in a joint and corporate body, proceeded to the place where it was reported the skeleton had been discovered, and whence it was removed.  Two men who had made the discovery pointed out the spot.  It was pitched in a thick scrub, and marked by a heap of ashes, from out of which were raked a human skull, and some ossified fragments scorched by the fire; there were two wattle saplings, about ten feet high, and eighteen inches in circumference, laying on each side of the mound of ashes; round one, towards the top, was twisted the end of an India silk handkerchief, part of which depended from the branch; the heel of a shoe, whichwas considered to have been the shoe of a man, was also picked up; and in turning the ashes more minutely, there turned up a silver sixpence, and fivepence in coppers.  Every thing about conduced to indicate the commission of some foul deed, and the most probable conjectures were, that some ill-fated being had been hung up betwixt the saplings, and thus deprived of life; and that fire was used, either to expedite death, or after death to conceal, as far as possible, all traces of the action; the torn handkerchief discovered still adhering to the boughs of the two overturned saplings, the mound of earth, the traces of combustion all about, the discovery of a man's shoe, and the premeditated appearance of efforts being used to effect a concealment, all contribute to confirm such conjectures as these.  It could not be the act of a wretch bent upon self-destruction; the labor used to cover over and conceal from human observation the fatal spot, chased away any such idea; and it was through the merest chance in the world, two men in the employ of Mr. Johnstone, of Annandale said, they stumbled upon the spot.

   Mr. Surgeon Cook, who was called to ecxamine the skeleton, was of opinion that it had belonged to a female, and probably some young person.  This, however, is rather a matter of conjecture than any thing approaching to certainty.  The circumstance of a silver coin and a few copper pieces of trifling value, being found in the ashes, leaves room for a belief that whoever took part in the deed, had not a design solely for acquire plunder, and from the fineness of the handkerchief it is imagined that the victim was not in the most abject of circumstances.  It is even suspected the victim may have been some wretched female, the sacrifice of lust and demoniacal policy.  These, however, are but mere surmises.  Having listened to what Mr. Johnson's servants could say upon the subject (Mr. Johnson, upon the servants making their report to him of what they had seen, having immediately acquainted the Coroner therewith), the Jury unanimously agreed in recording a verdict upon the case of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.  Thus the matter rests in mystery for the present.

   Another Inquest was convened in the afternoon of Wednesday, on view of the body of a labourer in the employ of Mr. Robert Johnstone, who had been found dead on that gentleman's estate at Annandale in the morning.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased had at the usual hour gone out to his day's work.  For some time previously he had been afflicted with dysentery, under which he complained of having been labouring for some time, during the preceding night, to one of the men on the farm.  He was supposed to be engaged in repairing or putting up some fencing when about ten o'clock in the forenoon of Wednesday, Mr. Johnston having occasion to employ the man in some other way, dispatched a messenger for him, who came back reporting that he had found the unfortunate subject of his quest stretched along the ground a lifeless corpse.  The jury being satisfied of these facts, brought in a verdict---Died by the Visitation of God.

   An Inquest was taken the latter end of last week in the vicinity of the Lower Branch of the Hawkesbury, on the body of an assigned servant in that quarter, who it appeared had walked one day forty miles to a general receiving hospital to obtain medical relief; but being  denied this at the hospital, the surgeon alleging subsequently that he believed it to be merely a scheme on the part of the deceased to escape for a time from work, bent his weary steps back, but when he had got a short distance from Wiseman's, the wretched patient dropped down exhausted, and when some persons passing that way strove to pick him up, they found him dead!  The jury arrived at a conclusion that the deceased had died by the visitation of God.  We have no desire to impute intentional wrong to the party from whom the deceased might have expected relief when he applied for it---instances of attempts---some successful attempts at imposition may render those in charge of hospitals properly cautious that they are not made the dupes of idle and unprincipled knaves, but this extremity of caution ought to have certain limits, ..... continues.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 1 November 1828


A labouring man a few days ago, whilst on his return home to Wiseman's station at the Lower Branch, having been to hospital forty miles distance to obtain medical assistance, fell down in the road a lifeless corpse.  The Jury who sat on the body returned a verdict, "that the deceased died from want of medical aid, and otherwise by the visitation of God."

   A Coroner's Inquest was taken on Saturday afternoon last in Sydney, on view of the body of Mr. Joseph Moss, publican, in Cumberland-street.  The deceased it appeared, had been afflicted for the last fortnight with apoplectic fits.  On the preceding evening deceased complained of being unwell, and retired to a sofa in the parlour, whereon, drawing his feet together, he exclaimed, "Lord have mercy on my soul!" and immediately expired.  The Jury brought in a verdict; died by the visitation of God.

CORONER'S INQUEST.---An Inquisition was taken before the Coroner for Sydney, on Tuesday last, on view of the remains of a human body, the skeleton of which had been discovered on the Annandale Estate, about three miles from town.  The remains consisted of a few bones all of which were burnt to a cinder, with the exception of the skull, a quantity of ashes being mingled with the bones.  There were two wattle saplings about ten feet high, and eighteen inches in circumference lying on each side of the mound of ashes; and entwined about the arm of one of them was part of an India silk handkerchief.  There was also the heel of a man's shoe, and on turning over the ashes was found a silver sixpence and five pence in coppers.  From all appearances it was very evident that a human being, had been hung up to a limb of one of the two sapplings by the handkerchief, of which part was found, and that a large fire had been lighted up under the body to consume it.  It was also evident that this barbarous deed, had been perpetrated a long time, as in the space between the two saplings, which were burnt close to the ground, there were one or two shrubs growing, which would have required we suppose twelve months at least to have grown to the size they were.  The discovery of these remains was made by two of Mr. Johnstone's servant men.  In the absence of any circumstance to enable the Coroner and the Jury, to identify the person, the Jury returned a verdict, of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.

   Another Coroner's Inquest was holden on the afternoon of Wednesday, on the body of a labouring man in the employ of Mr. Johnstone of Annandale.  The Jury were shewn the spot where the deceased man lay.  It was on the side of a garden fence.  The deceased was employed in completing the fence, and near him lay his adze and axe; there was nothing about the person of the deceased which could lead the Jury to suppose, that the unfortunate man came by his death by some providential casualty.  The Jury, however, repaired to a neighbouring house, to hear evidence.  One witness, a servant to Mr. R. Johnstone deposed, that on Wednesday evening, he and deceased retired to bed at their usual hour.  Deceased had been labouring under sickness for some time back and had been discharged from the Hospital, but not cured of his complaint, which was inward.  On going to bed deceased complained of a cramp in his stomach.  This was the ailment he had along spoken of.  He went out to work as usual in the morning, and took his tools with him for that purpose.  About 10 o'clock the same morning (Wednesday,) witness was desired by Mr. Johnstone to call the deceased from his work; on arriving at the garden fence, instead of finding the man at work, he saw him stretched on the ground a lifeless corpse.  Dr. Bland was of opinion, that death in this instance, had been occasioned through convulsions arising from inward causes.  The hands and feet of the body were drawn up.  The body on being opened confirmed this supposition.  The Jury brought in a verdict.  Died by the visitation of God.


AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 11 November 1828



A circumstance recently occurred (it now must be nearly a fortnight past) which other matters prevented us from discussing and directing the public attention to at the time. A female domestic in the service of Mr. Blaxland's family at Newington, was found drowned at the bottom of a well situated on some part of the estate.---None of the servants could say how this happened; whether the unfortunate deceased had, of her own accord, or was, tumbled into the well accidentally or designedly.  The body when drawn forth from the well---was cold and stiff, and swollen, as if it had been in the water for many hours, and under every circumstance being deemed as proper a subject as ever became "Crowner's quest," a message was dispatched by Mr. Blaxland's family to request the attendance of the district Coroner forthwith, but the messenger brought back word that the "Crowner" could not come, because that he had departed up the country, and was then many a mile distant; so after it was kept till such time as it would "keep" no longer, the drowned corpse was laid beneath the earth, perchance with toll of bell, and other Christian usages, but without any form whatever of "Crowner's quest," contrary to antient usages, directly contrary to the spirit .... Continues, citing law and duties of a Coroner (with comments on current Coroner.).

   A woman named Miller, the wife of a constable of that name, living in the neighbourhood of the Brickfield-hill, was found in bed yesterday morning, a lifeless corpse.  It was said, that the landlord of the house had given notice to Miller and his wife to quit the room they occupied under him, upon which a dispute sprung up, which the landlord having other business to attend to, did not pay particular attention to but left the place.  Yesterday morning he was surprised not to find the deceased [?????ing], nor her husband to have come [home] to breakfast, and his curiosity being excited, the landlord called his lodger several times by name, to which the woman making no reply, the former entered the room and approaching her bedside, discovered a livid corpse.  The neck was black and bore every appearances of strangulation.  Astounded at the sight, the man retreated down stairs and made his discoveries known.  Miller has deserted his home.  He was seen yesterday forenoon on the Parramatta Road, about eight miles from Sydney.  He was, generally speaking, a very useful and creditable member of the police.  He had been married to the deceased not more than three months.


A Coroner's Inquisition was taken at the Talbot Inn public-house, in George-street, on Friday afternoon, before Major Sweethman and a jury of twelve householders, on view of the body of a female child, about six years of age, the daughter of an industrious couple named Learey, living in that neighbourhood.  Death, in this case, was rather strangely brought about.  It appears that the child was climbing up the spokes of one of the wheels of a high cart which happened to be left opposite its parents' dwelling---the pressure caused the wheel to turn, and the child slipping off, unfortunately fell under the wheel, which happening to be upon a declivity, when once set in motion, rolled over the child's body, and produced death almost instantaneously.  The jury brought in a verdict of accidental death.

   Another Inquest was taken on Monday last, at Longbottom, on the body of a Crown prisoner, attached to the Government gang of labourers there, who went off suddenly without once complaining of illness, his companions rather remarking that he eat heartily and was cheerful as usual during the previous day.  The deceased was 61 years of age, 15 years of which he had laboured in the employ of Government, and has left a son behind him of 17 years.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 14 November 1828


The Coroner convened an Inquest in the afternoon of Wednesday, on view of the body of a man named Dennis Sullivan, a laborer, living contiguous to the town.  The deceased, it appeared, had been for some days before taking the drop freely---excess in this way, being by no means unusual with him.  It would also appear that he wandered around Cockle Bay, and on reaching Newman's, that with his wits the unfortunate man lost his footing, slipped from a height thereabouts, and was precipitated into the steep beneath, where he was found dying or dead.  A verdict of accidental death was recorded.  The deceased has left behind him a wife with a young and helpless family. [See 19 November.]

   An Inquest was holden at Kissing Point on Monday last, before Mr. F. Beddek, Coroner, on the body of Mary Cluffe, who, with three other persons were drowned by the upsetting of a boat on Saturday night last.  After a patient examination of the evidence the Jury returned a verdict---That the deceased had casually met her death in the manner above mentioned.  Mr. Beddek having given instructions that the other bodies should be dragged for; in the course of two hours afterwards, the body of John Mooran was found, on which a fresh Jury was impannelled, who returned a verdict to the like effect.  A correspondent acquaints us that the body of Mooran's wife was after much later found on Wednesday morning last, but "crowner's quest" could not be had, the Coroner being absent from Parramatta.  We deem it necessary to strengthen our observations offered upon a similar subject on Tuesday. [11 Nov.]


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 19 November 1828

[See 14 November.]

Some doubts have arisen as to the propriety of the verdict returned by the Coroner's Jury, which assembled the other day at a licensed house in Cockle Bay, to determine how and by what means one Dennis Sullivan had come to his death.  The Jury, on the holding of the Inquest, brought in a verdict,---"Accidentally killed" from a supposition that the deceased, whilst in a state of intoxication, fell from the brink of a precipice, and that this fall proved fatal.  It would appear from subsequent disclosures, that the deceased was not alone when he got his fall; and whether the latter helped him to the fall, and one was drunk, or both were drunk, remain yet to be proved.


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 21 November 1828

A runaway prisoner of the crown, who gave in his name as Charles White, was brought up on Tuesday last before Mr. M'Leod, of Luskentyre, Hunter's River, on suspicion of being the perpetrator of the late murder of John Murphy, in that district; some articles which a constable named Patrick Doolar thought corresponded with others in the possession once of the deceased, having been discovered with White, for his possession of which being unable satisfactorily to account, the man was fully committed.

   The trial of Miller, the Sydney constable, who has been committed on the Coroner's warrant to gaol, charged on suspicion with being the murderer of his wife, is fixed to be brought on for trial in the Criminal Court to-day.


AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 25 November 1828

A distressing accident befel a fine little boy, about three years old, the son of Mr. Thomas Lovell of Wilberforce, a few days ago.  The child, it appears, on stooping to pick up something laying on the ground, and incautiously rising, fell back into a boiler of hot water, by which the child became scalded in the most dreadful manner imaginable, and, after excruciating torments, death delivered the unhappy little sufferer from further misery.


ASUTRALIAN, Friday 28 November 1828

   The reputed murderer of the man who was so barbarously butchered at Hunter's River a few weeks ago, has been at length apprehended.  On the constable taking him prisoner, the man denied his name.

   The trial of Miller, the Sydney constable, is to be brought on in the Criminal Court to-day.  A plea of temporary insanity has been put in by the prisoner on the side of the defence.


AUSTRALIAN, 02/12/1828



On Sunday last, an investigation was taken before Major Smeethman, Coroner of the Sydney district, on view of the body of Mr. Joseph Lowe.  The Inquest was convened at the sign of the Bricklayer's Arms, in Market Street, where, by ten o'clock in the forenoon, were assembled the Coroner and a Jury, composed of the following persons, viz:---

Messrs. Edward Sandwell, Foreman; Edward Franks, John Beeson, John Brown, Henry Green, Richard Brownlow, Arthur Hill, Edward Haydrop, Thomas Collicott, Nathaniel Whiteside, William Hodges, and William Pygram; who, having taken their oaths respectively, after the customary form, proceeded from the Bricklayer's Arms to the dwelling of the deceased, which was at no great distance off, being a cottage at one end of the same street, fronting Elizabeth Street.  On entering, and passing through the house, the Jury discovered the body of the deceased, laying on the ground, within a foot or two of an out-office in the yard, the feet being directed towatds the door.  Dr. Bland examined the body, and expressed it as his decided opinion that death had occasioned through a fit of apoplexy.  There was but one witness who deposed to the fact of the deceased having suddenly dropped down, whilst proceeding into the back-yard during the morning.  There were no marks of violence on the body; and the Jury being satisfied, in other respects, from a knowledge of the deceased's habits and person, that his death had been produced by means quite natural, unanimously concurred in certifying to a Verdict---"Died by the Visitation of God."

   Deceased was well known in Sydney.  It is now scarcely more than six months since he retired from the Bricklayer's Arms public-house, having accumulated sufficient means to erect a few cottages about town, and let the Bricklayer's Arms to Mr. Joseph Jenkins, the present landlord.  [continues]


A preliminary investigation took place at the Police Office yesterday, into circumstances connected with the murder of a settler's servant, perpetrated a short time ago at Hunter's River---a

"-----Murder most horrible,

As in the very best it is,

But this most foul, strange, and unnatural."

Two persons were had up in custody before the Bench, on suspicion of being implicated in, or cognizant of, the sanguinary deed.  One was apprehended by Taylor, a Windsor constable.  The man proved to be a run-a-way from Williams's road gang, on the Mountain Road, and continues to be kept in strict custody; the other it is probable will be discharged.  The affair continues still under investigation.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 6 December 1828

CORONER'S INQUEST.---A Coroner's Inquest was taken before Major Smeethman, Coroner for the Sydney district, in the forenoon of Sunday last, on view of the body of Mr. Joseph Lowe, residing in Elizabeth Street, who came prematurely to his death.  There was but one witness examined, and from his story, the Jury were enabled to come to a satisfactory conclusion.  It appeared that the deceased on Saturday evening, retired as usual to rest, in full health and vigour.  It seems, indeed, that he was in better spirits on retiring to bed, on this particular evening, than he had been for many evenings before.  About half past five o'clock on Sunday morning, he arose from his bed, and went into the back-yard.  The first intimation of his absence, was given by a domestic on the premises, who found him lying on the grass flat, a lifeless corpse.  Dr. Bland did not hesitate to say, that death had been caused by a fit of apoplexy; and the Jury who were summoned on the Inquest, returned a verdict accordingly.  The verdict recorded by the Coroner was, "Died by the Visitation of God."


AUSTRALIAN, Friday 12 December 1828

A Frenchman, bearing the name Arthur Baringo, who for many years practised as a wood cutter here, was made the subject of a Coroner's Inquest, convened at the Saracen's Head, his thread of life having become suddenly cut.  The Coroner and the Jury returned a simultaneous verdict, "Died by the visitation of God."


AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 16 December 1828

A Coroner's Inquest was taken yesterday on the body of a strange man, apparently a marine[r], which Captain Robison, of the New South Wales Veterans, on walking  round the Government demesne an evening or two ago, accidentally perceived in the water.  Capt. R. lost no time in using exertions to draw out the body, which that gentleman, after some difficulty to secure assistance, had accomplished, was found bruised and black in several places, with throat cut across, leaving no doubt of murder having been committed.


[Reviews previous remarks, with editorial comment, then conntinues...] ---this necessary and useful office has lain, and now lays to all intents and purposes, dormant.

   Not till yesterday were we made conscious of this fact.  It was brought to mind by the following circumstance, which we give as we have received it;---

   On Wednesday last, the officiating Chaplain, at Parramatta, was called upon to perform the rites of the Church upon the corpse of an unfortunate sister enclosed in  a rude shell, meant to serve by way of coffin, and who, the bearers said, had been alive and well the day before, but was now dead.  She was a woman who had cohabited with a small settler, a man named Bennett, at the Field of Mars, and was a mother of five children, two or three of the females being married, and living in Parramatta, and having children of their own.  Bennett had been  twice tried for the murder of two of his former wives, or women with whom he cohabited, and was twice acquitted.  Aware of this, and mistrusting the manner of the woman's death, the Clergyman, very properly, refused to perform the rites of christian burial, till the corpse had undergone "Crowner's Quest;" but how was this to be, when there is no Coroner for all Parramatta.  The Superintendent of police dispatched constables for Bennett, who, it is said, was so drowned" in grief, or rather in love with the bottle, that, owing to intoxication, he could not find leisure to attend the poor woman's funeral.  Some, who say they saw the body, report it was black and swollen---perhaps death may have been produced by hard drinking, for nearly every one in the house had been, over night, more or less intoxicated.  The clergyman refused to pronounce the burial rights for some time.  At last, the frail corpse, after much humming and ha-ing, and enquiring, and conjecture, was committed to its narrow tenement of clay---without Crowner's Quest! though there is every reason to suspect in this death, murder---gaunt murder had a hand!

   This is another instance of sudden death---probably, violent death, and no inquest; contrary to antient usage and settled expediency.  In the former instance, the fault lay with the Coroner; who does the fault lie with now?

   We mention thus much, expecting it to have its due influence, and with an expectation that the task of recording instances like the above, may not again, in a hurry, fall to our lot.


AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 23 December 1828

Yesterday a report reached us of a soldier at Windsor being under examination before a Coroner's Inquest, on a charge of, by some unlawful means, effecting the death of his wife.



During the whole of this day the Court was considerably crowded, and after nightfall to its breaking up, which did not take place till ten o'clock, was crowded to excess.

   Mr. Justice Dowling having taken his seat at the usual hour in the forenoon, and the Court being formally opened, Thomas Ryan was ordered to the bar of the prisoners' dock, to plead to the indictment charging him with wilfully murdering James M'Grath, at North Richmond, on the 10th of July last, to which the prisoner pleading not guilty, the trial was proceeded upon.  From the evidence it would appear that prisoner and deceased had been fellow servants to Mr. Richard Sculthorp, a settler in the neighbourhood of Richmond, deceased being employed as a stockman on a station about sixteen miles from Sculthorp's, to whose place of residence, on the day laid in the information, deceased came upon business and took dinner there.  The prisoner at this time stopping in a skilling adjoining the master's house, to which during the above evening deceased paid a visit in company with a man named Langan, when there occurred some conversation, as Langan deposed, between deceased and prisoner.  Mutual enquiries passed as to how each one was getting on.  When prisoner complained of his situation, deceased said he would let him know where to get a fine fat pig, would he the prisoner, but try for it, and that there was only an old woman to offer no resistance.  It was arranged that both should go that night to secure the pig, and immediately after the prisoner called his master's son, a boy nine years of age or thereabouts, desiring the boy to go to his father's powder flask then in the cupboard and get him a little powder.  When the boy was going, prisoner called him back, saying there was no occasion to trouble himself, for that he knew where there was some powder deposited in a water hole in one of the paddocks about 150 rods from the house and would get at that, which would quite answer his purpose.  Between twelve and one o'clock the same night prisoner and deceased, as Langley thought, left the hut in order to thieve the promised pig.  An hour and a half afterwards, the prisoner returned alone; he seemed very much flurried, having his boots in his hand.  Langley asked  him if he had got the pig; he said no, for the place was too far off, that M'Grath had not time to go with him and he could not find it out by himself.  Langley then asked him where he had left M'Grath; prisoner said he left him about half a mile from the house on the road, and that he had gone back to his station. He added that on his return, after parting with deceased, he fell in with the chief constable's son who chased him, and that he had great difficulty in making his escape, to facilitate which he had taken off his boots.  A day or two afterwards, deceased was wanting and continued so till about three weeks after, when Sculthorp's little boy happening to be near the water hole at the end of the garden, the spot where the prisoner had talked of having his powder "planted," discovered a man's boot pointing out of the water, which, immediately recognizing, the boy ran and told his mother of it.  Means were then taken to drag the boot out of the water, from which the body of the deceased followed.  Whilst this was doing, the prisoner was not present; but Langley was, and on seeing the body instantly recollected the conversation above described, and declared he was confident the prisoner had committed the murder.  He also said he would no longer conceal the murder.  On the following day Langley made a statement.  The prisoner also made a statement---the one statement contradicting the other.  Prisoner said the day deceased left the house to go up to the station, he had occasion to go to the water hole for a drink, and saw Langley there--also traces of blood on the mpould---when Langley confessed to him he had committed the murder with a hoe.  Both were then committed upon the Coroner's warrant to gaol.  A subsequent examination took place before the Magistrates, when Langley was admitted as an evidence.

   The prisoner in defence denied the charge, and called his master and mistress to speak as to their knowledge of his character.

   Mr. Justice Dowling having put the case upon the evidence adduced to the Jury, commenting upon the various bearings of that evidence, in a succinct and able manner, left it to the Jury to shew by their verdict a just determination as to the prisoner's guilt or innocence.

   The Jury retired into their adjoining apartment, and after a slight bustle among the crowded auditory, there ensued a deep and solemn silence.  The prisoner remained standing in the dock.  To him it was a sad and awful interval of faint hope and gloominess.  The whispering buzz of interchanged opinions, as to the nature of the verdict and the awful fate sure to follow upon conviction, which swept throuugh the Court, was the almost sole interruption to that deep, interminable silence which left the mind at full play for reflection.  At length the door of the retiring-room was tnrown open, and the Gentlemen of the Jury re-entered their box.  The word which was to set all doubts at rest---the fatal word guilty---was pronounced by the Foreman; and the learned Judge prepared to pass that sentence which the law awards---that "whosoever (criminally) sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."

   On the following Monday morning, at the usual place of execution in the yard of the common gaol, was the prisoner to ber hanged by the neck till dead---dead!  Judgment closed with the usual ejaculation---"May the Lord have mercy on your soul;" to which a few voices from amongst the crowd reverberated Amen! amen!

[continues.] and from page 3 column d:---

The prisoner named Thomas Ryan, convicted in the Criminal Court on Friday last of wilful murder, whose trial will be found in another column, has been respited during further pleasure. Circumstances have transpired that may render this merciful delay additionally subservient to the ends of public justice.



An Inquisition was taken before the Coroner for the diustrict of Sydney, on Saturday evening last, on the body of a man named Robert Jones.  The deceased was a carpenter, a man of good character, and was employed by Mr. Robert Cooper, at the Brisbane Distillery.  Towards the evening of Saturday, after the fatigues of the day, the man going to have a bathe in Mr. Cooper's dam, slipped into a hole, whence he was brought out without any signs of life.  A physician was promptly sent for, who on arrival found life was extinct.  The Jury returned a verdict, Accidentally drowned.

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