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Colonial Cases


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 2 January 1829


A few moments previous to the execution on Monday morning, the unfortunate culprit Ryan passed some observations upon the governor of the gaol, Mr. Steel, imputing to him neglect of duty, and soforth, in not using proper exertions to have some necessary witnesses subpoenaed on his trial. On proper authority we are disposed to believe confidently that the culprit's accusation was misdirected, and that Captain Steel did not thwart the man's wishes, in the way imputed to him.  ... Before the culprit was "turned off" on Monday, just as he was lingering on the brink of eternity, and Jack Ketch had peformed nearly all but his finishing function, the culprit dropped a written declaration expressive of his innocence, which has been handed to us, and which is copied as under, word for word, from the original.

"I, Thomas Ryan, declare before the Lord, this day, that I never had any hand, act, or part, or knowledge of the murder of James M'Ragh, which I am to die for.  I own to God and the public, that from what Thomas Finn, from Windsor, swore against me, was all false.  As for you, John Langly, that swore my life away, I forgive you this day, before God, and the public.

No more from Thomas Ryan,

Lord have mercy on me."


A distressing occurrence happened a few days ago, at Pennant Hills, to the youngest son of Mr. Mobbs, a settler in that neighbourhood, who it appeared had, with another person, gone bathing in the heat of the day.  Both, on coming out of the water, laid down under a tree, and went to sleep.  On waking about an hour and a half after, both felt exceedingly ill, and young Mobbs was shortly unable to walk.  He was carried home, and died on the follooiwing day.  The man who was in company with him was conveyed to Parramatta hospital in a dangerous state.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 3 January 1829


---A soldier belonging to the Royal Veteran Corps, stationed at Windsor, one day last week, in a quarrel with his wife gave her a violent kick in the abdomen and thereby caused her death; a Coroner's Inquest was convened on the occasion, and the Jury brought in a verdict of manslaughter against the husband; his name is Hughes; he is in custody to await his trial.

---A Coroner's Inquest was held in Sydney a few days ago, on the deceased body of a man named James Riley, a butcher, living on the Brickfield Hill, who it appears came to his death through drinking ardent spirits.

---On Christmas Day, a young man named Joseph Bayliss, a settler at the Hawkesbury, whilst on his way home on horseback was seized with cramp in his stomach, and and shortly after expired; the deceased has left a wife and two orphans to bewail his loss.

---On Monday last, the youngest son of Mr. Mobbs of Pennant Hills, going in to the Parramatta river to bathe in the middle of the day, on coming out, laid himself down under a tree to sleep.  About an hour after he awoke, when he found himself to be so exceedingly ill, as to be incapable of walking.  The young man was carried home, where he expired the next day.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 6 January 1829

The inhabitants of Parramatta are making loud complaints of the want of a Coroner for that district, several deaths having lately occurred under circumstances to warrant the holding of an inquest.  A successor to Mr. Beddeck, who lately filled the office of Coroner for Parramatta, ought to be speedily named.


A Coroner's Inquisition was taken on Thursday afternoon, at the sign of the Compass Public-house, in George-street, on view of the body of a man named Cornelius Mahon, a prisoner of the crown, confined on board the Phoenix Hulk, under sentence of transportation for three years to Moreton Bay.  It appears that the man, whilst conversing with a fellow prisoner on the deck of the vessel, suddenly fell down and expired.  The Jurty returned a verdict---died by the visitation of God.


A distressing and fatal accident befel two persons on Friday last, one  a laboring man named Barnet Toole, and his son in law, who, with the wife of the latter, took boat for pleasure on Thursday last for the Heads.  After fishing for the better part of the day, the party had brought up for the night on South Head Beach, and as the wind had fallen next morning put off again, but not mastering the boat judiciously, by a shift of wind or position, the mail sail jibed and the boat upset and floated keel uppermost.  To the keel the three persons held on, till the old man becoming weakened dropt off, and his son in law striving to save him let go and both sunk together and never appeared more.  This took place within the view of the young woman who still held on and was finally by drifting of the boat carfried alive on shore, but so benumbed and exhausted as to leave her in a very dejected state.  Toole has left a wife and children to deplore his fate.  He was a very industrious honest man, and pretty generally known in Sydney.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 9 January 1829


A Coroner's Inquest was convened yesterday forenoon, Before Major Smeethman, Coroner for Sydney, on view of the body of a man named Daniel Ford, a cordwainer, whose residence had been in Frazer's buildings, on the Rocks, and who suddenly departed this life, let us hope for a better.  Verdict---Died by the Visitation of God.

THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 13 January 1829

In a squall on Thursday last, a boat upset by which two boys belonging to a vessel in the harbour, out of half a dozen persons or so on the whole, who were in the boat, [sunk??] to an untimely grave.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 16 January 1829


A Coroner's Inquest was holden at Liverpool on Saturday last, on view of the body of a labouring man attached to the service of Mr. Hassal, in that quarter.  It appears that Mr. H. gave his men a Christmas banquet, and in the height of the merriment, one  out of sheer frolic struck, with the full force and weight of his masculine power, the head of the deceased, who survived but a few hours.  The Coroner and Jurors' verdict, assembled on the occaasion, was---that of manslaughter, in consequence of which, the labourer to whom this act was ascribed, was held committed for trial at the Criminal Court, to answer the charge.

   On Wednesday evening as a boat, containing two persons, was sailing down Cockle Bay, owing to some mismanagement of the person steering, the sail jibed in the wind, and before the boat could be righted, went over.  One man named Liston met a watery grave; the other being an expert swimmer, got safe on shore.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 20 January 1829


A Coroner's Inquest was taken on Thursday last at the Sessions-house at Parramatta, on view of the bodies of two men, laborers, who came to their deaths under the following circumstances.---The men had been employed to sink a well, sixty feet deep.  One man was lowered down to clear the bottom, when, from the noxious state of the air, he presently became a corpse.  A second man descended, and the like fatal consequence attended him.  A lighted candle was then lowered down, but such was the impurity of the atmospheric air, that it was extinguished ere the flame had arrived half-way.  A dog was also dropped down for some minutes, and it being brought up alive, a third man was induced to descend, when, after being lowered a few yards, he gave the signal to be hauled up.  He was then so exhausted, that it was considered necessary to send him to the General Hospital for medcial relief. [See Editorial, Friday, 27 February 1829.]

   An Inquest was held yesterday week (Monday) at Parramatta, on the body of Eleanor Cloners, an aged woman, who was found dead early the previous morning.  The inquest could scarcely be called a "Coroner's" Inquest. For no successor being as yet appointed to Mr. Beddek, who has retired for some weeks, the investigation took place before A. C. Innes, Esq. Superintendent of Police.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased, since the premature death of her husband, addicted herself to the constan t use of ardent spirits, and on the evening preceding her death was in a state of insensibility.  The Jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict accordingly.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 23 January 1829

A Coroner is at length appointed for Parramatta, in the room of Mr. Beddek, resigjned.  Doctor Dulhunty, it appears, has accepted of the office.  The experience and local knowledge of this gentleman qualify him no doubt for a satisfactory discharge of his new duties.

   A very old and respectsble settler living in Argyleshire, of the name of Lloyd, a few days ago unfortunately receiuved a kick from a horse, in the neck, in  consequence of which he almost immediately died.  Mr. Lloyd had been an inhabitant of the Colony for forty years.  His remains were conveyed to Campbell Town for interment.


The Sydney Monitor, Monday 2 February 1829


On Friday, in the afternoon, an Inquest, composed of respectable householders, was held on the remains of this unfortunate Gentleman.  By the evidence of the witnesses examined, it appeared, that Mr. Howe bought a boat on Thursday morning, and in the afternoon about 5 o'clock, taking his infant child and his groom along with him, (the latter carrying a basket containing refreshment,) he went on board, and rowed as far as Pinchgut island, and there made the boat fast to the shore, while they fished.  Some time elapsed in fishing, when the sails, underwent at the hands of the groom, some handling or alteration.  Mr. Howe rose suddenly to take his child from one situation to the boat, to fix it in another, when the breeze, which had suddenly sprung up, operated so much on the sails, that aided by Mr. Howes new perpendicular position, the little vessel went over, and every thing fell into the water.  It is supposed, the fishing lines and basket fell near to Mr. Howe.  All instantly went down, and the groom says, were down a good while.  When the latter came to the surface, he saw Mr. Howe seize the child, and hold it above his head with both hands.  The groom also seized the child, and both then swam to the nearest ship, distant about 250 yards although Pinchgut Island was not more than 150.  Mr. Howe became exhausted, he said, "we shall all be drowned, and I shall leave my poor wife a widow; save the child if you can!" and immediately sank.  In a minute a boat from the nearest ship approached, and took in the child.  The Captain saw Mr. Howe about a yard below the water, sinking slowly.  One of the party touched him with the oar; and had it been a boat-hook, the unfortunate gentleman would have been saved.  None on the boat had the courgae to jump over and dive for Mr. Howe, which we consider a little singular among sailors.  The groom, who had sunk at the same moment with Mr. Howe, came up the second time, and looking around, saw the boat; but preferred swimming to the Island which he reached in safety.  Mr. Howe was found the next day near Pinchgut Island.  His whole body, but particularly his wrists, were bound round and round with fishing lines, in a manner which exciting astonishment.  And most marvellous to relate, the basket was found suspended to his neck!  It is conjectured, that the unhappy gentleman in going down the second time, fell in with the lines and the basket; that he caught at the lines, and supposing them to be thrown to his assistance, wound them about him to make them tight, hoping to feel a friendly hand at the tight end; and that afterwards he grasped the basket; and thus, in his dying efforts the basket handle slipped over his head.

   The remains of the unfortunate gentleman is to be consigned to the tomb this afternoon.

   A youth named Morris, on Sunday last, about noon, went into the river on a pleasure excursion, in the company of a lad about his own age, and dropping out of the boat which he was in, to bathe, after a few strokes, sank, and was not seen afterwards.  It is supposed that the intense heat of the sun at the juncture, pressing on his brain, caused insensibility.  The lad was reckoned a good swimmer.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 3 February 1829



On Friday afternoon an inquest was convened, by virtue of the Coroner's precept, on the body of Mr. R. Howe, at THE AUSTRALIAN Hotel in George-street.  The Jury having been sworn, an intimation was made to the Reporters in attendance that they should withdraw.  Our reported having been thus denied admittance into the Coroner's Court, we are precluded from detailing the evidence.  The following, however, we believe to be the circumstances that led to an event, very generally deplored.  Towards sun set on the evening of Thursday last, Mr. Robert Howe, accompanied by a groom in his service, of the name of Williams, set out in his pleasure boat on an acquatic excursion down the river, taking with him his child of three years of age.  Having sailed as far as Pinchgut he proposed returning; when the accident which led to his death occurred.  The particulars are described by the surviving person, Williams, in the following manner---

"The boat was sailing within a hundred yards from the North East point of Pinchgut Island---I was employed in fishing---Mr. Howe, a few moments before, fastened taught the main sheet to one of the thowel pins, and was in the act of removing the child, in order to obtain some refreshment; at this instant a sudden squall came on---the boat was without ballast---the sail was heavy---and the main sheet could not be loosened in a moment.  In the effort to disentagle the rope, and the awkward manner of getting at it in a small craft, when one side of the boat was nearly level with the water, she in a moment upset and went down keel uppermost.  Mr. Howe exerted himself to recover the child, I assisted him, and finding his arms were entangled with the fishing line, which he had twined about his wrist, I endeavoured to take the child from him, he persisted in retaining it, and made towards a ship lying in the stream for succour.  Having been upwards of ten minutes in the water, I was compelled to abandon my master and make the best of my passage to the island; but before I gained the shore, a boat from the Magnet (the captain having witnessed the disaster) came off, but unfortunately too late to save the deceased, for one of the boat's crfew actually struck with his oar the deceased's body as he went down the second time; he did not rise again.  Had the boatsman been provided with a grappling iron there can be no doubt but that the body would have been secured.  The struggle between the deceased and myself to get hold of the child occasioned the entangling of his fishing line, which being wet soon became knotted.  The child wad presently relieved from its perilous situation."

News of the sad accident was quickly brought into town.  It was then nine o'clock.  Mr. Cadman, the master of the Govetrnment boats, was applied to on the pressing occasion, who immediately gave the use of the boats belonging to his establishment, as also of some of the men under his charge to drag for the body. Besides this party there were private boats went out, principally those of Government officers.  Mr. M'Leay's boat was manned by Mr. Howe's own servants.  They dragged for many hours before the inanimate corpse was found.  His body, though a long time in the water, was not at all disfigured. [Funeral Report and other matters follow.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 6 February 1829

MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE.---A very old Colonist, a French Gentleman, highly allied, generally understood to be a branch of the Royal family of Bourbon, has lately been missing in Argyle, and it is supposed he now lies a corpse in some dreadful yawning gullies which lead to Shoal Haven. [Conitnues.]

   A fisherman, denominated "Billy the Tailor," about a week ago, caught a shark in the harbour.  On cutting it open, there was found in the entrrails the foot of a man, covered with part of a stocking and part of a boot.  The boot on being held up with the open part downwards, the foot fell out into the boat.  The man conceived, that if he brought those shocking objects home with him, his cargo of fish would be rejected.  Hence he was induced to throw them over-board.  As a reward has been offered for infiormation respecting Captain Sibald, late of the Sydney Packet, it is conjectured the objects above mentioned may possibly be part of the remains of that unfortunate gentleman.---(Monitor.)


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 13 February 1829

The man Thomas Brown [Bevan], an absentee for a few days from the Parramatta prisoners' barracks, and whom we lately described as having been shot at by two constables, is now dying in Parramatta.  The constables state the man strove to effect his escape from them, and therefore they fired upon him.  This story of attempt at escape may be true, or it may be false; the evidence of the sufferer in the case is but one against two.  ... At all events, the whole affair carrieds suspicion on the face \of it, and considering it so, we feel pledges not to let our pen rest un til the affair be sifted to the bottom.


An Inquisition was held at the sign of the Duke of Wellington public-house, in Cumberland-street, on Tuesday, upon view of the body of William Williams.  The deceased was a licensed waterman.  The profits arising from his business were sufficient to supply him with an inordinate quantity of ardent spirits.  This was his ruin; for, while in a state of intoxication, and walking along the street, he suddenly became ill, fell to the ground, and presently life was exticnt.  The Jury having taken a view of the body, and being satisfied that no violence had been committed, came to the unanimous conclusion, that the deceased had died  by the visitation of God.

   An Inquest was held on Monday last before John Dulhunty, Esqure, at the Court-house of Parramatta, on the body of a man named Thomas Lynch, a prisoner attached to the barracks.  It appeared by the evidence of sev eral witnesses. That the deceased, after partaking of his dinner, rose from the table, and was proceeding to leave the mess-room, when he suddenly dropped down, and expired without a struggle.  The Jury, without any hesitation, returned a verdict, died by the visitation of God.

   We are creditably informed that there is no truth whatever in the report that any part of the remains of the late Captain Sibbald have been found in the harbour.


The Sydney Monitor, Monday 16 February 1829


---On Tuesday last, a man named Bennett employed in felling timber at the Five islands, lost his life by the bite of a snake.

---Another accident occurred on Sunday evening last, by two persons imprudently venturing on the water, who were un-skilled in the management of the boat; one sank and perished; the other being an expert swimmer, made to the shore and reached it in safety.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 17 February 1829


An Inquest was held on Thursday at Parramatta, before John Dulhunty, Esq. on the body of Thomas Bevan, who had died in the hospital, of a wound received on the Western-road, on Sundey the 25th January.  After a minute investigation, the Jury retired, and were closeted until eight o'clock, when the Foreman stated it was impossible for the Jury to agree in their verdict; the gentlemen were discharged, and the following morning a fresh jury was summoned, before whom an examination was entered into, who also retired for some time, when the Foreman informed the Coroner he was confident the Jury would not return a unanimous verdict, upon which the Coroner wrote to his Majesty's Attorney General, to know how he was to act; the Jury remaining locked up until an answer arrived, when it was asked, "If all the Jury were agreed that the deceased man had been shot by some person."---The Jury agreed as to seven---that the deceased man came by his death by justifiable homicide; and the other five, that constable Walsh was highly culpable for being too precipiate in shooting the man Bevan, in discharge of his duty---a verdict of homicide.

   Another Inquest was held on Saturday morning at the same place, on the body of a man named Patrick M'Mahon, attached to No. 14 road gang, who died in the hospital the previous night.  It appeared the prisoner was at work on Friday, when a tree fell on him.  The Jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

   Another accident to persons setting out on pleasure excursions on the water, happened on Friday.  The party, consisting of two, were making for the Heads, when a squall coming on, and the people not knowing how to manage the canvas or the rudder, the boat went over.  Melancholy to relate, one  man was drowned; the other managed to reach the shore in safety.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 20 February 1829


Parramatta, Friday, 13th feb. 1829

To the Editor of THE AUSTRALIAN.

SIR,---Finding your independent columns are ever open for public redress, and your having stated in your valuable jo9urnal of the 13th inst. that your pen would never rest until the Coroner's Inquest of that day, held at Parramatta, on the body of one Thomas Bevan, was finally settled,---

   Now, Sir, I beg to submit a few facts for your information, and for the benefit of his Majesty's Attorney General, as I consider when a life is taken, in my opinion cowardly and wilfully, it is the duty of the Authorities to take cognizance, and minutely investigate into the same.

   On Thursday the twelfth I was warned to attend an Inquest, to meet at the Court-house of Parramatta, at one o'clock, to sit on the body of one Thomas Bevan, then laying dead.  I attended, and was duly and truly sworn to enquire how the said Thomas Bevan came by his death, and give my verdict accordingly.  After examining a number of witnesses in a most minute manner, the Coroner, J. Dulhunty, Esquire, summed up the evidence in language, which appeared to me in favor of the constable, who has been the instrument by whom the unfortunate Bevan came by his death; at the conclusion of which, he gave it as his opinion that the said constable shot the deceased in the execution of his duty.  We were after this informed we could retire to another room, and consult upon the evidence given.  When we had been closeted eight hours, the Coroner requested, through the Foreman, the opinion of the gentelmen of the Jury, and to know if they would soon arrive at a verdict, when the Foreman replied, the Jury would never become unanimous, if they were, or would be locked up for a month---as eight of the Jury were perfectly satisfied as to the circumstances of the case, and could not return any other verdict than unjustifiable homicide, and four were of opinion that constable Welsh shot the deceased in the execution of his duty.  The Coroner then desired that the gentlemen of the Jury should resume their seats in the room they were impannelled in, as he, the said Coroner, had only to state that he should dismiss them, and warn a different Jury next morning, which was accordingly done.

   Now, Mr. Editor, ere I conclude, I will briefly state the proceedings of the party who left Parramatta to take the deceased upon information received.

   There are two Parramatta constables who receive information that there is a man, the name of Bevan, a prisoner illegally at large, in the house of John Dean, jun. on the Western-road, about two miles from Parramatta.  The said constables proceed onwards to Dean's, well armed.  On their way there they call at the govetment dairy, and request the keeper of the dairy, one Daly, a private soldier, to accompany them.  As they were only going a short distance, not accustomed to such visits and requests, Daly arms himself with two pistols.  Previous to their approaching Dean's house, it was agreed that constable Welsh should go to the back of the house, and Daly and the other constable, M'Manus, should keep the front.  As Welsh came up to the house, the deceased was crossing the back yard, making towards the Western-road, and just as Daly was stationed under the verandah, looking out after the person of their search.  The deceased Bevan past, within the space of twenty yards, when he, Daly, heard a shout, and using his own words, (in an instant a shot was fired---and stating further, that when he arrived at the spot where the deceased was, that he remarked to Welsh, I am sorry you have shot him, as I could have taken him.) Under such evidence as this, who would justify a life being taken, and no verdict given.

   Now, Sir, with all these doubts on my mind relative to the death of the unfortunate Bevan, I conclude, trusting that a further enquiry will be made by his Majesty's Attorney General, and that he will cause justice to be meeted out, agreeable to the laws of England, for the satisfaction of the public in general.

   I am, Mr. Editor, your obedient servant,

                                                        A JUROR.

[Concludes with a list of questions.]

Editorial comment: For the present we abstain from comment on the letter of "A JUROR," which appears in another column, the statements therein made, if taken singly, being of themselves tolerably strong and conclusive.

Some days ago, we understand, a boat upset on her way from Newcastle to Port Stephens, with several soldiers and spirit rations for the military detachment stationed at the latter port, to watch the concerns there of the private million of acre bubble company, through means of which one person, we are informed, unhappily perished, the remaining persons, by dint of hard swimming and struggling, and not a little luck, contriving to scramble ashore. [Editorial comment follows.] 

In another column will be found the verdict of a Coroner's Inquest, convened on the body of a native black, barbarously murdered on Monday night last.  The perpetrators (belonging to a tribe from Port Macquarie) have been taken by the Police.  The predominant motive to this outrage originated in the murder some time ago of a Port Macquarie native, by a tribe from the Five Islands, to which the deceased belonged, although he had no part in or knowledge of the deed.  The crude religious notions of the Aborigines in this Colony inculcate the necssity of taking away the life of their fellow creatures, no matter (as in the present instance) how innocent the victims of their barbarous and superstitious creed may be, of the deeds for which they take vengeance.  Happily, in this case, the perpetrators are sufficiently refined to know, that "he who sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."  One of them in particular has been long remarkable in Sydney for his generally peaceable demeanour, and an apparent knowledge of the rules of civilization.



A Coroner's Court of Enquiry was assembled at noon on Tuesday, to examine into circumstances connected with the death of an aboriginal native, commonly known by the name of "Borondire," otherwise "Dirty Dick."  Major Smeatman, the Coroner, with a Jury of twelve respectable householders, proceeded to take a view of the dead body; and having satisfied themselves, from external appearances, that death was occasioned by violence, returned to Cummings's Hotel, where the inquisition was convened, to hear such evidence as might tend to bring to justice the parties implicated in this foul deed.  The Coroner's constable presented for his, and the Jury's attention, the following evidence:---

A man named Walpole deposed, that on Tuesday evening last he witrnessed an encounter between some black natives on the walk leading to Macquarie Fort, on the Domain side.  He accordingly proceeded to the place to render assistance.  On approaching, three native black men, whom he indistinctly saw, beating the deceased, ran off.  On coming up, he found the victim of their rashness lying on the ground, apparently lifeless.---Whilst looking at the body, the first officer of the Mary Hope came up, and observing the spectacle, hailed his ship, which lay conveniently by, and obtained some  hands on shore, one of whom was immediately despatched to Fitzpatrick, the Coroner's officer, to apprise him of the matter.  The latter lost no time in placing a constable in charge of the deceased body, until the Inquest should be convened.

  Mr. William Atkinson deposed, that he was on board the Mary Hope, which lay within a cable's length of the shore, from whence he heard the cries of a person, as if in distress, but they were too faint to enable him to distinguish the voice.  Five minutes had only elapsed from the time of hearing the outcry, when he came ashore, and saw the deceased a lifeless corpse.  He never lost sight of the body until such time as a police constable relieved  him from this task of duty, by watching over the remains.

  Proctor, a constable, deposed, that in obedience to the orders he received, he went in search of the native black called Barratt, whom report stated as implicated in the matter of the deceased's death.  In the prosecution of his search after the fellow, he lighted upon him at the King's Wharf, just as he was in the act of making off in a Five Island boat.  On being made prisoner, he confessed his guilt, and readily surrendered the names of such of his confederates as were present at its commission.

  Dr. Bland having viewed the body,  said that the blows the deceased man had received, was sufficient to have occasioned death.

  The Jury brought in a verdict of wilful murder against three of the blacks.

See R. v. Ballard or Barrett [1829] NSWSupC 26; sub nom. R. v. Dirty Dick (1828) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 2


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 24 February 1829


A Coroner's Inquest was convened on Saturday evening last, on the body of a man named Patrick Quick, a person living in the employ of Mr. Payne, of the Wellington Brewery, in George-street.  The deceased, it appeared, died from apoplexy.  His habits of late had been intemperate.  The Jury viewed the body, and being satisfied as to the facts of the case, agreed in bringing in a verdict, that the deceased came to his death by the visitation of God.

  An aboriginal black was called within the bar on Saturday, to hear what the Bench meant to do for him.  The fellow was said to have been one of the tribe engaged one day last week in the murder of poor old Borrondire, otherwise Dirty Dick, and he had been kept in custody from the holding of the Coroner's Inquest, till then.  When he had been grinning inside the bar for a minute or so, the Magistrate told the suspected native, that fortunately for him the Coroner had not found sufficient evidence to warrant a commitment in his case, and advising him to be better behaved in future, bade him begone.  The black fellow seemed as though he scarce knew what to make of it, and stood stock still with a curious fixity of countenance, in his first position, for another minute, till one of the attending constables chucked the fellow out of the Court to his disconsolate gin, who, with others of the tribe, was sucking consolation from a sugee bag on the outside, and the whole sable troop departed in "murree budgeree" humor.

Editorial [see 20th February].  The substance of what we have heard, upon the above subject, we shall sum up in a few words.  The facts are stated to be briefly these:---Two Government men were employed by their master [Mr. Grose] to sink a well, sixty feet deep.  They had made considerable progress in ther work, when, owing to the noxious air collected in the well the preceding night, as soon as the first man on the following morning was lowered down, he called for assistance, and was instantly hauled up in an exhausted state, apparently lifeless.  On exposure to the atmospheric air, however, the pulse of life beat once more---the vital spark was found not to be extinct---and the master, actuated by the ordinary impulse of humanity, had the body placed in a cart, and conveyed with all possible speed to the Hospital.  On the way thither (not a distance of a quarter of a mile) it is stated by several persons that the man breathed perceptibly, and shewed other signs of returning animation.  On arrival at the Hospital, the body (then quite warm) was taken out of the cart, and in consequence of the refusal of some subordinate officer of the institution to admit it inside, was deposited on the grass plot contiguous to the outer gate.  An attendant then made his appearance, and having slightly examined the body, went away, it was understood, with a view to acquaint the Surgeon; the body was still lying in the same place.---Half an hour was allowed to elapse before any removal took place, when it was ascertained, for the first time, that all hope of recovery had vanished---that death had performed his last sad office !  ... [contiues] is of itself sufficient to shew the little regard that was manifested concerning the deceased.

  But the observations, above detailed, apply solely to the man who went down first.  It is necessary now to say something as to the second; and here we shall again state simply what we have heard.  The moment the second man was taken out of the well, a messenger was despatched with all speed requesting the attendance of the Surgeon.  At this time the fate of the first was ascertained---he was then no more.  An answer was returned to this effect:---"If the man is a prisoner of the Crown, the Surgeon will not attend !!"For the honour of human nature, the profession, and the British character, we should hope this statement is incorrect. [Continues.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 27 February 1829

Long editorial concerning the case of Thomas Bevan and the two inquests; also a Correspondent's letter with comments and questions about the evidence and the Coroner's conduct.

There were four aboriginal natives recently confined in the Sydney gaol, fully committed to stand their trial for the murder of "Dirty Dick."  Two of those uncivilized creatures will require the assistance of an interpreter before they can be put on their trial, as in a former instance.  It is supposed King Boongarree will be called upon to act in that capacity.  The tribe to which the deceased belonged, feel indignant at any interference of "the white peoples" in the matter, as by their laws a punishment more cruel, although doubtful, awaits the perpetrators of murder.  Since penning the above, one, we learn, has been discharged.]


The Sydney Monitor, Monday 2 March 1829


A prisoner of the Crown of the name of Bevan, a wheelwright, about nine months ago was found deficient on the mustering of the convict mechanics in the King's timber-yard at Parramatta.  Being experienced in the ways of the Colony, he either procured another man's pass, or forged a new one; and making the best of his way to the Coal river, hired himself to a very respectable emigrant settler there.  Being a very industrious and clever man, he earned not only his living, but, through the wages of his employer, he also earned a mare, which is still in the custody of his employer, tho' branded in Bevan's name.  Being attached to a young woman at Parramatta, he at length returned overland, and ventured as near to Parramatta as young Dean's on the Western-road, near the Parramatta turnpike.  Two constables of Parramatta, hearing of bushrangers in that neighbourhood, went out there one afternoon about five weeks ago.  On their approach, Bevan, naturally alarmed lest he should be recognised by them, retreated by the back-way.  One of the Constables seeing a man retreating, adjudged him to be one of those they were in pursuit of.  Some say that the Constables called out to him to stop, and others say, that they did indeed call out, but fired almost immediately, so as not to give the man sufficient warning of the consequences of his continuing to retreat; the pistol ball and two slugs struck the fugitive in the loins, and he fell.  On coming up to him, he was found in a fainting state.  He was taken in a cart to the King's Convict Hospital at Parramatta, and there he languished a fortnight; and after making his will, died.  Before his death, he was recognised not to be a Bush-ranger, but Bevan, the wheelwright absentee.

 On his decease, Dr. Dalhunty the Coroner summoned a Jury, which sat at Parramatta.  The Jury sat till seven o'clock, when not agreeing, the Coroner did not choose to wait so many hours as our Judges do on such occasions, but discharged the Jury.  The discharge however was not pro-tempore, but final.  The worthy Doctor, for reasons best known to himself, (but for which piece of irregularity we trust the Chief Justice, as Grand Coroner of the Colony and its dependencies, will call upon him to explain) summoned the next day a fresh Jury.  The constables say they had orders to select Householders considered friends to the present Government.  This we do not believe.  The new Jury sat all day, and all the next night, and until 7 o'clock the next morning; when a verdict, by a majority of two, was pronounced of "Justifiable homicide."  Five however were permitted by the Coroner to bring in a verdict of "un-justifiable homicide," or "wilful murder" against the constable who killed Bevan, we do not know which.  In the first jury, there were eight to four for wilful murder, when they were discharged.

 We trust H. M. Attorney General will, on learning such a strange circumstance, or rather set of circumstances, cause an enquiry.  This officer has shewn excessive diligence in looking over the papers and filing ex-officio informations at the instance of our marching Captains and other officers of State; we trust that when the King's subjects are murdered, without the least means being taken to capture them safely, he will shew equal diligence.  Mr. Bannister, in a case where a Lunatic had been destroyed by parties giving him impure drink from frolic, and in which the Jury had acted erroneously, desired the Coroner to re-assemble the Jury, swear them a fresh, and take the inquest over again.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 3 March 1829


A Coroner's Inquest was convened on Sunday on the body of a sailor belonging to the Jupiter.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased was directed to assist in unbending the main sail, he lost his balance whilst on the yard, and fell on one of the metal pumps with great force, by which an extensive wound was inflicted in the abdomen.  Every exertion was adopted for his relief, but in vain.  The Jury found a verdict accordingly.

 Editorial: A desire to ascertain what steps, if any have been taken by the Authorities, retards us at present from entering further into the case of the unfortunate man [Thomas] Bevan, as well as that having a relation  to the servant of Mr. Grose of Parramatta, both of which cases were pretty fully detailed in our publication of Tuesday last.  Meanwhile, we invite further communications upon one subject not less than the other.  Both have produced intense interest we learn; and well they might.  Till we know of justice being done, our sympathising readers may be assured the matter shall not drop.


R. v. Hughes [1829] NSWSupC 12


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 13 March 1829


"Wherein I spake ---

Of moving accidents by flood or field."

The numerous and unprecedented catastrophes that have lately occurred in this harbour by drowning, have excited, times without number, the most heartfelt anguish among all classes of our community.  Scarce a week passes away that we are not called on to notice calamities of this nature.  On Wednesday evening Mr. Francis Johnson, who lately rented a small farm on the other side of the water, was induced, in consequence of the absence of a servant, to attempt rowing his boat from the Market Wharf to his residence.---The servants on the farm were anxious about their master's return, and kept a strict look out until a late hour, when they concluded that he had remained for the night in town.  The overseer, in going round the farm yesrerday morning, observed a boat among the rocks, which proved to be the one that conveyed his master to Sydney the day previously.  On further examination a hat was seen floating on the water, which, when picked up, left no doubt remaining on the minds of those present, of the melancholy accident that had taken place.  The body has not yet been found.  Mr. Johnson's connections, in the city and vicinity of Dublin, were highly respectable, and in circumstahnces of extended affluance.  In the early part of his life he bore an officer's commission in a West India regiment.  The climate of that country having eventually impaired his constitution, he was advised to emigrate to these shores. [Alive and well, see Tuesday 17 March.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 17 March 1829


To the Editor of THE AUSTRALIAN.

SIR,---On perusing your valuable Paper of the 6th instant, I observed that you wished to ascertain what steps, if any, have been taken in the case of the unfortunate [Thomas] Bevan.  My reply is---none other than these---Welsh and M'Manus applying for 2l. for doing something in the affair, and obtaining an order to receive the same !

  As to Mr. Grose's servant, there does not appear any notice is taken of that circumstance, but the generality of the inhabitants here are certainly anxious to hear what steps our Authorities will take.

  I further beg to observe, that six of those who formed part of the Inquest in Bevan's case, and who are householders, have come to a resolution never to attend another Coroner's order to sit as Jurymen !  Unless we be allowed the privilege of returning our verdict, not only will we refuse a Coroner's order, but a Quarter Sessions summons---as we consider if we are not allowed to return our verdict, after taking the necessary oaths, that it is needless to go through the ceremony of calling us together, only to waste time for no sort of satisfactory purpose.  We remain, Mr. Editor,

                                          Your obedient servants,

                                                                                 W. S.

                                                                                 J. G.

                                                                                 T. W. H.

                                                                                 H. H.

                                                                                W. B.  

                                                                                            T. D.

Parramatta, March 7, 1829                                                 F. P.

Another letter follows re Thomas Bevan, from 'SHENKIN JONES."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 20 March 1829.

Editorial: more on the treatment of Grose's servant suffocated in well.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Saturday 21 March 1829

SUPREME COURT.---(Criminal Side.)



Mr. Justice Dowling took the criminal business this day, when

Wm. Riddle was indicted for the wilful murder of John Healy, at Hunter's River, on the 25th of January, by striking him with a tomahawk on the head, and on various parts of the body.

  From the evidence of Joseph Walker, assigned servant to Colonel Dumaresq, it would appear that the deceased (Healy) was a shepherd in the same service.  The deceased was alive and well on Saturday the 24th January.  Next day he was missing; and it was reported among the men on the farm, that he had taken to the bush. In conversing with the prisoner on the subject however, the latter said to Walker, "he is not gone into the bush---her is as right as the bank---he has met with two free man, who have oferred to assist him in getting out of the country."  This discourse passed in presence of Wm. Hutton, another fellow servant.  It took place by the river side.  Prisoner afterwards took out of the water a tomahawk, and wiped it on the sleeve of his frock.  Walker asked him why he wiped the tomahawk?  Prisoner said it was dirty.  Prisoner had a clasp-knife open in his hand at the same time.  This was the day after Healy's disappearance.  A few days before this, prisoner and Healy had some sharp words together.  Walker heard prisoner threaten Healy, and that if he did not let him (prisoner) alone, he would take his head from his shoulders; and added, "I'll have your wife in spite of you."  Prisoner and Healy had not of late been on friendly terms.  Healy was displeased at his wife washing for prtisoner.  The remaining evidence throughout was purely circumstantial---it went to shew that on the day after Healy was found wanting, one of the farm servants discovered in a water hole part of the remains of as human body, nearly consumed by fire.  There was nothing to identify these remains, except that on one part of an arm, a piece of duck frock appeared, and it was sworn that Healy wore a duck frock when last seen.  It appeared that on the Sunday morning prisoner took out Healy's flock of sheep, as well as his own, and brought them home at night.  That prisoner, when questioned as to his knowledge of Healy on that day, gave a detailed account of two free men having met him, and proposed to assist him in escaping from the Colony; and stated that Healy went away with them.  That Healy never appeared afterwards.  That it was generally reported Healy's wife and the prisoner were improperly intimate.  That prisoner had declared to several persons his determination to have her.  She had n ot long ago arrived from Ireland, as a free woman, to join nher husband.

  Mary Healy stated, that finding her husband did not return at his usual hour in the evening, she became anxious, and went out to enquire.  She met the prisoner, who told her the same story about the two free man.  She returned to her hut, and late at night prisoner came and endeavoured to persuade her Healy was gone to live with him---promising to make her a good husband.  She desired him to go away, but he continued there [for/four] hours, and on quitting he desired her to make up her mind on the subject.  On the following day, suspicion falling on the prisoner, he was apprehended.

  A medical gentleman who examined the remains, was of opinion that the body had not been dead above twenty-four hours.  Could not distinguish the sex.  It was that of a full grown person---apparently a man.

  Prisoner in his defence adhered to the same account he had first given as to his last parting with Healy, &c.  Described the alleged meeting with the two strangers, and accounted for some few of the circumstances which in the course of the trial apperared to weigh most against him.

  The learned Judge, at five o'clock, proceeded to sum up.  His Honor directed the attention of the Jury to the principal point in the evidence.  First, it was for them to be satisfied whether the man John Healy, who was the subject of this enquiry, is now in the land of the living, or deceased; secondly, if dead, whether remains of a human body so found are the remains of Healy, and if so, whether his death was occasioned by violence; thirdly, if they were satisfied then, that the remains were those of Healy, and that he had been murdered.  Then came the last and most solemn question---"Was the prisoner guilty of that murder?"  Circumstances (said his Honor) are in some cases the strongest evidence which can be adduced because still things cannot lie; and a chain of such evidence, when seconded by probability, is sometimes to be preferred to positive testimony.  His Honor then recapitulated the body of evidence, and left the case to the jury, who retired at six o'clock, and in five minutes returned with a verdict of guilty.

  The learned Judge, upon the motion of the Attorney General, proceeded to pass the awful sentence of the law, after a patient address to the prisoner, ordering that he be executed on the Monday following, and his body be delivered over to the surgeons for the purpose of being disssected and anatomized.

  This miserable man exhibited no symptoms of being greatly affected by his situation---neither his coutenance or manner undergoing the least change throughout the whole of the above proceedings.



It falls to our lot this day to record a tissue of circumstances the most awful and horrifying that have ever occurred, to blot the annals of this or any other Country.  Various are the surmises, and conflicting the accounts rendered of this extraordinary affair, but few have obtained a proper version of it.  We shall lay before our Readers in the usual form a full and accurate report of the proceedings of the Coroner's Inquest, upon one of the unfortunate victimes, whence a proper estimate of the matter may be deduced.

  On Sunday morning an Inquisition was holden at the George Inn, Castlereagh-street, before C. T. Smeathamn, Esq. Coroner for Sydney, on view of the body of William Oliver, then lying dead in the house of Mr. Gilbert Smith, immediately opposite.

  The Jury attended at half past ten A.M., and having inspected the body, returned to the Jury-room, when evidence was taken; viz.

  Mr. G. F. Ord, who did or does lodge in the house of Mr. Smith, deposed, that on Friday last, about four o'clock, he returned home to dinner, consisting a a cold round of beef, mutton chops, and stewed oysters, with greens and potatoes.---Some parts of the beef had a peculiar sour, unpleasant taste.  Witness partook of each of the aforesaid articles, and drank a little table beer.  About ten minutes after dinner witness was seized with a violent fit of vomiting, which continued for about an hour.  Took a little brandy, which he immediately threw up.  Witness was very ill, and almost incessantly vomiting during the whole night.  Deceased was taken ill about two o'clock on Thursday.  Some soup had been made on that day, of which deceased partook, and witness heard him say that he was poisoned.  The deceased was cook in the family.  He contiued very ill, complaining of griping pains in his stomach, and a heat in the throat.

  Question by the Jury---Witness had eaten of the beef the preceding day, but was not aty all affected.

  Witness on Saturday consulted Dr. Bland, who bled him.  Witness since then was gradually getting better, but still felt very weak.

  The Coroner (attended by the Foreman) with the consent of the Jurors, now proceeded to the house of Mr. Smith, who was too ill to attend, in order to take his evidence.  After the lapse of an hour, the Foreman returned alone, and informed his brother Jurymen that a serjeant of the garrison had just told some persons, in allusion to this dreadful affair, that a man had been on Friday last at the shop of Mr. Malcolm, the druggist in George-street, asking for an ounce of arsenic---that Mr. Malcolm refused to serve him, and that the person went away, seemingly for the purpose of getting arsenic elsewhere.  It was therefore suggested that one of the Jury should volunteer to make a circuit of the various venders of medicinal drugs in the town, accompanied by a constable, to make enquiry respecting any persons who might have applied at any of such places for poisons.  Mr. A. Polack offered to accomplish this part of the business, and set out for the purpose about half past twelve o'clock---shortly after which the Coroner re-joined the Jury, and read over to them the evidence of Mr. Smith, taken in presence of the Coroner and Foreman of the Jury, a copy of which the Coroner, having very properly given our Repoirter every facility for making an accurate return of the proceedings, we should be enabled to subjoin, were it necessary to state the depositions literally.  It was to the following effect:---

  Mr. Gilbert Smith, master of the Globe tavern, Castlereagh-street, deposed, that about half past twelve on Thursday he went into the back yard, and discovered deceased sitting on the pump trough, vomiting very much, disgorging a great deal of water, tinged green, accompanied by bile.  Deceased complained that his intestines were inflamed, and that he was in great pain.  That yesterday mroning, about six o'clock, deceased complained that he was dying.  The deponent sent for Dr. Mitchell about one o'clock in Saturday afternoon.  The deponent, accompanied by Dr. M'Leod, went into the toom of the deceased, when he expired.  Deponent verily believes deceased partook of the soup made by him (deceased) for the family on Thursday, which soup the deponent stated himself to be of opinion caused his death.

  Ellen Hartneck, an assigned servant to Mr. Smith, deposed, that on Thursday last she saw the deceased take a bason of soup for his dinner about two o'clock, and about ten minutes afterwards he was seized with a violent vomiting.

  It being now a quarter past one, Mr. Polack returned, having procured written certificates from Messrs. Cook and Marshall, Foss, Malcolm, and Mace, druggists; but the production of these was considered unnecessary, in consequence of what followed.

  The Coroner and Foreman having again, in the interim, gone over to Mr. Smith's to examine the wife of deceased, who also lived in the house, now returned, bringing with them a large stone jar, containing about two pounds of a white substance, nearly resembling fine flour.

  Barbara Oliver, wife of deceased, deposed that her husband was cook to Mr. Gilbert Smith, and on Thursday he made soup for dinner, and thickened it with flour.

  Here the Coroner, or the Foreman, or Captain Rossi, for they all three had gone over together, desired to know from whence deceased obtained the flour.  This caused the production of a jar, which, to all appearances, contained at the bottom about two pounds of flour, and above that a paper carelessly wrapped up, containing a white powder, having superscribed the word "poison."

  Mr. G. Smith having entered the Jury-room, though in a very weak condition, stated that he knew nothing whatever of the jar already found.  He knew that a quantity of arsenic had been sent to him at Port Macquarie by different gentlemen, for the purpose of curing birds, but how it came into the jar, or how deceased came to make use of it he could not say.  Witness had it at Port Macquarie, enclosed in a treble paper, and marked "poison."  The quantity in the jar appeared to be about an ounce.  His paper had been so carelessly thrust into the jar, that there was nothing to prevent a great portion of the poison mixing with the flour.  At this moment Doctors Mitchell and M'Leod entered the room, and having looked at the jar, they suggested that it should be taken strict care of until they could analyse the contents, and that the Inquest should be adjourned until they (the Surgeons) had come to an opinion as to the cause of the death of deceased, by examining the contents of the stomach, as the process of opening the body, &c. would occupy  some time.

  The Coroner accordingly adjourned the Inquest until ten o'clock on Monday.  When the adjournment took place, it was half past two.

  The Jury having again met at the George Inn yesterday, pursuant to adjournment, the Coroner received intimation that Barbara Oliver, the wife of the deceased, William Oliver, had died on Sunday night about ten o'clock, and a letter was read from Dr. Mitchell, stating that it would be advisable not to call the Jury together until the Coroner should hear again from him.  No proceedings were therefore taken in the primary object of the enquiry, but a notification of a death which had occurred in the general hospital was received about eleven o'clock from Dr. Mitchell, which ran thus:---

"Edward Munro was received into the general hospital on the 14th March---died on Sunday morning the 22nd.  He had been wounded on the head.  The cranium was found extensively fractured.  There was a great extravasation of blood, which was evidently the cause of his death.   (Signed) JAS. MITCHELL."

The Jury, accompanied by the Coroner, accordingly waved further enquiry respecting William Oliver, and proceeded in a body to the general hospital to view the corpse.  Evidence was called at considerable length, which we shall not now enter into; and it being half past four, the Inquest adjourned to Tuesday morning at ten o'clock, leaving both cases still undecided.

  The above catastrophe being the general topic, and several exaggerated reports in circulation as to the extent of the calamity, we give the following as a correct statement up to seven o'clock last evening:---Dead, and interred with the consent of the Coroner and Jury, William Oliver and Barbara Oliver, late servants to Mr. Smith; and Chas. Smith, aged eighteen months, son of Mr. Smith.  There are also two men and one woman, servants of Mr. Smith, in the general hospital in a doubtful state.  A Mr. M'Gregor, who lodges at the George Inn opposite Mr. Smith's, and who partook of some stewed oysters at his house on the day of the accident, is also very ill.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith are in a fair way of recovery.

An Inquest was convened last Thursday in Gloucester-street, on view of the body of William Thurston, a boy aged four years, who it was shewn by evidence, left his parents' house early in the morning, and proceeded with a tin pot to a well, in attempting to draw some water out of which, he fell in.  The Jury recorded their verdict that the child was drowned in a well on the premises of the child's parents.

  Another Inquest was held in Windsor, at the hospital, on the bodies of Joseph Capton and Charles Paul, two prisoners.  A verdict of wilful murder was returned against Thomas Carpenter.


Precisely at nine o'clock yesterday morning, the miserable man William Riddle, described in another part of our present paper, underwent the awful sentence of the law.  No previous ceremony of this revolting nature was ever more expeditiously got through with.  Led from his cell by the usual avenue towards the gallows yard, the culprit conversed with the Sheriff, and till he came in sight of the guard in front, and the crowd assembled before and on each side of the gallows.  It's the usual thing for culprits in the like situation to pass a short time in prayer under the gallows.  Riddle had no sooner stepped into the yard and got to the foot of the ladder than he mounted, and running upwards with a quick step, soon stood on the platform.  The executioner immediately proceeded to halter him and arrange the cap.  Riddle appeared wholly unconcerned, and took snuff with the utmost composure, indeed we may rather say nonchalance.  The hangman was not long in finishing his preparations, and he and the assistant then descended.---It was not till he thus stood on the verge of eternity that the culprit addressed himself to the crowd below him, in these words:---"My good friends and fellow prisoners, look at the state I now stand in, innocent of what I am going to die for---but I forgive my prosecutors, and I forgive everyone.  I prefer death to living in chains and fetters in such a country as this."  He then bowed his head, and awaited his fate with fixed and patient resignation.  Suddenly the drop fell, and the culprit appeared to die almost instantaneously.  Riddle was a Scotchman, a tall powerful man, about 45 years of age.  We understand he rejected the proffered assistance of religious consolation  to the last moment of his existence.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 27 March 1829

Dismissal of a Constable Wilson for rumours concerning the Gilbert Smith case.



Our last left the Coroner's Jury convened to investigate the death of Edward Munro, in adjournment.  As the enquiry had not concluded on Monday evening, and as the case may be a serious one, inviolving life and character to some, we accordingly abstained from presenting to our readers any incomplete view of the evidence.  We have already given publicity to Dr. Mitchell's notification, attributing the death of Munro to an extravasation of blood caused by an extensive fracture of the cranium.

  On Monday evidence was heard before the Inquest, which went to shew, that the deceased, Munto, was conveyed to the hospital in the hospital cart, wounded and speechless.  The deceased was taken from the house of James M'Kay, dealer, No. 36, Clarence-street, to whose house it appeared the deceased had crept, and was found in a loft there on the night of Thursday, the 15th inst.  There was some blood on deceased's shirt collar at the time.  Next day deceased was enabled to get up and walk about the yard of M'Kay, at whose persuasion deceased washed his face, and then was discovered a dangerous injury on his head, which caused M'Kay to acquaint Captain Rossi with the circumstances, and deceased was conveyed away to the General Hospital on Saturday, the 11th instant.

  From the deposition of John Ward, it would appear that on the night of Thursday, the 12th inst. about 8 o'clock, being on his way home, witness overtook the deceased in Clarence-street, who seemed to be "a little in liquor."  Ward spoke to deceased, who made no answer.  Ward went a little further, when he observed a number of soldiers scaling the Barrack wall, most of whom had paling in their hands; as they dropped from the wall other persons inside the Barracks threw over paling and other implements to them.  Witness turned back, and soon after distinctly heard cries of "Don't beat him any more."  It was a light night, but witness felt alarmed, and said he was glad to make his escape from the house.  The whole neighbourhood was in a state of alarm.  Ward further deposed, he heard some people cry out, "Shut the doors," and that he believed in his conscience, that deceased was the man whom the soldiers had been beating as described.  The soldiers were riotously inclined, and as they dropped from the wall, ran up Clarence-street, crying out to one another to "come on."  Other persons deposed to the affray on the night in question, one deposing that he saw a soldier strike a civilian with a paling, upon which the man fell; the soldier would have repeated his blows, but some of his comrades interfered, and cried out, "Don't beat him any more."

  Bridget Finn deposed to her having been in a house in Clarfence-street, in company with three other females on the night of the affray; that some young men, natives, burst open the door of the house, and struck the females, and that a number of soldiers soon afterwards came in with an officer, whom the woman described as being a very tall gentleman.

  This witness is a soldier's wife, and as she shewed evident reluctance to give an account of the transaction, great pains were taken by the Jury to elicit some information from her; she was generally supposed to know the particular soldier who struck the deceased.

  At half-past four o'clock the Inquest adjourned, and on Tuesday at ten o'clock, the Coroner re-assembled the same Jury who had been so arduously occupied during the two preceding days, and the investigation was resumed.

  Bridget Finn, whose apparent prevarication the previous day had induced the Coroner to order her into custody, was now re-called, but nothing satisfactory could be deduced from her evidence.

  Samuel Priest, a butcher, residing in Clarence-street, near the spot where the affray took place on the night in question, deposed, he saw three soldiers running towards the barracks, who soon returned with a re-inforcement of their comrades, most of whom had sticks or paling in their hands; saw a man struck on the head, and knocked down by a soldier with a piece of paling, the man afterwards got up and walked away staggering; had every reason to believe it was the deceased, Edward Munro; could identify any of the soldiers; thought they belonged to the 39th regiment.  Priest deposed, that the three soldiers whom he first saw running, came out of a house in Clarence-street, where they had been in company with some women; believed he could recognize the soldier on seeing him again, but on being asked if he could point the soldier out on the parade, Priest declared, he would not undertake it, as the soldier he particularisecd was "a tallish man," of a dark complexion, marked with the small pox, and had black whiskers.

  Charles Goodluck, a stone-mason, residing in Phillip-street, deposed, that on the night of the affray, he was passing along Clarence-street between 7 and 8 o'clock, when he was knocked down by some soldiers of the 39th, armed with paling; the blow rendered him insensible.  On coming to himself, Goodluck deposed, he saw an officer, who put some questions to him.  The soldiers he saw had green facings; Goodluck, after recovering, observed a woman coming out of a house immediately opposite, who exclaimed, "They have given one man a sweet cut on the head, and I myself (holding her hand to her face) have got a blow in the fray."  Being asked if he could identify the woman, Goodluck answered in the affirmative, and on Bridget Finn being recalled, the man positively swore she was the same woman.  [This the witness Finn as strenuously denied; she now seemed for the first time much alarmed, and burst into tears].  The soldiers who knocked him down, Goodluck swore issued from the same house as Bridget Finn---they all had palings on their shoulders.  The officer Goodluck mentioned, gave orders to confine the men immediately who had ill-treated witness.

  Samuel Dewsbury, private in the 57th, having been sent for by the Coroner and sworn, deposed, he was at the house in Clarence-street with Bridget Finn and the other females already mentioned, when some native lads insulted, and one of them struck him.  After some altercation deponent quitted the house, and got into the barracks by 7 o'clock, or a little after; he swore positively he did not again leave the barracks that night, nor had the general affray with the soldiers commenced when he (Dewsbury) got into the barracks.  Having said that a cotrporal of his company had comed with him to corroborate this account; the corporal was called in and questioned, who affirmed, but not on oath, to the truth of Dewsbury's statement, that he had not quitted the barracks as decsribed, adding, that Dewsbury told him on coming into barracks thetre had been a row between some of the 39th and the inhabitants.  This evidence apperaring at variance with Dewsbury's account, the latter was again questioned, and replied, that by the affray he mentioned to the corporal, he (Dewsbury) meant the quarrel between the native boys and himself, but the corporal being again called, and confronted with Dewsbury, persisted that the latter did say there had been a fight with the 39th.  The corporal, however, refused to confirm what he had said on oath.  After some further discussion, there appearing no probability of readily discovering the actual perpetrator, or offenders in this shameful business, the Jury agreed to terminate their proceedings, and at 3 o'clock returned the following verdict.

  That the deceased, Edward Munro, died in consequence of blows inflicted on his body by some soldier or soldiers UNKNOWN, on the n ight of the 12th of M arch.

   Some few of the Jury were for returning "Wilful Murder," but on a little reflection they acquiesced in the opinion of the majority.


Having dispatched the above particulars, we shall now give the decision of the Jury in the case of Mr. Smith's family.

  At about one o'clock on Tuesday, during the inquiry as to the death of Edward Munro, the Coroner read a communication  from Drs. Bland and M'Leod, stating their opinion, that both William Oliver, and the child of Mr. Smith died from the effects of posion conveyed into the stomach, and that a part of the contents of the jar had been found to contain a portion of arsenious acid.

  The Jury having again consulted upon this subject, concurred in the following verdict.

  That deceased William Oliver, as well as his, deceased's wife, and the child of Mr. Smith, met their deaths in consequence of arsenic being accidentally mixed with flour, and used to thicken the soup of which they all partook.

  At four o'clock the Jury, who had since the preceding Friday exhibited a uniform patience and assiduity highly creditable to them, were finally discharged.


On Wednesday an Inquest was held at the Tiger Inn, Kent-street, on view of the body of William Watson, who suddenly dropped down in a fit of apoplexy, on the same day.

  The deceased, commonly called Watson the Barber,m was well known as an old resident in Sydney, and was always esteemed a quiet, inoffensive, and honest man.

  It appeared from the evidence adduced, that deceased, upon his falling in the street, was conveyed to No. 6 watch-house, and in a few minutes before medical aid could be sent for, he expired.  He seemed about 60 years of age.  Verdict---Died by the Visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 31 March 1829

SUPREME COURT.---(Criminal Side.)


[Correction, 3 April, Mr. Justice Stephen.]

Mr. Justice Dowling being this day upon the Bench,

  John Button and Jeremiah Collins were arraigned, being jointly indicted for the wilful murder of Wm. Fisher, otherwise Wheatley, in the County of Argyle, on the 28th October last, by striking him on the head with an axe.  They were also indicted for the wilful murder of Michael Connolly, at the same time and place; to both of which the prisoners pleaded not guilty.

  John Button stated to the learned Judge, that he had employed Counsel (Mr. Keith) to defend him, who was not in Court, and therefore begged a little delay.  A messenger was therefore despatched for Mr. Keith, who arrived about eleven o'clock, and apologized to the Court for his absence, which Mr. K. attributed to the illness of some member of his family.  The Jury were now called over and sworn, and the trial commenced---his Honor first strictly enjoined the constables to keep all witnesses, both for the prosecution and the prisoners, out of Court, until called for.

The evidence in this case (like that in the case of Riddel on the preceding Friday) was purely circumstantial.  The trial created a considerable degree of sensation, and occupied the Court during the whole of the day.  From the deposition of John Hall, an assigned servant to Mr. Styles at Conderoo, in the County of Argyle, it would appear thaty Hall knew both prisoners.  On the 28th October, about day-break, he saw Button, and spoke a few words to him.  Hall and Button then put each a cow into the milking yard.  Hall asked Button where the leg-rope was which Button had promised to make for him?  Button replied, "Did not Pat (meaning Patrick White, another fellow servant,) bring it you last night?" Hall replied he had not.  "Then go to my hut and you will find it, near the wall by the side of my sleeping berth;" said Button.  It was then barely day-light.  On entering the hut, Hall felt about for the rope; in doing so he found Button's bed rolled up.  Hall opening it, in search of the rope, and heard the breathing of Connolly, as he supposed, who usually slept in that room, which was the outer room or kitchen; the other, deceased (Wheatley) usually lay in the inner room.  The room was about elevn feet square.  Hall could not find the rope; after which he returned to the milking-yard, where he found Button milking his bucket full.  Hall did the same; and Button took both buckets away towards the dairy.  Hall began milking another cow, but was called off from his work by cries from Button of, "John, John."  Hall hastened towards the hut, and when within anbout three rods of it saw Button, who exclaimed "Oh, John, there are two men dead in the hut !"  Hall replied, Glory be to God that I did not eat of the lamb that was hanging up in the kitchen the day before." Hall upon this entered the hut, and saw the deceased Michael Connolly lying dead, as he thought, on the floor.  Part of his body covered the spot on which Hall had stood when searching for the leg-rope.  The body was stretched out like a corpse, on a board. Hall then, by consent of Button, ran off to apprise an overseer of Captain Barlow's, named Hughes, two miles away, of the circumstance.  Hughes, the overseer, and another person  returned to the hut, in which they found the two prisoners and Patrick White.

  Both the deceased persons, Wheatley and Connolly, were moaning very much.  Connolly had a wound on the right side of his head; from which blood flowed profusely.  There was blood on the floor, as well as upon a form by Connolly's bed side.  The berth on which he slept was about three feet high; the form was about half as high.  Connolly's body was quite naked when Hall first saw it; and the unfortunate man died about eleven o'clock.  Deceased Wheatley was on his bed in the inner room.  At ten o'clock he was speechless.  On his head were three cuts, as if done with an axe.  About four or five o'clock he expired.  Button said, Collins told him that he had seen a man dressed in blue clothes near the stock-yard, early in the morning.  Button wore a blue waistcoat that morning, under his white frock.  Hall had seen a morticing axe at the hut of prisoner Button a few days before.  After the murder Hall swore he searched every where for that axe, but could not find it; nor had it since been found.  No other [tools??] of any kind were at that time missing.  There were several dogs about the place, which were accustomed to bark as strangers approached.  The day before the murder, Wheatley asked Hall if he thought that Collins was deranged.  Collins, at the time Hall was called by Button in the morning, was about three rods from the hut, to which he seemed to be coming with a bundle of sticks.  There had been a quarrel between Wheatley and the prisoner Button about a month before the murder, and a jealousy existed between them.  Bujtton was heard to say he would not stay in Mr. Styles' service if Wheatley was appointed overseer---which Wheatley subsequently was.

  Hughes and one James Welsh remarked some spots of blood on the coat of prisoner Collins---the latter observed, that it must have been done by assisting to lift Connolly from the ground upon his bed.

  In reply to a question put by Mr. Keith, Hall said he did not on being first called by prisoner Button, after the murder, observe any blood on the white frock which Button then wore, nor did he remark any thing particular in the manner of Button on the morning in question, until Button called to him to witness the two murders at the hut, when he seemed much alarmed.  This was the substance of Hall's examination, which took up five hours.

  The evidence of James Hughes, overeer to Captain Barlow, at Conderoo, was corroborative of the above.  Hughes added, that he saw a speck of blood on Collins' jacket, which seemed as if produced by a splash, and not by rubbing against any substance.  Connolly's wound lay on the right side of his head.  The skull was fractured, and part of the brain had exuded.  There was blood on the ground, about three feet from the bed; and in fact there was blood all over the house! Wheatley was badly wounded, and on Hughes' arfrival, speechless.  He had received three blows---one on the back of his head, which fractured it, one on the forehead, and a third from the right ear to the eyes.  Hughes spoke to a remarkable expression having dropped from Button outside the house.  Button said if he suffered for that (mentioning the murder) he should die innocent.  Hughes upon this made Button prisoner.  Never till that morning had he heard of Collins being deranged.  Hughes, in reply to a question by Mr. Keith, said he had mentioned his intention of securing Button, before he used the expression about dying innocent; but not in Button's hearing.---Button behaved very kindly and attentively to the deceased.  He had given them a little tea, and did not appear at all afraid to look on the dying men.  His arm and shoulder were very bloody, which he said was caused by lifting Connolly from the floor. 

  It was deposed by Patrick White, that after they had all assisted in lifting up the body of Connolly, prisoner Collins went outside the door, when a puppy dog belonging to the hut leaped upon him, after having been paddling in the blood, [and] said to the dog, "D---n you [????????????????] want to blood me?" White added that [?????] had seen any strangers about.  Collins said, that as he waas coming from the [???]-box in the sheep-yard to the hut at day-light, while picking up a few sticks on the way, he heard a noise like a blow, oir the crack of a whip, and raising his head, he saw a man in a blue jacket in the stock-yard, whom he supposed to be Button.  Button heard this, and said that he had on a frock over his bluie waistcoat, and therefore it could not be him, and that John Hall could certify he had not been out of the milk yard from the time he put the cattle in and carried the milk to the dairy.  Collins effected a temporary escape from the constables, but was retaken.  Evidence was also called to prove apprehension on the prisoner Button's part, that his fellow prisoner, Collins, would "peach;" and to character.  Button, it was sworn, bore a good and peaceable character till a short time before the murder, when his habits underwent a change.

   Button in his defence declared his innocence, and left his case to the Jury.

  Collins entered into a long but unintelligible story, the drift of which appeared to be to criminate Button, the other prisoner.  His statement, however, made but little impression.

  At nine o'clock the learned Judge began to sum up andf recapitulate the evidence into which his Honor entered minutely, explaining and commenting to the Jury upon the law of the case, and concluded at half past ten, when the Jury retired, and, after ten minutes consultation, returned into Court with a verdict of Guilty against John Button---Jeremiah Collins, Not Guilty.

  After the lapse of a few moments, the learned Judge addressing the wretched prisoner with much solemnity, proceeded to pass sentence of death upon John Button, to be carried into effect on Monday the 30tyh instant, and his body to be dissected and an atomized.

   This trial occupied twelve hours.

   Collins was remanded at the instance of the Attorney General.


On Sunday morning an Inquest was held at the Farriers' Arms, George-street, on the body of an infant three months old, the daughter of William Green, a mechanic in the employ of Mr. Barnet Levey.  It appeared that the child had been accidentally overlaid by the mother.  Verdict---Accidental death.


A respite until Monday next was received at the gaol yesterday morning, at 7 o'clock, for John Button, convicted on Friday last of the double murder, as described in another column, in Argyle.  We have not heard upon what grounds the respite has been granted.  The evidence was purely circumstantial, and Button, who has of course evinced much penitence and resignation since his condemnation, still persists in disclaiming all participation in, or knowledge of, the horrid deed.  He has been attended by the Reverend Mr. Cowper.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 3 April 1829

Yesterday morning a middle aged female [Ann Maine] was found drowned in the Tanks.  She had been observed washing at a late hour the night previous.


On Tuesday an Inquest was held at the Hope public-house, in Clarence-street, before C. T. Smeathan, Esq., Coroner, on view of the body of Ellen Quin, a married woman, and mother of a family, lately residing at No. 10, in the same street.

  It appeared by the certificate of William Bland, Esq., M.D., who had attended deceased before her death, that the event was occasioned by lock-jaw, which had arisen spontaneously, no appearance of violence being perceptible.

  One witness only (a female who had attended deceased for one hour before her death) was examined, and deposed that deceased was unable to articulate a word, except that she once asked for a drink of water.  She expired almost without a struggle, about two o'clock on Monday afternoon.

   The Jury expressing themselves satisfied, returned a verdict, died by the visitation of God.


It pains us to have to record an other fatal outrage by bushrangers.  As Mr. Clementson, a respectable Hunter's River settler, was on his way down to Sydney by the Bulgar, about seventy-five miles off Windsor, in company with two other persons, two armed ruffians suddenly surprised them, and firing upon Mr. Clementson, as he was in the act of preparing for resistance, killed him on the spot, and then plundered his person of every thing valuable, including two watches; one of which a gold watch he was entrusted with by a friend to carry to Sydney, in order that it might be repaired.  Such is the statement of the unfortunate murdered person's two companions, who it appears escaped from the scene without either offering resistance to the marauders or being assaulted by them !

  JEREMIAH COLLINS, who was acquitted of the murder of one man at Conderoo on Friday last, his companion Button being found guilty, and sentenced to die, though respited the Monday following, is to be again put upon his trial to-day, on a distinct charge of having been concerned in the murder of the second unfortunate being.  It is supposed some collusion exists betwixt Button and Collins.  For the former there appears no hope that his forfeited existence will be prolonged beyond Monday next.  Collins' fate will of course depend upon the event of this day's trial.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 4 April 1829

An Inquest was held on Tuesday on the body of Eleoner Quinn, a resident of Kent Street, who was found dead in her bed.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Died by the Visitation of God."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 8 April 1829


On Thursday evening an Inquest was held at the King's Arms, Hunter-street, on the body of a female, about 35 years of age, who had been found drowned, on the same morning, in the Tanks.  A witness pretended to recognize her as Ann Murtagh; and, under that name, a verdict was returned of "Accidental Death."  It appeared, however, that the witness was mistaken; for the circumstance having transpired, a man named Maine (whose wife had been absent since Wednesday eveing) went to the Hospital to view the body, and immediately recognized it to be that of his former wife, Ann Maine.  It therefore became necessary to impannel a second Jury, who assembled, on Friday morning, at the Fox and Hounds, Castlereagh-street, and returned a similar verdict as on the foregoing occasion.

  BUTTON, who was sentenced to die on Monday last for the murders at Gondaro, and was respited until Monday, has been further respited.  The communication was made to the Sheriff on Saturday, by a letter from the Colonial Secretary.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 10 April 1829


On Wednesday morning Charles White, who was tried on Monday and convicted of the murder of Thomas Murphy, in the neighbourhood of Luskintyre on the 6th October last, underwent sentence of death in the yard in rear of the gaol in George-street.  White was a good looking man, youthful, and appeared to be ecxtremely penitent.  He was attended by the Reverend Mr. Cowper.  On going to the execution he went into another of the cells, and bade farewell to an acquaintance, after which he did not articulate audibly a single word.  He mounted the ladder with a firm step, and met his fate without any great shew of apprehension.  He struggled very hard, although he had a fall of about six feet.  After hanging the usual time, the body was cut down and conveyed to the hospital for dissection.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 15 April 1829

We do not perceive that the reward very promptly and spiritedly offered by Government of ten pounds and a conditional pardon, or a ticket of leave, for informtion leading to the apprehension of the actor or actors in the rueful murder lately towards Hunter's River, of Mr. William Clements, Mr. Bingle's overseer, has as yet had any of the desired effect.  Again we say, the meaning attached to those enigmatic words, "a conditional pardon," should be particularised.  Nothing has as yet been heard of the two natives, Brogan and George Murphy, the reputed murderers of Mr. Hyndes's servant, of Illawarra, John Rivetts.  What is 10l., compared with an emancipation?  Ten pounds are the reward offered for correct informations respecting the murder.


An Inquest was held, on Saturday last, at the Fox and hounds, Castlereagh-street, on the body of a free man named Thomas Edwards, who had died, on his arrival at the gates of the hospital, in a cart.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased had been labouring for some time under the effects of liver complaint, and did not meet the necessary attention and humane treatment from the person in whose house he resided.  The body was reduced to a mere skeleton.  The Jury felt some difficulty in arriving at a satisfactory verdict, and were obliged to adjourn until the following day, when they resumed their duties at half-past 12, P.M. After a long and minute consideration of the circumstances, the following verdict was returned:---"That the deceased died from a chronic disease, which was much accelerated by the shameful neglect of the persons (two individuals, master and man, residing in Castlereagh-street) under whose care he had been placed."


AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 21 April 1829



Thomas Carpenter was indicted for the wilful murder of Joseph Cubson, on the 12th of March last, at North Richmond.

  Robert Potts called.---Knows the prisoner Carpenter, and lives about a mile & a quarter from his house.  On the 12th of March last, I went to his house for Thomas Wood; the prisoner came to me; he had a hat in his hand, and told me three or four bushrangers were at his place the night before, and that he went out and hid himself behind a block; at last he saw a man behind a grindstone, who took aim at him with a pistol, and knocked his hat off, when he ran for the gun and banged at him; he thought he hit him.

   The remaining evidence was not very material.  Verdict---Not Guilty.

  The prisoner was then arraigned for the murder of Charles Paul.  This being so closely connected with the other case, it was considered unnecessary to go into trial.  He was acquitted accordingly, and discharged by proclamation.

  Mr. Justice Stephen being upon the Bench, Patrick Sullivan was indicted for the wilful murder of Michael Condron at Moreton Bay, on the 11th of February last.

   The evidence was proved by three witnesses (convicts attaint.)

   Verdict Guilty, and ordered for execution on Monday (yesterday).

Government, we also perceive, offer a reward of ten pounds, and a ticket of leave, if wanted, to any person or persons lodging in gaol the reputed murdered of Wm. Powell, on the 19th November, named John M'Loghlin, who is described as a native of Antrim, 47 years old, 5 feet 9 inches high, with a ruddy complexion, black hair, and hazle eyes.

R. v. Burgen, Allen, Matthews and Sullivan [1829] NSWSupC 27

R. v. Ballard or Barrett [1829] NSWSupC 26; sub nom. R. v. Dirty Dick (1828) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 2


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 28 April 1829

On Friday last the jockey who rode Abdallah, suffered a woful fall, being tilted clean out of the saddle, and having pitched upon his head near the distance post.  We hear the unfortunate jockey has since died.  He had been coachman to Sir John Jamison a length of time past. [Tuesday 28 April: The report that the rider of Abdallah has died, is, we are glad to hear, untrue.]


An inquisition was convened by Major Smeathman, Coroner for Sydney, at two o'clock, on Sunday, at the Sydney Hotel, on the corpse of John Chrfistopher Croft, alias John Christopher, better known perhaps as "Jack Chris, the barber," who had been found laying dead in the water, with a cut throat, near Macquarie Fort, round by Bennelong Point, on Sunday morning.  This unfortunate man proves to be the son of Mr. Croft, who kept a well known music shop in Dean-street, Soho.  In the early part of his life, Christopher stuidied music with such intensity that he lost his wits at the age of 17, and was placed in St. Luke's, where he was recalled to reason; but now, in place of being harmoniously, he became wildly disposed.  He associated with questionable characters, and finally obtained His Most Gracious Majesty's free passage to this Colony, where it was fated he should pass the remainder of his days.  His skill in music continued unimpeached; and, for some time, he had been in the habit of giving lessons in the harmonious art to younger branches of respectable families; but he also became addicted to a liberal use of ardent spirits, which, together with his pre-disposition to mental aberration, flung him from fits of wildness into moody reflection.

Oh! the vanity of human life !

Poverty had borne rather hard upon him of late; and, at times, to raise funds, he was in the habit of dabbling in "the suds,"---exercising the razor, and cutting hair, for a little gain, which gained him the appellation of "Jack Chrios, the barber."

  It appeared by the evidence of the watchman at the Governor's bathing-house, that, on Sunday morning, aboiut half-past six, he (the watchman) was coming down the flight of steps near the "Governor's Landing-place," when he was called by Mr. Robert Campbell, who was taking his usual morning walk, and he discovered some of the clothes belonging to deceased hanging on the railings, near the water.  The clothes, consisting of a jacket and waistcoast, were much blooded on the right side.  Upon looking farther, they discovered deceased in the water some few yards from shore; it was in deep water, and not to be come at easily by those on shore.  They hailed a vessel, which sent a boat with two hands, who picked up the body of deceased.

  Some other witnesses proved deceased had shewn a great degree of mental aberration for some days before.  It was the opinion of Dr. Bland that death had been caused as much by suffocation as the wound.  Verdict accordingly.

  An inquest was also taken upon the deceased body of John Phillips, when a verdict was found as follows: "that the said John Phillips was wilfully murdered on the bridge called Long Cove Bridge, on the Parramatta road, on the evening of Thursday 23d of April, 1829, by John Nathaniel Boon and John Warin, two men who are now in custody for the said offence."

  In the case of John Christopher Croft, which inquest took place at Cummings' hotel on Sunday the 26th instant, the jury, under the direction of the coroner, came to the following verdict---"The deceased destroyed himself, then laboring under a state of derangement."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 5 May 1829


An Inquest was convened on Friday last, at the Canning Tavern, King-street, before Major Smeathman, Coroner for Sydney, and a Jury, on the body of John Smith, who was discovered on the morning of Saturday, the 25th instant, lying in the yard of Mr. Smith, the butcher, adjoining the Matrket-place.  The unfortunate man was not dead, but had two severe wounds on the head, which bled profusely.  It appeared by the evidence of Mr. Smith, that at an early hour in the morning of Saturday the 25th ult. on going into the yard, he discovered the deceased lying on a heap of dung, with two severe cuts in the head.  Witness shook deceased, and asked him who had been ill-using him.  Deceased said, I don't know.  Witness then asked him if any body had attempted to rob him?  He said, yes.  Witness asked him, where? and he said, in the road; alluding to the street adjoining Mr. Smith's.  Nothing more could be elicited from deceased.  Mr. Connolly, surgeon, came, and cut the hair away from the wounds of deceased, and dressed them.  Deceased [crease in paper.]

  Several witnesses came forward, to prove that deceased was going up and down opposite Levey's Hotel on the night of the 24th ult. (the night during which he received the blows) very drunk, making a show of his money, by pulling out several pieces of silver, and stating he should drink the whole of it out before he slept.

  There was no evidence of any particular disturbance having occurred.  The Jury adjourned until the following day, in order to procure further evidence.  Accordingly on Saturday morning they again assembled, and examined some other witnesses, but nothing more particular was elicited.

  Dr. Mitchell's certificate, stating deceased died in consequence of the blows inflicted on his head, was read.

Some witnesses proved having seen deceased as late as eleven the preceding night, but no one came forward to prove any thing from that time until six in the morning, when he was discovered by Mr. Smith.  The Jury, after a patient investigation into the matter before them, brought in the following verdict.  That the deceased, John Smith, died in consequence of blows wilfully inflicted upon his person whilst he was in a state of intoxication, by some person or persons unknown. [Friday, 8 May: rewards offered.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 15 May 1829


An Inquest was holden by the Coroner for Sydney, and a Jury of householders, on Wednesday, at the sign of the Sailors' Return, Gloucester-street, Rocks, on view of the body of an individual named Walter Welsh, who has been pretty generally about town  in quality of a bird stuffer.  It appears the poor fellow had obtained permission of the tenant of a house in Gloucester-street, to take up his residence for the night  in the kitchen, for which purpose the master of the house supplied him with a blanket and a pillow, the former of which he foldeed, placed on the table, and laid his head upon it, reposing his body in a chair, in which position he was on Wednesday morning found stiff and cold, having taken his last leave of life, it was supposed, for several hours.  The Jury, under direction of the Coroner, returned a verdict,  died by the visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 26 May 1829

SUPREME COURT.---(Criminal side.)


John Naughten was indicted for the wilful murder of Elizabeth Ryan, on Saturday se'nnight, in Cumberland-street.

  Prisoner pleaded guilty; but by advice of the learned Judge the prisoner afterwards substituted a plea of not guilty.

  The facts of this case we laid before the public about the time of their occurrence.  We shall now be contented with a brief recapitulation.  It was a "washing day" when the murder took place.  About one o'clock deceased said to another woman who was at the tub with her, there is plenty of cold meat for the men's dinner, and we can have some ham for ours."  Scarcely had these words been uttered, when in walked the prisoner, and with very abusive language added, "he would not have her leavings."  An altercation ensued, and deceased said, "let me have none of your bouncing---stay till your master comes home"---to which prisoner replied, with "I will have your bl-dy life."  He then ran up the yard, and picking up an axe, deceased ran into the house, crying to the washer-woman, "Oh, Betty ! Betty !" with terror she tried to force open the bed room door, but not succeeding, prisoner came up, and struck her on the head with the axe.  Deceased reeled against the door.  The wretch repeated his blows, and deceased fell.  He then stood over her, and with the axe uplifted in both hands, struck her violently on the head.  The work of murder was accomplished, and the wretch who did it was taken into custody by some of the neighbours, but tried to escape, which was prevented.

  The Jury pronounced the prisoner guilty, and the learned Chief Justice passed sentence of death---to be carried into effect on Monday.

  The culprit appeared quite made up to this.  He went through the trial in a careless and somewhat determined manner.  [next column: account of his execution.]


A Coroner's Inquest assembled on Saturday evening, at the Tiger public-house, in Kent-street, in the case of a female named Mary M'Hugh, who died at one o'clock on that day, rather suddenly from the evidence of more than one witness, it appeared the deceased had sacficed his [sic] life to the immoderate use of spirituous liquors; and for the last five ot six yerars she had seldom been sober.  The Coroner and Jury, after every consideration, returned a verdict---Died by the Visitation of God.

  An Inquest was taken yesterday at the Blue Lyon Public-house in Kent-street, on the body of Charles Rooke, son of Mr. Rooke, Cabinet-maker, in George-street, aged five years.  Verdict---Accidentally burned.


R. v. Venables [1829] NSWSupC 32

AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 2 June 1829


Mr. Justice Dowling having entered the Court, and taken his seat on the Bench,

 Nathaniel Boon and John Warre were put to the bar, and capitally indicted for the wilful murder of John Phillips, at Long Cove Bridge, on the night of the 24th April last.

It was deposed in evidence that the deceased had left Sydney in company with four carters, for the purposer of conveying goods to Campbell Town, for a man named Robertson.  Long Cove Bridge is distant from Sydney, about five miles, at a distance of a quarter of a mile from which place the deceased, addressing Pearce, said, "Sam is driving on pretty fast, let us drive on, and get up to him."  This was a quarter before 8 o'clock, and quite dasrk.  On arriving at Long Cove Bridge they passed a team on the near side of the road, and continued travelling, when Robertson came up, driving the dray of the deceased, and asked, "is Scotch Jack here?"  On this prisoner was seen to run forward, stopping the other carts, and saying, "I saw a man lying across the bridge at Long Cove, as I came over, and lifted up his head.  It is Scotch Jack, depend upon iy, and he's dead."  Some doubt being expressed of the truth of this statement, the prisoner Boon put out his hands, and said, "why there's the blood on my hand now," on which he took one of his horses out of the cart, and expressed his intention  of galloping back to see.  In about an hour after he was followed by another man, who learned Boon was in custody.  The deceased had a large cut on the upper lip, and a cut on the back of the head, of a contused appearance, four or five of the ribs were broken, and a considerable quantity of blood was discharged.---There was a graze at the back of the head.

 The opinion of Dr. Bland was here taken, who stated, that the body was most probably crushed between the wheel of a cart, and some hard substance, very likely the side of the bridge.  The ribs did not appear as if broken by kicking---they were broken perpendicularly, and all alike, and of the same length.  The head was not fractured.  The wound on the lips was a lacerated one.  The bruise on the temple might have been done by a bullock's horn.

 A constable then deposed, that he saw the deceased lying dead---that Boon was in the act of searching deceased's pockets, when he first came up.  Boon said, that part of the money belonged to him.  He counted the money, and said, "mind you have got twelve dollars."  The prisoners were taken in charge by Mr. Parnell, and went to prison without the least resistance.  Warre was drunk.  Several of the witnesses spoke favorably of the character of the two prisoners, adding, as their belief, that the prisoner Boon was a wealthy man, and could have no earthly object in committing murder to rob the deceased.  This was the evidence on both sides, which his Honor proceded to recapitulate to the Jury, who, after a short consultation, returned into Court with a verdict of acquittal.


Yesterday morning Timothy Murphy, convicted and condemned on Friday last for murder, was hanged in rear of the town gaol.  [continues.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 5 June 1829


An Inquest was held yesterday at the Hope, in Clarence-street, in the case of a female named S. Palmer, who died suddenly the day previously in a miserable hovel in that neighbourhood.  After an investigation of some hours, the Jury, under direction of the Coroner, returned a verdict---Died by the Visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 12 June 1829

SUPREME COURT.---(Criminal side.)


Thomas Burke was indicted for the murder of John Lee, of Liverpool, by running over him with a cart on Clegg's Hill, Liverpool-road.

  Evidence was called in this case, but as it proved to be accidental homicide, and not wilful murder, the prisoner was---Acquitted.


R. v. Ballard or Barrett [1829] NSWSupC 26; sub nom. R. v. Dirty Dick (1828) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 2


AUSTRALIAN, Tuesday 16 June 1829

Last week, a man of the name of Lewis was accidentally shot by his fellow servant, while out fowling.  Lewis was an assigned servant of Capt. Robertson, on the Macquarie River. [Tasmania??]


SYDNEY GAZETTE, 16/06/1829


An Inquest was convened yesterday at Kingston Farm, on the Parramatta-road, a few miles from Sydney, on the body of a fine boy about two yerars of age, who had been permitted to wander about a large garden, in front of the house, at the end of which was a pond, or piece of water, at the bottom of which, between one and two o'clock, the distracted parent found the lifeless body of his child.  Every means to restore animation were resorted to, but without effect.  Verdict---Accidentally drowned.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 18 July 1829

An Inquest has been holding for some two or three days, at Campbell-town, on the body of Mr. Arnsden, who it was reported met his death by a fall from a horse in the vicinity of Bong Bong.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 19 June 1829

An Inquisition was held at Mulgoa, before Mr. Dight, Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on Saturday last, to ascertain the cause of the death of Mr. James King, who had the previous day shot himself at his residence at Fernhill, Mulgoa.  After a minute and patient investigation, the Jury returned a verdict by their Foreman, James Norton, Esq. that the deceased had shot himself in a fit of temporary derangement.

  Another Inquest was taken yesterday, upon view of the body of a man who had been accidentally killed by a tree falling upon him at Lane Cove.

  Since writing the above, the following paragraph has reached us:---

  On Wednesday an Inquest was held before the Coroner, at the Rose and Crown Inn, in the case of John Pope, a painter employed on the premises of Messrs. Paul, who died the day before in the general hospital, in consequence of injuries he received on falling from a scaffold, while painting the skylight in the new auction room of Messrs. Paul.  Verdict, accidental death. [Australian, Tuesday 16 June: An unfortunate painter, who was employed upon the dome light of a recently erected spacious ware-room in rear of  the shop belonging to Messrs. Paul, in George-street, one day last week fell from the scaffolding to the floor, where he remained insensible for some time, and was finally removed to the hospital in a very bruised and dangerous condition.]


The unfortunate painter who was described, in our publication of Tuesday, as having fallen accidentally whilst engaged in colouring a dome from a scaffold raised in the ware-room in rear of Messrs. Paul's shop in George-street, has expired in the hospital.  An Inquest sat on Wednesday upon the unlucky man's remains, and a verdict was returned accordingly.

  On Tuesday, whilst a heavy cart was being driven along Market-street, it came in contact with a child, who falling under one of the wheels, was crushed almost to death by the wheel passing over its chest.  The sad accident soon became known to the agonised parents, and medical aid was speedily procured; but on Tuesday there existed small hope that the unhappy little sufferer could survive many hours.  The driver, we hear, was standing in his cart, in place of leading by the side of his horse.  This lazy negligent practice is most reprehensible, and the police authorities act well in punishing every instance of the kind with severity. [see Friday 26 June.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 26 June 1829

The man mentioned in one of our recent numbers as having driven over a child in Market-street, who with another was passing along the street when the cart drove past, the driver standing all the time in the vehicle, holding the rope reins of his horse, when the cart came into contact with the child, who became severely injured in consequence, though the driver pulled up as soon as he well could, was brought up before the Police on Wednesday, and properly enough for his dangerous laziness, was sentenced to 14 days exercise on the tread-mill.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 3 July 1829

[See also 19th and 26th June.]

The child described in one of our recent numbers as having been run over in Market-street by a cart wheel, and to have been dreadfully mangled; so as to induce fatal consequences, it gratifies us to state, now is in a fair way of recovery.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 8 July 1829



John Furby was indicted for assaulting James Wilkins on the 28th of January, at Melville island, through which deceased Wilkins came by his death.  Prisoner and deceased had a quarrel---they came to blows---but it was cleartly proved that deceased struck first.  Dr. Sherwin proved the deceased came by his death through a contusion of the head.  No intention of malice appeared on the part of the prisoner.  He was acquitted, his ticket of leave being cancelled.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednersday 15 July 1829

On Saturday evening a poor aged man, who procured a livelihood by hawking brooms through Sydney, called at a shop in Park-street, and received some change.  He had not got many yards from the door, when he fell down, and instantly expired.  A few minutes before the melancholy and sudden event, he remarked, that he felt a great pain in his stomach.  A Coroner's Inquest was taken the following day on the body, when a verdict was returned---Died by the Visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 17 July 1829

An Inquest has been sitting for some days at Campbell Town, on the body of Mr. Amsden, some suspicion having arisen as to the alleged statement of Mr. A. having met his death by accident.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 29 July 1829


An Inquest was holden at the Market Wharf, on Saturday last, on the body of a man named John Smith, who it appeared belonged to Cadman's boat, in government employ, which was upset about three weeks ago, when Smith unhappily met a briny grave.  His body was not found till Saturday morning.  Verdict, accidental death.

   Another Inquest was convened afterwards, during the above day, at a house in Market-street, on some suspicion of foul play, respecting the death of a child.  But Dr. Bland having given as his opinion that the infant died from worms, a verdict was returned accordingly.  The female parent of the infant goes by the name of Gulliver.

  On Sunday morning another Inquest was convened at the Rose and Crown, Castlereagh-street, on the body of a poor woman, who had been received a few days before in a state of insensibility into the General Hospital, where she remained for many hours.  The Jury, after viewing the body, and receiving the Surgeon's certificate, returned a verdict of---died by the visitation of God.

  On a late Inquest, not a hundred miles out of Sydney, one of the Jurors asked a witness, we hear, whether the head was on the body or not when the deceased expired?


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 1 August 1829

CHIT-CHAT.---An Inquest was held last Saturday, on the body of a man named John Smith, who was picked up floating this morning.  It appeared, about three weeks ago the deceased was in Cadman's boat belonging to the Government, which upset, and the deceased was unfortunately drowned.  The Jury returned a verdict of accidental death.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 5 August 1829

A report is in circulation, we do not know how far it may be right, that a single lady, in a respectable walk of life at Windsor, on a charge of murdering her illegitimate offspring, has been committed to take her trial for the imputed offence.

  An unfortunate woman, named Wilkins, perished one day last week in George's River, which she was attempting to ford, and in sight of her agonised husband, who, being unable to swim, could render her no assistance.  Besides a husband, the poor creature has left behind four children to deplore her loss.

  An Inquest was held on Sunday last at the Cherry Gardens Inn, Parramatta-road, on the body of a man named Joseph Fisher, who died suddenly the Saturday preceding.  The deceased was a stock-keeper to Mr. S. Terry, while on horse-back he became seized with the cramp in the stomach, which caused him to fall off, he was taken to the house of Mr. Norris, late the sign of the Cheshire Cheese, and expired in about 35 minutes.---Verdict, died by the visitation of God.

  On Monday last an Inquest was held at Mr. Lord's, Mud Bank Botany, on the body of a man named John Joyce, assigned servant to Mr. L. and upwards of half a century old.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased was at Sydney on Friday last, and returning home about 8 in the evening with his cart, while in a state of intoxication, was thrown from it and the wheels passed over his breast.  Dr. Bland was in attendance and gave his opinion on the cause of the man's death.  Verdict---Accidental death, in consequence of a hurt by being thrown from a cart when in a state of intoxication.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 7 August 1829


On Tuesday evening an Inquest was convened at the Settler's Arms, near the Market Wharf, on the corpse of an individual, who, when living, passed by the name of John Watts, who practised the craft of a tanner; and who, at the good old age of three score years and four, hanged himself in a house in Kent-street, about noon, as  was avowed, the self-same day.  For the last nine months the deceased, it was sworn before the Coroner, had laboured under an aberration of intellect, and depression of extreme poverty and wretchedness.  The Jurors decided that the miserable being had destroyed existence in a moment of mental derangement, by de-pending himself with a cord, suspended from a certain beam in a room of the house aforesaid.

  Another Inquest was held yesterday morning at the Harp, Market Wharf, on the body of Robert Wilson, which was picked up that morning at the Five Docks, Parramatta River.  It appeared in evidence the man belonged to Cadman's boat, which was upset about thirty days ago, when the deceased and another unfortunate sufferer, named John Smith, met a watery grave.  Verdict---Accidental death.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 8 August 1829

CHIT-CHAT.---An inquest was held on Sunday at the Cherry Garden, Parramatta Road, on the body of a man named Joseph Fisher.  Verdict---died by the visitation of God.

--An inquest was also holden on Monday at Mud Bank, Botany, on the body of Joseph Joyce, assigned to Mr. S. Lord, who died from a cart passing over his breast.  Verdict---accidental death, in consequence of being thrown out of his cart when in a state of intoxication.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 15 August 1829

An Inquest was held on Saturday, at the Rose and Crown Inn, Castlereagh Street, on the body of Mr. -- -[B]------, belonging to the Colonial Secretary's Office, who put a period to his existence on the morning of the same day.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased had been in a desponding state for the last five weeks, in consequence, as he stated, of a young man lately arrived from England being placed over his head in the office, with an increase of salary, although he had been there nearly 4 years.  Dr. Mitchell's certificate was read, which stated, that the deceased had destroyed himself with a pistol, and that the ball had lodged in his brain.  The jury being perfectly satisfied, returned a verdict, "destroyed himself with a pistol-ball during an aberration of mind."  [Long report follows about his career and expectations.]

---An Inquest was held on Wednesday last, at the Cooper's Arms, brickfield-hill, on the body of a man named Owen Conway, who came to his death at noon on the same day, by being gored in the groin by an infuriated bullock.  Verdict---Accidental Death; and the carcase of the animal forfeited to the crown.

---A female servant of Mr. Andrew Hall, attempted suicide, on Wednesday last, by hanging herself, but was cut down in time to save her life.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 12 August 1829



An enquiry was gone into on Saturday last, at the sign of the Rose and Crown, Castlereagh-street, before Major Sweathman, Coroner for Sydney, and the following householders, who composed a Jury upon the melancholy occasion, viz.

  Mr. Charles Grey, Foreman, Messrs. Edward Sparks, John Penny, Henry Drinkwater, John Brown, Abraham Polack, Joseph Jenning, William Cuthbert, Francis Flannegan, James Alderson, Charles Gregory, and John Mackey.

  After being sworn, the Jury proceeded to Philip-street, to view the body of deceased, Mr. Patrick Brodie, with whose melancholy fate many of our readers in Sydney are already probably acquainted.  The body lay as when the rash deed had been fulfilled.  It lay in bed.  The right hand clenched a pistol; over the lips was suffused a quantity of coagulated blood, with which the left arm of the shirt and the bed was also dyed; the position of the body, and the countenance of the deceased, would not lead us to infer after the discharge of the fatal weapon, that any struggle had taken place.

  Dr. Mitchell having proceeded to examine the head, and the Jury having finished their inspection, re-assembled at the Rose and Crown, to determine on their verdict, when evidence was called.

  Mr. Clarkson, clerk in the Colonial Secretary's Office, deposed, that he was acquainted, and resided with the deceased: since the death of Mr. Panton, late Postmaster general, deponent observed a change in his manner, which deceased attributed to a junior clerk being placed over his head in the same office, the office of the Colonial Secretary, where deceased and deponent were employed, thus disappointing those views of advancement which he had anticipated, and long cherished; deponent frequently heard deceased say, he was unhappy and miserable; a robbery having occurred in Philip-street, deponent, at the desire of deceased, lent him one of his pistols, about three o'clock on Friday last---the pistol with which deceased had committed the fatal deed; deponent for the last time saw deceased about five in the afternoon of that day, when he appeared in a sane state of mind; on coming down stairs next morning, and not finding deceased's bed room door open, deponent knocked and kicked at it for some time, but receiving no answer, became alarmed, and with the assistance of the servant, burst open the door, when he found deceased in the state already described; deponent's friend and companion slept the sleep of death !

  Dr. M.'s certificate stated, that a pistol ball had passed through the palate, or roof of the mouth, and lodged in the brain; Dr. M. was of opinion, that deceased had terminated his existence in a fit of mental aberration.

  Mr. Charles Young, clerk in the Post Office, stated, that deceased and he had been acquaintances for the last four years, and during the four or five weeks past had been constantly in company with deceased, whose manner in the interval underwent an extraordinary change, not from any cloud obscuring his prospects of attachment, but deceased had frequently complained of a junior clerk, with an increased salary, being placed over his head, and that he had not been promoted, though he had served long in the Colonial Secretary's Office; deponent passed the evening previously till half-past eleven o'clock with deceased, who on parting appeared in better heart, so that deponent indulged hopes of recovery from the melancholy reflections which devoured him.

  John Dolan, the servant of deceased, was then called, and deposed to similar circumstances, with this addition, that deceased the evening previously wished him to purchase some laudanum, as he said he could not sleep.

  The Jury consulted for a short time, and then returned a verdict to this effect:---That the deceased had destroyed himself with a pistol ball in a temporary fit of derangement.  [Short editorial follows and Notice of Death aged 27.][See also Friday 14 August, letter from JAMNIA-RHO concerning the "prospects of attachment."]

  An Aboriginal Native, surnamed George Murphy, is in custody on a shrewd suspicion of aiding and abetting in the murder of a man named RIVETS.



THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 14 August 1829


On Tuesday afternoon an old decrepid woman narrowly escaped injury from a bullock, while walking in George-street.  The enraged beast happening to stumble, gave her an opportunity of retreating into the archway of the Custom-house.

  A Coroner's Inquest has sat on the body of the old man [see below] who met his death from a wild bullock near the Parramatta turnpike, on Wednesday last.  In addition to this accident, two others occurred, which had nearly proved fatal.  The victims were two females; one carrying an infant child in her arms, was dreadfully lacerated; the other received a severe wound in her arm, and now lies in a dangerous state.  Fortunately, the infuriated animal was checked in its destructive career at the turnpike, where a body of men assembled, and shot him, or he might have done more mischief.  The above accidents are a few out of the many of which each passing week affords us instances, and which must inevitably recur, until such measures are adopted for the slaughtering of cattle in some convenient part of the precincts, as we have urged over and over again upon public attention.---But we may be told the old story---the Authorities have not time to look into these matters---their hands are too full of business.  If the time and labour discussed for no better purposes than the hunting out libels, waging ex-officio-warfare, and picking holes in the coats of people, were devoted to trivial matters, such as the one just spoken of, and others we could mention, it would be more satisfactory and profitable to all concerned.

  A constable, whose name we have got, during the disturbance created on the man's being killed by the bullock, mentioned above, bustled through the crown with a loaded musket cocked; and on some person speaking to him on the subject, he received in return a volley of abuse.  {See Wednesday 19 August: Dismissed.]

  The bodies of five late unfortunate sufferers, by the wreck of the Foxhound, have been washed ashore, or picked up off the coat, we hear.  One of the sufferers, the master of the vessel, it is said, had wedded a Currency girl but a few days before he sailed upon the fatal cruise.


An Inquest was yesterday convened at the Cooper's Arms, Brickfield Hill, in consequence of a poor man named Owen Conway, 74 years of age, having been killed by a bullock, that had wounded him in the abdomen, and through which the intestines protruded, and he died 10 minutes after the animal had come in contact with, and thus injured him.  The Jury returned "accidental death, occasioned by an infuriated bullock having been in that state, suffered at large in one of the most populous parts of Sydney, coming into contact with the said Owen Conway, and mortally wounding him in the abdomen."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 19 August 1829


An Inquest assembled on Monday at the Bricklayer's Arms, on the body of a person named Wells, who under some suspicion, had met his death by poison.  The Jury, however, being satisfied to the contrary, returned a verdict of---Died by the Visitation of God.


The Sydney Monitor, Monday 24 August 1829


---An Inquest was held on Monday last at the Bricklayer's Arms, on the body of Mr. Wells, who died on Sunday at his residence in Pitt-street.  Some suspicion arose as to the manner of his death; the Jury however being satisfied, returned a verdict of Died by the Visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 26 August 1829


An Inquest was held on Monday at the Rose and Crown, which occupied five hours, on the body of a man named Peter Garland, servant to Mr. Pendray, who came by his death from a stone, which was thrown at him during a tumult.  After a minute's [sic] enquiry, the Jury returned the following verdict:---"That the deceased came to his death in consequence of an injury sustained on the evening of the 13th instant, by a stone thrown at him by some person or persons unknown."


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 29 August 1829

---An Inquest was held on Monday last on the body of Peter Garland.  Verdict---"The deceased came to his death in consequence of an injury sustained by him on the evening of the 13th Instant, by a stone thrown at him by some person or persons unknown."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 28 August 1829

An infant belonging to Mr. Woodley, of George-street, was nearly burnt to death yesterday, in consequence of its clothes catching fire.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 2 September 1829


An Inquest was holden on Monday at the Golden Fleece, George-street, on the body of a young man named Henry [Ward] who put an end to his existence on the morning of the same day.  Verdict, "the deceased had destroyed himself with a pistol in a fit of mental aberration."  The deceased was little more than [?????y] years of age. [See also Friday 4 September.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 4 September 1829

George Murphy, the native black, who has been in custody some weeks, on a charge of murder in Argyle, made his escape on Tuesday night from the watch-house adjoining the Police Office.  The constabulary are in active pursuit, with but little likelihood of recapturing Murphy, who is an active athletic fellow.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 5 September 1829


---An Inquest was held on Monday last at the Golden Fleece, George-street, on the body of a young man named Henry Ward, who shot himself about 11 o'clock on the same day; the Jury returned a verdict "that the deceased destroyed himself with a pistol in an aberration of mind."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 11 September 1829


An Inquest was held yesterday at the Saracen's Head, Cambridge-street, Rocks, on the body of an individual named Thomas Macarthy; who, it appeared, on Tuesday morning last fell down in a fit, in which he continued for upwards of an hour.  He remained in a state of insensibility until about ten o'clock yesterday morning, when he expired.  Verdict---Died by the visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 16 September 1829

On Tuesday the body of George Murphy, the native black, who escaped from the watch-house three weeks since, was found buried uo to the middle in mud, near Mr. Dixon's Steam Engine, Cockle Bay.  It is supposed, that when Murphy broke prison he made for the water, but having goit into the mud, could not extricate himself in consequence of the heavy irons with which he was encumbered, and thus had to remain, until the rising of the tide put a period to his misery. An Inquest was held on his body, who returned a verdict---Found drowned. [See Wednesday 23 September: Quere.  How came it that George Murphy, a free native black, was heavily ironed when in the watch-house, awaiting his examination? and---is such, a customary practise?]


An Inquest was holden on Saturday last at the Tiger public-house, Kent-street, on the body of a man named William Warner, who died on the morning of that day, whilst employed in eating his breakfast.  It appeared the deceased was in a state of the most abject poverty, and had been for some time dragging out a miserable existence.---Verdict, "died by the visitation of God."

  An Inquest was sitting at Newcastle the time the Samuel left, on the body of a stock-keeper, who was murdered, it is supposed, by his fellow servant, in consequence of some information given by the deceased relative to three mares which had been stolen by the survivor.  A native was present at the time the deed was committed, but from the imperfect evidence they could obtain from him, the Jury were rather puzzled how to decide.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 19 September 1829


---An inquest was held on Tuesday evening, at the Harp public house, Market Wharf, on the remains of a black called George Murphy, who was found in Cockle Bay half buried in the mud.  It appeared the deceased escaped from the watch-house on the morning of the 2nd instant, with a pair of heavy irons on his legs, & making for the water, and endeavouring to cross, he stuck in the mud, and there remained until the rising tide put a period to his existence.  Verdict, Accidentally drowned.


On Friday week an Inquest was held at the Newcastle Inn, on the body of a man named Thompson, Stock-keeper to Mr. Connolly, of Regent estate.  From what was reported by a native black, it appeared the stock-keeper of Mr. Threlkeld, named Silks, and the deceased, had been fighting, and the former had not been seen since until discovered dead. Silks was in consequence apprehended, but after a minute examination of the Jury was discharged.  The Jury after sitting two days, returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown." Since the Inquest, some clue has been obtained, which it is expected will lead to the perpetrators of the foul deed.


---An inquest was held on Saturday last at the Tiger public-house in Kent-street, on the body of a man named William Warner, who died on the morning of that day very suddenly, whilst eating his breakfast.  It appeared the deceased was in a state of the most abject poverty, and had been for some time dragging out a miserable existence.  Verdict---"Died by the visitation of God."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 25 September 1829


Last Sunday week, the 13th inst. Susan Harbert, a little girl about ten years of age, while putting the tea kettle on, thro' her clothes catching fire, became severely burnt.  The unhappy little sufferer was taken to the general hospital, in order to have her wounds dressed, and thence home, where she lingered in agony till next day, when she was again removed to the hospital at the female factory, where death relieved her from further mortal suffering, on the 16th inst.  The friends of the little creature again removed the body, and had a coffin, made to contain it.  On Thursday, at four o'clock, as the corpse was in readiness to be taken to its last bourne, there appeared at length, we understand, the Coroner and Jury ! who, after examining the body, and two witnesses, brought in a verdict of accidental death.

  We cannot but express surprise and sorrow at the above.  Not doubting the statement to be correct, why was the Inquest not held before the removal of the dead body from the hospital, and on Wednesday, when the girl died?  Was the Coroner too busily engaged otherwise to attend his business on the above occasion, and how was he engaged---on public business, or on private?  We know that the stipend to a Coroner is not very great, and that delay in the above case might not be so detrimental altogether publicly considered, as in many cases of neglect and of sudden death.  Still these do nor excuse tardiness such as that we have described.  We hope it will not fall to our lot to describe a repetition of similar negligence. [Denial of this report published in the SYDNEY GAZETTE on Saturday; referred to in a letter from CINRON in Australian, Wednesday 30 September 1829.]


R. v. Parker and Donavan [1829] NSWSupC 59


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 7 October 1829


On Sunday evening last a man named James Poole [McManus], who is known to have been deranged for some years, in one of his usual fits commenced flinging stones at the windows of St. John's Church, in Parramatta.  The bell-ringer [Edward Vales] who was employed at the time on a peal, stepped outside to discover who was committing the sacriligeous devastation, when he was seized upon [bones??] and body, by the maniac, flung on the ground, and speedily disburthened of - his head by an axe, with which the infuriated wretch chanced to be provided.  With demoniacal vengeance the madman next plucked out the eyes of his victim from the severed head.---He was shortly after taken into custody, and when discovered, was in a state of nudity.  This horrible affair has created no ordinary sensation. [See 16th October.]

  A man, whose name we have not yet learned, is at present undergoing examination at Campbell Town, on suspicion of having murdered his wife, whose corpse the neighbours had discovered, under such circumstances, as to leave but little doubt as to the perpetrator of the foul deed.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 9 October 1829


Major Smeathman, Coroner for Sydney, convened an Inquest on Monday morning at the Cherry-tree Garden public-house, Parramarra-road, on the body of a man named Wm. Sloden, who had died the preceding evening on Long Cove Bridge, as persons were in the act of conveying him from Parramatta to Sydney, where was his place of residence.  The deceased had been long in a declining state of health, and his life was despaired of previous to leaving Parramatta.  He died, however, well advanced into "the vale of years."  The Jury returned a verdict of---"Died by the visitation of God."

  During the course of last week a person at Windsor, named M'Ginnis, having taken his assigned servant before the Bench of Magistrates, and lodged a complaint against him, dropped down on a sudden, dead, whilst calling on the Almighty to witness what he swore to !  An Inquest has sat upon the body; and returned a verdict of---"Died by the visitation of God."

  A report of a most horrid murder at Bathurst has reached us.  Five Europeans are said to have been slaughtered, and devoured by the Natives in that district.  A strong party has been sent to apprehend the offenders.  We shall make our readers more fully acquainted with the particulars as we receive them.


AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 14 October 1829


On Friday, the 9th instant, Major Smeathman, Coroner for Sydney, held an Inquest at Mud Bank, Botany, or Cook's River, on the body of a young woman named Mary Furness, who on the preceding evening had been playing in the garden of her cottage, with a little girl about eight years of age, when she was seized with a fit of coughing, which was succeeded by vomiting of blood, and in ten minutes after she was a corpse.  The Jury returned---Died by the Visitation of God.

  Another awful instance of sudden death occurred on Friday, in the instance of a man named John M'Cabe, servant to Mr. David Maziere, of George-street.  It appeared upon the Coroner's Inquest, which took place on Saturday morning at the Talbot Inn, Sydney, that the man, while helping to remove some casks of pork on Mr. Maziere's premises, became suddenly unwell, sunk down under the shed in the yard, and expired in about a quarter of an hour, without returning a sentence.  Verdict---Died by the Visitation of God.


R. v. Wright [1829] NSWSupC 70


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 16 October 1829

On Friday last a female, named Salmon, in a state of despondency threw herself into the Nepean.  The body, after a long searcvh, was brought to land; but all attempts to restore animation proved fruitless.  An inquest was held on the body and a verdict returned to this effect: that the deceased had drowned herself during a state of temporary derangement.


R. v. Macmanus [1829] NSWSupC 71


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 21 October 1829

A very brutal assault was perpetrated on Monday, it was reported, by a man named Morris, on the person of his wife, who at the close of business at the Police Office on that day, lay stretched in a room adjoining, a pitiable spectacle.  Faint hopes existed of her lingering out many hours.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 23 October 1829

On Tuesday night a child [Harmer], playing at the mouth of an open well adjoining a dwelling on the brickfields, fell in---

"Deep, deep---where never care or pain

Shall reach her innocent heart again."

An inquest was taken on the body.

  On the same night, the cook [JAMES WILSON] of the Government schooner Isabella, while going on board in a state of intoxication, fell from the plank extending between the vessel and the shore, and was drowned before succour could be rendered.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 24 October 1829


---On Friday last, a female named Salmon, in a state of despondency threw herself into the Nepean River.  The body after a long search was brought to shore, but all attempts to restore animation were in vain.  An inquest was held on the body and a verdict was returned of "Drowned herself during a state of temporary derangement."


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 14 November 1829

CORONER'S INQUEST.---An Inquest was held on Tuesday last, at the Sailor's Return on the Rocks, on the body of Sarah Hyde, whom met her death from the hand of a man with whom she cohabited, named John Rawlings, who, in consequence of a dispute, struck her twice on the head, a short time after which she expired.  Doctors Bland and McTernon gave it as their opinion, that she died from strangulation.  The Jury returned a verdict of manslaughter, and the prisoner was committed to take his trial.

  At a place called Black Creek at Hunter's River, the skeleton of a man has been found; along with which, was a piece of a jacket, a leather belt, and a piece of rusty iron; enquiries have been set on foot to discover whose these remains are.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 28 October 1829

The African named James Wilson, who was drowned in attempting to gain his vessel on Tuesday night, was buried on Thursday with nautical distinctions.


On Wednesday last, as we mentioned before---the Coroner for Sydney, convened an Inquest, at the Talbot Inn, George-street, on the body of a child named Benjamin Harmer, four years old, who had slipped into a water hole behind his father's house on the Brickfield-hill, and was brought out dead.  verdict---Accidental Death.

 On the same day an Inquest was held at THE AUSTRALIAN Hotel, on the body of a man named James Wilson, belonging to the Government schooner Isabella.  It appeared in evidence, that the deceased was in a state of intoxication late on Tuesday evening, and in attempting to get on board the vessel, fell off the plank, and was drowned, as mentioned in our last.  Verdict---Accidental Death.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 30 October 1829


Major Smeathman, Coroner for Sydney, convened an inquest at the Talbot Inn, George-street, at 7 o'clock on Tuesday evening last, on the body of John Sampson, Esq. late Solicitor General, who died suddenly at one o'clock, on the same day.  The following gentlemen composed a Jury upon this occasion---Mr. Justice Dowling, foreman - Messrs. Edward Spark, Charles Gray, James Oatley, Joshua Holt, George Williams, John Dickson, James Wiltshire, Jos. Andrews, Samuel Clayton, Launcelot Iredale, and Thomas Barker.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased had been indisposed for some time past; but, on the day in question, appeared in much better health, and had partaken of a hearty breakfast, after which he reclined upon a couch.  His servant deposed that hearing a groan, about one o'clock, he repaired to his master's room and found him a corpse.  Drs. Bland and Macternan attended and exmained the body, certifying that the cause of death arose from rapid decay of the lungs.  The Jury recorded their verdict, died by the visitation of God.

  Two men, named Charlton and Black, grass cutters, are supposed to have been lost by the upsetting of their boat, on her passage hither from Port Aikin, not having been heard of since they left that station.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 30 October 1829

A dismembered human skeleton was recently discovered at Black Creek, Hunter's River, with a few metal buttons, and a knife; to whom the relics belonged, or how they came to be in that recluse spot, is yet a mystery.


The Coroner held an Inquest at the sign of the Sailor's Return, Cumberland-street, on the Rocks, on the body of late Quarter-Master Charles Macintosh, who died on Friday evening about seven o'clock, suddenly, after having been from four o'clock on that day taken ill.  The Jury, after due deliberation, returned a verdict "Died by the visitation of God."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 11 November 1829


Yesterday, Major Smeathman, Coroner for Sydney, convened an Inquest at the sign of the Sailor's Return, Cumberland-street, Rocks, on the body of Sarah Hyde, who was reported to have come to her death by undue means the evening previously.  It appeared in evidence that the deceased and a man she cohabited with, named John Rowling, had disputed one night; when the deceased by a blow was knocked down, but being picked up, she immediately flung a tin cup at Rowling's head, on which she was again knocked down, and having again been picked up shortly after expired.  Drs. Bland and M'Ternan gave it as their opinion that the deceased met her death by strangulation, as the throat bore evident marks of injury from compression.  A verdict of manslaughter was recorded by the Inquest, and Rowling has been fully committed under the Coroner's warrant.

  A wood-boat, coming down the Parramatta River, was upset, and it is reported that two men who were in her met a watery grave.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 13 November 1829


Major Smeathman, Coroner for Sydney, held an Inquest on Wednesday at the sign of the Settlers Arms, Cockle Bay, on the body of Mr. Benjamin Dickens, who was drowned the day before in the evening, about six o'clock, whilst bathing immediately opposite the above public-house.  The Jury, after every attention to the circumstances, brought in a verdict of---"the deceased was accidentally drowned while bathing, in consequence of getting entangled amongst some floating planks."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 20 November 1829


To the Editor of THE AUSTRALIAN,

Parramatta, Nov. 17, 1829.

SIR,---Knowing that your independent columns are ever open for redress, I beg leave to submit to you the following FACTS.

  On Monday, the 26th inst. about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I was informed that a woman lay dead at the Female Factory, which called for public enquiry as to how she came by her death.  A Coroner's Inquest was at that time sitting at the Factory.  I hastened to the spot to endeavour to get admission to collect such information as I thought necessary, agreeable to the nature of my employment.  On my arrival at the Factory I knocked at the gate, which was opened by the gate-keeper.  I requested to be allowed to go into the room where the jurors were sitting, and stated myself to be your REPORTER.  The gate-keeper said he could not allow me to go, but would enquire of Mrs. Gordon, the matron.  Mrs. Gordon then came to the gate, told me that no person should be admitted, and ordered the gates to be shut.  I then told her my business, and observed that inquests of that nature ought to be conducted in public and not with closed doors.  I remained at the gate a considerable time and knocked again, and begged to be allowed to see the Coroner, or one of the jury whom I named, but was informed by Mrs. Gordon that no person should see either of them.  I remained at the gate till the jury came out, and requested to be informed if any orders had been given that the inquest should be private, and if it were their orders that I should not be admitted.  They said they did not know I had been there, and wished I had been admitted to see the body, as it was a shocking sight, the face and other parts of the corpse being as black as ink; and that had they known I was waiting to report the facts of the matter, they would have insisted on my being admitted, not alone as respected their individual sense of propriety than out of a common regard to public expediency.  Hoping that you will not permit this business to pass over in silence, I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, H----- T----.

  An assigned servant of Mr. Alexander Frazier, of Castlereagh, named Michael Brown, terminated his existence by a pistol shot, on Friday se'nnight.  An inquest assembled on the body, who recorded their opinion, that the deceased committed the fell act whilst in a fit of mental derangement.  The miserable man lingered some hours after the fatal shot.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 27 November 1829

A seaman of the Amity was buried on Wednesday afternoon with naval honors, having come to his death through hard drinking.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Saturday 5 December 1829

One of the crew of the Vibilia, quite a young man [John Carter], a native of Kirkcudbrick, in Gallaway, and a general favorite with his messmates, as well as commander, has been mysteriously missing for this week past.  It is feared the poor fellow has been secretly made away with among some of those infamous stews which have grown to such excess, under the most unwise and most pernicious license monopoly system.

  On Monday Thomas Brogen, a native black, was fully committed to take his trial for the wilful murder of a stockkeeper, at Illawarra.

  George Murphy, another native black, who was found not long since drowned in Cockle Bay, with heavy irons on, is stated to have been an accomplice in the affair.  Query.  How did it occur that George Murphy, being a free man, though "a black fwllow," was ironed previous to examination?


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 9 December 1829


Major Smeathman, Coroner for Sydney, convened an inquest on Thursday last, at Cummings's Hotel, on the body of a seaman of the Vibalia, named John Carter, who it appeared had come on shore the Saturday previously, when he became excessively intoxicated, and had not been seen afterwards till picked up in the cove.  The inquest found a verdict of accidentally drowned.

  Another inquest was convened by the Coroner, on Sunday morning, at the Talbot Inn, on the Brickfield-hill, on the body of a female child, named Ellen Walker, about seven years of age, who was found drowned in a deep and dangerous well the preceding evening about 9 o'clock.  The Coroner, after animadverting pretty sharply and very properly upon the negligence of the owner of the well, returned with the jury to the inn, and recorded a verdict of accidentally drowned, on the premises of John Perry, a carpenter, residing on the Brickfield-hill.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 12 December 1829


An Inquest was held at Cumming's Hotel on Friday last, by Major Smeathman, on the body of a seaman of the Vibilia, who was picked up in Sydney Cove on the day previously; it appeared that he had been on shore for several days, during which time he was seen continually intoxicated, and it is supposed that in attempting to gain his vessel by swimming, he was drowned.  Verdict: accidental death.

  Another Inquest was held at the Talbot Inn, George-street on Sunday morning on the body of Ellen Walker, a girl of seven years of age, who came to her death by falling into a well on the Brickfield Hill, while she was returning home with a bundle of linen which was found at the bottom of the well.  Verdict, Accidentally drowned in a well in a dangerous and exposed situation belonging to Mr. Perry, Carpenter, Brickfields.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 18 December 1829

On Tuesday last Mr. Hone, the Coroner, held an inquest upon the body of a male child, found in a certain place of the Female Factory, with a piece of tape (triply folded) round its neck, and the result was, a verdict of wilful murder against Mary M'Lachlan alias Sutherland.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Wednesday 23 December 1829

A man [Roger Cassidy] was found in an uninhabited hut on the Parramatta-road, on Thursday evening, with his throat cut from ear to ear, and the wind-pipe nearly all through.  The unfortunate wretch was conveyed to mine host of the Cherry Gardens, public house, where sundry kind attentions were paid to hiom.  He could not utter a syllable, and the throat-cutting yet remains a mysery.  The man was yesterday in the General Hospital.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 25 December 1829



A Correspondent has sent us the following, with a request that it may be rendered public, which for the sake of justice we comply with most willingly.  Subjoined is our Correspondent's statement:---

  "On Thursday last, Charles Holland, a prisoner of the Crown, who arrived lately in the Colony, was with a number of others sent under escort of constables up the country, under assignment to Dr. Harris.  When about six miles from Parramatta, Holland complained that he was tired, and could not travel any further, having his bed, bedding, &c. to carry, the constables were compelled to leave him, and proceed with the other prisoners.  It was afterwards ascertained that he had walked half a mile, and about twelve o'clock he was found dead, and that his bed, blankets, &c. were taken from him.  The body was removed to a constable's house, where it remained till Friday morning, and was then brought to Parramatta Hospital, and lodged in the "dead house."  No Coroner was forthcoming till four o'clock on Saturday afternoon, when an Inquest was warned to attend.  The Inquest proceeded to the dead house to examine the body, but found from the length of time it had been kept, that it was impossible to go near it, to see whether the man had been murdered, or in their opinion how he came by his death.  The Jury examined a few witnesses, but from want of further evidence, were obliged to adjourn to Monday morning, when other witnesses were brought in and examined.  After consulting for some hours the following verdict was arrived at---The Inquest return a verdict, found dead, supposed from fatigue.      (Signed)

                                              J. JONES, Foreman.

James Kay, James Byrnes, Robert Foulcher, J. Stephenson, William Wells, J. Pitchess, Richard Hunt, James Duncan, Hugh Taylor, J. Lee, Matthew Howlett.

  The Inquest, in returning their verdict, feel bound to state, that through the lapse of time from Thursday, twelve o'clock to Saturday five o'clock, between the decease of Charles Holland and the Inquest being impanelled, great neglect has manifestly been in some quarter.  The Inquest might have arrived at a different verdict, but from the decomposed state of the body which prevented the surgeon from examining it.

                                            (Signed) JOSEPH JONES,


Similar cases of neglect are of frequent occurrence at Parramatta.  The body in question lay from Thursday until Monday.  The inhabitants in general beg you will publish this statement."

   Comment on the above is unnecessary.  The facts are plain enough.  It will be for the Government to see that they do not slur them over without a mature investigation.  We will not tamely look on, and view the public interests trifled with.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Thursday 31 December 1829


On Thursday evening the Coroner for Sydney convened an Inquest at the Fox and Hounds, Castlereagh-street, on the body of a man named Roger Cassidy, a prisoner of the  crown, who some days previously cut his own throat, on the Parramatta-road, in a very dreadful manner, having nearly severed the windpipe, of which he died in the General Hospital on Wednesday.  Previous to his death he confessed having committed the rash act with an old knife.  The Jury returned a verdict of---destroyed himself during a momentary aberration of mind.

  An inquest was held before Major Smeathman, coroner, at the Fox & Hounds, Castlereagh-street, on Wednesday, on the body of a man named Joseph Smith, who had been admitted into the General Hospital on the preceding day and died soon afterwards.  Verdict---Died by the visitation of God.

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