Skip to Content

Colonial Cases


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 7 January 1831

Coroner's Inquests.---On Sunday the 26th ult. an inquest was held at Grove Park, on the body of a Government servant, James St[????], a youth, per ship Competitor.  He had drunk a few glasses of grog on the Christmas day, but when last seen was not intoxicated.  On the spot where he was found he had evidently emptied his stomach.  His face was buried in the mud, about two yards from high water mark, on a bank of the Hawkesbury River.  Verdict---found dead.

Another inquest was held on Tuesday afternoon, on the body of John Legg, a Government servant to Mr. John M'Donald, of Pitt Town.  He was drowned on the 26th ult., when in a state of intoxication, while attempting to cross the Hawkesbury River in a canoe.  Verdict---accidentally drowned.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 12 January 1831


The final end of poor Ann Mc'Hue, the wife of Dennis Mc'Hue.

Reprint of previous letter with further comments about their treatment: "the hapless tale of this aged oppressed couple, whose grey hairs were so wantonly brought down with sorrow to the grave."


R v Cook, Murphy, Bubb and Wilson [1831] NSWSupC 2.


R v Young, Hooper and Battie [1831] NSWSupC 4


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 21 January 1831

Coroner's Inquests.---The Coroner held an inquest on Monday the 10th instant, at Mr. Blackman's, Windsor Hotel, on view of the body of Robert Chambers, who was found drowned in the South Creek, a little below Howe Bridge.  There were no marks of violence on the body.

Another inquest was held on the 13th, at Mrs. Dargin's, Red Lion Inn, George-street, Windsor, on the body of Eliza Toomey, an infant 7 weeks old.  The infant died from injury sustained by her mother accidentally overlaying it in her sleep.

On Thursday the Coroner held an inquest at the Barley Mow, Castlereagh-street, Sydney, on an old man named Thomas Fitzgerald, who died suddenly at 1 o'clock the same day, verdict---died by the visitation of God.

An inquest took place at the King's Head, near the Custom-house, on the body of a Mr. de la Pryme, which was found in the water, near Mr. Campbell's Wharf.  He had been drinking the preceding day copiously of rum and other libations, and about 9 o'clock on the Saturday evening, is supposed to have fallen in to the water, and soon become suffocated, as he was found near the shore floating, with his face downwards.  Verdict---found drowned.

The steward of the Andromeda, prison ship, on Monday evening, accidentally fell down the fore-hatchway of that vessel, a depth of 17 or 18 feet---his head coming in contact with some iron-bound water casks, the skull was fractured in several places, and death ensued the same night.  Dr. Moran was called in, but too late to give relief.  The deceased is said to have been a remarkably sober man, and was much liked by his shipmates.

Supreme Court.


FRIDAY, JAN. 14th. --- Present Mr. Justice Dowling, before whom, and the usual Commission of seven commissioned officers, paid 15s. each per diem, for doing the duty,

Robert Young and John Hooper were indicted for the wilful murder of John Mason, by strangling him with a rope, at Newcastle, on the 6th of July last.  Francis Battie the gaoler, was also included in the indictment, pro forma, as an accessary before the fact.

It appeared in evidence that the deceased Mason, being charged before the Bench of Magistrates, at Newcastle, with having threatened the life of his overseer, was sentenced to receive a corporal punishment of 100 lashes, which not liking, he resisted the efforts used to tie him up in the gaol, when the prisoner, Battie, called for assistance.  Young slipped a cord round the neck of the deceased, who put his hands to his throat, and with the assistance of Hooper, the wretched man still resisting, was dragged towards an upright pole, round which one end of the rope passed, and the prisoner and Young still pulling on the rope, a confine named Lockett, seeing blood from Mason's nose, and he black in the face, cried, "the man is choking," when the prisoners let the rope go, and the body of Mason fell flat on the floor, and inanimate.  Battie was not present at all during this scene, and when told of it, instantly required the attendance of Mr. Brooks, the Gaol surgeon, who was one of the Bench that sentenced Mason to receive 100 lashes; and who, on arriving, said the man was dead, and endeavoured to bleed him, but without effect.

Several persons of respectability, among whom were the Sheriff, Mr. G. T. Graham, of Hunter's River, and Mr. E. Sparke having given Mr. Battie an excellent character for humanity and good feeling towards the prisoners under his charge, and it being deposed that Mason's resistance was so violent, as to require force to compel him to undergo punishment, Mr. Justice Dowling having recapitulated the evidence with his usual minuteness, elucidating as he went on, left it to the Commission to say, whether they were of opinion Mason came by his death as stated in the information and, if so, whether the prisoners acted with a deliberate intention to take his life, or to draw him up to the pole only, to receive his punishment, as in the latter case, though the act was highly unjustifiable and criminal, yet the crime would be mitigated to manslaughter, of which Young and Hooper were pronounced guilty, and remanded.  Battie was acquitted, and instantly discharged by proclamation.

Mr. Kerr and Mr. Williams appeared for the prisoners.

Wednesday, 19.---Henry Yately was indicted for manslaughter, in killing and slaying one Edward Riley, at Pitt Town, on the 4th of December last.  Not Guilty.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 22 January 1831



FRIDAY.---Crown Side.---Before Mr. Justice Dowling and the usual Commission.

Robert Young and John Hooper, were indicted for the wilful murder of John Mason, by strangling him with a rope, at Newcastle, on the 6th July, and Francis Battie was also indicted as an accessary before the fact. [5 columns]

The learned Judge then summed up, recapitulating the evidence, and the Jury, after an absence of about ten minutes, found Young and Hooper Guilty of Manslaughter. Remanded.---Battie Not Guilty. Discharged.

MONDAY.---Before Mr. Justice Stephen, and the usual Commission.

Sarah Melon, alias Fishburne, was indicted for killing and slaying a male child at Windsor on the 26th September.

It appeared in evidence, that the prisoner acted as a midwife, and delivered a Mrs. Slaney of the infant in question.  On the evening of the same day, she returned to the house intoxicated, and, taking the child in her arms, gave it two or three pieces of sugar and butter.  She then took the child by the heels, and gave it two or three shakes.  The mother enquired what that was for?  The prisoner answered she always did so with new-born infants.  Shortly after, the child expired.  The Doctor gave it as his opinion, that the child met his death from bleeding, in consequence of the umbilical cord being negligently  tied; the increased bleeding of which might have been in some degree caused by the shaking.

There being no proof of malus animus, the case was put to the Jury by the learned Judge, who found her Not Guilty, and she was discharged by proclamation, after a proper caution in all such cases in future.

(N.B.---If this midwife cannot be punished for a misdemeanour, it should appear that the English law is such, that any one under the plea of delivering a pregnant woman is allowed to be grossly ignorant of her profession, and is at full liberty so to treat the child when born in such a way as will most likely cause its death.  ED.)

On Monday evening the steward of the Andromeda, while under the influence of liquor, fell down one of the hatchways of that vessel, was killed on the spot, many of his bones being broken.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 26 January 1831

On Monday an Inquest was held at the Fox and Hounds, Castlereagh Street, on the body of a man named John Cook, a messenger to the Treasury, and who was in the constant habit of bathing after leaving the office, and it is supposed that while so engaged he was seized with the cramp, as his body was found undressed in the water without any marks of violence upon it.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally Drowned."


On Saturday night a seaman belonging to the brig Elizabeth, missed stays and pitched down the fore-hatchway; he lingered until Sunday when he expired.  On Monday morning an inquest was held at the Rose and Crown Inn, Castlereagh-street, and a verdict returned of "Accidental Death."


Robert Young and John Hooper convicted of killing and slaying John Mason, in Newcastle gaol, by hanging him with a rope, sentenced to be imprisoned for three calendar months.

On Sunday an Inquest was held at the King's Head, near the Custom's House, on the body of a young man named Dole Pryme, who was found drowned the same morning near Mr. Campbell's Wharf.  It is supposed the unfortunate deceased met his death while under the influence of large potations of ardent spirits; the body being found floating face downwards.  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 28 January 1831


Robert Young and John Hooper convicted of manslaughter, in feloniously killing and slaying one John Mason at Newcastle, were sentenced, in consideration of their having already endured an imprisonment of seven months, to be further imprisoned  for three calendar months.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Saturday 19 February 1831

Dreadful Accident.---As Mrs. Kelly, wife of Mr. Hugh Kelly, of the Bird-in-hand, half-way public house, between Parramatta and Windsor, was on Saturday evening last, racking off some spirits into a bucket, a  spark from the candle she held, set the spirit on fire, which catching the clothes of the unfortunate woman, burned her, so that she only survived the accident 41 hours, during which time, she endured the most excruciating agony.  Mr. Kelly, is thus a widower for the third time; with a large young family bereaved of a mother's care.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 4 March 1831

The Factory.---We hear strange tales from this abode of vice: of joy and woe; of crime and penitence.  Has an inquest been taken on the bodies of the two unfortunate woman who died there lately?  If not, why not?  If so, what has been the result?  Every death in a prison, no matter how tedious, or how sudden, should unfailingly be subject for "Crowner's quest."  [Continues with another case.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 11 March 1831

CORONER'S INQUEST.---On Thursday, the 3d inst., an inquest was convened at Emu Plains, by Mr. John Howe, Coroner, and a respectable Jury, on the body of Alexander M'Gregor, a corporal in the Mounted Police, but a private soldier of the 17th foot, in the course of which it appeared, that the deceased was, latterly, in the habit of getting continually drunk, for which he was reported.  Captain Forbes of the Mounted Police ordered him to Head-quarters to join his regiment.  He lost the Mail-bag on the road to Collet's, and being reprimanded severely by the Superintendent of Police, at Penrith, terminated his existence by shooting himself with a loaded pistol in the abdomen, early on the morning of the 2d instant, in a stable; first directing the attention of Captain Wright, who was called up on the occasion, to a piece of paper, in which the deceased described his reasons for the fatal act.  Verdict accordingly.

Shortly before, an inquest was held at Jackson's Mill, in the district of Evan, on the body of a man found afloat in the Nepean River, near the bank, by a female, as she was crossing the shallows on horseback.  The body had on a prisoner's frock; two pair of trowsers were attached to the left wrist by a small cord, with a bag containing some shoemaker's tools.  Verdict---The body of a man unknown found drowned in the Nepean River.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 18 March 1831

A New Zealander in the employ of Mr. Francis Mitchell, terminated his existence on Monday, by suspending himself with a rope from one of the [?????].


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 25 March 1831

CORONER'S INQUEST.---An inquest was convened by the Coroner, on Friday, at Mr. J. [Henery's??], sign of the Freeman's Arms, in York-street, on view of the body of James Howard, who it appeared in evidence obtained his living by making ginger beer. He as continually drunk.  While walking through the street the preceding day, on his ordinary business, he was taken ill, and conveyed home, where he died the ensuing morning.  Dr. Bland certified that inflammation of the lungs was the immediate cause of his death, and the jury returned a verdict of---Died by the visitation of God.

Another inquest was taken on Tuesday 15th instant, on the body of James Porchmouth, an old settler on the Nepean River, who was found hanging in his own house on the preceding evening.---The deceased had lately abandoned himself much to drinking, under the influence of which, it is supposed, he terminated his existence, to which effect a verdict was returned.  He was much respected by his brother settlers.

An inquest was taken at the Windsor Hotel, on Sunday last, on the body of Patric Jones, a Prisoner by the ship Lady Harewood, who was drowned whilst bathing in the South Creek.  Verdict---accidentally drowned.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 13 April 1831

An old pensioner named John Mc'Quire, was taken by a friend of his (Mr. Ikin, of the Globe Tavern) to the General Hospital, in an exhausted state, and duly received as a fit subject for medical assistance.  On Thursday last, upon enquiry being made by Mr. Ikin, he was informed that he was getting better, but that no person was permitted by the rules of the Hospital to visit him.  On Saturday he was wheeled in a wheelbarrow to Mr. Ikin's door in a dying state, by an attendant at the General Hospital.  He remonstrated with the man who brought him, saying, that he was astonished the poor veteran should have been sent from the hospital in that state, and that he was doubtful whether he ought to take him into his house, as he believed he would die very soon; when the man in answer plainly told him, that if he "did not take him in, he should tumble him out of the wheelbarrow into the street, and leave him there." Mr. Ikin, thus threatened by the barbarian, took the poor man in, and every attention was paid to him by the family, but he died in the evening.

On Saturday evening last a Coroner's inquest was held at the bricklayer's Arms, Market Street, on the body, when a verdict was returned of, Died by the visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 15 April 1831

Coroner's Inquests.---On Monday evening last, the Coroner convened an inquest at the Talbot Inn, Brickfield-hill, after view of the body of Augustus Antonio, that had been suffocated by the effluvia arising from one of Mr. R. Cooper's vats at the distillery the same morning.  Verdict, Accidental death, occasioned by suffocation.

Warrants have issued, we are glad to find, for apprehending five men, who are suspected of being implicated in the murder of Mr. John M'Intyre, some time ago at Hunter's River.  It is supposed by his own servants.

A poor man, who had long served his King and country as a soldier, but had for some years past betaken himself to the bottle, was admitted into the General Hospital one day last week.  At his earnest request, he was removed thence to the Globe Tavern, Castlereagh-street.  He was transported in a wheelbarrow and tumbled out on the pavement.  The barrowman in answer to Mr. Ikin's (the landlord's) humane enquiries, said he would tumble him out, and let him lie there.  The poor fellow died in the evening.  We think a less rude and comfortable conveyance might have been found for a dying man than a wheelbarrow.  These hospitals (if this be the way of doing business,) need looking after.  We mean to take a bird's eye view of the whole (Newcastle included) very shortly.

A Mrs. White, late of the Talbot Inn, George-street, suffered much injury from a wild bullock knocking her down on Saturday week, that she went home, and being in an advanced state of pregnancy and without medical assistance, died on Saturday last at her house, opposite the Plough Inn, Parramatta road.  Doctor Smith, of Pitt-street, who was called in, but too late to relieve the unfortunate woman, gave it as his opinion that she died from want of medical aid, being near the hour of parturition.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 29 April 1831

An assigned servant belonging to Mr. William Hutchinson, named Philip Richards, put a period to his existence early on Tuesday morning, by suspending himself with a rope in the stable, while under the influence of despondency, through drinking to excess.  Verdict---Insanity.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 13 May 1831

Since our last publication, no less than three Inquests have been held before the Coroner.


On Friday, a fine little girl, the daughter of Mr. Fowler, timber dealer of Cockle Bay, being left alone for some minutes while her step-mother was away, in taking a kettle off the fire, ignited her clothes, and in a few moments they were in a blaze, so that before the destructive element could be smothered, the child had suffered so severely as to die the same afternoon in excruciating agony.  Considering the carelessness of parents and servants, not only with regard to children and fires, but leaving wells open and exposed, we are only surprised that fatal accidents are not more frequent.  It is said, that the girl was in the service of Mr. Nott, school-master.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 18 May 1831

A Coroner's Inquest was held on Saturday last on the bodies of Mary Dunn, a girl in the employ of Mr. George Bunn, who came by her death from falling off a wall at the back of the premises into the mud and being smothered, and on Wm. Cruthers, a private of His Majesty's 17th regiment, who fell from the parapet in the Military Barrack Yard.---Verdict in both cases---Accidental Death.

Twelve of the gentlemen who composed the inquest on the body of the late Mrs. Bell, who was poisoned by eating toad-fish, addressed a letter to the Lieutenant Governor, on the subject of one of their body, Mr. Emmett, Chief Clerk, in the Colonial Secretary's office, being called and detained away from the Inquest, as they supposed, vexatiously, which seems to have given rise to a rather unsatisfactory correspondence between the Inquest, the Colonial Secretary, and Lieutenant Governor.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 20 May 1831

The Coroner held an inquest on the 13th instant, at the Coach and Horses, Cumberland-street, on the body of William Crothers, a private of the 17th foot, who, on Wednesday morning preceding, about 3 o'clock, was found by one of his comrades lying in the Barrack Square, his right thigh broken, and otherwise much injured.  He was taken to the Regimental Hospital, and expired on the Friday following.  Upon opening the body it was found he had sustained a rupture of the bladder, which must have produced death.  He is supposed to have fallen from the verandah into the square, when in a state of intoxication.  Verdict "died in consequence of injuries accidentally occasioned by a fall."

An Inquest was held at Mr. Bax's, THE AUSTRALIAN Hotel, George-street, on Sunday last, on the body of Mary Dunn, lately assigned to Captain Bunn.  It appeared that the deceased, on the preceding evening, at the back part of the premises, in endeavouring to make her way into an adjoining yard, accidentally fell into the water and was drowned.  The body was found embedded in the mud, with the face downwards.

An inquest was also held the same day, at the Rose and Crown Inn, Castlereagh-street, on the body of Daniel Sandford, who came by his death in consequence of injuries sustained from the falling of the spindle of the crane, in the Dock-yard, on Friday preceding.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 25 May 1831


Parramatta, May 19th, 1831.


I wish to inform you, that a settler was found dead on the road from Windsor to Parramatta, and was taken away by his friends without a Coroner's Inquest being held on the body.

Yours, &c.





FRIDAY.---Before the Chief Justice and a Military Jury.

John Whaley alias Whalin, was indicted for the wilful murder of Patrick Duffy, at the North Shore, on the 1st of August 1830, and John Snell for aiding and abetting in the same.  The second count charged John Whalin and John Snell, with the wilful murder of Patrick Duffy, &c.

William Tool attached to the government boat's crew, whilst on duty in the month of November last, found some bones which appeared to be a man's skeleton, together with a silk stock which had the marks of a shot-hole through it, a fustian coat, a striped waistcoat, a shirt, and a pair of white drill trowsers.  The skull of a man was afterwards found at a considerable distance from the rest of the bones, which together with the clothes, were put into a coffin and brought to Sydney.  Witness in company with a constable went to the prisoner Whalin's house, which was some distance from the bones, but he was not at home, and a little boy his nephew pointed to the place where he was supposed to be working, but after searching, he was not to be found.

[2 columns]

His Honor summed up at length, commenting on every part of the evidence.  The Jury would expel from their minds part of the evidence, namely, the depositions gatemen before the Coroner at the Inquest, which would not have been read, if it had come sooner to his recollection, that they were taken on oath.  With regard to the prisoner Snell, there was not a particle of evidence to affect him, and he was bound to say, that after the most patient and minute consideration of the whole evidence, he himself, could not conscientiously say, that the prisoner Whaley was Guilty.  It rested however, with the Jury.  The Jury retired a few minutes, and acquitted both the prisoners.---Discharged.



FRIDAY, 20th.---Case of Murder---John Whaley alias Whalan, and John Snell, were indicted for the wilful murder of Patrick Duffy, at North Harbour, on the 1st of August last; the first count charging the prisoner Whalan, with the shooting, and the prisoner Snell, with being present, aiding and assisting; the second count charging both as principals in the death, occasioned by sundry blows and kicks on the person of the deceased.  Mr. W. H. Moore stated the case for the Crown, and proceeded to call witnesses, who deposed to the following effect:---

In the month of November last, two of a Government boat's crew, while traversing a thick part of the brush, skirting Middle Harbour, at the northern side of the entrance to the Heads, Port Jackson, came upon some human bones, near which lay a black neck-stock, perforated by a shot-hole, a fustian coat, a striped waistcoat, a  shirt, and a pair of white drill trowsers.  Conjecturing the bones to be the remains of some murdered person, the men gave information to constables Ford and O'Mears, who, on subsequently searching the spot, discovered also a rusty pistol unkocked, white hat, and an old boot.  Near the spot were some fragments of paper, which, on piecing together, exhibited the words "Patrick Duffy," and "night," which afforded a clue to discover that a man of that name, and attired similarly to the clothes found near the bones, having sold a horse, and frequented various places in Parramatta, and Sydney, in the month of June, or July last, had gone over to Middle Harbour, and never afterwards returned.  The reasons  for suspecting the prisoner Whalan were, that he lived in a hut at Middle Harbour, and that he was known to have been in  company with "Duffy," whose watch he was in possession of when apprehended.  But witnesses for the defence proved that there were huts at Middle Harbour as well as Whalan's, who had exchanged the rusty pistol for the watch.  As for Snell, no evidence appearing to implicate him, the learned chief Justice put it to the Commission to determine how far circumstances could be held to implicate Whalan in the reputed murder.  After a brief consultation, the Commission acquitted both prisoners.

A soldier named John Bairn, of the 17th regiment, attached to the Mounted Police, on Wednesday evening, being on patrole on the Parramatta-road, in company  with another police-man, by 12 o'clock became so intoxicated, that he fell from his horse, fractured his skull, and expired on Friday morning last at the General Hospital.

One William Clarke, in company with some other persons, was proceeding along the Sydney-road on Wednesday, when a man mounted on horseback came up galloping into the midst of the party.  In the confusion the horse threw its imprudent rider (who was intoxicated) and  fell upon the deceased, by which his skull was fractured, and so severely injured, that he died the next day,.

A man named Charles Daly, late of Windsor, was also accidentally killed on Tuesday evening, on the road near Parramatta, by the wheel of a cart, laden with maize, passing over his body.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 28 May 1831

CORONER'S INQUEST.---An Inquest was held at the Warwick Arms, York-street, on the body of a youth named William Clark, who came by his death by being ridden over by a horse on the Parramatta-road.  It appeared on the evidence of Henry Clark, a brother of the deceased, of William Key, and apprentice to Mr. Pendray, tailor of George-street, and of Henry Beasley, a youth of about 18 years of age, that the deceased was in company with them coming to Sydney from the races on the night of Thursday the 19th instant, between the hours of five and six o'clock; when about one or two hundred yards from the toll-gate, a man named David Hennesy came riding furiously along the road, and that before the deceased could get out of the way the horse came in contact with him and threw him down, the horse also falling from the force of the concussion and throwing off the rider, who was much hurt and could not stand.  The rider appeared to be intoxicated at the time, and, although he was riding furiously, they did not observe him use either the spur or whip, and they believed the circumstance was accidental.  The deceased, who bled profusely from the head and mouth, was placed in a cart and carried to his lodgings, where medical aid was procured, and every attention paid to him, but he never spoke after the accident, and expired at eight o'clock on Saturday morning.  The rider of the horse (a respectable looking man) was present during the examination of the witnesses, and made application once or twice to the Coroner to allow him to cross-examine the witnesses, but was refused, and was not allowed to speak at all.  At this stage of the proceedings no other witnesses being in attendance, the case was about to close, the greater part of the Jury being satisfied with the evidence before them (one Juryman however saying, that he had not time to stop any longer, as it was Saturday, and a busy day for tradespeople, and a second one hanging over the back of his chair half asleep), when a Juryman stated, that he wished to hear the evidence of the parties who appeared to have been concerned about the matter, and that he would not give his verdict until the witnesses were produced.  A constable was immediately despatched for them, and one Mary Le Burn was sworn---she was returning from the races on Thursday evening about five or six o'clock in her gig, which broke down, and she was forced to walk a short distance along the road.  Whilst doing so, close to the round-house near the race-course where a constable lives, Hennessy came riding along in company with a young man named Fairclough, and very nearly rode over her, hitting her in the face with a stick, abusing her all the time, and urging his horse close up to her.  The defendant Hennessey objected to have this testimony put to the Jury, as it was in no wise relevant to the matter they were assembled to consider of.  The Coroner---"You are not allowed to speak Sir."  Mrs. Le Burn continued---His horse's head she said was touching her bonnet at the time, and she was greatly frightened.  After they were gone, a cart came past into which she got, and saw Hennessey and Fairclough riding furiously before her.  When she arrived near the toll-bar, she saw a crowd in the road, and on coming up, discovered it to be the deceased who had been ridden over by Hennessy, and a crowd of persons standing round him.  Deceased was put into the c art in which she (Mrs. Lebrun) was, and brought to Sydney.  The deceased did not speak the whole of the way, but lay with his head on a man's breast.  She asked once or twice whether he was alive, and the man answered that he breathed and was warm.  He bled profusely from the head.  No other witnesses being in attendance, the inquest was adjourned until eleven o'clock on Sunday morning, when they again assembled, and after hearing a witness whose evidence was not materially different to that of the boys first examined, returned the following verdict "That the said William Clark was accidentally rode over on the evening of Thursday last, and died in consequence of the injuries he received.  The horse was ridden at the time by David Hennessy, the Jury therefore find him guilty of Manslaughter." (In consequence of Hennesy not being allowed to cross-examine the witnesses, the verdict of this Inquest we should conceive to be unlawful.  ED.)


On Sunday morning last, a person of the name of Richard Price, residing in Parramatta, was found dead in bed, having the day previous been in perfect health, and had known what illness was for a number of years.  He arrived by the First Fleet, and has lived in Parramatta 43 years; he had accumulated a good deal of money, a plant of several hundred pounds having been discovered yesterday in an old tea-pot, carefully concealed, and he had only the week previously advertised his property in Parramatta to be sold, and intended going to reside on his farm kept by his son.  His wife states, that in the course of the night she desired him to move a little on, and then first discovered him to be a lifeless corpse and quite cold.  There being no Coroner now in Parramatta, the usual course of taking depositions before the Magistrates at the Police Office was adopted.  This is the third Inquest which has been held there within a fortnight.


SYDNEY HERALD, 06/06/1831

While Mr. Charles Daly, an old and respectable settler near Windsor was proceeding to Sydney on the 17th Ult. he fell from his cart and was killed about halfway between the darling Mills and Baulkham Hills, near the spot where M'Namara was shot and Dalton taken some time ago, and where Mr. Hancey was killed from his horse.  The Rev. Mr. Therry travelling to Windsor in the evening found him dead on the road and had him conveyed to Mr. Kelly's.  A poor African Black from Windsor found a Tobacco box and some half pence near the place and was taken up on suspicion, but was immediately liberated, as it appeared that the unfortunate man had taken some liquor at a public house on the road and must have fallen from his cart in front of the wheel.  He was decently interred in Windsor on the Tuesday following.  There is not the smallest suspicion that he came by his death by unfair means, although from popular rumours it is said his pockets were turned inside out and all his property taken away.  This should serve as a warning to those in charge of carts and teams, to guard against excesses, as not only their own and their master's property is at the mercy of the prowling depredators, but their lives are not safe from accidents or other misfortunes.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 10 June 1831

Coroner's Inquests.---On Saturday the Coroner convened an Inquest at THE AUSTRALIAN Hotel, on a scull and some human bones, which were dug up by some government men employed in raising stone at Goat island, on the Thursday preceding, but had been buried not more than 12 or 14 inches beneath the surface.  Verdict---that the supposed remains of a female, now produced, were sectretly interred at Goat island, upwards of two years ago, but cannot say how or by what means she came to her death.

Next day an Inquest assembled at the Rose and Crown Inn, Castlereagh-street, on the body of Robert Greenslade, prisoner of the crown, assigned to Mr. Foss, chemist, of Pitt-street, who, under suspicion of having robbed his master, had been confined in the gaol, and labouring under a bowel complaint, became so ill the day before, that he was conveyed to the General Hospital, where he expired about ten minutes afterwards.  Verdict---died by the visitation of God.

Another Inquest was also held on the same day, at the Coach and Horses, Cumberland-street, on view of the body of Mrs. Elizabeth Shipp, living in that street, who on Sunday afternoon, while alone in the house, about 40 minutes, is supposed to have fallen into the fire, where she was found so dreadfully burnt, that she expired a few hours afterwards in great torture---the exertions of Dr. Moran, who was called in, but too late, proving unavailing.  The poor creature was so horribly excoriated, that from her armpits downwards, the limbs and body were quite bared of skin, and the palpitations of the heart were distinctly perceptible.  The Jury recorded their opinion, that the deceased, Elizabeth Shipp, was so severely burnt by accident, as to occasion her death.

Births.  On Tuesday the 7th instant, the lady of Captain Durnford, 39th regt. of a still born child.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 17 June 1831

The dead body of a female [Mary Neigle] was washed ashore at Rose Bay, on Sunday, conjectured to have been drowned the previous night by the upsetting of a boat.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 18 June 1831

A Coroner's Inquest was holden at the Brickmaker's Arms, Public-house, on Saturday night last, on the body of Mary Neigle, who was found washed on shore at Rose Bay.  It appeared that the deceased had gone on board the Albion, a whaler, on that day, that she was a little intoxicated, and that as she was ascending the ship's side, she fell into the water and sank before any assistance could be given her.  Verdict Accidentally drowned.

On Wednesday last an Inquest was held at the Canning Tavern, King-street, on the body of Mr. John Mellor, who died suddenly about 8 o'clock on that morning.  Verdict Died by the Visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 1 July 1831

CORONER'S INQUEST.---The Coroner for Sydney convened an Inquest on Sunday last, at the Cooper's Arms, George-street, on the body of a female, named JMary Omelia, who died suddenly between 7 and 8 o'clock the same morning, in a fit soon after quitting her bed, when she came in contact with the knobs of the drawers.  Verdict, died by the visitation of God.



Coroner's Inquests.---On Thursday, [???] ult., an Inquest was taken at Cornwallis, on the body of a poor man named John M'Carthy, who was found dead, by the road side, on the evening of the same day.  It appeared that the deceased had been for some time past in a state of mental derangement, but quite harmless, and used to wander about from place to place occasionally.---Verdict,---Died by the visitation of God.

An Inquest was also held on Monday the 4th Instant, at [B??'s] Hotel, George-street, on a man of colour, called Friday, who died on board the ship [?????my] rather suddenly.  He was a native of the [island??] of St. David's, and had been employed on board the above whaler as a mariner. From change of climate he had contracted a cold, which settled [into??] inflammation of the lungs, and of which he died.  Verdict---died by the visitation of God.

A little boy named Byrnes, about three years of age, whose parents live at Windsor, was last week playing in a garden with some other children, when he filled his mouth with French beans, one of which stuck in the windpipe.  Dr. Clayton, after trying every other means unsuccessfully, had recourse to incision, and the bean was removed, but so great was the inflammation in consequence, that in forty-eight hours the little creature breathed its last.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 15 July 1831

MYSTERIOUS MURDER.---The dead body of a constable, named Watersworth, who had been missing for some weeks from Parramatta, in the vicinity of which he was doing duty, was found on Friday last not far from two huts near Broken Back Bridge, on the farther side of the Darling Mills, Windsor-road, the head only hanging to the body by a slight ligament, and horribly hacked and mangled in several places.  On an adjoining tree were visible the cuts, as of a tomahawk, which renders it probable that the unfortunate deceased defended himself vigorously to the last. [?????????] to conjecture who could have committed, [??????] induced the murder, for the deceased is said to have always been an exemplary quiet and inoffensive man.

On Tuesday night, the 21st ult. a dreadful murder was perpetrated on the farm of a settler named Clarke, on Paterson's River.  A Coroner's Inquest has been held, and a verdict of wilful murder returned against John Roberts, who has been committed for trial.  It is suspected that Roberts was assisted by others.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 29 July 1831

An Inquest was convened on Sunday the 17th instant, at Bathurst, on the body of a private soldier of the 39th, who had been visiting that settlement from the Fish River, got drunk, and on the way back with a serjeant, who has since been brought to a Court Martial for neglecting the man, fell on the ground, went to sleep, and was discovered next morning literally frozen to death.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 5 August 1831

Several men are in custody on suspicion of being concerned in the murder of Watersworth, the Parramatta constable.


An inquest was convened on Saturday 14th ult., at the White Swan, Windsor, on the body of James Brennan, per ship Ferguson, attached to No. 13 road gang, who was accidentally killed on the previous day, by falling from the South Creek bridge.

An Inquest was held at Windsor, on Wednesday last, at the Windsor Hotel, on the body of an unfortunate man of the name of William Johnstone, free, per ship Wellington, who, on the previous day, was found dead in a pond of water at Killarney farm.  The verdict was to that effect.

Two men have been brought up from Moreton Bay, by the Governor Phillips, charged on suspicion with having been concerned in the late mysterious murder of Mr. John M'Intyre at Hunter's river.

Captain Payne who arrived in the Colony about eighteen months ago, and settled on a farm at Dunn's Plain, Bathurst, which he purchased of captain Sealy, we regret to state, is reported to have been murdered by three armed bushrangers on the evening of Tuesday 19th ult., while out fowling with his servant, on whose statement the matter entirely rests, and we therefore do not either vouch for its accuracy, or consider it altogether free from suspicion.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 6 August 1831




On Monday night last, a Coroner's Jury was summoned to take cognizance of the death of two men, convicts under sentence of transportation, and who had been put on board the ship Eleanor to be conveyed to Moreton Bay under a military escort, on which vessel they came by their death, through being shot with musketry.

[More problems with Major Smeathman again; full page and continued other issue.]


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 10 August 1831 [continued from above, several columns]:

The examinations here closed, and the Coroner, previously to retiring from the room, informed the Jury, that in case they did not find an unanimous verdict in half an hour, he should dismiss them, and empanel another Jury, who he was satisfied would soon return a verdict (in accordance with his opinion) of Justifiable Homicide.  The Jury upon this intimation or intimidation consulted together, and returned a verdict of Manslaughter against some person or persons unknown, on board the Eleanor.  The verdict was accompanied with a request, that the depositions taken might be immediately laid before a higher authority for further proceedings being instituted, as they still had strong suspicions on their minds as to the conduct of some of the soldiers approaching to murder.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 17 August 1831

On Friday last a boat containing two men was upset in Middle-harbour whilst fishing, and one of the men, the keeper of the Governor's bathing-house, was drowned.  The second, who was a tolerable swimmer, managed to keep himself buoyant until a boat arrived to his assistance.

An Inquest was held on Monday last at the Bricklayer's Arms, Pitt-street, on the body of a man named John Stratton, a brewer in the employ of Mr. Terry Hughes, of the Albion Brewery. Verdict---Died by suffocation, occasioned by a severe inflammatory affection of the throat.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 19 August 1831

One man is now in custody, on his own confession, that he was present at the murder of Watersworth, the constable, made to Mr. Thorn, the chief constable, who hearing that a quantity of linen which the maid was hanging out to dry, suddenly made its escape from Nash's, Parramatta, with praiseworthy promptitude, instantly repaired to a suspicious house, where he found the man above mentioned, attiring himself in one of the stolen garments.  He directed the chief constable to the spot where a musket and pistol were found, which he stated were used in the murder of Watersworth, and he threw light on a number of robberies which has led to the apprehension of various persons, who are now in custody.  This man's information should be received, but with much suspicion.

A man and a woman at Parramatta met their deaths last week through excessive drinking.  The man was found in the open street on Sunday morning.


On Tuesday evening, 10th instant, an inquest was held at the Cat and Mutton, Kent-street, in consequence of a lad, John Goulding, aged about 12, having at one o'clock on the same day discharged the remains of a cut down gun barrel, which he had previously loaded with duck shot, and a double charge of powder.  This dangerous weapon the lad was very imprudently entrusted with by his parents, for the purpose of driving the neighbour's fowls off their back premises, which had been sown but a short time with barley, and thus enticed the feathered visitants to the spot.  At the time of discharging the piece in question, the lad appeared not to be aware of the precise situation his younger brother was then placed in, as he was at the moment stooping down, and nearly obscured by some pailings.---The fatal piece, after a brand had been applied to the touch hole, went off, and the contents lodged in various parts of the boy, Andrew Goulding, who expired in about half an hour afterwards.  He was a fine boy, about eight years of age.  Verdict, accidental fratricide.

An inquest was held on Monday last at the Bricklayers' Arms, Pitt-street, on the body of a man named John Stratton, a brewer in the employ of Mr. Terry Hughes, of the Albion Brewery.---Verdict, died by suffocation, occasioned by a severe inflammatory affection of the throat.

On Friday last, a boat upset in Middle Harbour, when one of the two men who were in her, sunk to rise no more; the other, being a tolerably expert swimmer, managed to keep afloat until a boat arrived and picked him up. [Continues with life-saving advice.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 26 August 1831

A Hunter's River squire, who passed by the name of Scotch Davy, annoyed by a boar destroying his corn, attacked the animal with an axe lately, when it fastened upon his knee, and tearing away the calf of one of his legs, made off; by Drs. Sloane and Scott amputation was resorted to, but the unfortunate man breathed his last shortly afterwards.


"There's mischief in the wind."  This is an old proverb, but really we begin to fancy it not less old than true.  Within this week or ten days, the following are not all the horrible catastrophes which we have heard of.  Last week, as we hastily related, one unfortunate female urged by the green-eyed monster, or in a fit of low spirits, swallowed arsenic, disguised in rum and milk---not her favorite beverage, as we were erroneously informed, and as we stated---for, on the contrary, she is represented to us in the becoming character of a sober matron---a prudent wife, and a fond mother.  Before dying, the poor creature wished to kiss her infant.  It was then the nurse beheld her lips still humid with the fatal draught.  She screamed---she called.  Antidotes were plied, but without effect.  We have since heard an experienced medical man say, he places no confidence in the stomach pump---however, no pump could be had, she died. [See AUSTRALIAN, 19 August; at General Hospital; & editorial comments.]

We have just heard also of three other attempts [follows 2 reports] at suicide; one of which has ended fatally.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 27 August 1831

An inquest was held at Cummings' Hotel, on Wednesday last, on the body of a seaman belonging to the ship Palambam, named Daniel Geary.  It appeared that a day or two before he had been sent in a boat to carry off some of his messmates from the shore, and in his effort to make the boat fast to the ship's side, he overreached himself and tumbled over-board; assistance was immediately rendered and search made, but the body of the unhappy man could not be found until Wednesday morning, when it was discovered washed up on the Domain side of the Harbour.  Verdict---Accidentally drowned.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 2 September 1831

The relics of a human skeleton accidentally found on the North Shore one day this week, have been brought to town preparatory to the holding of an inquest upon them.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 7 September 1831



FRIDAY, 2d SEPT.---Before the Chief Justice and the usual Military Commission.

John Roberts was indicted for the wilful murder of James Mickelroy, at Patterson's Plains, on the 21st of June last.

The prisoner being a Welshman, and unable to speak English, a Mrs. Somerville was sworn in as an interpreter, and Mr. Rowe gratuitously defended him. [5 columns.]

Mr. Rowe here closed his defence for the prisoner; and his Honor, after giving a minute detail of the evidence, and his view of the law as touching the objection raised by the prisoner's Counsel, left the case with the Jury, who retired for a few minutes and returned a verdict of---Guilty.

The Clerk of the Arraigns then called on the prisoner to enter his defence against the penalty of the law about to be passed; and Mr. Rowe, for the prisoner, requested that the Clerk would read aloud the indictment spelling the name of the deceased, therein charged as James Michellroy.

The Court then ordered the prisoner to be remanded until the following morning at 11 o'clock, to afford time for the consideration of the case.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 3.---His Honor the Chief Justice having taken his seat, John Roberts, convicted of the wilful murder of James Mickellroy, was placed at the bar to receive sentence. [See below, SYDNEY HERALD, 12 September 1831, note*]

On Wednesday last, an Inquest was holden at the Ship Inn, Essex Lane, on the skeleton of a man which was found at Lane Cove.  A verdict was returned, "that the deceased came by his death from having wandered into the bush in a state of mental aberration, and died there through want of sustenance."  It appeared that the deceased, who was identified by his clothes as James Seaton, attached to a road party in the direction where the skeleton was found, was missed and reported accordingly, upwards of six months back, since which no tidings had been heard of him.  The skeleton was discovered enveloped in a pair of Parramatta trowsers and a frock, which were perfect. The flesh had entirely mouldered away, leaving no trace of what had formed the body, save the bones which were perfect.  The remains were put into a coffin and interred on Thursday.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 9 September 1831

Lucas and England will be re-arraigned to-day on the fresh indictment, charging them with murdering the Parramatta constable, Watersworth.  One of the prisoners is an able cross-examiner.

Law Reports.


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2.---Before the Chief Justice.  John Roberts was indicted for the wilful murder of James Mackellroy, at Patterson's Plains, on the 21st of June last.  Roberts and the deceased were fellow servants, assigned to Richard Clarke of Patterson's River, eight or nine miles beyond Patterson's Plains.

The district constable, John Henley, deposed to this effect:---On the evening of the 21st of June, I and some other constables were in pursuit of bushrangers, and encamped near the house of Mr. Clarke; I happened to be in the house when I heard a shot, upon which I went out to the other constables, and shortly after heard the cry of murder coming from the direction of the river; I and another constable named Sedgley, went in the direction, until we came to the hut of a man named Andrews, who told me that he also heard the cry, but was afraid to go up, knowing that bushrangers were about; I went up to Mr. Adair's farm and mustered the men, who were all right; I then returned back, and, in consequence of what I was told by one of the constables, I went to the prisoner's hut, and asked him if he had been out; he said he had, for a shirt which her had been washing for his hut-mate, Breedon; I then took the prisoner and Breedon into custody, and brought them to Mr. Clarke's house, where we examined his person; his jacket was newly-torn, and there was some blood on his forehead, his shirt, and his trowsers; I asked him where his hat was, and he said he had lent it to Jemmy; we then handcuffed and gave him in charge of the mounted police; the deceased being missing, we went in search of him the following morning, and found him lying dead, with his face buried in the ground; from the appearance of the ground, it seemed as if there had been a struggle, and I followed the track, and at some distance off, where it appeared to have commenced, found a hat, also a cap, similar to that which I had usually seen the deceased wear; I asked the prisoner how the blood came on his head, and he replied that he had been fighting some time before with a man, who had cut him with a stick; I examined his head, and found the mark of a cut there, but it was healed up; the blood on his jacket and trowsers appeared to me to be fresh; I had known the deceased for twelve months, and heard him called James Mickelroy.  I used always to hear him called Michael; since his death, I understood from Mr. Clarke that his name was James Michael Roy; there were some bushrangers in that neighbourhood at the time, who were brought into custody shortly after the body of the deceased was found.

Other witnesses corroborated this testimony.---Robert Andrews, a servant of Mr. Clarke's, at Patterson's River, said, the deceased was at my house alone about 7 o'clock on the evening he came by his death; he went away, as he said, to go home; about six minutes after he left the house, I heard a gun fired, and about four minutes after that, the cry of murder; I was then lying on my bed; I got up and went to the door, when I heard the cry of Oh! Oh! and after that a voice saying "Let me go home," and a reply, "D-n your eyes you shall not go home," in the voice of the prisoner, and, after that, a blow struck, but I could not say with what; I know it was the prisoner's voice I heard; it is a peculiar voice, and he speaks bad English; I told what I had heard to Sedgley the constable, the same night, before I knew what had happened; I also told it to Henley the constable, and to two of the mounted police, in Clarke's house; the deceased's name was James Michael Roy.

Mr. Rowe contended for the prisoner, that the deceased was known by the name of James Michael Roy; whereas in the information, he was called James Mickellroy, which variance he contended was fatal to the case before the Court.  The Chief Justice reserved the objection, and having minutely recapitulated the evidence, the Commission found the prisoner guilty.

SATURDAY 3d---Shortly after 1 o'clock, the Chief Justice having taken his seat in Court, which was extremely crowded, John Roberts was put to the bar, when his Counsel Mr. Rowe, in arrest of judgment, again contended, that the prisoner having been indicted for murdering "one Jas. Mickellroy," whereas the name of the deceased was, in reality, "James Michael Roy," he could not be legally convicted under the misnomer, but having been found guilty, notwithstanding, of murdering James Mickellroy, he could not be put on his trial again for the murder of James Michael Roy.

The learned judge, in a highly elaborate and erudite speech, to which we regret our present limits do not enable us to do justice, combated the technical objections as to the mis-nomer, and successfully shewed that the personal identity and facts of the crime being established, the ends of justice would only be defeated, were such quibbles, as to name, to be held sufficient to purge an offender of the foul crime of murdering his fellow-creature.

The learned Judge concluded by pronouncing sentence of death on the unhappy prisoner, whose previously confident manner underwent a visible alteration, to be carried into effect on the Monday following, and the body, after the usual term of suspension, to be given over to the surgeons for dissection. [Report of Execution follows; "A Mrs. Somerville acted as interpreter, both on the trial and in communion with the Clergyman."]

WEDNESDAY 7th.---Before Mr. Justice Dowling and a Commission of seven full pay military officers, England and Lucas were indicted for the wilful murder of Waterworth, late a constable stationed at Parramatta, but it appearing in evidence, that the name of the deceased, or the name he usually passed by, was Waterworth, and not Watersworth, Mr. Rowe for the prisoners contended, that the variance in the name must be fatal to the indictment, in which the learned Judge coincided, leaving it to the Attorney-General to quash the present, and arraign the prisoners on a fresh indictment.---The prisoners were accordingly remanded.  The Court throughout the trial was crowded to excess. [See 9th September, above.]

An Inquest was held on Tuesday se'nnight, on a lime-burner, named John Madden, who, being intoxicated, got into his boat for the purpose of returning to the Western Shore, with his comrades; when (about two thirds over), he fell over the boat's side, and was drowned.  Verdict, accidentally drowned when in a state of intoxication.

From The Colonial Times, 24th ult.  [Tasmania??] A distressing accident occurred on Sunday last, in Ralph's Bay.  Some young persons incautiously hoisted a lug sail on a whale boat, during the severe gale which was then blowing.  A sudden gust capsized the boat, and precipitated the whole party, consisting of six, into the water, where two met an untimely death; one is well known to be esteemed by most of the inhabitants, the other, Mr. Percifull, clerk to Mr. Cook, of Elizabeth-street.


R v Lucas and England (1831) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 312; [1831] NSWSupC 58  [Pardoned: AUSTRALIAN, 23 September 1831.]


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 14 September 1831



Continuation of the Trial of Thomas Lucas and John England, the first as principal, the second as accessary after the fact, for the murder of Constable Waterworth at the back of the Darling Mills near Parramatta.


By the Court---The deceased was known well by each and all of the names of Waterworth, Watersworth, and Long Bob.

Mr. Rowe then quoted from various Law Authorities in support of his objection to the misnomer, and His honour Mr. Justice Dowling said, that the question would be one for the Jury as a preliminary question, and that he would take the sense of the Jury on the matter from the testimony before the Court.  His Honour then remarked as to the evidence before the Court the name of the individual laid in the Information, and rehearsed such parts of the evidence as bore upon the question, leaving the case in the hands of the Jury, who retired for a few minutes, and then returned, requesting to examine John Thorn.

John Thorn---I cannot swear that the name of the deceased was either Waterworth or Watersworth; I always called him Waterworth.

The foreman of the Jury then informed the Court, that there was no chance of the Jury agreeing on the question.  The Attorney-General said, he must discharge the Jury, if they could not come to a decision upon the deceased's name being the same as that laid in the indictment.

Mr. Justice Dowling---The Jury are discharged from this Information, as they cannot conclude upon the real name of the deceased.  I rule, that this information be quashed, and the prisoners be remanded until His majesty's Attorney-General file a new Information against them.

The prisoners were remanded, and at a quarter to 8 o'clock the Court adjourned.

[See The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 12 October 1831; below.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 16 September 1831

Law Reports.



WEDNESDAY, 7th Sept. ---Thomas Lucas was indicted for the wilful murder of Robert Waterworth, at Parramatta, on the 27th of June last; and John England, as an accessary after the fact.

The Attorney-General and Crown Solicitor were for the prosecution; and Dr. Wardell, Mr. Therry and Mr. Rowe for the prisoners.

The leading facts of the case may be gathered from the evidence of an approver named James Monaghan, his evidence being corroborated in all its material parts.  It was in substance as follows:---

I am a free man; I know the prisoners; Lucas for eight or ten months, and England eight or ten weeks; on a Monday, about ten weeks ago, or perhaps more, I was at the house of England, who told me that he was going for his horse and cart to bring in some sugar; we previously had something to drink; he said the sugar was at a place called the Governor's Arms; Lucas said he wanted six bags to put the sugar in, and an axe to cut some wood; England gave him the bags and the axe; Lucas then told me to go and meet him at the side of the steam-engine on the road to the Governor's Arms, which I did; when we came up to where one of the bags was, he pointed it out to me, and I alighted, and put it into the cart, when we went on a little farther and got an other bag of sugar; after putting in the second bag, he stopped the cart, and I went on to get the third where I had "planted" it, having been concerned in the robbery of it; I was away about thirty minutes; when I found the bag, I heard a shot fired, and I went to where the cart was, where I saw Lucas with an axe raised over his shoulder in both hands; I saw the axe hit a man, who, I believe, was Waterworth, the constable; when I came down to him, Lucas said to me, "D-n your soul plant that gun," which was lying near Waterworth, who was stretched on the ground, and Lucas standing over him with an axe in his hand; I took the gun and laid it down beside a tree about twenty yards off; I then returned, and Lucas said to me, "I called you several times but you did not answer;" I replied that I did not hear him; he said, speaking of the dead man, "I gave him three blows, and the last was the finishing blow; it was better that one man should suffer than three or four;" he said he had been chopping beside the tree, till he got the chance, but God spared him his two arms, which never deceived him; the dead man was then lying on his back, and the blood flowing from his head; Waterworth was a constable near Mr. Blaxland's, and it was his dead body I saw; I knew him by the name of Watersworth, but I knew him best by the name of "Big Bob the constable;" I told him to go into Parramatta in the cart, and that I should walk in on foot, for fear of our both being seen together, on account of what had happened; he left me then and went by the high-road, I following through the bush by a bye-road; when I got to Parramatta, I went to England's house, and found Lucas there; we began drinking, and about eight o'clock two men, named Moyan and Knowles, came to enquire after Lucas, who said "here I am my boys;" they spoke a few words, and we then went together into a back room, where we had something to drink; Moyan said to Lucas, "Give me a pound for myself and my comrade, on account of what has happened," by which I thought he had been telling them about the murder; Lucas asked England for a pound, who gave him five dollars, and he gave them to Moyan; we then began drinking and playing cards, and I got very drunk, and, I believe, got fighting with some of them; in the morning I found myself lying by the kitchen fire, in England's house; in about six or seven weeks after the death of Waterworth, I was taken up for a robbery at Mr. Nash's, at Parramatta; before this Lucas had got a beating on the farm, and came into Parramatta, to the brickmaker's, where I was; this was on a Saturday, and I was taken up on the Wednesday following; on Monday he told me where the pistol was on the farm, and I went out and got it in a hollow log where he told me it was, and "planted" it under some rubbish and leaves, about half a mile from the town, where it lay till I told Mr. Thorn of it on the Saturday after I was apprehended.

During the course of the cross-examination, this approver, who commonly goes by the name of Red Monaghan the Informer, let the Court a little into the secrets of his life and character:---

I was sent to the Colony for cattle-stealing; I was sent to an iron-gang here, for a robbery, or being in the bush, I forget which; I also got three years to a penal settlement for absconding three times; I have committed nine or ten robberies, but never a highway robbery but one; I have known England for nine or ten weeks; I don't know that I was known at Parramatta as a notorious informer; if I was, I do not suppose Lucas would have gone with me to commit a robbery; Waterworth was a very stout man, much stouter than the prisoner Lucas; I heard only one shot fired; the deceased's pistol was discharged, but I did not examine the gun; I did not live at England's house, but I went there several times both before and after the murder; Lucas told me that the constable, when he met him, had no suspicion of him, but that he kept talking to him about old times, and chopping at the tree, until he got an opportunity of striking him with the axe; he said he killed him for fear I should come up with the sugar while he was there, and that when he knocked him down the pistol fell out of his hand, which he (Lucas) fired off to alarm me; I do not consider myself a good man; I will tell the truth about every thing I have done; I gave the information because I could not sleep night or day for thinking of the murdered man, who, I fancied, was constantly appearing to me; I had continual dreams of him; I told, after I was apprehended for a robbery, fearing that I might be accused of the murder; also, I think murder should not be concealed, and I would tell it even of my brother, if he were guilty of it.

Lucas exhibited considerable shrewdness and sagacity in striving to confound this witness in particular.

Mr. Anderson, a surgeon on the Colonial establishment at Parramatta, said he knew the deceased; about the 9th or tenth of July his body was brought to the hospital; the head and neck were in a far-advanced state of putrefaction; the skull, on the left side, was beaten into numerous fragments, and the jaw on the same side was fractured; the integuments of the head were completely destroyed.

Counsel for the prisoner England contended, that the mere fact of receiving the principal felon, by a party who knew that a felony had been committed, did not constitute the offence of accessary after the fact; that there must be some act of the party, done with a view to prevent the apprehension, trial, or the suffering the punishment of his offence, by the individual who committed the felony.  In the present case, the only evidence against England was, that he had merely received the prisoner Lucas into his house; there was no proof that he had afforded him any aid whatsoever, with reference to the danger he might be in.  As for Lucas, there was no positive evidence, but that the deceased might have met his death from a gun-shot wound, and not from wounds inflicted by an axe, and the information laying the name of the deceased as Robert Waterworth, was not supported by the evidence; he having been spoken of by the majority of the witnesses, as Watersworth, or "Big Bob."

The Judge (Mr. Justice Dowling), said, as there was conflicting testimony, he would leave it to the Jury, to say, upon the evidence, what the name of the deceased really was, observing, if they should find it to be Watersworth, and not Waterworth, the variance, upon the authority of the cases cited from the bar, would be fatal, and he should order the information to be quashed, leaving it open  to the Attorney-General to adopt another course of proceeding.  The Attorney-General, after this intimation from the Jury, that they could not decide as to the real name, said he would consent to their discharge without giving a verdict.

FRIDAY, 9th. (Before the Chief Justice,) Lucas and England were again put to the bar before a new jury, upon the same information, when Counsel contended against the liability of the prisoners to be again indicted on the same information, and the learned Judge reserved his decision till Monday.

MONDAY, Sept. 12. Lucas and England were re-put to the bar, when, after some altercation, the learned Chief Justice concluded on proceeding with the trial, reserving the objections taken for future consideration.

The Attorney-General said he was willing to drop the indictment for murder, and proceed for the robbery, reserving to himself the right, however, of filing a fresh indictment for the murder, if he thought proper.  Counsel for the prisoners contended that this was a most extraordinary course of proceeding,---first, to drop the capital indictment, next, to proceed on the minor charge; and if that failed---next, fixing the prisoners somehow or another, by reviving the charge of murder.  The Attorney-General then said he would proceed only for the robbery.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 28 September 1831

On Wednesday last an inquest was held at the Plough Inn on the Parramatta Road, on the body of Thomas Pearson, the unfortunate man in the service of Mr. Terry Hughes, who came by his death from the wheel of the dray he was driving passing over his head.  Verdict---Accidental Death.

The twin infants that survived their mother (Eliza Richardson) mentioned in the report of a Coroner's Inquest in another column, have been taken by Mrs. Robert Cooper, who resides in the neighbourhood, and are likely to do well.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 30 September 1831

CORONER'S INQUESTS.---A Coroner's inquest was held on the 22nd instant, at the Plough Inn, Parramatta-road, on an assigned servant to Mr. T. Hughes, brewer, named Thomas Pearson, who had been sent the day before with a dray laden with beer, drawn by two horses, to Parramatta, when, after delivering the beer, he was on his return home, sitting in the empty dray driving with the reins in his hand, and when near the Iron Cove Bridge, the horses took fright, the reins broke, and they ran away furiously, nor were they stopped until they arrived at the Plough Inn, without the driver.  Search was immediately made for him, and the unfortunate man was found lying on one side the road, near Dobroyd, then quite dead, the wheel having passed over his head and killed him on the spot.  Verdict, accidentally killed by the wheel of  a dray passing over his head.

On the same evening, another inquest was held at the Loggerheads, public-house, Market-street, on Benjamin Dallman, who, between three and four o'clock the same day, blew his brains out with a gun in his own room, at his lodgings, Clarence-street; he had secured the door of his apartment inside, and before access could be obtained he was quite dead.  For some time past the poor man had laboured under much despondency from pecuniary embarrassment.  Verdict, "destroyed himself in a momentary aberration of mind, by discharging a gun into his head."

Another Inquest was held on Monday at the sign of the Steam Packet, Sussex-street, on the body of Thomas Cotter, a wood-cutter, in the neighbourhood of Kissing Point, who came by his death the day previously, in consequence of bursting a blood vessel internally.  Verdict accordingly.

It is said that a prisoner now in the gaol acquits the Welchman who was lately hanged, of the murder of James Michael Roy, saying he knows who did it; but his story must be received with suspicion.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 7 October 1831

Three men were lately apprehended on suspicion of having been concerned in the murder of James Michael Roy, for which Roberts the Welchman was recently executed.  If innocent, it is rather lamentably singular that Roberts should have been hanged for, and Lucas, who was certainly guilty, acquitted of a murder, on a point of law which the Judge over-ruled, and the other held was right; yet in either case wrong; for, by the first, if innocent, a man's life was taken for a crime he was not guilty of---while, by the second, a villain of whose guilt there could be no rational doubt, escaped hanging under the same point of law which Roberts was hanged for.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 8 October 1831

To the Committee for the Management of the Sydney Dispensary.


I am sorry that the report of a late Coroner's inquest is not a solitary instance of death, and (in other instances) of extraordinary suffering in child birth, which has come under our notice.  I believe there is only one certificated midwife in Sydney, but great numbers of women practice in this calling; and from ten to fourteen years experience gives them a pretty good insight into their profession, and enables them to perform their office with safety nine times out of ten, and to discriminate when the aid of a professional man is required.  ... continues.

CORONER'S INQUEST.---An Inquest was held at the Dolphin Inn, on Wednesday last, on the body of Eliza Richardson, who died in child birth.

Mary Conolly---I am a prisoner of the Crown and assigned to my husband, and practice as a midwife occasionally; yesterday I was called on to attend the deceased in her labour, and was at first unwilling to go, but being pressed, I went to the deceased's dwelling near to Mr. James Underwood's in Rushcutting Bay; on my arrival I found the deceased well and in good spirits, but soon after she was taken in labour, and without any extraordinary pains delivered of twin daughters; the second child being born about a quarter or  from that to half an hour after the elder; shortly after the birth of the second child, the deceased was much exhausted, and the usual operations of nature appeared to be obstructed; I immediately despatched a man for medical assistance, but before the messenger (who reported that he had been to every medical gentleman he could think of and could find none of them at home with the exception of one, who refused to attend until his fee was guaranteed by some respectable person ) came back, the deceased was dead; I was supplied with every necessary for such an occasion, and the relatives and husband of the deceased were attentive and did all they could for her.

By the Jury---I am not a professional midwife, but have had great experience at home and in this Colony, where I have attended great numbers of females successfully.  I did not wish to go, but was entreated by the person who came for me, as the deceased had no person with her, so I went; I shall be cautious not to attend any more persons out of the immediate reach of medical aid; I have been told, that the deceased had received a hurt in her loins some time ago.

James Kelly---I hold a ticket-of-leave, and live at the house of the deceased's mother in Double Bay; on Thursday the deceased was taken ill and I came into Sydney for a midwife and accompanied a Mrs. Connolly, to whom I was recommended by a servant of Dr. Bland's; in the course of the evening I was asked to return to Sydney for a doctor, as the deceased was unusually ill; I came to Sydney and went to Drs. Bland, Fatorini, and Hosking, none of whom were at home; I was then directed to Dr. Connolly, whom I found at home, but he said he could not attend unless some respectable person would be answerable for his fee, and desired me to return to Mr. Underwood, (to whom the man who lived with the deceased was assigned) and get his order; when I returned to Double Bay the deceased was dead.

By the Jury---There was every requisite for the occasion in the house, and likewise plenty of money; I told Dr. Connolly that the woman was in a dying state, but he would not go unless his fee was guaranteed by some respectable person; the man who lived with the deceased was always very kind to her, and they never quarrelled; I have heard that she received a hurt in her loins about two years back.

Henry Hall---I have cohabited with the deceased between nine and ten months, and she was pregnant by me; I am an assigned servant to Mr. James Underwood, with whom, I have lived seven years within six weeks, when I shall become free; it was my intention when I became free, to marry the deceased.

By a Juror---I have asked my master to let me marry the girl, but he would not give his consent; I have never been punished save once about five years back, when I was sentenced five days on the tread-wheel for being absent; I applied to my master to be allowed to go into Sydney to obtain my ticket, but he always refused; I believe the infants to be mine, and when I become free and am able I will provide for them; I believe the deceased was faithful to me, and I would have married her before if I could; (here the witness wept).  Kelly told me, on his return, that Dr. Connolly had refused to come unless his payment was secured. (The witness appeared an intelligent well-behaved man.)

The certificate of Dr. Bland stated, that the deceased had died from the effects of child birth subsequently to her delivery; and in answer to a question from a Juror said, that the deceased might have been saved by proper medical assistance.

Verdict---"The deceased came to her death from the effects of child-birth subsequent to delivery, and for want of proper medical aid.  The Jury have to lament that Dr. Connolly refused to attend the deceased, when he was sent for so urgently."


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 12 October 1831

On Friday last a coroner's Inquest was held at the Rose and Crown, Castlereagh Street, on the body of a man named Michael Martin, under the following circumstances.  It appeared that on the Saturday night previous the deceased was walking quietly in the street, when a drunken soldier ran after him with a drawn bayonet, and made a push at the deceased, which however missed him, and the soldier staggered on some way, when his bayonet fell from his hand.  The deceased disregarding the attempt at his life, went and picked up the bayonet and gave it to the soldier, begging him to sheath it, and go quietly to the Barracks.  The soldier received the bayonet and again proceeded a short distance from the deceased, when he threw the bayonet with great force at the deceased.  It struck him, entering the abdomen with violence.  He was conveyed to the General Hospital and died on Thursday.  The Jury were empannelled at twelve o'clock on Friday, and sat until four hearing evidence, by which time the soldier, who had been well described, was not apprehended.  The Jury accordingly adjourned a short time, and insisted that the soldier who had been described should be brought up.  In consequence the constables proceeded to search for the soldier, and apprehended one belonging to the 39th.  The Jury continued their examinations until twelve o'clock at night, and then returned a verdict of---"Wilful murder against some person unknown, supposed to be a soldier of his Majesty's 39th Regiment."

On Monday last an inquest was held at the Bell, in Phillip-street, on some human bones which had been found above ground in the Government Domain, in the rear of the General Hospital.  It appeared that the bones so found, were a portion of the bones of a malefactor named William [John?] Roberts, the Welshman, who was executed a short time back for the murder of James Michael Roy, at Patterson's Plains.  The body of the deceased, after going through the hands of the surgeons, had been treated in the customary way, and one of the attendants had thrown the remains into a shore, from which they had been washed by the late rains.  Verdict---"That the head and arm shewn to the Jury were those of the late William Roberts executed for murder and sent to the general Hospital for dissection.  (We think this inquest says little for the delicacy of the surgeons and their servants.  The law gives the bodies of murderers to be dissected, but it does not justify throwing their limbs away like carrion to be devoured by dogs.  The Hospital economy seems to require a little improvement, and we would recommend the chief inspector to prevent a repetition of these indecencies.  ED.)


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 14 October 1831

RURAL INCIDENTS.-From our Windsor Correspondent.---Last week an old man, a long resident in the Colony, was burnt to death at the Lower Branch through his hut catching fire, whilst he was asleep.

CORONER'S INQUESTS.---An Inquest assembled on Monday, at the Sheer Hulk, George-street, on William Chambers, a mariner, who died in his bed very unexpectedly, and was found on Sunday morning soon after day-light, stiff and cold; he had been a habitual drunkard.  Verdict, "visitation of God."

Another Inquest was held on Monday, at the Bell Inn, Phillip-street.  Some human bones, a head and arm, were found yesterday, in the rear of the General Hospital, which were proved to the satisfaction of the jury to have been those of the culprit William Roberts, executed for murder, and sent to the hospital for dissection.  It appeared when the medical gentlemen had done with the above members of the human frame, they had been but superficially interred, and that the recent heavy rains had washed or carried them to the spot where they were yesterday discovered.  The Jury returned a verdict to that effect.

On Monday, 2d inst., an Inquest was held at the Dolphin, public-house, Race Corfse, on the body of Elizabeth Richardson, who resided at Double Bay, on the South Head road, and being taken in labour, expired in giving birth to twins.  Verdict,---the deceased died in child birth, totally for want of medical assistance.

On Friday, 7th inst., an Inquest was held at the Rose and Crown, Castlereagh-street, on the body of a man named Michael Martin, who died in the General Hospital on the preceding evening, from a stab supposed to be given by a soldier, through the kidneys into the abdomen, while passing down George-street.  Verdict---wilful murder against some person unknown, supposed to be a soldier of the 39th Regiment. [Maguire??? See 18 November.]


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 21 October 1831

On Monday (9th inst.) Dennis Callaghan, a private soldier of the 39th regt. was fully committed to take his trial, for the murder of Michael Martin, on the 1st inst. by stabbing him with a bayonet.

CORONER'S INQUEST.---On Saturday last an Inquest was held at the Golden Fleece, Brickfield-hill, on the body of a man named William Chambers, who was found dead at an early hour on the morning of that day in a miserable hut, on the road to Cook's river; he had obtained a precarious existence by making brooms and vending them, occasionally, in Sydney---he was much addicted to excessive drinking, and is supposed to have been about sixty years of age.  Verdict, died by the visitation of God.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 28 October 1831

A skilful bird-stuffer named Holmes, while in search after natural curiosities, which teem luxuriantly at Moreton Bay, was lately killed by his own piece accidentally going off.

Several men are in custody on a charge of having murdered one Roach, late an overseer in the employ of Mr. Futter, Argyle.


On Tuesday, the Coroner held three Inquests, at the Currency Lad, Kent-street.  A labouring man, named James Connor, had, on the preceding day, been engaged on Government wharfageing and removing twenty hogsheads of O.P. rum, into the bonded stores, and too freely tasted and imbibed the effluvia of the potent spirit in the course of his employment.  He went home a little after sun-down, and then, resolved on treating the inmates where he lodged, as it was his birthday, thirty of which it completed. For this purpose, he procured a quart of rum in a half-gallon-bottle, and after giving out of it two or three glasses, he put the bottle to his mouth, and did not take it away until he had drunk the contents, after which he fell on the floor in a state of stupefaction, and remained there until between eight and nine o'clock the next morning.  Dr. Smith was called in, but the man had expired.  The jury returned a verdict---died from the excessive use of ardent spirits.

The other case was that of a man named Richard Friar, who had been placed in a coffin, and conveyed to the Market Wharf on Saturday night, from Lane Cove, in a suspicious manner, to town for interment, it was said.  The jury, after a thorough and satisfactory investigation, returned---died by the visitation of God.

Another Inquest met on Wednesday morning, at the sign of the Emu Inn, George-street.  A young man named James Gutteridge died between four and five o'clock that morning, after having kept his bed since Sunday night, in an empty house of Mr. Beeverman, Kent-street.  He had been in the General Hospital upwards of twelve months ago, with a disease which had made sad inroads on his person and constitution.  The jury returned---died by the visitation of God.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 29 October 1831


An inquest was held on the body of a man named John Gorman, on Tuesday last, who died in a state of intoxication.  It appeared in evidence, that the deceased was accustomed to taking large quantities of ardent spirits, and that it must have required an immoderate quantity to have occasioned his death.  It also appeared, that he had drunk large quantities of raw spirits in the morning whilst employed as a labourer in removing casks of rum from the King's Wharf.  In the evening he was (with a few of his friends) commemorating his natal day, when he drank to excess, fell off his seat, and never rose more, being found suffocated the following morning.  Verdict---Died from the excessive use of ardent spirits.

On Tuesday last, a coffin containing the body of a man, was found by some persons near the Market Wharf.  Information was immediately given to the Police, but no clue could be obtained as to who deposited it there.  An inquest was convened and sat upon the body, when it was ascertained, that the body was that of a person named Richard Frisk, who had died a natural death, and had been interred at LANE COVE.  Verdict---Died by the visitation of God.  It is generally supposed, that the body was clandestinely removed from the grave for the purpose of being dissected.

A Coroner's Inquest was held at the Emu Inn on Wednesday last, on the body of a man named James Gutteridge, who died suddenly on that day in Kent-street.  It appeared in evidence, that the deceased, who was in an infirm state of health, was addicted to drinking ardent spirits to excess, and had been suffering for a considerable time from the effects of dissipation.  Verdict---Died by the visitation of God.

A report is current, that disturbances have taken place at the penal settlement of Moreton Bay.  A boatswain has been stabbed by a man while in the execution of his duty, and other outrages committed against officers of the settlement.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 4 November 1831

On Saturday evening last, (22d inst.),  a little girl, aged 7 years, the daughter of a poor man named Gould, a lime-burner, living at Windsor, whilst playing in a boat, fell overboard and was drowned.  The Coroner convened an Inquest on Sunday, 23d, at the Barley Mow, George-street, when a verdict was returned---"Accidental death."


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 18 November 1831

Maguire, who was found guilty of bayonetting and murdering a man in Sydney, has been respited by the acting Governor till his Majesty's pleasure shall be known.

Mooney and White, the two felons convicted of murdering their overseer at Goulburn Plains, were hanged there pursuant to sentence, on Wednesday last ...


A "Crowner's Quest" was held on Saturday last, at the "Cat and Mutton" in Kent-street, on the remains of Mrs. Ellen Bradshaw, who had died the preceding day, at her home, in that street, while her husband was from home, and no person there besides herself.  It appeared the husband had quitted his home about one o'clock, in the day of Friday last, leaving his wife in her usual state of health; and that on his return, about five o'clock, he found the windows and door fast: he succeeded in opening the latter, and upon entering the house, went to the bed-room, and there found the dear partner of his joys and woes lying stretched on the bed, a corpse.  She had been much addicted to the use of ardent spirits.-The jury returned, "died by the visitation of God."

On the same day, and at the same place, an Inquest was also held, on part of a human skeleton, which had been found on the 10th instant, near Fig-tree Point, Lane Cove, superficially buried about a foot and a-half from the surface, and within half a rood of the shore.  Upon examination, the skull appeared to have been beaten in on the left side with some flat instrument.  The Jury returned, "that the remains there produced, were those of an adult, found superficially buried bear Fig-tree Point on the 10th instant, of some individual to this jury unknown."

On Monday evening, the Coroner held an Inquest at the sign of the "Cottage," in Pitt-street, on Mary Ann Wright, a child about two years of age, living in that street, with its parents, who, on the Sunday evening preceding, having been accidentally, but most severely scalded, died in consequence, about four o'clock on the following day.---The Jury returned a verdict to that effect.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 19 November 1831

An Inquest was held at the Cottage Inn, Pitt-street, on the body of an infant named Mary Ann Wright, who came by her death by having a kettle of boiling water spilt over her body; a verdict to which effect was returned.

During the last week, the Coroner of Sydney has been pretty actively employed by the sudden deaths of about a dozen of the inhabitants.  None of the cases were marked with interest, except an inquest on the bones and skull of a human body, found at Fig-tree Bay, and to which no clue can be obtained as to identity of the person.  Dr. Bland, who examined the skeleton, was of opinion, that the bones were those of an European male adult.  The jury returned a verdict to that effect.

Dennis Kellagher, a private of H. M. 39th regiment, who was convicted of murder at the present sittings of the Criminal Court, has been reprieved until the pleasure of his Majesty is made known; the case having been forwarded for his Majesty's consideration.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 23 November 1831

An Inquest was held on Friday last, on the body of Maria Stakes; it appeared in evidence, that the deceased was a habitual drunkard.  The jury returned a verdict accordingly.

The naked body of a man was found on the shore at Goat Island by the gang stationed there to hew stone.  The trunk was without a head, and it is supposed to be that of a butcher named Chapman, who was reported to have been drowned about a fortnight back.  The result of the Inquest will appear in our next.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 25 November 1831



Before the Chief Justice.  Michael Lynch was indicted for the wilful murder of William Payne, at Dunn's Plains, on the 19th of July last; and Edward Slingsby and Denis O'Brien, for being present, aiding, and assisting.  A second count charged O'Brien, as principal, and the other prisoners as accessaries.  The Attorney-General, with whom was Mr. Moore, Crown Solicitor, stated the case to the jury, and called witnesses, who deposed to the effect detailed in our report of the prisoners' execution.  The prisoners were found guilty, and were ordered for execution on Monday, and their bodies to be dissected and anatomised. [Bottom of column.]


The above culprits, Lynch, Slingsby, and O'Brien, were tried on Friday last, at the Criminal Court, Sydney, before the Chief Justice and a Jury of seven Commissioned Officers. ...

It appeared from the evidence of Edward Grimes, a servant of the deceased, and others, that about sun-set on the evening of the above day, Mr. Payne went out with Grimes, duck-shooting, to a creek about 250 yards away, when the ducks rising, Mr. Payne fired at, but missing them he went back to his house again, and loaded his fowling-piece, and set out after the ducks, over a hill, followed by Grimes, who, when within about two hundred yards of his master, perceived three men on the left hand side.  Their faces were blackened, and Grimes wished them a good evening.  They said, "oh, good evening, stand fast or you are a dead man." "Who is that down by the creek" said one? "My master," answered Grimes! "That is the very fellow we want," said another.  One of the party clapped a pistol to the breast of Grimes, commanding him not to look either at him or the other two who advanced to Mr. Payne, and desired him either to give up his arms or lay them down.  Mr. Payne said, "who are you, what do you want, or words to that effect."  A cooey was then heard, and next a shot, after which another and another followed in rapid succession.  The man who stood sentry over Grimes expressed his sorrow, and said had he been present his companions should not have done so.  In about twenty minutes the other two came up and asked their companion "what sort of chap" Grimes was.  The man, who proved to be Slingsby said, "a pretty good one."  "It is well for you that you are," replied the others, "or we would serve you as we did the cove."  They then proceeded to the house, ordered the boy in a detached kitchen to give up a gun behind the door, broke open the store, took out some spirits, invited Grimes and his wife to drink, made tea and ate some victuals, and finally quitted the house, having saddled a mare, which they loaded with various articles that belonged to the deceased, and enjoined Grimes, his wife, Bruffy a boy, and a man named Shaw, all servants of the deceased, not to stir out of the house on pain of being shot. Next morning the servants visited the body of the deceased which lay near the creek, perforated in the breast with bullets and all the clothes on; Grimes set off for Bathurst, where Major Macpherson was apprised of the melancholy affair, and Mr. Maule, 39th, with a party of police was promptly despatched to the fatal spot.  Lynch, and Slingsby who was stock-keeper to a Mr. Armstrong, left Patrick Nowlan's, where Slingsby lived, on the morning of the murder.  Slingsby did not return to Nowland's for two days after, when his melancholy demeanour attracted Nowland's notice.  He took some tea and sugar.  Captain Forbes and Mr. Maule visited Nowland's some days after, and perceiving a gun behind the door, which appeared to have been recently fired out of, their suspicions were excited.  Slingsby returned, and on Nowland telling him about the gun, he removed the flint, went out, brought in some spirits, and told Nowland, that O'Brien, Lynch and himself had been at the murder of Captain Payne, but he would not for the world that it had happened. .....


The Coroner held a "quest" on Friday at the Golden Fleece, Brickfield Hill, on James M'Mie, a young man, who died near Cook's River, suddenly, on the previous Wednesday morning.  It appeared some days previously he had complained of a pain in his left breast, but latterly it subsided, and he was much better.  Under all the circumstances, the Jury returned---died by the visitation of God.

Another Inquest took place the same day, at the King's Head, Cumberland-street, on a female named Maria Stoakes, who left the Market Wharf with two men about one o'clock on Monday last, to return to Broken Bay, where she resided with a man of that name.  She had been in Sydney some days before, during which she amused herself with the rum bottle to excess, and was in a state of intoxication when carried on board the whale boat, in the stern of which she was laid, on some sacks.  When the boat approached its destination, or neared it, about four o'clock the next morning, she started up threatened to drown herself, from which she was dissuaded by the men in the boat.  She then laid down again, and in about a quarter of an hour after became a corpse.  Verdict recorded to that effect.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 7 December 1831

On Saturday last, an Inquest was holden on the body of John Wade, who expired suddenly on that morning without visible cause.  It appeared that the deceased when he got up in the morning, was in good health, and told his wife, that he would go and sweep out the gallery of St. Phillip's Church, of which he was sexton, and return to breakfast.  The sentence had scarcely escaped from his lips, when he was seized with violent pains, and dropped on the floor a corpse.  VERDICT.---died by the visitation of God.

On the same day an Inquest was held at Long's Hotel, on the body of James Waller, a seaman belonging to the ship Lotus, who came by his death by falling from the main-yard of the shop, and striking with his head on the gunwhale of the vessel, was precipitated into the water and immediately sank.  VERDICT---Accidentally drowned.

On Sunday, an Inquest was held on the body of George Thompson, a seaman belonging to the Tigress, who fell dead while in the act of drinking a glass of rum.  The deceased was quite sober at the time, and no cause appeared for the suddenness of his death.  VERDICT---Died b y the visitation of God.

On the same day an Inquest was held on the body of Charlotte Robinson, who expired suddenly, without apparent cause---VERDICT---Died by the visitation of God.

(To the faculty---have these sudden deaths without apparent cause been occasioned or accelerated by the great heat of the weather?)


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 9 December 1831


A "Crowner's Quest" was convened early on Monday last, on the remains of a Pennant Hills settler, who in a fit of derangement cut his carotid the day before, with a sharp instrument.

On Sunday last, an inquest was held at the new St. Patrick, Cambridge-street, on the body of George Thompson, a mariner, on board the Tigress, who went into a public-house in that street, took one glass of rum, remained in the public-house walking about nearly twenty minutes, then sat down on the step of the front door, and expired.  Verdict---died by the visitation of God.

The same day another inquest was held on the person of Charlotte Robinson, of Gloucester-street, Rocks, a married woman.  Verdict---died by the visitation of God.

Last Wednesday week, at Kissing Point, an individual was found with his throat cut from ear to ear, no weapon was found near the spot.

One of the crew of the Lotus, who was assisting to  furl the main sail as the ship was rounding to, to anchor on Monday evening, 21st ult. unluckily slipped his hold, and falling over-board, instantly the poor fellow sunk, every effort to recover the body proving fruitless.

THE FACTORY.---On Tuesday last another child died in that abode of misery, the Female Factory.  The Coroner has acted, no doubt, conscientiously, but we are satisfied the crown lawyers will tell him, that he has mistaken his duty.


The Sydney Monitor, Wednesday 14 December 1831

INQUEST: Mary Smith alias Walker [5 columns] WMU.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 16 December 1831

We regret to state that on Sunday last, as two young women, with their father, named Hughes, were enjoying a water excursion in Cockle Bay, a sudden squall upset the boat, when one of the two sisters (a free young woman), unfortunately perished; the other two escaping by the daughter clinging to the boat's keel, and assisting her father until, when on the point of sinking, they were rescued through the active exertions of a young man named Green, a master boat-builder, and his brother.  Through the strenuous and well-directed exertions of Dr. Moran, the father and daughter were finally restored to animation.

On Tuesday evening, 6th instant, during a squall, a boat with one man in her, upset, between Long Nose and Cockatoo point, on the Parramatta River; not having since been heard of, we are sorry to record that the man is supposed to have perished.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 17 December 1831

After repeated exertions, and by firing over the spot\where the accident happened, the body of Miss. Hughes was found on Thursday last.  An inquest was convened the same day, and a verdict of Accidentally drowned returned.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 23 December 1831

MYSTERIOUS MURDER.---The Governor has, very properly, offered freedom and a reward of 20 Pounds to all, but the principal, who will inform as to the murder of  Mary Walker, whose mutilated body was lately found in a  well, on the premises of an honest woodman named Charlton.  Why is not the man described by the deceased's husband sought after ?

A drunken sailor named Morgan, while "walking the plank" to his vessel the Elizabeth, lying in Cockle Bay, on Saturday evening last, first,

"gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,

And going down headforemost, sunk in short."  Byron.

On Tuesday, 13th instant, the sloop Rambler, belonging to Mr. Henderson of Brisbane Water, upset off the heads, and melancholy to add, the master and two men perished, three others was saved through the exertions of Mr. Tieble, of the sloop John.

Wade, employed for many years as sexton in St. Phillip's church, rose from his bed about five o'clock, in the morning of the 3d instant, telling his wife "he should go to sweep out the gallery at the church, and then return to breakfast, after which he would clean himself, and go to see the Governor land."  The words had scarcely issued from him, when with violent pains he uttered several groans, and in less than ten minutes died.

In Friday last another Inquest was held at the "Cottage of Content," Pitt-street.  It appeared that Mary Ann Savage, the wife of a journeyman hatter, living in the same street, on Wednesday last, while in a state of intoxication, and in consequence of a quarrel with her husband, actually eat a large quantity, in a lump, of arsenic, and although medical aid was immediately had, it could not be all removed from the stomach:---she died about 8 o'clock in the morning in consequence.---The Jury returned a verdict to that effect.


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 24 December 1831

A Coroner's Inquest was held on the body of a seaman belonging to the ship Elizabeth, at the Whaler's Arms public house, in Darling Harbour, on Saturday last.  It appeared in evidence, that the deceased had drunk pretty freely on the night of his decease, and in the attempt to go on board the vessel, across a narrow board that communicated from the vessel to the shore, he lost his equilibrium, and falling into the water, was drowned.  A verdict was returned accordingly.


THE AUSTRALIAN, Friday 30 December 1831

CORONER'S INQUEST.---      On Friday, 23d instant, the Coroner held an Inquest at the Centaur public-house, on the Brickfield-hill.  An aged man, Patrick Gray, died in a wretched hovel, very suddenly, on the morning of that day, in the immediate neighbourhood.  The jury, after a long investigation, returned, "died by the visitation of God."


The Sydney Monitor, Saturday 31 December 1831

John Fitz alias Knatchbull, appeared to answer the charge of having forged a check, purporting to have been drawn by Mr. Justice Dowling, and addressed to the cashier of the bank of Australia. .......The prisoner was then remanded to enable Mr. Baily to bring forward other witnesses; which he said he could do.  And to wait the attendance of Mr. Justice Dowling.

A Coroner's Inquest was holden at the Rose and Crown, Castlereagh-street, on the body of a private soldier of His Majesty's 4th regiment, who died in consequence of a stab he received from a corporal of the same corps.  It appeared to the jury, (which was composed of townspeople and non-commissioned officers of the garrison) that no malice excited the corporal to the act, it being accidentally given in the execution of his duty in opposing the mutinous conduct of the soldier.  A verdict of Justifiable homicide was returned.

A Coroner's Inquest was held at the Harp Public-house, in Cambridge-street, on the body of an aged female, named Eagan, who expired suddenly without apparent cause.  Verdict---Died by the visitation of God.

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