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Colonial Cases


Sydney Morning Herald, 2 January 1857

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday, at the King's Head, George-street North, touching the death of a man named Peter Langley.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased was addicted to intemperance; that on Saturday night last he met with an acquaintance, a quarryman, named Williams, residing on the North Shore, and asked for a nobbler; he had no hat or cap on; and after receiving a glass of rum, he accompanied Williams home. The next (Sunday) morning they went into town together, when they had two glasses of rum, and meeting with an acquaintance, who was going to bathe, they all went to the Fig-tree together. Shortly after going into the water the deceased attempted to swim across the Bay, and when got half way he became exhausted, and held up his hand for assistance. A boat with some men in happened to be on the spot, which, on a signal being given by Williams, proceeded to the rescue, but not in time to do any good, as the man sank almost immediately after holding up his hand.  The body was found floating in the Bay on Thursday last.  Verdict - Died from suffocation by drowning.


Empire (Sydney), 2 January 1857

INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday, before the City Coroner, touching the death of William Watson Bottomley, alias the Old Captain, aged about forty-seven years.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased, who was much addicted to intemperance, had his thigh broken by being run over by a dray on the Redfern-road, on Saturday night last; he, at the timer, lying intoxicated in the middle of the road.  Dr. Alfred Roberts deposed that he visited the deceased on Sunday last, at the Infirmary, and found him suffering from a compound fracture of the right thigh; he advised amputation, as the only means of saving life; which advice was concurred in by other medical gentlemen who met him in consultation on the subject; the deceased however refused, in spite of all advice and remonstrance, to have the limb amputated; every effort was made, under the circumstances, to avert fatal consequences, but death occurred on the following day; delirium tremens in a severe form, had  set in previous to death.  The jury gave a unanimous verdict of accidental death; and stated as their opinion that deceased was under the influence of liquor at the time he met with the accident, and incapable of taking care of himself.


Illawarra Mercury, 5 January 1857

MELANCHOLY DEATH. - The number of deaths and serious accidents by falls from horses has, of late, been very great.  From the details we learn that a youth of 17 years of age, named Robert White, the only son of the late Mr. Robert White, of Wulingaragong, has died by a fall from his horse, and that he leaves a bereaved mother and four sisters to lament his untimely end. - Bathurst Free Press, December 24


INQUEST. - On last Monday, an inquest was held by Dr. Menzies, the Coroner, touching the death of the man Crawford.  The result of the enquiry was, that the death of the deceased was caused by the injury he received when quarrelling on the afternoon of Christmas Day with Kelly and Armstrong.  Dr. Falder, who made a post mortem examination of the body, discovered a rupture of the urinary vessel, and deposed that this was the cause of death.  The Dr. was of opinion that an injury of the kind could be very easily caused when the bladder is distended with urine.  The deceased, immediately before his death, deposed that, when he was thrown down, Kelly leaped on him and kicked him; but none of the on-lookers saw Kelly do so.  They, however, observed Armstrong fall on the top of the deceased with sufficient force to cause the fatal rupture.  The Coroner had committed Armstrong and Kelly to be tried for manslaughter.


Empire (Sydney), 5 January 1857

SUDDEN DEATH OF A MAN UNKNOWN. - Yesterday morning, about eight o'clock, a man, apparently about forty years of age, whose name is unknown, suddenly fell dead in Charlton's Hotel, Market Wharf.  The body was been removed, for identification, to the Benevolent Asylum; and a coroner's inquest will be held upon it in the course of the day.


Sydney Morning Herald, 6 January 1857


AN Inquest was held yesterday, before th4e coroner, Mr. J. S. Parker, at the Yorkshire Stingo, touching the death of Bridget Martin.  Mary Higgins, being sworn, deposed: I reside next door to deceased, in Goulburn-street; she was about sixty years of age; about half-past seven yesterday I went to deceased's house and found her dressed, sitting by the side of her bed; she had tea in  a basin in her hand, and asked me to give her a dose of castor oil; she complained of a soreness about  her throat, and pain in her side; she did not take the oil; asked me to lift her, which I did,  and soon saw that she was dying, and appeared quite easy; It was close upon eight when she died; the medical gentleman saw her;  have only known deceased a few weeks; she was very feeble; never saw her drunk'; she was supported by charity by the neighbours, and had been about three days confined to her room; the Sisters of Charity came to see her yesterday afternoon.  Verdict: Deceased died very suddenly from natural causes, and not otherwise.

  Another inquest was held before the Coroner, at the Wellington Inn, George-street, touching the death of a man unknown, lying at the dead-house attached to the Benevolent Asylum.  John Longford, being sworn, deposed: Am a publican; keep the Charlton Hotel, Market Wharf; the deceased came to my place yesterday, about 8 o'clock; he was perfectly sober, and said he felt very weak; asked me to give him a nobbler of gin; before I could get it, observed he was in the  act of falling, and put my hand over the counter to support him; seeing that he was dying, left him on the floor with a pillow under his head;  he was only five minutes in my place before he expired; know deceased by appearance, but not his name; he may be 50 years of age, and made his living by selling brooms; deceased wore a  dark brown  frock coat, black hat, corduroy trousers, half boots, and had a carpet bag, containing a couple of shirts; saw no money with him.  Daniel M'Millan deposed: Am a constable of A division; upon hearing that am man was dead at Mr. Longford's, went and found him lying on the floor; examined deceased's person, and remembered having spoken to him on the wharf on Saturday; the disfigured state of his clothes showed that he had been lying down in some place; searched his pockets, and found a silver 3d. and 4d. piece; there were no marks of any kind upon his person; have seen deceased frequently along the wharf; never observed him the worse for drink, and cannot say how he got his living; had the body removed to the dead-house. Dr. Smith deposed: Have examined the body of deceased and found no marks of violence; he appeared to be about 50 years of age, and about 5 feet 87 inches in height; on turning the body over found   blood coming from his mouth, and the appearance of deceased's chest would lead me to believe the immediate cause of death was from haemorrhage; there was no appearance that the deceased died from apoplexy, nor can I say whether he was poisoned or not.  Verdict: We are unanimous in our opinion that the deceased died by the visitation of God, as there was no marks of violence on his body or anything suspicious in the case to believe that he died otherwise, and no occasion for a post mortem examination.   The following note was appended to the depositions by the coroner: The appearance of the deceased man show he was a person of no settled habits, and slept in sheds and out buildings.

   A third inquest was held at the Ship Inn, Sussex-street, before the coroner, on view of the body of Mary Ann Gamble. Ann Cleeve, being sworn, deposed: Am the wife of J. K. Cleeve; have known deceased four or five years; knew her as Mary Ryan; she was a tenant of my husband's; called at the house on Thursday last; she was then lying on the floor, in a loft, in a most miserable condition, partially dressed; upon b recognixxing me she complained of being very ill, and of great pain in her legs; upon her stating no doctor was attending her, I asked whether I should get one to see her, but she would not allow me; saw her again in the evening, and took my cook with me; she would not allow me to remove her; we took her nourishments, of which she partook; on Saturday, had her removed to the back room, and found she was covered with maggots; had to cut the clothes off and washed her; the maggots came from one of her feet; saw here again several times yesterday (Sunday); she expired about ten p.m.; always knew her to be a sober woman; cannot say how long she had been in the loft; she had been ailing for some time.  Thomas Gamble, labourer, deposed: Deceased was my wife; we were married at St. James' Church, on the 24th  day of December, 1847; lived with her for seven years, but in consequence of a disagreement we parted about two years since;  she was healthy and of sober habits; never knew her to partake of spirits, but often heard her refuse; hearing she was ill sent to know whether I could get a doctor or clergyman, but she refused; she was about 60 years of age, was native of the county Kildare, in Ireland;  since we parted, which was by mutual consent,  she has never received any support from me.

   Inspector Weale deposed, at 10 a.m. on the 4th instant was informed that a woman was lying destitute and dying at a house in Hunt's-buildings, Essex-street; found upon proceeding to the house she was still alive but could not live many hours; Dr. Vaughan was of the same opinion; it being reported deceased was possessed of property, put a constable in charge of the house; told me her maiden name was Mary Ann Ryan, and was married to Gamble; that she was 58 years of age and came out in the Jessie from Liverpool 17 years since; she expired at 10 p.m. on the 4th instant; believed she died from want of proper nourishment and attention; sent at 11  a.m. for Dr. Rutter, the police-surgeon,, to see her, but on his arrival at the Cumberland-station at half-pas two p.m., hearing that she was not in custody at the station, refused to see her and did not see her. - Thomas Thornton deposed: have known deceased about seventeen years; she resided next door to me for five years; about three weeks since saw her lying in  the kitchen; she was then ill, and had a bad leg; am of opinion that she had been lying in the loft five or six days; heard her talking three or four days before she died; saw a woman give her some pudding some time between Christmas and New Year's Day; she would not allow any one to see her, and was of  most eccentric habits. - Patrick Vaughan, deposed: Am an apothecary; saw deceased between ten and eleven yesterday morning; found her in a sinking state from exhaustion, and nearly speechless; had no reason to suspect any wrong treatment, and consequently did not examine her, as she could not survive many hours; her appearance indicated sufferings from previous disease, and filthy mode of living; the house was dirty and ill-ventilated.  Verdict - Died from natural causes, accelerated from filth and neglect.

Maitland Mercury, 6 January 1857

A MAN DROWNED. - On Saturday afternoon Thomas Owen, alias Tommy the tailor, was unfortunately drowned under the following circumstances: it appeared that he was out pleasuring, in a boat or small yacht, near Morpeth, and being a little the worse for liquor, as we are informed, he lost his equilibrium, and fell overboard.  Before his comrades could grapple him the current had swiftly carried the body past them, and soon after it disappeared.  The body has since been recovered near Mr. Pearce's wharf.

THREE PERSONS DROWNED NEAR RAYMOND TERRACE. - On Saturday afternoon, during the heavy squall, a boat containing Mr. and Mrs. White and two children was upset, and Mrs. White and the children were unfortunately drowned.  It appeared that they started from Raymond Terrace, and were sailing down the river to their home, some little distance down, and when almost within sight of the house, and near Greenaway's Creek, a sudden s quall came on; before Mr. White could take the necessary precautions the boat capsized, upsetting them all in the river.  The disaster was witnessed from the bank and a man whose name we cannot learn immediately launched out to their rescue, but the squall and the current were too strong¸ and his boat capsized also; he however gallantly struck out, and swam to the sport, where he was fortunate enough to pick up Mr. White, and to convey him in safety to the shore. Attempts were made to recover Mrs. White and the children, but in vain; nothing was seen of them since they first sunk.  The bodies had not been recovered when our informant left.

A LAD KILLED. - On Saturday afternoon a lad named David James Taylor, in the employ of Mr. Chambers, butcher, of Morpeth, was sent to water his master's horse; he was perfectly sober, and was riding a quiet pony; on his return, through Swan street, a calf ran between the pony's legs, and threw it down, and Taylor was thrown violently on his head, which seemed to turn under him, and the next instant the pony rolled over him.  The accident occurred near the house of Mrs. Henderson, who saw it, and hastened to the poor boy's assistance; he was insensible, and moaning, and she had him removed to her house, and sent for Dr. Nugent and Dr. Getty, and for Mr. Chambers.  The poor boy lingered for twelve hours after the accident, and then died, the brain having evidently been seriously injured.  An inquest was held by Dr. M'Cartney on Sunday, and a verdict of accidental death returned.

INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday, at Tarlo, before R. Waugh, Esq., coroner, on view of the body of Thomas Butler, aged 60, and old servant of Messrs. Jamieson, who had been found dead in the bush.  On Saturday morning the deceased went out with his sheep as normal, but did not return in the evening.  This excited alarm, and an imperfect but eager search was instituted unnecessarily. The fact of the man's disappearance was communicated to Mr. Jamieson, and on Sunday morning some seventeen or eighteen men scoured the bush, but it was not until two o'clock on Monday that the dead body was found.  The position indicated that the deceased had sat down to sleep, and that in his slumbers life had passed away.  When discovered, the body was in an easy sitting position, leaning against a tree, with the hat drawn forward over the face.  No marks of violence were discernible.  The jury returned a verdict of Died by the Visitation of God.  - Goulburn Chronicle, Dec. 31


Northern Times, 7 January 1857

CORONER'S INQUEST. - Yesterday an inquest on the body of Thomas Owen, was held before the coroner, Dr. M'Cartney, at the Crown and Anchor, Morpeth.  William Collins, a sailor on board the Sir John Franklin, schooner, deposed that on Saturday night he was asked by the captain to come on deck.  There were several persons present, amongst whom was the deceased.  He seemed to be a little tipsy.  Some drink had been taken by the deceased and others.  Subsequently the deceased, in attempting to walk overbalanced himself, and fell into the water on the port side.  The witness then detailed the measures that had been adopted to save the man, and subsequently to recover his body.  The captain of the Sir John Franklin, schooner, was also examined, and deposed that he had invited the deceased and a party of friends on board the schooner, that the deceased was apparently able to take care of himself at the time of the accident; that every exertion that could be made to save the man was made, and that not an angry word had been spoken during the evening.  Charles Fortescue, a sailor, corroborated the preceding evidence.  Verdict - Accidental death by drowning.


Sydney Morning Herald, 10 January 1857

FATAL ACCIDENT. - An inquest was held on Monday evening last, at the Woolpack Inn, Grafton-street, before Mr. R. Waugh, coroner, on view of the body of Patrick William Condon.  It appeared from the evidence that the deceased gentleman was an engineer and surveyor, for many months past employed by the Government in surveying the line of railway from Sydney to Goulburn.  For some tome his camp had been pitched on the bank of the river, near the English burial ground.  On Sunday he had an appointment with one of his colleagues, Mr. Oliver, at Mr. Plumb's Inn, Shelly's Flat, and left home about noon.  He was riding a mare, generally quiet, but which was known to "shie" occasionally; and Mr. Condon was far from being a good horseman.  In the afternoon, Dr. Hanford passed Mr. Condon, as the latter was coming towards Goulburn; he was sober.  Afterwards, as he mounted a hill, and on turning his head, the doctor saw the deceased "pull up" at Mrs. Wood's public house.  He was not seen alive after he left the last mentioned place.  Art about eight o'clock on Monday morning the horse was found near the fence of the paddock in which he usually grazed, having broken down two or three panels in the attempt to enter.  The animal was saddled and bridled, but the off stirrup was thrown over the back. The person finding the horse at once suspected that some mishap had happened, and hastily mounting it galloped over to the camp, where he found that Mr. Condon, expected by ten o'clock on Sunday evening (he having given orders to his cook to have coffee prepared at that time) had not then arrived.  One of Mr. Condon's, men mounting the horse rode of in search of his master, in the direction of Towrang; but before his return, the cook (a Chinaman) proceeding towards Goulburn for fresh provisions found his dead body just over the rise of the hill, about 250 yards from the camp.  The deceased was lying on his back; there was a ghastly wound on his forehead, and much blood about the face.  Hard by was a stump on which a little hair and some blood were to be seen.  The Chinaman immediately communicated with the servant remaining at the tents, who went into town for the police, whilst the cook remained with the body.  A gold watch and chain, some money, and a number of valuable papers were found amongst the clothes.  Dr. Hanford deposed that he had made an external examination of the body.  He found that the frontal bone was depressed, and that blood had issued from the mouth and ears.  This wound was the cause of death, and might have been made by falling from a horse against a stump or boulder.  If surgical skill had been applied immediately after the accident, the wetness did not anticipate any successful result.  There was a slight wound on the lip, and a contusion on the right thigh.  Mr. Oliver said he had known the deceased for more than three years; he was a man of very temperate habits.  The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.  The distressing circumstance has caused a general feeling of regret through the town, where Mr. Condon was much respected.


Empire (Sydney), 13 January 1857

FATAL AND MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - A coroner's inquest was held yesterday before J. Parker, Esq., at the Three Tuns Tavern, Elizabeth-street, on view of the body of Thomas Turner Harral, who came by his death under the painful circumstances detailed below:- Ann Harral, mother of the deceased, deposed that her son was 38 years of age, was a widower, and had left four small children; he was by occupation a lime burner.  On Thursday morning last, between seven and eight o'clock in the morning, he left home in god health, with a horse and cart, to go where some water pipes were being weighed; another man was with then to take the cart while the deceased went on to Sydney; about nine o'clock, a man came and told her that he had bad news to relate - that master had got hurt with the horse, and that he was taken to the Infirmary; he said that as he was driving along the road, he struck a  pipe and cut his foot off, leaving it hanging only by the skin; she never knew him to be intoxicated; he was perfectly able to manage a horse; he said the accident would not have happened if the pipes had been in their proper places; he was employed by the City Commissioners to weigh the pipes.  George Hume Wyatt deposed, that he was a labourer, employed by the deceased to assist in weighing the water pipes now lying in the Botany road; on Thursday morning last he started with the deceased with the horse and cart; the deceased was driving; on the previous day, witness went alone with the horse, but the animal was very sulky and would not go; the deceased, therefore, went on Thursday morning in order to see what he could do with the horse being his property; the deceased seated himself on the near side, with his legs hanging down; he had no whip or stick in his hands; witness sat in the dray with his back towards the horse; the deceased jumped off two or three times, when the horse stopped, and struck him with the reins; and as the horse here started into a gallop, jumped again on the dray; they galloped about a quarter of a mile, when a cart, coming from Sydney, drew aside to let them pass; the deceased was looking at the cart when the wheel of the dray struck the thick end of a water pipe which was slightly slued towards the road; the leg of the deceased was caught between the wheel and the pipe and severed, being left hanging by a piece of skin; the accident was occasioned by a rut in the road, which caused the dray to jolt against the pipe; witness was thrown on his back by the concussion, and a portion of the harness was broken; when he got up he found the deceased mutilated as described, and with the other leg jammed and bleeding; the deceased was soon after conveyed to the Infirmary.

   Richard Ramsay, engineer at the City Water Works at Botany, stated that the Commissioners were using every means to have the pipes removed from off the road; but that they did not interrupt the traffic at the place where the accident occurred.  Richard Westcott, wardsman at the Sydney Infirmary, state that the deceased was brought into the Infirmary and place under his charge, on Thursday last, having both legs broken; he died on Sunday, at 1 p.m., from the injuries he received.  The verdict of the jury was as follows: That the deceased, Thomas Turner Harrol, came to his death from injuries received by coming in contract with a water-pipe on the Botany-road, and that he had not proper control over his horse at the time.


Empire (Sydney), 13 January 1857

DEATH FROM BURNING. -  An inquest was held yesterday by J. S. Parker, Esq., at the Three Tuns Tavern, Elizabeth-street, on view of the body of William Mehan, aged 39 years, who died in the Infirmary on Sunday morning, from the effects of injuries received on Thursday morning last, while trying to rescue his children from fire.  George Kenned, a constable in the Sydney police force, said he was on duty in Woolloomooloo-street on the morning of the occurrence, and had his attention drawn to the house of the deceased in Palmer-street, by a noise of a window being broken, and observed flames coming from the deceased's bedroom; he ran to the spot, and found the deceased outside, his shirt burning on him, which witness extinguished; the deceased said he was burnt to death trying to save his children; he had then only one child beside him; witness asked him whether any one was then inside, and he said his wife and another child were there; witness ran into the house, and found the wife and child escaping from the burning room to the one  adjoining; her hair and a part of her night dress were then burning; he got something and rolled round her and extinguished the fire; he then went to the burning room and found two beds and a portion of the wood work about the window burning; he obtained some water in buckets, and succeeded in putting out the blaze; by this time two or three men came to his assistance, and he threw the burning articles out to them to extinguish, which they did; he then examined Mehan, and found that he was severely burned; rolled some bedding about him, and placed him in an arm chair; he sent for Dr. Anderson, who came and attended to Mrs. Mehan and the chidren; but before the doctor arrived, witness got a coach and took the deceased to the Infirmary; before he left the house, the deceased told his wife two or three times, that she must have left a candle burning and so have caused the fire; but she denied it.  Dr. McEwan deposed that the deceased was received into the infirmary on Thursday morning last suffering from an extensive burn in the head, face, neck, hands, and forearms, and slightly about the legs; he was perfectly conscious when brought into the infirmary, and witness though he would have recovered, but he gradually sunk and expired on Sunday forenoon.  Further evidence was taken but it did not show in what manner the fire originated.  The verdict was returned accordingly. [Also Sydney Morning Herald, 13 January.]


Sydney Morning Herald, 13 January 1857

   An inquest was held on Saturday last, the 10th instant, before Dr. Bowker, the coroner, at the Glebe Hotel, Burwood, about three miles from Newcastle, on the body of John Robinson, a miner, who had lost his life that morning in the Victoria Tunnel, one of the Newcastle Coal and Copper Company's coal levels.  The facts have a particular interest to persons employed in mining, and are detailed in the following evidence:-

   Henry Hardy, miner, of Burwood, sworn: I was at work with deceased this morning; we were taking a corner of a tunnel of the Newcastle Coal and Company, called the Victoria Tunnel; two minutes before the accident I was at work under the same piece of clay which immediately afterwards fell on the deceased; in consequence of his having asked me if I would go and pitch the wagon.  I went immediately for the purpose of doing so; I had not reached the wagon when a piece of clay under which deceased was working fell on him; I called him, but he made no answer; I then called to Thomas Fletcher and Robert Thomas, who were working in the same tunnel about one hundred or two hundred yards from us; I endeavoured to heave the piece of clay, which was of about the weight of half a ton, from off the deceased, and had removed it before the men had reached me; I then picked him up, and was supporting him when they came up; he breathed very heavily for about ten minutes, and then died; I spoke to him several time, but he did not answer,

   In answer to questions from the jury, witness said: I did not think the clay was dangerous previous to its falling; I think a prop might have prevented it from falling, had it been under it; there were props on command if we had wished to use them; I have worked a s a miner on the same level for two or three months, and have worked as a miner in Staffordshire for more than twenty years; had I seen any cause to apprehend an accident, I would have used the props; we were working by contract, but were not running any more risks, as I thought, than if we were working time-work; we had undercut the coal to the extent of six feet, and had taken down about four feet of clay before the accident happened; we had knocked on the clay sufficiently to make us consider it safe; had we found it unsafe on knocking it, we should have taken further precautions.

   Thomas Fletcher, examined: I was working in the Victoria Tunnel between 12 and 1 o'clock this morning, between 70 and 80 yards from the deceased, when I heard Hardy call "Come here" I ran to him, and found him supporting the deceased, who was not then dead; I then went for Thomas Horsfield, the overseer, who returned with me; deceased was dead when we reached him; before the clay fell in I saw the place where the accident occurred, and thought there was danger in working underneath it;  I told them at the same time that the fire-clay was drawn, or moved from the roof; Hardy and the deceased said they did not think it would come down;  I stopped there after this conversation for about ten minutes; when I told them I thought it would fall; they got that part down which I had considered dangerous; I thought that the part which they did not get down was perfectly secure.

   Thomas Horsfield, overseer, examined: Fletcher called me about half-past one o'clock this morning, and informed me of the accident; deceased was then dead; had inspected the work before Harding and the deceased commenced it, and found all then right; after they had taken the coal away, the fire clay, which fell on the deceased, ought to have been propped; the working was five feet from one side of the corner and terminated at nothing on the other side of the corner; the depth of the fire-clay was five feet and a half; they had pulled down three and a half feet of the clay before the reminder fell and killed the deceased; on such occasions I always use props; I have been an overseer since the 18th of September, previous to which I worked at Notts Level about nine months as a miner; I have worked fourteen years as a miner in Lancashire; the deceased and Harding were, I think, quite competent to manage the work properly; the fire-clay which fell is the layer upon the top of the coal; the top coal remains in the place where they were working across the whole width of the board, and it is a good roof; the men had props within two or three yards of where they were working; if the work had been of more danger than common I would not have considered them fully competent, but I would, in such a case, go frequently to see how it was getting on.

   Verdict, accidental death.


Maitland Mercury, 13 January 1857

  A melancholy case of drowning is reported, wherein the most gallant efforts to save life proved unavailing.  The Herald says: We regret to announce the death of Mr. John Chase, of Sugarloaf Station, New England; he was drowned in the river during a heavy flood, a little above his own house, early on the morning of New Year's Day, in attempting to cross to a sheep station.  Every attempt was made to recover his remains, which were not found till the 3rd instant.  He leaves a wife and five children to deplore their loss.

DEATH OF MR. VIVERS, OF KING'S PLAIN, BY POISON. - Many of our readers among the older residents in the district, will regret to learn that Mr. W. Vivers, of King's Plain, New England, has been killed by poison.  It appears that on the 1st of January, in the evening, Mr. Vivers was amusing himself by weeding up some Bathurst burr plants, not far from his house, when he was taken suddenly ill, and was assisted to the house, and his nephew, Mr. Thomas Vivers, sent for.  Mr. Vivers found his uncle as if labouring under an apoplectic fit, breathing hard, and greatly oppressed.  He immediately sent off two men on horseback for medical assistance, and endeavoured to apply what remedies he could himself.  In a few minutes Mr. Vivers, senior, partially recovered, but was still breathing hard, and apparently much oppressed; and in ten minutes afterwards he was taken worse again, and expired almost instantly.  During the whole time he appeared sensible, but terribly oppressed.  The body commenced to turn colour very soon after death.  No medical man, from the great distance, of course reached the house till long after death.  An inquest was held on the body by Mr. John M'Croanin, J.P., the next day, when Dr. Duigan made a post mortem examination. Out informant was p at the inquest, but does not remember the exact medical evidence.  It was to the effect that death was caused by poison.  The only light that could then be thrown on this was that Mr. Thomas Vivers deposed that on asking him if he had taken anything that would cause so sudden an illness, said he had taken a seidlitz powder, and feared he must have swallowed something injurious in mistake.  The verdict was that Mr. Viver's death was occasioned by poison, but whether taken by himself accidentally, or administered by other persons, there was no evidence to show.  Mr. Vivers, who was unmarried, was an old colonist, having been thirty-two years in the colony, and having taken up the King's Plains station some sixteen years since, when that part of New England was first being opened up.

MELANCHOLY CASE OF DROWNING. - On Saturday afternoon John Player Box, a boy of about twelve years of age, the step-son of Mr. Atkins, and a general favourite with all who knew him, fell into the river near the back of Mr. Bussell's premises, and was drowned.  At about four o'clock in the afternoon he called at the house of Mrs. Bussell, near the river, and obtained some fresh meat for a bait, as he was going to fish.  Shortly after he was seen sitting on the steps or logs at the river bank, with another boy of about his own age, named Alfred Allwood, both fishing.  His companion, catching a fish, ran home with it, leaving his line with young Box, and on his return, saw him struggling in the water, which almost covered him.  He called out for help, and hurried up the bank to call Mrs. Bussell; but when he went down again, with her, all that could be seen was the hat of the deceased floating down the stream.  In a very short time four or five boats were out, and every exertion was made by dragging to recover the body.  Several persons dived in search but the muddy state of the water prevented the divers from feeling well, and the quantity of bottles and broken glass at the bottom rendered the task one of some danger.  Towards six o'clock some aborigines arrived, and persevered in diving and swimming about under water until the efforts of one of them proved successful.  The poor boy still held the rod and line with which he had been angling.  The bait was off the hook; and it was thought probable that the jerk of a fish or eel pulling at the line might have dislodged him from his seat, for he had lost a leg some time ago, and would thus have been more easily overbalanced.  An inquest was held in the evening, before Dr. M'Cartney, at the Shamrock Inn, when some of the above facts were elicited.  The verdict was, accidental death by drowning. [Ed. Comment.]


Bathurst Free Press, 14 January 1857


   Coroner's inquests have been rather numerous in this quarter latterly - dome from accident and a few attributed to other causes.

   Doctor Seals stands out on bail for administering too large a dosed of morphia to Mrs. Hall, of which she died.  The case occurred more than a month back.  On Tuesday the 30th, an inquest was held on Wattle Flat, before Mr. Commissioner Johnson on the body of a Mrs. Whelan, of Little Oakey, who died the day before.  It was alleged that she lost her life from cold taken after her confinement, and from the ill-treatment she received from her husband.  The evidence given by some witnesses at the inquest, was, that she was confined on Saturday the 20th ultimo; that she had to get up on the 25th to prepare his family Christmas dinner, and that her husband who was drinking in the interim, had ill-used her.  The particulars of the depositions taken before the Jury were forwarded by Mr. Johnson to the Attorney-General, and the husband (Whelan) is held to bail to surrender himself when called upon


Maitland Mercury, 15 January 1857


INQUEST. - An inquest was held at the court house, on the 9th instant, before R. R. S. Bowker, Esq., coroner, touching the death of Jonathan Asquith, aged eight years, one of the two lads drowned at the North Shore, as reported in the Mercury of 8th instant.  It appears that on Thursday last as young man named Edward Morley found the head of a child on Bullock Island, below high water mark.  It had the appearance of having been severed from the body by fish - probably a shark.  Identification was difficult from the time it had been in the water, but the father stated his belief that it was his son, from the same teeth being absent that his son had lost prior to his death, also from the color of the hair.  Dr. Stacy considered it to be the head of a child from seven to eight years of age.  The jury, believing the remains to be that of Jonathan Asquith, returned a verdict of accidentally drowned.


Goulburn Herald, 17 January 1857

CORONER FOR BRAIDWOOD. - Dr. Codrington, the Coroner for the district of Braidwood, was swine in at the Quarter Sessions, on Tuesday last.

DEATH BY BURNING. - We have been informed that a child of three or four years old belonging to Mr. Seaman, a settler at Bolong Flats, about 50 miles from Goulburn, lost its life last week by being accidentally burnt.


Empire (Sydney), 17 January 1857

THE LATE FATAL ACCIDENT IN THE HARBOUR. - DISGRACEFUL CONDUCT OF A BOAT'S CREW. - An inquest was held on Thursday last, at the Wellington Inn, George-street South, before J. S. Parker, Esq., coroner for Sydney, on the body of a young man named James Murray, who was drowned in Johnstone's Bay, on Sunday last, through the accidental filling of a boat in which he had gone out with some friends to view the mail schooner Simla.  William M'Donald, having been duly sworn, said he went out in a boat on Sunday last with Kenneth M'Kenzie and his son, and the deceased; when crossing from Balmain, witness had the helm, and the boat would not tack; they therefore jibbed her, when deceased, in endeavoring to get to windward for the purpose of balancing the boat, slipped and fell to leeward, dragging M'Kenzie with him; the motion of the boat also caused witness at the same time to fall to leeward, when the boat immediately filled, and they were all left in the water; the boat did not sink;  witness laid hold of deceased, who could not swim, and was twice carried under water; finding he was entangled with some of the gear, he let go of the deceased and extricated himself, but took hold of him again directly and swam with him towards the boat, and got him to lay hold of it; deceased was much frightened and commenced screaming, when witness seeing a boat approaching, told him to keep quiet as assistance was at hand; a boat approached within six or seven yards of them, and then made off again; witness called out to the people in the boat "For God's sake, come to our assistance," but they pulled away without rendering the slightest help; there might have been five men in the boat;  he knew one of them.

   Thomas M'Arthur, son of the foreman of the Steam Company's Works at Pyrmont; he was positive deceased's life could have been saved, if the people in the boat had rendered them assistance; he believed there were five men in the boat, but there was plenty of room for them to have taken up the two poor fellows who could not swim;  after the boat left the deceased appeared more excited and shifted his position; the boat then turned over, and caused the deceased to be covered with the sea,; witness then caught hold of him and placed his hand on the boat;  on looking round, he missed M'Kenzie; he asked the boy where his father was, and the boy replied "I have him;" witness then saw him under water, his son being much exhausted; and got him up to the surface; just then, a boat sculled by one man came to their assistance, and witness gave the man M'Kenzie's hand; young M'Kenzie then called out "Where is Jemmy?" meaning the deceased; some one  said he was under the sail; witness looked but could not find him as he was much exhausted; he believes they were about twenty minutes in the water; the accident occurred about 150 yards from the  shore and was witnessed by a great number of persons, but no effort was made from the shore to save them; he believed that the boat that saved them came from one of the schooners; the body of deceased was picked up about two o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, close to the spot where the accident took place; there was no quarrelling in the boat; they were all on the best of terms, and were perfectly sober.  Kenneth M'Kenzie corroborated the above testimony, in accordance with which the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, coupling with it a censure upon the men who came to the scene of the accident, when the life of the deceased might have been saved, and unfeelingly pulled away again without rendering the slightest aid.

DEATH FROM DROWNING.  A coroner's inquest was held at the Antrim Arms, Cook's River-road, on Thursday last, before J. S. Parker, Esq., on the body of a girl, fourteen years of age, named Emma Jane Harris, who came by her death through falling into a water-hole to which she had gone with two buckets to fetch water, on Wednesday last.  The jury returned the following verdict - We find that the deceased, Emma Jane Harris, came by her death by drowning; but how she fell into the water we have no evidence to show.


Illawarra Mercury, 19 January 1857

THE MOUNT MACQUARIE MURDER. - Mr. Chief Constable M'Fadden of the Carcoar Police, has suceded in working up another important piece of evidence against Addison Mitchel, who now lies in gaol under committal for the murder of William Ablett. .  .  .         

THE MISSING CONSTABLE. - The body of the unfortunate William Harthill, who was drowned while attempting to cross the Lewis Ponds Creek, on the 8th ultimo, was found on the following Friday, by three diggers, who had been searching for it from the time of the accident.  The same day a magisterial enquiry was held on the remains, and a verdict returned of accidentally drowned. In consequence of the decomposed state of the body, Mr. Finnerty had it buried in the neighbourhood immediately afterwards.  A subscription has been set on foot to remunerate the diggers, who were in straightened circumstances, and it at present amounts to 40 Pounds.

SKELETON FOUND- A day or two since the remains of a man were found on a mountain track leading from Snowy Creek to Omeo, about seventeen miles from the latter place. .  .  . 


Sydney Morning Herald, 20 January 1857

SUICIDE BY STRYCHNINE. - A most determined and apparently long premeditated suicide took place on the 30th of December last, at Kieta, a cattle station on the river, belonging to Mr. Augustus Morris.  It appears from what I was able to ascertain on the spot soon after the melancholy occurrence took place, that the deceased was a Mr. John Campbell, storekeeper on the station.  For some months past it had been noticed that he was very much changed, having become low spirited, sullen, very indolent, and appearing in a general state of lassitude, but this was attributed more to infirmity of temper than to weakness of mind.  On the Saturday previous to his death he was found lying in bed with a pistol doubly charged near him, and on being asked what he had intended doing with it, replied that he had been thinking about shooting himself.  As this was said cheerfully, it was thought to be a joke, more particularly when, on the following day, he joined an excursion party, and appeared to be ad happy as any one could be.  On the Tuesday, as he did not come to breakfast as usual, some person went to his room and found him lying on the bed looking very pale, and seemingly very ill; on being asked what was the matter, he replied, "I have only been taking some strychnine." It was at first imagined that he was again joking, but Campbell telling the place where he taken the poison, a bottle of strychnine and a teaspoon with some of it still about it, were found on the spot.  The doctor was then sent for, and the only thing at hand, salad oil, supposed to be efficacious in such a case, was copiously poured down his throat. The unfortunate man protested that it was no good either sending for a doctor or giving him the oil, as he had already taken the poison more than two hours, and stated that he should live about two hours more.

   On being asked why he had poisoned himself, he replied it was for two reasons but did not state what they were.  He expressed no remorse for what he had done, and would not give any directions about the settlement of his affairs. About three hours and a half after taking the poison, he had a horrible convulsed fit his screams were dreadful, and he begged and prayed the bystanders, should another fit seize him, to shoot him through the head and put him out of his misery.  He had several of these fits, during which he required three persons to hold him down in bed.  At last he died, suffering more horrible agony, about four and a half hours, as is supposed, after taking the strychnine.  The death was registered by the district registrar, and the next day the unfortunate man was buried under some weeping trees, where lie  some eight or ten persons who have come to untimely deaths at different times, and who now lies where the native dogs run over their graves.

   Mr. John Campbell was only twenty-seven at the time of his death.  He was a native of the town of New Ross, in the county of Wexford, Ireland. [Biography.] .  .  . 

   No magisterial inquiry has taken place, and there is no coroner in the district; but had an inquest been held it seems probable that the verdict must have been felo de se, as the act appears to have been so premeditated and so calmly carried out that bit could hardly be thought a person so comporting himself was at the time of unsound mind.


Sydney Morning Herald, 20 January 1857


INQUEST. - An inquest was held at Mr. Barrett's, Cottage Hotel, O'Connell-street, on Sunday, 28th instant, before C. B. Lyons, coroner, on view of the body of William Peets [Toley] [Patey], a water-carrier, who was then lying dead.  It appeared by the statement of one of the jury that deceased had been drinking for some days past; that the day previous he had gone to the river for a load of water. Benjamin Perry being sworn, deposed, that, on Saturday, he was bathing on the north side of the river, it being the opposite side to where deceased was with his horse and cart, and near the Government Domain; deceased was attempting to hang his bucket on the fore part of the cart, when he fell off into the water, he got up, staggered, and fell again under the horse's feet; his head was under water; the horse bolted; no one was with him at the time.  Thomas Doyle, deposed: I am getting on for fifteen; I went to the river near to the Domain to have a swim; about 200 yards near the watering place some boys sung out "a man is drowning;" we all ran up, and I was the first to lay hold of the deceased; Allen, the waterman, was there, but he said he could not swim; I pulled him out. 

   F. W. Bassett, Esq., being sworn, deposed: I am a legally qualified medical practitioner; yesterday I was informed that a man was drowned; I went to see if anything could be done, but the man was dead; I observed a bruise over the left eye; the bruise appeared to be recent, and might have been inflicted by coming in contact with the cart wheel; the features had the appearance of a person drowned.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the above evidence.

MR. JOHN RYAN, LATE CHIEF CONSTABLE. - Another inquest took place at 9 o'clock in the evening of the same day, at the house of deceased, John Ryan, who was then and there lying dead.  Constable Thomas Rafter deposed: I am attached to the Parramatta police force; I was places in charge of the deceased, Mr. Ryan, by the chief constable, Mr. Drury; at 12 o'clock to-day I resumed that duty; I was ordered to give him drinks and otherwise attend him; deceased's daughter and son-in-law, Mr. Ross, were present; deceased appeared sensible and conversable; at four o'clock he asked me for water, and I gave it to him; he asked me about his pension, and expressed a wish to see Mr. Lyons; he then a sked to be allowed to sleep; I left his bedside and sat down in an adjoining room; in a few minutes, believing him to be asleep, I walked in front of the house; shortly afterwards, I heard deceased's  daughter crying and screaming.  I went in and found Mr. Ryan quite dead.  Between 3 and 4 o'clock he took a little brandy and water, but it would not stay on his stomach; he did not appear to have the slightest idea of dying.

   Mr. Oaks deposed, as follows: I reside next house to deceased; about ten days since, I returned from Argyle, and found Mr. Ryan ill from the effects of drink; I came to see him and found him lying on the sofa, in a most wretched state, helpless from drunkenness; after this I reasoned with him for a considerable time about his depraved habits, and he promised me that he would give up and amend; the next and several days succeeding I found him rather worse than better; I sent for Dr. Bassett, who went with me to see him, and Dr. B. said it was impossible to be of the slightest service to him whilst he could get spirits; the doctor told him that he  was destroying himself; the only attendants upon him were a few small children; I found about a dozen bottles of brandy, or two gallons, which I took from him and locked up, taking with me the key; at night I saw him again, and found him better; Ryan complained to the doctor that he wanted nourishment; he had no one to assist him but the children; from that time to the present I supplied his wants from my own table; about eight days ago I sent a message to the Rev. Dean Coffey, who replied that he had frequently seen him, but could be of no service ton him as long as he continued unrestrained of his present habits; on Thursday last, I went to the police magistrate, to endeavor to get him restrained from drinking, he believing that perhaps he might be called on to find sureties for his good conduct; it was impossible to know what to do, for he kept himself to his own house, which made the matter difficult; I consulted with Mr. G. R. Nicholls, but the case remained the  same, its circumstances preventing us from interfering; I was at a loss to know what to do; yesterday, on my return, I found deceased lying with his head on the floor between the legs of the couch, which was very low, and in a few minutes he must have been suffocated had I not  removed him; Mr. Byrne was with me; deceased's son-in-lase (Morgan) brought a cab to take him to Sydney, but he would not go.  Dr. Bassett deposed that he had attended deceased for several years, but more particularly for the last few months, off and on; he has given  way very much to drink; chiefly brandy, from which I found it impossible to dissuade him; a week since my attention was more particularly called to his case by Mr. Oaks; I found him in a most wretched condition, still drinking, and his mind much weakened; yesterday I visited him for the purpose of having him restrained, but I found it necessary to administer stimulants, which was done by the constable in charge; I have no doubt but that Ryan died from the effects of the long continued use of ardent spirits.  A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical testimony.


Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 1857


The narrative of the sad event is very simple.  Mr. Shrimpton and his younger brother, Mr. Walter Shrimpton, sons of Mr. Ingram Shrimpton of this town, in the enjoyment of a week's holiday, were duck shooting near the River Ashley, on last Saturday.  It happened that the elder brother being a short distance in advance, and seeing a very favourable opportunity for a shot, turned round and called to the other to come on.  Mr. Walter Shrimpton, cocking his gun, and at the same time making a hasty step forwards, slipped or tripped, and fell; the gun went off, and the contents lodged in his brother's heart. On finding what had occurred, Mr. Walter Shrimpton immediately hurried to Murray's house of accommodation, at the Salt Water Creek, asked for help, and sent a messenger for medical assistance.  On arrival at the scene of the accident, it was found that death had actually occurred, and the body was removed to Miller's house, where an inquest was held on Monday, before the coroner, Mr. W. Donald.  After hearing the evidence in chief of the deceased's brother, Mr. W. G. Shrimpton, and medical testimony, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.


Empire (Sydney), 21 January 1857

FATAL AND MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - On the 16th the son of Mr. James Colley, of Jamberoo, a boy about four years old, was suddenly killed by the falling of a tree. He was with his father in the field, when a tree partly burned was thrown by the wind right upon him.  His parents are much grieved for his premature death.

DEATH BY DROWNING. - It is my painful duty to relate to you the death by drowning of the Shoalhaven Ferry man, Mr. Bell, which took place yesterday (Thursday) evening.  From particulars which I have gleaned, Bell was towing a horse over the river behind a boat, when the horse gave a sudden jerk, precipitating or dragging him into the water, and although he rose once or twice to the surface, was not saved.  I cannot imagine what they could have been doing in the boast to allow the man to perish without endeavouring to save him. I know the man could not swim; but I shall make a further inquiry and forward you more correct particulars of this unfortunate catastrophe. Bell was universally respected here, and his loss as ferry man will be severely felt.

DEATH FROM DROWNING. - An inquest was held yesterday, before the city coroner, J. S. Parker, Esq., on view of the body of John Redden, six years of age, who was drowned while bathing in the water-hole at Grose Farm, Sunday afternoon last.  It appeared that the deceased got into a deep hole, and being unable to swim, sank before attendance could be obtained.  Verdict, Accidentally drowned.


Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 1857


TUESDAY. - Mary Bell was brought before the Court by Constable Fullerton, who deposed that, in consequence of information received, he, at 7 o'clock this morning, proceeded to prisoner's residence in Kent-street, and took her into custody on suspicion of having caused the death of her child, about six weeks old; prisoner said only that she was very sorry; she did not appear to be perfectly sober.  Remanded to the Coroner's Court.

CORONER'S INQUEST. - An inquest was held yesterday at the St. Andrew's Tavern, King and Kent Streets, on the body of a male infant, the son of William and Mary Bell.  Mrs. Bell was in custody on a charge of manslaughter.  From the evidence it appears that Mrs. Bell rented one room in the house No. 165, Kent-street; that she was confined about six weeks ago; on Monday she went out accompanied by Mrs. Reid, her landlady, and visited some acquaintances on the Rocks.  Mrs. Reid afterward left the prisoner, but she was at that time quite sober; about 8 o'clock in the evening Mrs. Bell came home, with the child, which was then quite well; prisoner was so much intoxicated that she was unable to get up the steps without help; she was of intemperate habits, and the baby had lain with her often when she was the worse for liquor; Mrs. Reid sat beside Mrs. Bell at the bed until nearly 12 o'clock, when she left, expecting Mr. Bell would shortly come in; he came in about an hour afterwards; Mr. Reid did not hear any noise either from the mother ort child afterwards until near daylight on Tuesday morning, when she heard Mr. Bell calling her, saying, "Mary has killed the child;" Mrs. Reid immediately went down, and saw prisoner in bed, and the child lying beside her; on Mrs. Reid attempting to lift the child the prisoner prevented her from doing so, and  said "Go along - it's all right - you are foolish - the baby is all right."  Mrs. Reid then left the room, and, when she came back shortly after, found the prisoner with the child in her lap; prisoner then told Mrs. Reid that the child was dead; prisoner afterwards got up and dressed herself, but seemed like none stupid after drink, and did not know what she was saying or doing; the prisoner was addicted to drinking, and Mrs. Reid and her daughter had taken charge of the infant al night on a previous occasion; Mrs. Reid did not think the prisoner so bad last night as she had been before, and for that reason did not take the child from her; there was no blood on the bed; the prisoner takes great care of the child when sober; the child had never been under medical treatment.  Mr. Bell, it appears, is a very sober man, and never quarrels with his wife.  Dr. M'Done deposed that he had made a post mortem examination of the body;  he found great congestion on the right side of the head, caused by suffocation; opened the chest, and found all the viscera perfectly healthy and the stomach empty; she child evidently had not been fed sore some time previous to its death; the child must have been suffocated by its mouth and nostrils being closed, which might have been caused by the mother lying upon it; the pupils of the eye were also dilated.  Other witnesses were examined, who corroborated in some respects the above particulars.  The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Mary Bell, by overlying the child while in a state of intoxication, but strongly recommended her to mercy.


Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 1857


January 21       . - Inquest.  On the 3rd instant an inquest was held before Dr. Dowe, the coroner for the district, and a jury, at the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle Inn, on the body pf Charles Tilly, an old inhabitant of the town, there lying dead.  From the evidence it speared that, on the day previous, deceased had been at the above-mentioned public house drinking, when a scuffle took place between him and a young man named Barnet.  Half an hour afterwards he went into one of the rooms and laid himself upon a bed; he was then seen by an old man to be sick at the stomach, and in a short time sat himself down at the foot of the stairs, where and when he was immediately afterwards found dead.  Dr. Day certified to death having resulted from apoplexy, and a verdict was returned accordingly.


Bell's Life in Sydney, 24 January 1857

CANOWINDRA. -MELANCHOLY DEATH         . An unfortunate individual, known by the sobriquet od Scotchy, drowned himself, on the night of Sunday the 14th instant,  in the Narrang Creek, whilst labouring under an attack of delirium tremens,  He had been drinking at Hibberson's Inn for some days, and had slept there on Saturday night, but on the following morning his room was found tenantless.  On the evening of that day, a lad named Cohen happened to be beating in the bush, when his horse was startled by Scotchy running up the bank of the Narrang Creek, about nine miles from Canowindra.  Cohen at once perceived from his wild look that he was not in a sound state of mind, and wished him to return to Canowindra.  This he declined, saying he could not leave the spot he was on, as he was transported there for life.  The youth then left him, and reported the circumstance to Mr. Hibberson, who, on sending the next morning to seek him, the unfortunate man was found drowned at the spot where he had been last seen alive. - Correspondent.

SUDDEN DEATH OF MR. WILLIAM BAKER. -The receipt of last Saturday's Maitland Mercury in Sydney occasioned a painful interest, from a paragraph notifying the  discovery of a dead body near Mount Vincent, which, from a variety of circumstances was supposed to be that of Mt. William Baker, of the Hibernian printing office in this city.    .  .  .   Dr. Wilson, after examining the body on Saturday, certified that death was caused by apoplexy. [Biography.]


Empire (Sydney), 26 January 1857

ACCIDENTAL DEATH.  A coroner's inquest was held on Saturday last, at the Union Inn, South Head-road, before J. S. Parker, Esq., on view of the body of Thomas Heaton, aged 33, employed as a butcher on board the ship La Hogue.  From the evidence it appeared that the deceased was riding in a cart with two persons on Friday morning, when, descending the hill, Woolloomooloo, the breeching strap of the harness broke, and the road being worn into deep ruts by the late heavy rains, he got into one of them, fell, and upset the cart.  The deceased and his companions were thrown out, and the cart fell upon the deceased and rested on his chest. He was immediately extricated and subsequently removed to the house of Mr. Law, butcher, in the South Head-road, where he was attended by a medical man, but expired soon after.  A verdict was returned in accordance with the evidence, and a rider appended to it6 to the effect that the jury considered the water-course in Crown-street, in its present state, to be exceedingly dangerous, and that steps ought to be immediately taken for its repair.


Sydney Morning Herald, 27 January 1857


DEATH FROM BURNING. - On Friday evening a child, eight years of age, of Mr. William Freeman, inn-keeper, North Richmond, was accidentally burnt to death, occasioned by the little girl endeavouring to lift a pot off the fire.  Her clothes caught fire, and the injuries were so severe that, notwithstanding the utmost efforts of Dr. Whitaker, death ensued in a short time afterwards.  An inquest was held to-day on the body, before the coroner and a jury, and a verdict of accidental burning returned. January 24th, 1857.


Empire (Sydney), 27 January 1857

A MAN DROWNED. - On Sunday afternoon, about three o'clock, a man named Robert Franklin [or Frankland] was drowned through accidentally falling out of as boat in George's River, in the Liverpool district.  It appears that the deceased and two other persons were fishing at the time, but it is not stated how the accident occurred.

SHOCKING AND FATAL ACCIDENT. - A coroner's inquest was held on the 25th instant at the Sportsman's Arms, Parramatta-street, before J. S. Parker, Esq., on the body of a child named Francis Wicks, about four years old, who died on the same day from the effects of an injury received about a month ago.  It appeared that the deceased and some other children were playing in an out-house, when a piece of wood with a nail in it fell on the head of deceased, and the nail penetrated his skull.  He was attended by Dr. Johnson, of Parramatta-street, but never rallied.  A verdict of accidental death was recorded by the jury.

 Letter to the Editor, concerning the above report, from Dr. Thomas Johnson.


Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 1857

DEATH OF A CHILD FROM A NAIL PENETRATING THE SKULL.- The Francis Wicks Inquest, details of how the child was treated at home.

DEATH FROM THE UPSETTING OF A CART. - The Thomas Heaton inquest.


Maitland Mercury, 29 January 1857


Death by Drowning. - This week it is our painful task to chronicle the occurrence here of a very melancholy accident - the accidental drowning of Harriet King, a girl about twelve years old, and eldest daughter of Mr. John King, of Fountaindale.  At an early hour on Wednesday morning, the creeks being, as remarked in the previous paragraph, greatly swollen, the deceased, in company with another girl about a her own age, in trying to cross at Mr. Waugh's creek on a cabbage-tree that is lying on it, fell in, and was carried off with the current.  A little way down, Miss Gordon saw the body rolling with the stream apparently lifeless; she ran speedily and told Mr. King and others what she saw.  A search for the body was immediately commenced, and continued all the forenoon without success.  About half-past two in the afternoon, Mr. William English found the body fastened under a plank of timber, in the middle of the creek, not far below where Miss Gordon saw it in the morning.  Harriet's death is lamented by her relatives and neighbours, for she was, like the other members of Mr. King's family, kind and inoffensive, - Illawarra Mercury, Jan. 26.


Sydney Morning Herald, 30 January 1857


Two inquests were held before the coroner, Mr. J. S. Parker, one on Wednesday, the 28th instant, at the Robin Hood and Little John, in the parish of St. George, on the body of Robert Frankland, aged 33, who had been drowned in the George's River, while in liquor; the other, yesterday, 29th instant, at the Wellington Inn, George-street South, on the body of a man, name unknown found drowned in a waterhole on the Ultimo Estate.

     In the first case it came out in evidence that the deceased, Robert Frankland, with a party of two men, two women, and five children, went together to cross the river in a boat; they shoved off, and when a good distance from the bank, one of the women in the boat shouted that a man (not the deceased) was drowning; accordingly the boat was turned to go towards the man in the water, who was safely landed; thereafter a man named Thomas Frankland, but who was no relative to deceased, jumped out for the purpose of assisting the woman who had pulled her husband out of the river; the deceased said, "I will go too," and immediately sprang into the water, sank, and never rose again; searched for him for two hours after, but night coming on, had to give it up; neither of the men was sober at the time; they had all been out to have a day's pleasure; the body was picked up floating on the surface of the river next morning.  Verdict, that deceased came by his death by suffocation from drowning, when he was in liquor.

   In the second case, the finding of the body of a man, name unknown, in a waterhole on the Ultimo Estate, was deposed to by Joseph Caulfield, sergeant of the Police, of the B division; it was close to the side of the hole, and about six yards from the road; the clothes were on, and all except the head was under water; an old cabbage-tree hat was floating on the surface closed to the deceased; witness went into the water, which was about four feet deep where the body lay, and very muddy; he was of opinion that any person getting into the hole had no chance of getting out again without assistance, as the bank is very steep; it had formerly been used for making bricks; a thoroughfare to Pyrmont passes the hole; the police had lately saved one or two parties who had fallen into it, having heard their cries; deceased appeared to be about sixty years of age, and was strong built with grey hair all round his face, his hair shaggy, and of a reddish colour mixed with grey; dark coat, regatta shirt, white moleskin trousers, old blucher boots, and a cabbage-tree hat.  In answer to a question from the Coroner, the witness further stated, that everything that could be done to find out who he was had failed; there was nothing about the dress to show that he had been roughly handled, nor were there any marks about the ground indicative of a struggle having taken place.  The jury returned a verdict of found drowned. Some clothes which had been pawned by deceased, at Barnes; pawn-office, George-street, were ordered to be kept for the purpose of aiding an identification of the body.

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