Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

Moonta Herald and Northern Territory Gazette

From Wikipedia: The Moonta Herald and Northern Territory Gazette was a newspaper produced on the vessel SS Moonta that was sailed by George Goyder in 1868 and 1869 from Port Adelaide to Darwin, Northern Territory.[1][2][3][4][5] It consisted of five issues, and an additional one that was released when the vessel reached Port Darwin. The issues, which were distributed to all the people on the SS Moonta, contained comedic articles, a lost and found section, advertisements for on-board events such as concerts, and more.


Moonta Herald and Northern Territory Gazette, 23 January 1869, p 2



[Before G. R. McMinn, Esq., S.M.]

The Queensland Slasher and the Trigonometry Swell were charged with causing a breach of the peace, and creating a disturbance in Starboard-street, Moonta.

This case excited a great deal of interest, and the Court was inconveniently crowded. Mr. Woolsack, Q.C., appeared for the prosecution, and Sergeant Bigwig for the defence the latter learned gentleman took some preliminary objections to the proceedings, and quoted the case of Jones v. Smith-Chitty's Reports, p. 1,020. Mr. Woolsack, in replying to the objection, read from Coke upon Littleton, to show that the proceedings were correct.

His Worship said he would reserve the point. Corporal John Smith, X 412, whose conduct throughout the proceedings was most disrespectful to the Court, then gave evidence, from which it appeared that the two prisoners on the day in question were fighting in Starboard-street, Moonta, and had caused a considerable crowd to collect, who were making a great disturbance.

Mr. Woolsack here applied for an adjournment, which was opposed by the counsel for the defence.

His Worship said he thought a prima facie case had been made out, and committed the prisoners for trial at the next sittings of the Supreme Court, finding their own recognizances in two weeks' allowance of lime juice.

Bill Sykes, Joe Muggins, Pat Connor, and The Chicken were then charged with aiding and abetting the above defendants.

After hearing the evidence of Corporal John Smith and Constable Mike O'Flaherty, His Worship dismissed the case against Joe Muggins and the Chicken, and committed the other two defendants for trial.




[Before Chief Justice Schultze, Mr. Justice Mitchell, and Mr. Justice McMinn.]

W. W. Hoare, alias the "Queensland Slasher," and Alexander Ringwood, alias "The Trigonometry Swell," were charged with a breach of the peace ; and Bill Sykes and Pat Connor were charged with aiding and abetting.

Mr. Woolsack, Q.C., for prosecution, and Sergeant Bigwig for the defence.

Mr. Woolsack in opening the case, enlarged on the dastardly nature of the outrage; and eloquently described the evil effects of such disturbances on the public mind, concluding a splendid oration with the following beautiful passage, " I shall ask your Lordships to make example of these miscreants-hang the vagabonds as high as Haman, and then make them learn the four first verses of Dr. Watts's beautiful nursery rhyme, commencing :-

"How doth the little busy bee

Delight to bark and bite."

Corporal J. Smith and Constable Mike O'Flaherty were then examined, and gave the same evidence as has been already detailed. 

Sergeant Bigwig then replied, assuring the Jury that his clients were simply engaged in a little harmless diversion, and touchingly alluded to their boyish days, when, lingering on their way to school, they had frequently stopped to watch two little puppy dogs fighting, and other two little puppy dogs looking on and encouraging them. He would ask the Jury simply to regard his clients as little puppy dogs, and guilty of no graver offence than enjoying a little relaxation and amusement.

The Jury then retired, and found all the prisoners guilty, and they were accordingly sentenced to be kept for a fortnight on Holloway's Pills.

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