Old Australian Crime Records - Remarkable Crimes and Criminals - Part 1

Attacking the Mail (Bushranging, N.S.W. 1864); S. T. Gill (1818-1880)
Attacking the Mail (Bushranging, N.S.W. 1864); S. T. Gill (1818-1880)

The Newsletter: An Australian Paper for Australian People
Saturday 13 January 1917
  • Murder of John McIntyre, by an aboriginal, 1789.
  • Marion Du Fresne was murdered in New Zealand, June 14, 1799.
  • Murder in Sydney of Samuel Clode, missionary of Tahiti, by a soldier, his wife, and a free man, July, 1799.
  • A great fraud was practiced by clerk prisoners, who had access to the records of the names and periods of transportation of prisoners. The sentences of 200 prisoners were found to be allowed to make them appear less, in 1801.
  • Joseph Luker, a constable, was inhumanely murdered whilst on duty, August 26, 1803.
  • Rev. Dr. Halloran, tutor to the Earl of Chesterfield, was transported for forging a frank to a letter (postage paid), September 9, 1818.
  • Murder perpetrated by a man named Barry, at Birch Grove, on the defenceless person of Mr. and Mrs. Bradley, an aged couple, August 15, 1822.
  • At the criminal Sessions 34 prisoners were sentenced to death, principally for bushranging, October, 1822.
  • An atrocious murder committed with in three miles of Kissing Point, on a married woman named Martin, whilst her husband was at church, the murderer never have been discovered, June, 1823.
  • Captain Piper, "the Naval Officer" (then the Collector of the Customs) was found to be a defaulter to the amount of £13,575, 1827.
  • Singular robbery of the Bank of Australia, George-street, Sydney, by excavating from a house across the street. Stolen in British silver, 2,030 dollars, and a large number of notes £14,500), and chest stolen, September 15, 1828.
  • Captain Logan, whilst surveying, murdered by the Moreton Bay blacks, November 1830.
  • Sarah M'Gregor and Mary Maloney tried and convicted of the murder of their master, Captain Waldron, at Illawarra (to whom they were assigned) January 22, 1834. (They were respited until the pleasure of His Majesty was known, when their sentences were commuted to three years' imprisonment.)
  • The body of James Hamilton, murdered by strangulation and his bowels ripped open, found by two lads named Lovett and Anderson, on their way home from the races, near Mount Renny. Kilmartin was executed for the crime, May 11, 1834.
  • Dr. Wardell was murdered in his own grounds at Petersham, by John Jenkins and Thomas Tattersdale. A man named Emanuel Brace turned informer, September 7, 1834.
  • William Fineas Bowles, convicted of the murder of his wife in open day in Bathurst-street, Sydney, with a knife, February 13, 1835; executed February 16, 1835.
  • John Dow, alias Lutterell, alias Lord Viscount Lascelles, tried and convicted of forgery, and transported for life, May 5, 1835. (In this assumed title he travelled over the colony for several months on Her Majesty's commission, to make enquiry into the state of the prison population.)
  • Samuel Onions, extensive ironmonger in Sydney, convicted of perjury; sentenced to seven years transportation, August 10, 1837.
  • Eight men were tried, charged with the murder of aboriginals at a station called Myall Creek, belonging to Henry Dangar, Esq. The number killed was 28 men, women and children, under circumstances of most cruel heartlessness. The victims were shot and burned indiscriminately, no regard being paid to age or sex. The accused were assigned servants as stockmen and labourers to various settlers. The occasion of this uncalled for slaughter of these aborigines was for spearing cattle, but the grounds for supposing that those murdered were not given to violence and plunder, being under the protection of Mr. Dangar and his servants. At the first trial the men were not convicted. On the second occasion, November 27, 1838, Mr. Chief Justice Dowling presided, Mr. Plunkett (Attorney-General) and Mr. Roger Therry appeared for the prosecution, Mr. a'Beckett, Mr. Foster, and Mr. Windeyer appeared for the defence. Seven of the prisoners were convicted and were executed December 18, 1838.
  • Harrington, the notorious swindler, taken from the "Roslyn Castle, " in Sydney Harbour, as she was proceeding to sea, bound for England, January 26, 1839.
  • A surgeon in Sydney sentenced to pay a fine of £50 for illegal dissection, September 16, 1839.
  • John Thomas Wilson purchased the brig "Venus" and put on board her a full cargo of merchandise which he had purchased from a number of merchants and tradesmen, and left the colony on her, his debts being £30,000. October 18, 1839. (He left the bulk of his property behind, which he had previously assigned over to Mr. A. Polack, the deed being found faulty. Polack agreed to pay the creditors 75 per cent of their respective claims.)
  • Deception of Murray, Registrar of the Supreme Court, discovered, 1842.
  • Street robberies prevalent in Sydney. Mr. Noble murdered in his own house by three ruffians, who were afterwards acquitted of the crime, 1844.
  • Mrs Jamieson, a widow, barbarously assaulted with a tomahawk, by one John Fitz (Fitch), otherwise Knatchbull, January 6, 1844. She dies a few days afterwards. Knatchbull was subsequently tried for the murder, and defended by Mr. Robert Lowe, when the defence set up for the first time in the colony was self-delusion. He was was, however, found guilty, and executed 13 February 1844.
  • Mrs. Hoadley, murdered in her own house, in King-street, Sydney, May 19, 1845.
  • John Tawell, born in 1784, in Aledby, county of Norfolk, in 1798 entered the service of a widow who kept a general store, and who belonged to the society of Friends, of which society he afterwards became a member. In 1804 he went to London, and entered the service of Mr. Janson, a large linen-drapers. He married a housemaid in the employ of his master, and then left. He was engaged by a Mr. Marsden, wholesale druggist and chemist, to travel for the establishment, and evinced so much activity and business tact, that for seven years he was trusted and highly prized by his employer. At length it was found that he had committed extensive forgeries on the Uxbridge Bank, for which, if he had been tried, he would have lost his life; nevertheless, the bank officials, being members of the Society of Friends, were disinclined to be instrumental in taking life, so proceeded against him on the charge of having a forged note in his possession, for which he was transported to Sydney in 1814. Here he was employed as an assistant in the Convict Hospital. For his assiduity, intelligence, and carefulness he soon obtained a ticket-of-leave from Governor Macquarie, who very shortly afterwards gave him his emancipation ticket. Tawell then commenced as a chemist in Hunter-street, Sydney, and also traded in various kinds of produce. He rapidly grew rich, embarked in the shipping trade and oil speculations, and was successful in all his ventures. He built a chapel for the Society of Friends in Macquarie-street, Sydney, and emptied 600 gallons of rum in Sydney Harbour in order to encourage temperance. His wife hearing of his altered condition, came out in 1824. After an absence of 16 years he returned with a large fortune to England, 1831; made one or two trips to Australia on business speculations, which brought him a large sum. His wife, during her last illness, was attended by a nurse name Sarah Hart, with whom Tawell formed an illicit intercourse, and kept her in seclusion at various places. He married again, in 1841, a widow named Mrs. Cutforth. Fearing that his connexion with Sarah Hart would be found out, he planned and perpetrated her murder, for which he was placed on his trial, March 12, 1845. In his confession he stated he had previously attempted to kill her with morphia put in some porter, and that on this last and fatal occasion he had used prussic acid. He was executed March 21, 1845. Throughout his whole life he always appeared to be religious and charitable: to one school he gave £30 per annum. He took apparently great interest in all matters belonging to the religious society of which he was so unworthy a member.
  • The Nelson Gold Robbery in Hobson's Bay, Melbourne, April 2, 1852. The ship which had arrived the previous day from Geelong with treasure, was boarded by a daring gang of robbers and plundered of gold to the value of £24,000. (There were only three sailors and three passengers on board.) The bold was bought by a Melbourne storekeeper (who met the robbers on the beach) at thirty shillings an ounce. He then sailed for England and was never prosecuted. Four men - John Jones, James Morgan, James Duncan, and John Roberts were indicted for the offence and found guilty. One was afterwards released, his arrest being found to be a case of mistaken identity. April 2, 1852.
  • Robbery of the M'Ivor (now Heathcote, Victoria) Gold Escort, July 20, 1853.
  • Dr. Alexander Cuthill, an old-established and much esteemed medical practitioner of Sydney, shot by an insane person named James Gray, while returning in his gig to town from Cook's River, April 27, 1854. Dr. Cuthill left a legacy of over £10,000 to the Destitute Children's Asylum, Sydney, the bulk of which was expended on the erection of the Asylum at Randwick. He died from the effects of the wound May 1. Gray was tried and condemned to death, and his sentence commuted to 15 years imprisonment.
  • Murder of James Scobie, near Eureka Hotel, Ballarat, Victoria, October 7, 1854. The hotel-keeper, Bently, suspected, arrested, and acquitted; indignation amongst the diggers in consequence.
  • Francis Brannagan arrived in Tasmania in 1812, under a sentence of 14 years. Went over to Melbourne in 1854, and in November, 1854, was committed for highway robbery by the Maryborough bench, and whilst enroute for Castlemaine for trial, broke out of the Tarrangower lockup, together with another prisoner, Brannagan escaping, December 7, 1854. £100 reward was offered for his capture, which was accomplished by the police near Ballarat; he was sentenced to 15 years, the first three in irons.
  • Captain Melville was undergoing a sentence of 32 year hard labour, when
  • he headed the first outbreak of the prisoners at Williamstown, which resulted in the death of Owen Owens, a boatman, whom he killed with a hammer. Sentenced to death at Melbourne, November 21, 1856, but was commuted. Strangled himself in the goal, August 12, 1857.
  • Richard Rowley assaulted Kilmartin, an overseer at Pentridge, while under cumulative sentences amounting to 32 years, July 15, 1852.
  • Richard Escort robbed, June 15, 1862.
  • George Williams tried at special sessions Darlinghurst, for robbery under arms on October 14, 1862, of John George Pile; pleaded guilty, and sentenced to 12 years' hard labour, the first year in irons, February 9, 1863.
  • George Williams and Frank Britten, for robbery under arms November 5, 1862, of the Bathurst mail, in company with another man, when Arundel Everett was robbed of £6, and Owen Malone of £990, the property of the Bank of New South Wales, found guilty at the special commission, Darlinghurst, and each sentenced to 15 years hard labour, the first year in irons, February 9, 1853.
  • Charles, alias James Mackay, for the robbery under arms of two carriers at Mount Victoria; sentenced at the special sessions, Darlinghurst, to hard labour for 15 years, first year in irons. February 9, 1803.
  • John Healy, for robbery under arms near Goulburn, sentenced at the special commission at Darlinghurst, to 15 years hard labour on the roads, the first year in irons, February 9, 1863.
  • Charles Foley and John Brownlow, tried at the special commission at Darlinghurst, for having, on December 18, 1862, robbed at the Laggan, O'Brien, a publican, of £75; found guilty and sentenced, Foley to 12 years' hard labour on the roads, the first two in irons; Brownlow to 7 years' hard labour, February 5, 1863.
  • An attempt was made about 10 o'clock on Tuesday night, February 24, 1862, to rob the Western escort. The coach was attacked between Big and Little Hartley, by a party of some five or six armed men, who fired upon it, some logs having been thrown by them previously across the road so as to block it. One shot slightly wounded Sergeant M'Clure, and one of the horses was shot dead; the gold, however, was not interfered with, and after an interval of half-an-hour, the escort proceeded on its way.
  • Wilson, a noted Melbourne street walker in female attire, sentenced to death, December 1, 1863. (Sentence commuted to hard labour for life on the roads of the colony.)

Old Australian Crime Records

  1. Old Australian Crime Records. Remarkable Crimes and Criminals. (1917, January 13). The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People (Sydney, NSW : 1900 - 1919), p. 7.
  2. Attacking the Mail (Bushranging, N.S.W. 1864); S. T. Gill (1818-1880); Courtesy State Library of Victoria

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