Mercy for murder on Mulgrave

1878 – James Price was reported as “barbarously murdered’’ by natives when he was killed by a group of  blackbirded pearl divers in the Torres Strait. Price, 37, along with  “two Malays and one Chinaman”, also crew of the  pearl-shelling boat Flying Scud,  lost their lives at Mulgrave Island, also known as Badu. The remainderContinue reading “Mercy for murder on Mulgrave”

Brothers face grim ends on greatest cattle drive

It was a real wild west story – the Clarkson brothers planned the greatest cattle drive ever in Western Australia’s short colonial history. In early 1874 Henry, with his older brother William, two half-brothers and other proven outback men bought up cattle from around Albany and drove them via Augusta, through the Margaret River regionContinue reading “Brothers face grim ends on greatest cattle drive”

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Policeman hammered to death

Beverley, WA, 1884 – Constable Patrick Hackett, 26,  may have been in a great mood the Friday he was murdered. He had, after all just become a father. His first child, a boy, had died ten days after being born, but now he and his wife of two years, Mary Anne, were the proud parentsContinue reading “Policeman hammered to death”

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Ruby remembered with racist headlines

This story has been written as a snapshot of media attitudes and language regarding First Nations people in the 1940s. It highlights how much things have changed, and how much they haven’t. None of the attitudes reported in any way reflect my personal views. Ruby Jackson’s final resting place lies at the end of aContinue reading “Ruby remembered with racist headlines”

Sacked man takes tomahawk to boss

Ilfracombe’s Railway Hotel licencee Bernard Muldoon sacked his yardman William Sheehan. The next day, Sheehan killed him. How did it come to this? Muldoon was only 44, Sheehan “older than 60”, although his exact age is unknown. Why Muldoon sacked him is lost to history, but details of an altercation the two had in theContinue reading “Sacked man takes tomahawk to boss”

Kelly gang admirers on murder spree

It was 1883. The Wilsons lived in a weatherboard shack by the railway line between Epping station and Campbell Town in mid north-eastern Tasmania. WIlson, a line repairer, was in bed with his wife on the night of April 9. He was about to lose his life as a drama said to be inspired byContinue reading “Kelly gang admirers on murder spree”

Boss brained in self-defence

James Brennan was a drover who was killed in outback Queensland via the handy instrument of a shovel. Or to use the eloquency of the Truth newspaper of the time, ” With a Shovel, Batters Out His Boss’s Brains. The wielder of said shovel, William Shehan, also spelt Shean, but also known as Shannon, wasContinue reading “Boss brained in self-defence”

Shoot, you bastard, shoot

Shoot, you bastard, shoot. These were the last words Charles Corse said to his murderer. He had just put his head between his legs – assumedly to present his rear – as he made ‘a disgusting noise with his mouth.” There is more to the story of his death at the hands of mine managerContinue reading “Shoot, you bastard, shoot”

A bitter epitath

Alex McKay was one of nine people murdered by the Jimmy Governor gang, touted as Australia’s last outlaws. McKay’s gravestone stands proudly in the Gulgong Cemetery, New South Wales, slightly apart from other graves. It declares he was “brutally murdered by the blacks.” The Governor story is well studied in Australian history, with its overtonesContinue reading “A bitter epitath”

Barman kills policemen

Why would a barman shoot two policemen dead and wound a third in Bourke in 1877? No-one really knows, but newspapers of the day blamed either the delirium tremors, or a temporary madness on the part of one Samuel Getting. “ He must, it is thought, have been suddenly afflicted with homicidal mania, or madness,Continue reading “Barman kills policemen”