Spotlight: Murder of Peter Septon by Hillier

Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter (Tas. : 1816 – 1821), Saturday 6 September 1817, page 1


HOBART TOWN; SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1817.


SITTING MAGISTRATE – A. F. Kemp, Esq.

Assize of Bread, Wheaten 8d. household 7d.

We are happy to be enabled to state, that the reports, arising from the evidence of Michael Howe, implicating the Reverend Mr. Knopwood, and charging him with having communication with the bushrangers, as well as receiving them in his house, have, upon investigation, proved to be wholly unfounded; and the Gentlemen who investigated the affair, declared their “belief of his innocence of the whole.”


We have at length the high satisfaction of announcing the nearly total destruction of the banditti of bushrangers. The vigorous measures of Government have been attended with this result, so important to the colony; and we doubt not that the industrious settler may now feel in security as regards the prospect of any further existence of bushrangers as an armed band. The gradual destruction of those men, so long the bane to the peace and prosperity of the settler, and whose hands have been so deeply imbued in the blackest crimes, affords a striking instance of retributive justice, and the certainty that the displeasure of a Supreme Being will surely one day overtake the daring violators of his laws.

It appears about the 25th ult. that the bushrangers committed a robbery near Launceston – that the day after, one of them, (Wright, who lately ran from George-town) left the party, went into Launceston, and surrendered – that on the 29th, Collier surrendered, having a cut across the neck, and his left hand much shattered: — he states that the night after the robbery alluded to, Browne & Wright left the party — that Septon, Hillier, & himself remained at a hut behind Gordon’s Plains, where in the middle of the night, Hillier with razor cut the throat of Septon so dreadfully as to cause his immediate death — that Hillier then attempted to cut his (Collier’s) throat, who, however, got out of the hut with a slight cut on the left side of the neck: upon which Hillier, who had possesed himself of the whole of the arms, took up Septon’s rifle, fired, & shattered much of the hand of Collier. It does not appear that there had been any quarrel; And Hillier’s motive for killing Septon, and attempting to kill Collier, can only be supposed to have existed with a view to obtain the reward offered for them.

Since this affair Coine, another of the old bushrangers, has given himself up, and is in confinement at this place; and there remain now at large, Howe, Watts, and Browne, for the whole of whom rewards are offered. — [See Proclamation.]

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