Spotlight: Execution of Richard Collyer (1818)

Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter (Tas. : 1816 – 1821), Saturday 31 January 1818, page 2


HOBART TOWN; SATURDAY, JANUARY 31, 1818.

SITTING MAGISTRATE—JAMES GORDON, Esq.

SHIP NEWS.—On Saturday last sailed, once more, the ship Pilot, Capt. PEXTON, with live stock, for Batavia; and on Wednesday the brig Governor Macquarie, Capt. Reibey, for Port Dalrymple.

On Monday morning last, at 11 o’clock, the execution of Richard Collyer took place on the rise of the hill at the beginning of the New-town road. The crime for which he suffered was the murder, perpetrated by himself and others, of Carlisle and O’Byrne, in 1815, at New Norfolk, but the many offences which had been committed by the hand of bushrangers, during the years in which they infested the colony, rendered his life doubly and trebly forfeited to the law.

Of the six criminals implicated in the murder of Carlisle and O’Byrne, three (Whitehead, Jones and Geary) have been shot by the King’s troops, when in arms against them; one (Septon) was destroyed by his comrades; the fifth is the unhappy man whose atonement has now been made in the regular course of Law; The sixth in number but the greatest in crime (Michael Howe), is not yet come to his account; but we cannot doubt that the day of justice and retribution will arrive.

The offence for which Collyer suffered, and the general outrage committed by the bush-rangers are too well known to need any retrospection or remark. That banditti is exinct, and will in future exist only in the recollection of the settlers whose peace and property they invaded.

It is satisfactory to announce, that the criminal, Collyer, died truly penitent and resigned, admitting fully, that his life was justly forfeited to the Law. The attention of the Rev. Mr. Knopwood to the unhappy man was constant; and appears to have wrought the happiest effects. Collyer prayed fervently, and addressed the crown servants, who witnessed the execution, in becoming terms; exhorting them to take warning by his fate, and to avoid the course of life which led to it. May this example have its due effect!

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