Spotlight: CAPTURE OF THE CHINAMAN WHO SHOT SENIOR CONSTABLE WARD (1865)

Note: The following is a historical report – an archival piece – and as such contains terminology and sentiments that are not acceptable in the modern day. It is presented without alterations for the purpose of preserving history, and allowing readers to have an accurate understanding of the attitudes and terminology, of people in our past. May it be an indication of how far we have come in subduing prejudice and bigotry, as much as it is a sobering reminder of how much more work is to be done. — AP


Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 – 1893), Saturday 25 February 1865, page 3


CAPTURE OF THE CHINAMAN WHO SHOT SENIOR CONSTABLE WARD.

(From a Talbragar correspondent.)

Since the murder of poor Ward, about seventeen days ago, sergeant Todd and trooper McMahon (the police at Denison Town) have been indefatigable in searching for the mahogany-colored devil who has for so long a time infested this neighbourhood. He seems never to have been more than twenty miles away from this place, and to have subsisted by robbing the shepherds’ huts round-about; but although intelligence was received almost daily of his presence in some part or another, the bush is here chiefly of so scrubby a nature that it has constantly afforded him safe hiding places. Yesterday, however, sergeant Todd, troopers McMahon and Burns, and Henry Hughes, a stockman, were scouring the bush at Nairn, a place ten miles from Cobra, and about twenty from Denison Town. At four p.m., these four were riding at a little distance from each other, when McMahon suddenly came upon him, lying like a hare “in form.” Directly the Chinaman saw he was discovered he sprang to his feet, fired at McMahon, and dashed into a more dense part of the scrub. His pursuers closed about the spot, and made sure of capturing him; but, though they searched the ground and bushes thoroughly, they could find no traces of him whatever for an hour. They were apprehensive that he had again slipped through their fingers, when he suddenly sprang up as if from the earth, and fired his gun full in the face of Henry Hughes, who seemed to have escaped almost by a miracle for of the slugs with which the gun was loaded one passed through the brim of his hat, and another struck him on the side of the head. After discharging his piece, the Chinaman bounded off to some other part of the scrub, loading as he ran along, which he could the more easily do as his charges were made up in cartridges. He cut such antics as he went along, and sheltered himself so well, that his pursuers could not get a fair shot at him; and he actually fired ten shots before he was taken. Sergeant Todd, as brave and as efficient a man as the force can boast of, repeatedly challenged the fellow to step out and fight him; and it was not until he got almost face to face with him that he had an opportunity of firing with effect. The sergeant had wisely exchanged his clumsy carbine for a double-barrelled gun loaded with No. 1 shot, and lodged the contents of one barrel so effectively about the Chinaman’s head and neck that it placed him hors de combat. When the fellow fell, Burns ran up to secure him; but as he did so the Chinaman drew a pistol, but as he presented it Burns struck him on the head with the butt end of his carbine and stunned him. The news of this rascal’s capture has caused the greatest satisfaction throughout this neighbourhood, where, from his sudden and unexpected appearances, he has been a source of constant alarm to the residents. He now lies in custody, at McVigor’s station, in a precarious state; from which let us hope he will recover sufficiently to die at Bathurst by an anodyne necklace – a process more becoming his calling and profession than a military death.

Denison Town, Talbragar, 18th Feb. 1865.

The Western Post of Tuesday gives an account of the capture, and adds :—

All the constables say that too much praise cannot be given to Hughes for the assistance rendered in capturing this miscreant.

On the case being called on yesterday at the police court, it was found that the prisoner was too weak to be brought into court, and the hearing of the case was consequently adjourned. The Chinaman has been consigned to the gaol, where he will be attended by the medical officer, and as soon as he is sufficiently recovered, the inquiry into his guilt will be initiated. At present he refuses to speak either to his countrymen or to anyone else. He appears very much injured, and it is not improbable that he will die of his wounds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s