R.— Intelligence reached Melbourne, yesterday of the self-destruction of John Francis, the approver in the Escort robbery. The affair occurred yesterday morning at the Rocky Water Holes, a few miles from Melbourne, and from what can be as yet ascertained, it appears that Francis and the other persons in custody on their way to Melbourne, stopped at the Water Holes on Monday night.
Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 – 1856), Tuesday 30 August 1853, page 1 THE PRIVATE ESCORT ROBBERY. EXAMINATION OF THE PRISONERS. The following prisoners (handcuffed) were placed at the bar, viz.:—George Elston, George Melville, George Wilson. William Atkins, Edward McEvoy, and Robert Harding. Agnes Atkins, charged as an accessory, was allowed a chair. Mr. Read complained to the court that his clients were placed at the bar in shackles, which was a breach of the constitutional laws of England. The bench declined to make any order with reference to Mr Read’s remarks. Mr. James Ashley, sworn — From … Continue reading Spotlight: The Private Escort Robbery. Examination of the Prisoners. (30/08/1853)
Mr. Read complained to the Court that his clients were placed at the bar in shackles, which was a breach of the constitutional law of England. The accused should be allowed to come up free in mind and in body, and he hoped the bench would not permit such a violation of what was the privilege of every man previous to conviction. He also com-plained of being prevented from communi-cating with his clients, as otherwise he could not undertake to do justice to their defence.
Yesterday, at the District Police Court, the following prisoners charged with being concerned in the robbery of the Private Escort Company, were brought up handcuffed for examination:— George Elston, Robert Harding, Edward McEvoy, George Wilson, George Melville, and William Atkyns. Agnes Atkyns, his wife, was also accused of being an accessary after the fact. The female prisoner was greatly excited, and was accommodated with a seat under the Bench. She frequently interrupted the proceedings by her sobs, when the evidence was such as to affect her husband.
Mr. Read appeared for the prisoners, and applied to have their handcuffs removed, which was immediately done. He then stated that he had been refused all intercourse with his clients, and prayed for permission to put himself in communication with them, which was granted.
A series of short contemporary reports on Tasmanian bushrangers including Dido and Rocky Whelan. Continue reading Spotlight: Local Intelligence (Launceston, 9 August 1855)
A report on the McIvor escort robbery and Francis Christie’s supposed involvement. Continue reading Spotlight: Victoria – The Escort Robbery
The Melbourne Gold Escort Company was robbed last night. I have just been speaking to the manager; he says that the Escort left McIvor yesterday evening, to proceed to Kyneton, meeting there the Forest Creek Escort, belonging to the same Company; that about half way between McIvor and Kyneton, the Escort was fired on from some rocks, close to the track, the leading horse shot, and one of the mounted men in charge of the Escort, and others were wounded; the Gold, amounting to over three thousand ounces, was then carried off; it does not appear that the Escort Guard returned the shots.
It appears that Smith and two of his companions, by name Bailey and Sullivan, had taken possession of a dray, belonging to a man from Adelaide, who with his wife were proceeding to the Diggings. Smith, having previously separated the man from his wife, arrived with his companions at Roston’s Station. It is stated that whilst camped there, and when Smith on one occasion was washing himself, one of several pistols that he always carried in his jacket went off accidentally, and killed him almost instantly.
“He has been for years the play-thing and sport of officials, who scarcely deserve the name of men. Many years ago he was sentenced to transportation beyond the seas for a limited period. That sentence did not say one word about the petty tyranny which has been practised upon him and upon his fellows, under the name of prison discipline. Those who are conversant with the history of Botany Bay, at the time when Whelan was sent there, will be free to acknowledge, that it was not a convict paradise.” Continue reading Spotlight: The Man Whelan and Convict Discipline (28 May 1855)
Tasmanian Colonist (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1851 – 1855), Monday 21 May 1855, page 2 APPREHENSION OF ROCKY WHELAN. — The celebrated Norfolk Islander and bushranger John Whelan, was apprehended by constables Mulrenun and Gabriel, formerly non-commissioned officers in the 99th Regt. Whelan was in the act of purchasing a pair of boots from Mr. Gourney, of Liverpool-street on Saturday evening, when he was recognised by constable Mulrenan, to whom he was not unknown during his stay on Norfolk Island. He was not unarmed at the time of his capture, and was in no way short of cash. HIGHWAY ROBBERY. … Continue reading Spotlight: Apprehension and Robbery (21 May 1855)