Yesterday was enacted in the Beechworth Gaol, one of those tragedies which are the necessity, as they are the curse, of civilised communities. Two men, James Smith and Thomas Brady were hanged till they were dead. They had been convicted of one of the most causeless and brutal murders which has ever occurred in this colony. John Watt, of Wooragee, a man who was never known to do an ill turn to another, was shot down in his own house, without provocation, and he died from the effects of his wounds. Continue reading Spotlight: The Execution of Smith and Brady (13 May 1873)
In 1879, the Australasian newspaper published a series of articles that transcribed a handwritten manuscript. This manuscript contained the memoirs of William Westwood, alias Jackey Jackey. These rushed memories covered his early life, his time as a convict, and his … Continue reading Spotlight: A Bushranger’s Autobiography (part one)
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. Continue reading Spotlight: Execution of Richard Collyer (1818)
The convict Sam Poo, who at the last assizes was convicted of the murder of Constable Ward; suffered the extreme penalty of the law within the precincts of the gaol; In the absence of any of his countrymen outside the prison walls three Chinese prisoners, who are at present confined in Bathurst gaol, were brought out to see the end of Sam Poo; there were also about a dozen other persons present, besides the police and the officers of the gaol.
It will appear from the foregoing list, that from the 13th April, 1823, until the 19th of July, 1824, (a period of fifteen months) only five persons were executed — all of whom were for sheep stealing. Since which period (not three years) seventy-six! have suffered; most of whom for murder, and other very daring offences. This statement however does not include the number of unfortunate men who have forfeited their lives at Launceston; which we believe to be about thirty; therefore the total is upwards of One Hundred.
A report on Ned Kelly’s final days and execution from 1880. Continue reading Spotlight: Execution of Edward Kelly (1880)
Clipper (Hobart, Tas. : 1893 – 1909), Saturday 21 August 1897, page 4 EXIT SOLOMON BLAY. AN OLD TIME IDENTITY GONE. One of the connecting links between Vandemonia and Tasmania was severed on Wednesday last, when old Solomon Blay, erstwhile hangman, shuffled. Old Sol. of late years has been a constant source of interest to a certain class of the rising football-cycling generation, and his tales of the olden times would have been of some moment had they been half as truthful as they were useless. An ancient identity, cognomened Gypsy Smith, who lives out somewhere in the wilds of … Continue reading Spotlight: Exit Solomon Blay
James Calder’s history of the remarkable Matthew Brady reaches its conclusion as murder and treachery tears Brady’s gang apart, and the forces of law and order finally catch up with the notorious bushranger. Continue reading Spotlight: TASMANIAN HISTORY – A SKETCH OF OLD TIMES; EMBODYING THE BUSH CAREER OF MATTHEW BRADY by J. E. Calder (Pt. 8)
It is no surprise that things were very different in the colonial era. However, it can be a shock when we discover just how different things were – especially in relation to crime and punishment. While flogging, leg irons and … Continue reading The Dark Side of the Law
A report on the execution and confessions of Rocky Whelan, and the finding of the body of one of his victims. Continue reading Spotlight: THE EXECUTION – CONFESSION OF “ROCKY” WHELAN