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Indictment, c. Sep 1809  1 

New South Wales

    James Strahan labourer stands charged for that he not having the fear of God before his eyes nor regarding the order of Nature but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil on the eighteenth day of May in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and nine with force and arms at Port Dalrymple in this Territory in and upon a certain Bitch the property of James Bromley of Port Dalrymple aforesaid feloniously wickedly diabolically and against the order of nature had a Venereal Affair with the said Bitch and then and there carnally know the said Bitch and then and there feloniously wickedly diabolically and against the order of Nature did commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable crime Buggery (not to be named among Christians) to the great displeasure of Almighty God.


Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Minutes of Sydney Proceedings, 12 Sep 1809  2 


New South Wales
12th September 1809

Proceedings of a Court of
Criminal Jurisdiction held
by virtue of a Precept under
the Hand and Seal of His
Honor Lieutenant Governor
Patterson and Commander
in Chief in and over His
Majesty’s Territory of New
South Wales and its Depen-
dencies &c. &c. &c.

The Judge Advocate


Captain Hugh Cameron 73rd

Lieut John Pike 73rd

Lieut Thomas Wright 73rd









The Precept being read & Members Sworn.

James Strahan placed at the Bar Vide Indictment No.

    James Bramley Sworn, Says, that he was some time back a Sergeant in the New South Wales Corps (now the 102nd Regiment) but now a settler at Port Dalrymple, that on the eighteenth of May [1809] last, here collects seeing the Prisoner at the Bar after sun set: states that on that day having lost some working Bullocks, and on searching for them near a Hutt [sic] that stands on Capt (Bralyn’s ?) [passim] farm, saw something moving


in the Bush, which he at first thought was a (goat ?) but on coming nearer to the place and within three paces from whence the movement had proceeded, saw the prisoner at the Bar, to his great astonishment, and a Bitch, Deponent’s property underneath him, the Bitch was struggling, and after some short time got away from him and the Prisoner was moving in the same manner that a man might do, in the act of having a connection was [sic] a woman. Deponent cannot say that his trousers were down, and cannot of course positively say that he had connection with the Bitch. The Bitch after having escaped from the Prisoner, came to him, Deponent says that it appeared to him that the Prisoner was in the act of buttoning up his Trousers, that he was so thunderstruck at the act that he had seen, that he did not speak to the Prisoner, but after some time he walked home with a determination to destroy the Bitch – on his return to his House, he asked for the Bitch and found she had returned, that he immediately hung her, and the next morning as she hung, Deponent saw a quantity


of Blood dropping from her bearings, and that he had some days before that, observed the same thing. That he mentioned the circumstance to his woman.

    Q [1] by Court: Was it not in consequence of the Prisoner having brought you before a Magistrate, or a Bench of Magistrates, for defamation, that you gave the substance of the Evidence now given before this Court to the Magistrates?
    A: Yes it was.

    Q 2: Had you not been brought before them, was it not your Intention to have concealed the circumstances you have now stated?
    A: Yes it was.

    Q 3: Was [sic] you in the habit of lending the Bitch to the Prisoner for the purpose of destroying vermin?
    A: Yes he kept her constantly for that purpose.


    John Brooks sworn, says, that he is Government Shepherd and resides near Capt Bralyn’s farm at Port Dalrymple, says that the prisoner had for some time previous to the 18th of May lived at his Hutt: says that the Prisoner had been absent the whole of the day of the 18th May, and returned to it about 10 or 15 minutes after sun down. On his


coming into the house, Deponent asked the Prisoner what had detained him so long, he answered, that he had been digging potatoes at Mr Hill’s Farm about ¾ of a mile from his the Deponent’s hutt; that he brought the Bitch with him, and as she had been in the habit of scratching down the wall, He told the Prisoner that the Bitch should not remain there; that after remaining some short time in the Hutt, he said that as it was a fine night, he would go and search for a Rat or a Bandycoot; [sic] that he then went away, and the Bitch followed him; that he returned in about a quarter of an hour, and the Bitch was not then with him. That the Prisoner asked the Deponent if he had seen anything of the Bitch, who replied that he had not, but that possibly she had followed some game; he replied that was not the case, for that she had run towards home. That on the next day, he saw the Woman living with James Bramley, who said to the Deponent that the place he lived at should not go by the usual name of Mount Pleasant but B-----’s Mount for that it had obtained that name the nightbefore; that on turning round he saw the Bitch hanging on a tree; says that on his return to his house the Prisoner


appeared ill; that he then went to bed where he remained until the next morning.

    The Evidence: On the part of the Crown being closed the Prisoner enters on his Defence; says that he was informed by (Fraye ?), that he was charged by Bramley with having committed the crime with which he is now charged; that he in consequence went into Camp and applied to Lieut Piper as a Magistrate for redress, and Bramley was ordered to appear before the Bench of Magistrates to answer for such accusation of defaming my his character.

    The Prisoner calls: William Fraye who being Sworn, says that he was on the 18 May last Govt. servant to Mr Hill, that he was on that day sent into camp by his Master, for some (Slops ?); that he returned as near as he can guess about 10 minutes after sun set, and that the prisoner was eating his dinner at Mr Hill’s at that time; and that he saw him twenty minutes after; and he then went towards the Stockman’s Hutt; that he was digging some potatos [sic] with the prisoner, until it was nigh Dark;


so much so that they could not see the (bag ?) that was lying on the ground.

    Q by Prisoner: Did you ever hear of any dispute between Brooks, the preceeding [sic] Evidence, Mr Hill, & myself.
    A: One afternoon about that time, I saw you all talking together, and I heard Brooks say that if he wanted a Centry [sic] it should not be you; says that it was him that gave against Prisoner the first information that Bramley had charged him with this crime.

    Sarah Atkins being sworn, says, that she was Servant in Mr Hill’s family on the 18th May last; that she saw the prisoner there about dark; it might be half an hour after sun set; that he was absent about ½ an hour, and that she then heard him calling William Fraye to come and dig some potatoes.

Acquitted for want of sufficient Evidence.


The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sun 17 Sep, 1809  3 


    On Wednesday [13 Sep 1809] the Court assembled; before whom James Strahan was indicted for a heinous offence, of which he was acquitted for want of sufficient evidence.


1  SRNSW: NRS2702, [5/1152], Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Miscellaneous criminal papers, 1788–1816, p. 33. Emphasis added.

2  SRNSW: NRS2700, [5/1150], Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Minutes of Proceedings, 1788–1815, pp. 149-54. Emphasis added.

3  The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sun 17 Sep 1809, p. 1.