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Below also see: John Reardon, 1872


The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Sat 25 Nov 1871 1

(Before His Honor Judge Francis.)

    Crown Prosecutor, Mr Forbes.


    John Reardon was charged with entering the house of Mrs Rolleston at Mulwala and assaulting Isabella Rolleston with intent to do her some bodily harm.

    Constable Jones stated that he arrested prisoner. Had often seen him at Mulwala, where he was in the habit of coming every year. On these visits the prisoner used to drink about in the township. He was half drunk at the time of this offence. In reply to prisoner he stated that he had never heard anything against the character of the Rollestons, but did not think they bore a very good one.

    John Basset deposed: I have been stopping at Rollenston’s house for the last nine weeks. Mr Rolleston is away from home, and is now in the Hospital. My wife also stayed in the house with the Rollestons. The prisoner had not been in the habit of going to the house. I saw him in a public-house in Mulwala about 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon. My wife and I slept in the store. Isabella Rolleston and another little girl slept in a separate room. I was disturbed in the night by children screaming, and I jumped out of the bed to see what was the matter. Isabella called out that there was a man in the room. The prisoner was sitting on the side of the bed. I asked him what he was doing there; he said that that was his business. Turned him out; he might have been the worse for liquor. He went out without difficulty. Isabella made a complaint to me respecting the prisoner. A short time after this the prisoner came back again to the window and pulled it up. I closed and fastened it. Afterwards went for Constable Jones.

    By Prisoner: I saw you on Saturday, and I told you to come to the house on Sunday, when I would give you some fish. The house is about three hundred yards from the lock-up. I did not give you in charge, because it was not my business. I told the police. I remember seeing you at my father-in-la’s about eleven months ago. I said I would chastise you for something you said to my wife. This is not revenge for that. I forgave that because you were drunk at the time.

    Isabella Rolleston gave evidence in corroboration of the last witness, and added particulars to show that an attempt at assault had been made.

    Mr Forbes read a statement by prisoner to the effect that he had never committed such an offence before, and that he did not remember anything of the affair. This was the case for the Crown.

His Honor summed up. The evidence was very insufficient to establish the first or more serious charge against the prisoner. But if they believed that prisoner had gone into the girl’s room and put his hands upon her it was of course an assault. He pointed out some slight differences between the account of the affair as given by the girl and by the witness Bassett [sic]. What the prisoner had done was evidently under the influence of drink. But it was not necessary that a man should be utterly incapable and unconscious from drink to avoid the suspicion of felonious intent.

    The jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

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The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Wed 29 Nov 1871 2

(Before His Honor Judge Francis).

    Crown Prosecutor—Mr Forbes.
    This court opened at 10 o’clock this morning, Captain Brownrigg, PM, taking his seat on the bench with His Honor.

    John Reardon was charged with assault with intent on the person of Isabella Rolleston, on 19th November, Mulwala.

    W Jones, constable stationed at Mulwala, deposed that he arrested the prisoner at Mulwala on Sunday evening, 19th November; told him that he was charged with entering the house of Mrs Rolleston and assaulting her daughter.

    By the Prisoner: You were about half drunk; you were drunk on Saturday night; have seen you frequently in the house.

    Witness, to Mr Forbes; Prisoner was in the habit of coming to Mulwala every year, drinking and staying at Rollestons’s.

    John Bassett deposed: I know Rolleston’s place; the house is inside of a garden, the whole of which is fenced in with a two-railed fence; it is about 150 yards from any other house; there are four rooms in the house, two of which are bedrooms; have lived there some five weeks, but have not always slept there, having occasion to go away fishing; on the night of the assault there were in the house Mrs Rolleston, my wife (a daughter of Mrs Rolleston), another daughter about 13 or 14 years of age, and a little girl; saw prisoner on the Saturday down at the public-house; saw him about 11 months before; my wife and I slept in the store room; Isabella Rolleston slept in the next room to Mr Rolleston; there is an entrance from the kitchen into the room in which Isabella Rolleston slept; during the night I was awoke by screams from the children’s room; then heard the girls say there was a man in the house; went to the room and struck a light, and saw the prisoner on the bed; the girls were in bed; prisoner had a blue serge shirt on and a pair of moleskin trousers; asked the prisoner what business he had there; and he stated that that was his business; then turned him out, and advised him to go home; he had been drinking; he walked away quietly; Isabella Rolleston complained to me of the prisoner; she did not seem much alarmed; prisoner went away, and I went to my bed; about 6 or 7 minutes after the prisoner came back to the window, and pulled it open; told him to come away from the window; have no spite against prisoner.

    By the prisoner: On Saturday night, told you I had no fresh fish, but to come up on Sunday morning; sold you fish at Hillson’s on the Sunday morning; if you walked quietly I could have taken you to the lock-up; told Constable Jones the circumstances; 11 months ago I chastised you for what you said to my wife.

    Witness, to Mr Forbes: I had been working in the bush, and when I came home my wife said there had been a drunken man there, and he had insulted her; told prisoner of it, and he said he did not remember it, as he was drunk.

    Isabella Rolleston described the nature of the assault, by the prisoner coming into her bed-room, throwing the bed clothes off her, and laying hold of her leg; her brother-in-law then came into the room; prisoner had been at their house before; did not remember him sleeping in the house.

    The prisoner [John Reardon] made a statement to the effect that he had been in the habit of travelling up and down the country shearing time; that he had been in the habit of staying in the house for nights together, and never done an improper act; he had no recollection of being in the house, and he did not believe he had been there.

His Honor, in summing up, said that the evidence would not justify the jury in bringing in a verdict against the prisoner on the more serious charge of assault with intent; still a man going into a girl’s bed-room, and laying his hands on the person, would be guilty of assault.

    The jury returned a verdict of “Not Guilty.” The prisoner was then discharged.

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The Argus, Wed 29 Nov 1871 3


    “Six-sevenths of the crime brought before the court of quarter sessions yesterday,” says the Albury Banner of Saturday, “were clearly traced by Judge Francis to the direct influence of drink. At the conclusion of the criminal business, his Honor spoke forcibly and with feeling on this lamentable subject. One of these seven cases was that of a man who had stolen a sum of money from a person who was helplessly drunk at the time, and with regard to offences of this nature, his Honor again pointed out the expediency of adopting a practical measure which should have the effect of punishing the prosecutor as well as the prisoner. In this particular case the besotted and deliberative vice of the owner of the money had put the country to a large expense for the purpose of recovering the property, and for punishing the offender. Taking the colony throughout, there was a very heavy outlay for the detection and punishment of this form of crime, which was directly entailed by the confirmed vicious habits of drunkards. He did not think that such persons should be the better for their own degraded helplessness to take care of their property, and he considered that juries might safely be trusted with powers in such cases to fine the prosecutors, and confiscate half of the stolen money to the Crown. In some such way it would be fair and just to make the prosecutor, who was himself an offender, pay something towards the recovery of property which would never have been lost except from the consequences of his own viciousness.”



John Reardon, 1872 


The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Sat 2 Mar 1872 4

(Before His Honor Acting-Judge Forbes.)

The following are the cases for trial at the Quarter Sessions:—

    Michael Maloney, stealing a boat.
    George Plifden, embezzlement.
    William O’Brien, attempt to commit a rape.
    James McGuire, bigamy.
    James Reardon, assault and attempt to commit a rape.

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The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Wed 6 Mar 1872 5


The following are the cases for trial at the sessions commencing this day:—

     John Stephen, larceny.
     George Clefden, embezzlement.
     William O’Brien, assault on female child.
     John Reardon, assault with intent.
     James Maguire, bigamy.
     JTV Walker, bigamy.

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The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Sat 9 Mar 1872 6

(Before His Honor Acting-Judge Forbes.)

    Crown Prosecutor, Mr Murray; Mr F Brown was also present.


    John Reardon was charged with assaulting Catherine Nixon, at Corowa, with intent to commit a rape.

    Constable Vizzard said: I arrested prisoner in the house of Mrs Nixon at Corowa, on the 16th of last month; I took him to the lock-up on the charge of attempting to commit a rape on Mrs Nixon; he made no remark; he was partially drunk.

    By the prisoner: I remember you said that you had been asked to stay in the house that night because the place was likely to be robbed; Mrs Nixon was perfectly sober when she gave you in charge to me; She looked excited; she was not sober when she came to the Police Court on the following morning.

    Catherine Nixon said: I am the wife of Andrew W Nixon, and live at Corowa; we keep a licensed wine shop; the prisoner one evening came to our place to get a cheque changed—he had a bottle of wine; he came three times altogether; on the last time, the 16th or 17th February, he came between nine and ten o’clock at night; he was lying outside on a bench; he said he wanted to get away early in the morning, as he belonged to the Snagging Party; I locked all the doors, and went to bed, but the dairy window was left open to keep the milk cool; when I went to bed I fell asleep, but was aroused about two o’clock, by the bed clothes being pulled of me; I turned out and screamed and called out for George; the man’s hand was on me; I had my baby and another person’s child with; I struck a match; as I turned out of bed the man struck me on the side of the head; I got towards the bar, and got hold of a knife, and went back to the bed room, screaming, and struck prisoner with the knife on the side of the face; he told me he wanted to go into my daughter’s bed room, and that he had mistaken the room; he took the knife from me, and I ran outside into a parlour; the doors were bolted; the man George then came, and afterwards Henry came; my daughter is 16 years old; she slept in a room with another girl, and the door was locked; there was no light in my room.

    By the prisoner: I offered you a bed in the house, because you had been asking for a man named Mungy; I offered you a bed along with the man George; I offered you a bed because I board people, and am paid for it; there was no man robbed in my house that night; I did not ask you to stop in the house that night to protect the place, because my husband was in goal; when I charged you at the Corowa Police Court, I forgot to say that you struck me on the head; I did not have any wine with you; I have fits sometimes; it has nothing to do with you whether my daughter left her home; you don’t owe me any money.

    To a juror: The prisoner was sober when he came to my room, but he “let on” to be drunk; he must have been sober to have found his way there– through the dairy window.

    George Beresford: I was lodging at Mrs Nixon’s on the night of the 17th February; I was aroused by screams and calls of “George,” I went to Mrs Nixon’s help; I saw prisoner standing behind the bar, opposite Mrs Nixon’s bed room door; she accused him of being in her room and assaulting her; I told him to come out, and he walked away; Mrs Nixon was excited, and throwing tumblers at him; she had a knife in her hand; I had to take care of myself; during a scuffle she hit him with the knife; I undid the front door and Robert Henry also came in; we secured the prisoner; he had no boots on; It was nearly two o’clock; he seemed to me to be sober; I had been talking to him till about 12 o’clock; he was then sober; when I first went in I noticed some blood coming from prisoner’s eyebrow; I did not notice the state of his cloths.

    To the prisoner: I heard a men saying he had lost about £15 there that night; I heard Mrs Nixon offer you a shake down; I did not hear her ask you to stop there to protect the house; when I went to bed you had your boots on; I saw you get two glasses of wine from the bar.

    Robert Henry, free selector: I was stopping at Mrs Nixon’s on the 16th or 17th February; I slept in the verandah room; I heard plaintiff calling out, and I went to her assistance and saw the prisoner inside the bar; he had neither hat nor boots on; his dress was disarranged; George asked me to go for the police.

    By the prisoner: I don’t remember you telling me to go for the police; I was not drunk, and never was drunk in my life; I remember a man saying he had lost about £16; I don’t recollect Mrs Nixon asking me to stay there to protect the place in her husbands [sic] absence; I heard the man who lost his money threatening if he did not get it back again; on the next day I heard Mrs Nixon say you owed her ten or eleven shillings.

    This was the case for the Crown.

    The prisoner [John Reardon] made a statement mainly to the effect that he stopped at the house by Mrs Nixon’s request for the purpose of protecting the place.

    In reply to a juror witness George Beresford stated, that Mrs Nixon was fully dressed when he was called in by her cries for help.

    His Honor summed up.

    Verdict Guilty on the second Count (indecent assault).

    The Police mentioned that prisoner was tried at the last Quarter Sessions for a similar offence, but acquitted.

    Sentence: Twelve months with hard labour in Darlinghurst Gaol.

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The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Sat 9 Mar 1872 7

(Before His Honor Acting Judge Forbes.)

    This Court opened at 10 o’clock on Wednesday, Mr Murray acted as Crown Prosecutor.


    John Reardon, was indicted for an assault with intent to commit a rape at Corowa on the 19th February.

    Jury: R Doubleday, Darke, J Downie, E Edwards, G Doubleday, Jas Downie, P Fallon, W Davidson, Fuller, and J Frauenfelder.

    JP Vizzard, senior-constable stationed at Corowa, deposed to having taken the prisoner in charge on the 19th of February; he was given in charge by Mrs Nixon, who keeps a public house in Corowa; he had a wound on the left cheek; took him to the lock-up and searched him.

    By prisoner: You said as we were walking to the lock-up that you did not want to get into Mrs Nixon’s room—it was her daughter’s; you made a statement that you was asked to remain in the house that night; Mrs Nixon came to the court that morning drunk; her daughter served her with milk.

    Catherine Nixon deposed: I reside at Corowa; my husband keeps a wine shop there; prisoner came to my house in the evening, and my son cashed a cheque for him; he had a glass of wine and went away; he came back again between 9 and 10 o’clock; he laid outside the house on the bench; gave him a pillow to put under his head; that would be at half-past 11; went to bed then; bolted all the doors and windows except the dairy window; my bedroom is behind the bar; there were two men sleeping in the house that night; the first thing caused me to wake was feeling the bedclothes being pulled off; prisoner’s hand was on my person; struck a light and saw the prisoner; prisoner struck me on the head just as I got out of bed; Went to the bar and got a knife and stabbed him on the cheek; this was before I had struck the light; he then said that he did not intend coming into my bedroom, it was my daughter’s he wanted to get into.

    By prisoner: Asked if you would have a bed in the house; no one accused me to stealing £15; forgot to say at the Corowa police court that you struck me on the head; we had no wine together; my daughter is at Mr Laubenfelde’s; you owe me no money.

    By a juror: prisoner was quite sober when he came to the house; he knew perfectly well what he was doing.

    George Beresford deposed that he was lodging at Mrs Nixon’s in Corowa about the 16th of last month; was awakened by Mrs Nixon screaming our George and Bob; called out to Mrs Nixon to unlock the door; then found the prisoner in the bar. The witness then corroborated the evidence of last witness.

    Robert Hendrie also gave evidence.

    Prisoner was found guilty for indecent assault, sentenced to 12 months hard labor in Darlinghurst gaol.

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John Reardon, Gaol photo sheet 8 

SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/14030], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1866-1873, No. 440, p. 154, R5097. p.1. SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/14030], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1866-1873, No. 440, p. 154, R5097. p.2.

Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. 440
Number on Gaol Register: 2483/72

Admitted: 24 June 1872

Name: John Reardon

Native place: Ireland

Year of birth: 1827

Arrived        Ship: Blenheim 
in Colony }   Year: 1838

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Laborer

Religion: R. Catholic

Education, degree of: Read & Write

Colour of hair: Black to gray

Colour of eyes: Hazel

Height: 5' 6"

Weight     On committal: 170 lbs
in lbs     }  On discharge: 

Special Marks: Heart and Cross on right fore arm. One upper front tooth out.

General Description:


 (Previous Number ... ) 


Where and When Offence. Sentence
 Albury Q.S.  6 1872  Indecent assault on a female

 12 months Labor


1  The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Sat 25 Nov 1871, p. 2. Emphasis added.

2  The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Wed 29 Nov 1871, p. 2.

3  The Argus, Wed 29 Nov 1871, p. 2.

4  The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Sat 2 Mar 1872, p. 2. Emphasis added.

5  The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Wed 6 Mar 1872, p. 2. Emphasis added.

6  The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Sat 9 Mar 1872, p. 3. Emphasis added.

7  The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Sat 9 Mar 1872, p. 3. Emphasis added.

8  SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/14030], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1866-1873, No. 440, p. 154, R5097.