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1886, Michael O'Brien - Unfit For Publication
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William Lawrence, 1881
Below also see: Michael O’Brien, 1886

 

Evening News, Sat 12 Mar 1881 1

QUARTER SESSIONS AT FORBES.

Forbes, Friday

    The quarter sessions, presided over by Judge Josephson, were opened and finished yesterday. The following are the results:—
    Margaret Johnson, stealing in a dwelling, nine months’ hard labour in Bathurst gaol; James Sullivan, stealing a saddle, nine months in the same place; John Davis, stealing saddle and blankets. Also charged with entering and stealing in a dwelling, nine months in Bathurst gaol for each case, sentences to be concurrent; William Lawrence, breaking into and stealing from a dwelling, 18 months for each offence in Bathurst gaol, sentences concurrent; James McCrossen, charged with stealing money from the person, was acquitted; Roger Walsh, stealing a watch, 10 months in Bathurst gaol; Richard Bourke, forging and uttering, three years in Bathurst gaol; William Dwyer, 12 months in Bathurst gaol; Henry Sullivan, stealing, 12 months’ hard labour in Darlinghurst; James Reid, obtaining money by valueless cheque, 12 months in Darlinghurst gaol; Ellen Cooper, bigamy, six months in Forbes gaol; William Page, charged with assault at Condobolin was let out on bail til next sessions, the prosecutor being too ill to appear.

 


 

Michael O’Brien, 1886

 

The Corowa Free Press, Fri 9 Jul 1886 2

COROWA POLICE COURT.


    On Wednesday, before the PM [Albert Kennedy Beveridge] and Mr JR Hudson, the police proceeded against Michael O’Brien, alias William Davenport, for an indecent assault on a boy aged five years. After lengthy evidence had been taken, accused was committed for trial at the Albury Circuit Court on Tuesday, October 5, and all witnesses were bound over to appear on the same date.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Depositions for Michael O’Brien 5 Oct 1886 Albury trial 3

Court House
Corowa, 7th July 1886

John Henry Want, Attorney General, Sydney

Sir
    I have the honour to forward herewith the Depositions of Witnesses in the case named in the margin (Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport) heard at the Corowa Court of Petty Sessions this date; together with Recognizance of witnesses in the case: the two witnesses William Aylward and Walter Leach being minors, and no competent person being willing to be bound for them, promised the Bench that they would attend at Albury Circuit Court. Sergeant Jones in charge of the Corowa Police stated that he would endeavour to have these witnesses at the trial.
[Signed] Albert Kennedy Beveridge, PM.

1

(M., 11 & 12 Vic., Cap. 42.)

Depositions of Witnesses.

No. 102 

Attorney General’s Department NSW
10 July 1886

New South Wales, Corowa
TO WIT.                             }

The examination of William Gilroy of Corowa in the Colony of New South Wales, a Constable in the Police Force of New South Wales, William Aylward of Corowa aforesaid, Printer’s Apprentice, Walter Leach of Corowa aforesaid, Printer’s Apprentice, Davison Symmons of Corowa aforesaid, Journalist, Robert Samuel Dryburgh of Corowa aforesaid, Baker and Alexander Wilson of Corowa, in the said Colony, Compositor. Taken on oath, this seventh day of July in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty six at Corowa in the Colony aforesaid, before the undersigned, two of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony, in the presence and hearing of Michael O’Brien, alias William Davenport who is charged this day before us, for that he the said Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport, on the 6th day of July 1886 at Corowa in the said Colony, indecently did assault Robert Samuel Dryburgh a male child aged five years. (46. Victoria No 17. Section 60.)

[Signed] Albert Kennedy Beveridge, PM, John Robert Hudson, JP.

2

    This Deponent William Gilroy on his oath saith as follows:– I am a Constable of Police stationed at Corowa. Shortly after 3 o’clock yesterday evening I saw the prisoner in Sanger Street, Corowa. He was then detained by Mr Davison Symmons. I asked Mr Symmons “What has this man done?” Symmons said “This man has been committing an assault on a child” – prisoner said

    “Let us all go and have a drink and then it will be over” – prisoner asked me “Have you a warrant to detain me?” I replied “I don’t require a warrant.” Prisoner went away about 200 yards and I then followed him and came up to him. Prisoner said “You want to lag me. I am guilty but if let off I will clear out.” I then arrested prisoner and charged him with committing an indecent assault on a child little boy five years old named Robert Samuel Dryburgh. The only reply he made to the charge when was

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“You are taking me to the lock up.” I then locked prisoner up.
[Signed] William Gilroy.

Taken and sworn at the Police Office Corowa this 7th day of July 1886 before us.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM, JR Hudson, JP.

4

    This deponent William Aylward on his oath saith as follows:– I was 15 years old last April. I live with my parents at Wahgunyah. I saw the prisoner yesterday under the old floor of the mill at the back of Sanger Street, Corowa. I saw the little boy Dryburgh, now in Court, with prisoner. I was going down the back of the mill when I saw the prisoner with the boy Dryburgh between his legs. Prisoner was sitting down and the boy’s trousers were down. Prisoner asked me what time it is. I said “I do not know.” Prisoner said “Will you have a sit down?” I said “No, I want to go to my work.” I was standing in front of prisoner when I was speaking to him. The child’s back was towards the prisoner. The boy’s trousers were right down. His back part was naked. I could not see if the prisoner was exposed as the little boy

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was in front of him standing up. The boy is a very little fellow. I went away inside of Mrs Leslie’s, the newspaper office where I work. I told Walter Leitch what I had seen.

    To Prisoner: I did not see you doing anything to the boy.

    To Police: Prisoner was holding the boy in his arms.

[Signed] Wahgunyah Aylward.

Taken and sworn at the Police Office Corowa this 7th day of July 1886 before us.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM, J Robert Hudson, JP.

6

    This deponent Walter Leitch on his oath saith as follows:– I am 15 years old in August. I work with William Aylward the last witness at the office of the Corowa Free Press. About half past 2 yesterday afternoon in consequence of something told me by last witness I went round to the back of the mill. At the back of Sanger Street, Corowa. Underneath the mill I saw the prisoner sitting down with the little boy Dryburgh between his knees with Dryburgh’s trousers down and when prisoner saw me he pulled Dryburgh’s trousers up. I then ran to the office and told Mr Symmons.

    To Prisoner: I only saw you pulling up the boy’s trousers.

[Signed] Walter Leach.

Taken and sworn at the Police Office Corowa this 7th day of July 1886 before us.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM, J Robert Hudson, JP.

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    This deponent Davison Symmons on his oath saith as follows:– I am a journalist on the staff of the Corowa Free Press. About 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon from information received I went round to the back of the mill at the back of the Free Press office. I saw the prisoner and the little boy now in court. They were under the mill where it projects over the bank. Both were sitting down some distance apart. The boy had his trousers partly down and both hands pressed to his buttock. I said to the boy, who was some three or four feet distance apart from prisoner, “What has this man,” pointing to prisoner, “been doing to you?” The boy made no reply and began to cry. The boy got up then and ran away. The boy struck his head going out from under the mill. A printer named Wilson came round then and spoke to the prisoner. Wilson said to prisoner, “What have you been doing to

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the boy?” Prisoner replied “I have done nothing.” Wilson said to me “It is Dryburgh’s child. Watch that man and I’ll go and fetch the father.” Wilson went away then, leaving me with the prisoner. I said to the prisoner “Come out of that.” Prisoner was still sitting down and I saw that the fly of his trousers was open. In answer to me he said only “It is a fine day.” I said “If you don’t come when I tell you I will come and fetch you.” I went in and brought him out and took him round the street and detained him there till the father came up and afterwards Constable Gilroy.

    To Prisoner: I did not see you doing anything to the boy.

[Signed] Davison Symmons.

Taken and sworn at the Police Office Corowa this 7th day of July 1886 before us.
Albert K Beveridge, PM, J Robert Hudson, JP.

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    This deponent Robert Scott Dryburgh on his oath saith as follows:– I am a baker in Sanger Street, Corowa yesterday afternoon from something I was told I ran down the street and saw the prisoner detained by Mr Symmons, the last witness, in front of the Globe Hotel. I said “What’s the matter?” Symmons said “This man,” meaning the prisoner, “had been having something you do with your little boy round at the back.” I said to Symmons “You mind him and I’ll run round and get someone.” I went round and got my son Robert Samuel Dryburgh, five years old last April. He was standing in an open piece of land at the back of Haig’s the Saddler’s crying, holding his trousers up. I took my boy into an empty cottage along with Wilson the printer and examined him there. He had one button torn off the front and two off the back of his trousers. I looked at his bottom and

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two distinct hairs near his hole and sticking to his skin. I pulled them off and threw them down. I was excited at the time. His buttocks were red as if his bottom had been smacked. I pulled up my boy’s trousers and took him home. I then went to where the prisoner was and said to him “What have you been doing with the little boy?” Prisoner said “I have been doing nothing with him. If I have done anything I don’t remember. I have been drinking.” Prisoner said “If you let me go and not press the charges I’ll clear out in the morning.” Constable Gilroy and Mr Symmons were present when prisoner said this. I then went home. About a quarter of an hour before this happened I saw my boy and at that time his trousers were not wanting buttons.

    To Prisoner: I did not see you doing anything to my boy. I don’t know if a capital offence has been committed.

[Signed] Robert Scott Dryburgh.

Taken and sworn at the Police Office Corowa this 7th day of July 1886 before us.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM. J Robert Hudson, JP.

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    This deponent Alexander Wilson on his oath saith as follows:– I am a compositor at the Free Press office Corowa. I know Mr Robert Scott Dryburgh and his little boy who is now in the Court. Yesterday afternoon I went to an empty house with them. yesterday afternoon I saw Dryburgh take his boy’s trousers down and examine his sore bottom. I saw Dryburgh take more than one hair from off his sore bottom. The boy’s buttocks were unusually red.

    To Prisoner: A question: when you examined the boy can you say whether a capital offence had been committed? Answer: No. I do not think so.

[Signed] Alexander Wilson.

Taken and sworn at the Police Office Corowa this 7th day of July 1886 before us.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM, J Robert Hudson, JP.

12

(N., 11 & 12 Vic., Cap. 42.)

Statement of the Accused.

New South Wales, Corowa
TO WIT.                             }

Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport stands charged before the undersigned, one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the Colony aforesaid, this 7th day of July in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty six for that he, the said Michael O’Brien, alias William Davenport on the 6th day of July 1886 at Corowa, in the said Colony, indecently did assault Robert Samuel Dryburgh a male child aged 5 years. And the examination of all the witnesses on the part of the prosecution having been completed, and the depositions taken against the accused having been caused to be read to him by me, the said Justice, (by/or) before whom such examination has been so completed; and its Justice, having also stated to the accused and given him clearly to understand that he has nothing to hope from any promise of favour, and nothing to fear from any threat which may have been holden out to him to induce him to make any submission or confession of his guilt, but that whatever he shall say may be given in evidence against his [sic] upon his trial, notwithstanding such promise or threat; and the said charge being read to the said Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport, and the witnesses for the prosecution being severally examined in his presence, the said Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport is now addressed by me as follows:– “Having heard the evidence, do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you desire to do so; but whatever you say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence against you upon your trial;” whereupon the said Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport saith as follows:– “I am not guilty.”
Taken before me, at Corowa, in the said Colony, the day and year first abovementioned.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM, J Robert Hudson, JP.

13

    Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport you stand committed to the Albury gaol until the next Circuit Court to be holden at Albury on Tuesday the 5th day of October 1886 then to take your trail for the offence with which you stand charged.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM, J Robert Hudson, JP.

14

(O. 1, 11 & 12 Vic., Cap. 42.)

Recognizance to give Evidence.

New South Wales, Corowa
TO WIT.                             }

Be it remembered, that on the seventh day of July in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty six William Gilroy a Constable of the Police Force, of Corowa in the said Colony, Davison Symmons of Corowa in the Colony of New South Wales, journalist, Robert Scott Dryburgh of Corowa in the said Colony, baker and Alexander Wilson of Corowa in the said Colony, compositor personally came before the undersigned, one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the Colony of New South Wales and acknowledged themselves to owe Our Sovereign Lady the Queen the sum of

FORTY POUNDS EACH,

of good and lawful money of Great Britain, to be made and levied on their Goods and Chattels, Lands and Tenements, to the use of our said Lady the Queen, her Heirs and Successors, if they the said before mentioned persons shall fail in the condition indorsed.

Taken and acknowledged, the day and year first abovementioned, at Corowa in the said Colony, before me.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM.

The condition of the within written Recognizance is such, that whereas Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport was this day charged before Albert Kennedy Beveridge and John Robert Hudson Esquires, two of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony, with indecently assaulting a male child Robert Samuel Dryburgh, aged 5 years at Corowa in the Colony aforesaid, on the 6th day of July 1886.

If therefore, they the before mentioned persons shall appear at the next Court of Assizes to be holden at Albury, in and for the Colony of New South Wales, on the 5th day of October next at nine of the clock in the forenoon, and then and there give such evidence as they know, upon an information to be then and there preferred against the said Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport for the offence aforesaid, to the Jurors who shall pass upon the trial of the said Michael O’Brien, alias William Davenport then the said Recognizance to be void, or else to stand in full force and virtue.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM.

15

    The witnesses William Aylward and Walter Leitch in this case are both minors, have both promised to attend at the trial of the aforesaid Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport. No competent person being willing to be bound for them.
[Signed] Albert K Beveridge, PM.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[On the depositions’ cover sheet is the following]

Circuit Court.
Albury
5th October 1886
No. 102 No.1
Depositions.
Regina
Michael O’Brien otherwise [William] Davenport
Assault on a male child
cor. Windeyer J. & (common ?) jury of 12
Verdict, Guilty.
Sentence. 2 yrs h. l.
[Initial illegible]
Committed: at Corowa
on: 7th July 1886

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Indecent assault on a male child

[Initialled] JHW [John Henry Want, AG]
Section 60

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Justice WC Windeyer’s Notebook 4

5

Albury, October 5th 1886
Ellis for Crown

    Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport – indecently assaulting Robert Samuel Dryburgh a male person on the 6th July 1886 at Corowa.

    William Aylward. 15 last April. Live at Wahgunyah. Was at Corowa on 6th July near Sanger 5 Street near a mill. I was going around it. I saw prisoner & a little boy named Dryburgh. Prisoner was sitting down (?). The boy was between prisoner’s legs with his back to him. His trowsers were down.

6

Prisoner asked me what time it was. I said nothing. I did not know. Prisoner asked me to come & sit down. I said no & went away then to the (printing ?) office & told (another ?) (?)

    Cross-examined. I did not see you do anything to the boy. I was close to you. I could see the boy’s skin. Prisoner was sitting on a bit of a (bank ?). I did not see your person.

    Walter Leach6 15 years old last August. I worked in the Corowa Free Press office. Know the last witness. Remember his coming in on the 6th July. I went out to the back of the mill. Saw prisoner sitting with the boy between his knees, little Dryburgh. His trowsers were below his knees. (Did ?) not notice prisoner’s clothes. I went

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to Mr Simmons. [Symmons in transcript of depositions.]

    Cross-examined. You buttoned up the boy’s trowsers as soon as you saw me. I did not see your person. I was 4 yards from you.

    Re-examined. I (?) (?) (?) (?) to prisoner.

    Davidson James Simmons. Journalist on Free Press. Leitch told me something which he had (seen ?). I went out to the back of the mill which is a (natural ?) place. The mill property over the ground on piles. Prisoner was under the mill. Little Dryburgh was there. The boy was standing up 3 or 4 feet from the prisoner bending forward with both hands pressed to his buttocks, crying. Prisoner was sitting down. I said what are you doing with the boy. Prisoner said It is a fine day. He (did ?) not appear to be drunk or stupid. He seemed (strange ?) as if recovering

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from drink. The front of his trowsers was undone. I stayed with prisoner. He went round towards the street & I followed him. I stopped him.

    Cross-examined. I did not see you attempt to do any thing to the boy. I saw the front of your trowsers undone.

    William Gilroy. Constable at Corowa. I arrested prisoner on 6th July. He was being detained by Simmons who said he had been doing something to a boy behind the old mill. Prisoner said where was my warrant for detaining him. I said I did not need a warrant. He said let us all go over (road ?) for a drink & let this be over. He then said If you let me off I will clear out

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of the town. He went to get away. I (made ?) some (inquiries ?) & then arrested him on charge of indecent assault on a male person 5 years old named Robert Samuel Dryburgh. He (said ?) you (are?) (taking ?) (me ?) to the lock-up. I did so & charged him & he gave his name as Michael O’Brien, afterwards the name of William Davenport. I did not notice his dress. He seemed sober.

    Cross-examined.

    Robert Scott Dryburgh. Baker, father of the little boy Robert Samuel Dryburgh, 5½ years old. Found Simmons & boy. I examined the boy. He was holding up his trowsers which were torn away from the braces (some ?) of the eyes of which was torn. Found on his bottom (between ?) his seat two hairs (?) (?) (?).

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His bottom was red. I had seen the boy ¼ hour before. His trowsers were all right then & no buttons off. He was crying when I found him.

    Cross-examined. I found the boy’s bottom very red to the best of my belief as if some one had been trying to tamper with him.

    Alexander Wilson. Compositor. Saw the boy examined by his father. Saw the hairs on his bottom like from a man’s body.

    Cross-examined.

(Jury ?) verdict. Guilty in two minutes without leaving the (box ?)

Sentence. Two years hard labour in Albury Gaol.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Argus, Wed 6 Oct 1886 7

INTERCOLONIAL TELEGRAMS.
———◦———
NEW SOUTH WALES.
————
(BY SPECIAL WIRE.)
————
(From Our Correspondents.)
————

Albury, Tuesday.

    At the Circuit Court to-day, before Mr Justice Windeyer, Michael O’Brien, alias William Davenport, was convicted of indecent assault, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Sat 9 Oct 1886 8

ALBURY ASSIZE COURT.
TUESDAY, 5th OCTOBER
(Before Mr Justice Windeyer and juries of twelve).

    Judge’s associate Mr L Whitfield. The bar was represented by Mr HL Ellis, Crown prosecutor, and Mr CE Parkinson, the representative of the Crown solicitor.

INDECENT ASSAULT.

    Michael O’Brien alias William Davenport, was arraigned on a charge of indecently assaulting Robert Samuel Dryburgh, five and a half years old, at Corowa, on the 6th of July last. The accused, who was undefended pleaded “not guilty.”

    The following jurymen were empannelled [sic]: William Dorman, Thomas Plummer, LC Davey, A Bell, William Harrison, Alfred Richards, Patrick Kelly, Joseph Cooper, EC Ellis, John Smith, CH Dight, and EA Selle.

    The facts of the case, the details of which are unfit for publication, are briefly that the accused was first discovered in the perpetration of the offence by a lad named William Ellward, [sic] who saw him and the boy at the rear of the old mill off Sanger-street. This lad, after refusing to accept the accused’s invitation to “come and sit down,” went into a printing office where he was employed and informed another lad named Walter Leach of what he had seen. This witness also deposed to having seen the accused and the little boy Dryburgh together, and Davison Symmons, a reported on the Corowa Free Press, also corroborated the previous testimony as to the suggestive posture in which the accused had placed the little boy. The boy was crying, and, in response to an inquiry as to what he was doing to the lad, the accused, who did not appear to be drunk although rather strange in his manner, merely answered “It’s a fine day.” The accused then endeavered [sic] to go away, when he was followed by Mr Symmons, who went for the police while another man watched the accused.

    Constable [William] Gilroy deposed to having arrested the prisoner, who asked to be shown the warrant for his detention, and on being told that a warrant was unnecessary, the accused said, “Let’s come over and have a drink and think no more about the matter,” and subsequently promised that if he was let go he would go out of the town. He was then taken to the lockup, when he gave the name of Michael O’Brien, but afterwards said that his name was William Davenport.

    Robert Scott Dryburgh, a baker, residing in Sanger-street, Corowa, and father of the boy accused was alleged to have assaulted, deposed that he examined the boy and and found evidence of his having been assaulted.

    Alexander Wilson, a compositor in the office of the Free Press, also gave evidence substantiating that already given in support of the prosecution.

    The Prisoner [Michael O’Brien] did not exercise his privilege of calling witnesses or addressing the jury, stating that he would rely on the absence of proof that he had actually committed an unnatural offence.
His Honor in summing up, explained to the jury that it was not necessary that an unnatural offence should be actually committed to constitute the offence on indecent assault, and the jury without retiring, returned a verdict of “Guilty.”

    The prisoner was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in Albury Gaol.

    The Court then adjourned.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Michael O'Brien, Gaol photo sheet  9

SRNSW: NRS1966, [5/1767], Albury Gaol photographic description book, 1879-1929, No. 340, p. 41, R5082.


Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. 340
Bathurst

Date when Portrait was taken: 7 July 1881

Name: William Lawrence
(aka Michael O’Brien, William Davenport)

Native place:

Year of birth:

Arrived       Ship:
in Colony }   Year:

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } 

Religion:

Education, degree of:

Height:

Weight     On committal:
in lbs     } On discharge:

Colour of hair:

Colour of eyes:

Marks or special features:

Where and when tried: Albury CC
5 Oct 1886 2 yrs HL

Offence: Indecent assault

Sentence: 2 yrs H.L.

Remarks: Assault on Male child under 5 yrs

Discharged by Remission 4th June 1888

 (No. of Previous Portrait ... 340

PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS

Where and When Offence. Sentence

Forbes Q.S.

10

  3

1881

Breaking and Entering

18 months H.L.

 


1   Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Sat 12 Mar 1881, p. 4. Emphasis added.

2   The Corowa Free Press, Fri 9 Jul 1886, p. 2.

3   SRNSW: NRS880, [9/6740], Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, Albury, 1886, No 102. Emphasis added.

4   SRNSW: NRS7855, [2/7610], Judiciary, WC Windeyer, J. Notebooks Circuit Courts, 1876-95, pp. 5-10. Emphasis added.

5   Must indeed mean Sanger Street (the main street of Corowa), though here it clearly reads more like Sandhurst Street.

6   Leitch in transcript of depositions and elsewhere in this document.

7   The Argus, Wed 6 Oct 1886, p. 8.

8   The Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Sat 9 Oct 1886, p. 11. Emphasis added.

9   SRNSW: NRS1966, [5/1767], Albury Gaol photographic description book, 1879-1929, No. 340, p. 41, R5082.