Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/178353/domains/unfitforpublication.org.au/html/plugins/system/gantry/gantry.php on line 406
1836, John Edge and Tomas Gates - Unfit For Publication
Text Size


Depositions for John Edge, 5 Feb 1836, Sydney Trial  1 

In the Sixth Year of the Reign of
Our Sovereign Lord William the Fourth,
by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Ireland, King,
Defender of the Faith.

New South Wales
(TO WIT.)–         }
Be it Remembered, That John Kinchela, Esquire, Doctor of Laws, His Majesty’s Attorney General for the Colony of New South Wales, who prosecutes for His Majesty in this Behalf, being present in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, now here, on the First Day of February in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Six at Sydney, in the Colony aforesaid, informs the said Court, that John Edge [aka Edges] late of Bathurst
late of in the Colony aforesaid labourer on the First Day of December in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty five with Force and Arms, at Bathurst aforesaid in the Colony aforesaid, feloniously, wickedly and against the order of nature, had a venereal affair with a certain one Thomas Gates then and there being, and then and there feloniously did carnally know the said Thomas Gates and then and there feloniously, wickedly, and against the order of nature with the said Thomas Gates did commit and perpetrate the abominable crime of buggery to the great displeasure of Almighty God, to the great scandal and disgrace of the human kind, against the form of the statute in that case made and provided, and against the peace of our Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.
[Signed] John Kinchela, Attorney General.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[On the reverse of the above is the following]

1 February
In the Supreme Court
No. 24.
The King against John Edge F[ree] by S[ervitude]
Information, for bestiality [sic–sodomy]
Witnesses: Thomas Gates B[onded], John Deagan, Kelly.

5th February 1836
Judge Burton JCJ plea Not Guilty, verdict Not Guilty.
[Signature illegible]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Justice WW Burton's Notebook  2 


5th February [1836]

John Edge – Free by servitude –
Sodomy with Thomas Gates –
Plea NG

    Thomas Gates I have been three years in the Country – assigned to Mr James (Lowe ?) (?) valley, I was in Bathurst gaol on a charge of robbery – the prisoner John Edge was there also. I was in gaol about 4 weeks – in a full room – about 30 persons in it – we slept on the ground – there were no (beds ?).

    On the 1st December I went to bed about nine o’clock & some time in the night I awoke by something pushing at my backside – I found Edge’s privates in my backside.  3  I asked him what he was doing – he made no answer – he withdrew from me & pretended to be asleep – I turned about – told him as soon as I was out of that trouble I would take him over to the Court – I related the story next day to a prisoner in the gaol – I was afraid of my life at


the time – I (know ?) Kelly I don’t know whether he was awake or not at the time – I am sure he did not say anything – Kelly was sleeping about half a yard from me – he must have been asleep or he would have heard me. The prisoner said nothing at all but lay as if he was asleep. I did not know the prisoner before. I had been in gaol a fortnight & was in for three weeks afterwards but he made no second attempt –

    By Prisoner: I did not say before the Magistrate that Kelly was awake and heard me – & that he asked me what was the matter.

    In the morning after Kelly said is that the game? – that was when he heard me report it – to John (Sampson?) [passim].


It was on a Tuesday night.

    I went out of gaol on to the Bench of Magistrates on the Wednesday or Thursday (two or three days after) & reported it to Mr (?) what had happened.

    I reported it to Sampson on the Thursday – I did not not [sic] do so before – because I was afraid of the prisoner’s comrades – who were in the gaol on their way to Norfolk Island – they left on the Monday following & then I was taken over to the Court.

    I told Sampson on the day following – Kelly was standing by – he might have reported.

    I told the prisoner I would report it – The prisoner slept next to me & there was no one else – when I went to bed – – I am positive that is the man.

    I lay down in the same place again with my clothes on – if I had not done so I must have walked about – Next morning prisoner threw me a pair of braces & a shirt – I threw them back to him again & told him I did not want his clothes – I slept in my clothes


 4  next night – alongside the table – & when I first went in to (gaol ?) I slept on the table – Sampson afterwards slept on it.

     I did not sleep alongside the prisoner afterwards I saw the turnkey & gaoler on Wednesday & told them both of it.

    Nothing particular took place on Saturday evening. I got no boots or gaiters – I was put in irons to try to find out who had stolen a handkerchief in the gaol.  

    The turnkey took two knives out of my pocket because knives are not allowed in the cells – I was in the cells two or three hours put in between 3 & 4 – I did not go & lie between Kelly & (me ?) – Mr Hay the (?) I saw him on Friday, the Turnkey let me out of the cells.

    I had told him this circumstance before.

    Mr (Evernden ?) did not ask me why I did not report it before – [(from ?) McKeon prisoner says he (saw ?) (?) (?) (?) & this is a conspiracy against him for having been a (provocateur ?)]

    I don’t know whether Kelly was listening or not – but he heard the talk about the gaol –


    John Deagan alias Sampson. I was transported under the (former ?) name – I was in Bathurst gaol with Gates – I first saw him in Bathurst gaol – I have known the prisoner for better than 9 years – Gates told me on the 3rd of the month  of what the prisoner had done to him – he said it was two or three days before – It was on the 1st of the month that I saw the prisoner chuck a pair of trousers & shirt to Gates as he lay on the table in his clothes – Gates said he would have nothing to do with them –

    I did not know what for – this was two days before Gates told me

    I saw Gates & prisoner sleep next to each other – not on the 1st of the month they did not – I saw him lie on the table on the 1st of the month & afterwards till he left the gaol –

    Gates expressed his fear of the men in the gaol.


    I don’t know that there was a man named Kelly in the gaol – after the boy went out I lay on the table – as long as he was there he slept on the table & I on the ground.

    He did not tell me what (night ?) – I did not ask him.

    The night before the 1st I saw prisoners sleep next each other whether in clothes or not I don’t know.

    By Prisoner: I was taking the night tub out when he told me outside the gaol – I emptied the tub for extra victuals & to get the use of my limbs outside the gaol.

    I got him taken out of the gaol.

    The (irons ?) were put on Gates to make him tell what he did tell I suppose – not about some things which were lost – I was the man that ironed him & most of the men that were ironed. I can’t say whether he slept in the cells that night.

    Or whether he was let out that night or not.


    I got him put into the cells on Friday to get him out of the prisoner’s way.

    I was a fellow shepherd with prisoner – at Mr MacKenzie’s –
    [they accuse me (&) another of sheep-stealing]

    I won’t talk about sheep any further (only ?) you stole my sheep to make good what you had slaughtered & (sold ?)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Australian, Tue 9 Feb 1836 


    Friday, February, 5, 1835. [sic–1836]– Before His Honor the Chief Justice, and a Civil Jury.

    Before Mr Justice Burton and a Civil Jury.

    John Edges [sic] and Thomas Gates, prisoners of the Crown, were acquitted of an unnatural crime.  


1  SRNSW: NRS880, [SC T43] Information No. 20, Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, 1836.

2  SRNSW: NRS5730, [2/2424], Judiciary, WW Burton, J. Notebooks Criminal Sessions, 1833-38, pp. 41-7. Emphasis added.

3  Mn: two or three inches – & I found myself all wet – from what he did to me – from (soap ?) or something he had (?) to me while I was asleep

4  Mn: Thursday Friday &c

5  Mn: I don’t know what became of the handkerchief

6  Mn: & I told the turnkey – & he put Gates in the cells – & let him out the night & put him in next morning again

7  The Australian, Tue 9 Feb 1836, p. 2.