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Thomas Hyde, 1890

Below also see: Thomas Hyde, 1892
Thomas Hyde, 1893
Martha Jane Hyde, 1894


Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 14 Aug 1890 1


    The following persons were proceeded against by the inspector of nuisances, and fined in the undermentioned amounts.:—

    Thomas Hyde, for damaging the kerbing in Terrace-street, 10s, with 2s 6d costs;

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 21 Nov 1890 2

(Before Mr RI Perrott, PM.)


    Thomas Hyde, a half-caste, hailing from West Maitland, was charged with assaulting his wife, Martha [Jane] Hyde. He pleaded guilty. From the statement of Mrs Hyde, it appeared the accused had for a long time past been continually abusing her, and on the occasion complained of he pulled her hair, knocked her head against the stones, and, in fact, as the Police magistrate remarked, knocked his wife about like a football. He was ordered to be confined in Maitland gaol for three months, with hard labour.



Thomas Hyde, 1892

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 1 Jan 1892 3

(Before Mr RI Perrott, PM.)

    Mrs [Martha Jane] Hyde explained that having obtained a judge’s order, her husband had agreed to go away, and she therefore withdrew the charge.

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 8 Jan 1892 4

(Before Mr RI Perrott, PM.)

    Thomas Hyde pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife, Martha Hyde, on the 2nd January.
    Mr Cronin, solicitor, appeared for the complainant.
    Mrs [Martha Jane] Hyde deposed that she held a judge’s order, and had requested her husband to leave the house, but he declined, and abused her. The accused was bound over to keep the peace for a period of six months, self in £20, and one surety of £10.


Thomas Hyde, 1893


Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Sat 25 Nov 1893 5

(Before Mr WE Henry, PM)


    The following case was heard with closed doors.
    Thomas Hyde was charged with unlawfully assaulting his son, Percy Hyde, a boy under the age of 12 years.
    Sub-inspector Saunders prosecuted on behalf of the Crown.

    Sergeant [Edward] Grennan deposed that he knew the accused who resided at Young Wallsend. Yesterday, accompanied by first-class Constable Dunshea, witness proceeded to Teralba, where the accused was in a hut, and by virtue of the warrant produced arrested the prisoner for assaulting his son on the 21st inst. In reply, the accused said, “The boy goes away from home, and had been away with a boat down the lake, and I thrashed him. The people expect me to look after him. I do the best I can to support the children.”

    Martha Jane Hyde, wife of the accused, deposed that the boy had been away from home for four days, and on his return her husband took the boy by the hair, dragged him into a room, and after making the boy take off his clothes thrashed him unmercifully with a piece of harness trace, which she produced. The boy would be 12 years of age next January. Took the boy to Dr Nash the second day after the assault. The boy would not stay at home when his father was there.

    Percy Hyde, the boy referred to, briefly described his reason for running away from home on account of his father beating him, and at the request of the Police Magistrate stripped to the skin and showed numerous bruises; in fact the boy’s back, arms and other parts of the body might very justly be described as black and blue, intermixed with long red stripes.

    Dr J[ohn] B[rady] Nash deposed that on the 23rd instant he had examined the lad Percy Hyde, and found several portions of the skin on the left arm, extending from the shoulder to the middle of the forearm, bruised, several of them 6in long by 1¼in wide, and similar marks on the back and on the left shoulder blade, left side of the chest, and lower portion of the abdomen. The injuries could have been caused by the strap produced. He certainly considered the punishment altogether too severe for a boy of that age.

    In answer to the Police Magistrate, the accused said that the boy was continually running away from home and had stolen a boat, and it was for doing this that he had used the strap.

    The Police Magistrate [WE Henry] said that at first he was inclined to punish severely, but as the boy was evidently a bad boy and had taken the boat, under the circumstances he would dismiss the charge, but he warned the accused not to lose his temper again in that brutal manner.


    Thomas Hyde was then charged by his wife with having committed and abominable offence.

    Sergeant Grennan deposed to the arrest, as previously described on the other charge.

    Martha Jane Hyde, wife of the accused, deposed that she had been married 12 years on the 11th April, 1893, and had four children living and six dead. The youngest of the children living was 6 years of age. During the past two years she had had a judge’s protection order, but her husband visited her frequently, and assisted to support herself and the children. On the 21st instant, whilst at the Great Northern in search of her eldest boy, who had been away from home for four days, she met her husband, and they both returned home together, and it was after they returned that her husband beat the boy as described in the previous case. The witness then gave evidence in support of the charge against her husband.

    Dr JB Nash stated that having heard the evidence of Mrs Hyde, his examination fully bore out her evidence.
    The accused declined to say anything, and was committed to take his trial at the Quarter Sessions to be held in Newcastle on the 4th December.

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Wed 6 Dec 1893 6


    Following is the complete list of cases set down for trial at the Newcastle Quarter Sessions, commencing today:—

Thomas Hyde, unnatural offence;

Judge Backhouse will preside and Mr W Bevan will prosecute for the Crown.

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 7 Dec 1893 7

(Before Judge Backhouse.)

    The Quarter Sessions were commenced in the courthouse yesterday before Judge Backhouse, Mr Walter Bevan, instructed by Mr WR Beaver, clerk of the peace, prosecutor for the Crown, the only other barrister present being Mr HH Lusk. All the jurymen empannelled [sic] were present, and no fines were inflicted.


    Thomas Hyde was arraigned on an indictment charging him with having on November 27th committed an unnatural offence on his wife, Martha Jane Hyde.

    Mr CW Readett appeared for the accused who pleaded not guilty.

    On the case being called on, the Judge ordered all women and children to leave the court, and the Crown Prosecutor suggested that as the evidence was of a most revolting and disgusting character the court should be cleared. The Judge said that he had no power to prevent the people from staying in the court as long as they kept quiet, but he should think that no decent person would remain in court unless compelled to do so by business.

    As very few men left the court, the Judge said that if there was the slightest noise he would turn the people out. The wife of the accused when giving evidence was given a seat near and almost under the jury box, thus having her back to the people in the gallery.

    Martha Jane Hyde disposed that she had been married to the accused for 12 years, and they had 10 children, of whom four were living. Witness lived at Young Wallsend in a house belonging to her father, and the accused worked as a miner at Teralba. He visited her, sometimes twice or three times a week, and although she had a separation order she was frightened of him and had not ordered him away. The crime took place in her house early on the morning of the day in question. She alleged that the first offence of the kind took place several years ago, and for the sake of decency she never said anything, until at last she became ill. The remainder of the woman’s evidence is unfit for publication, the details of the alleged crime being disgusting in the extreme. The woman also alleged that when she complained her husband beat her with a strap.

    Dr JB Nash, of Wallsend, gave evidence to the condition of the woman when he examined her, and supported her statements.

    Sergeant [Edward] Grennan, stationed at Wallsend, gave evidence as to the arrest.

    The accused, on oath, denied the charge and swore that his wife’s story was untrue from beginning to end. He also charged his wife with infidelity, but could not name any man who had been familiar with her.

    No witnesses were called for the defence, and after the wife and Dr Nash had been recalled, Mr Readett addressed the jury on behalf of the accused, and contended that the case was a most improbable one, and they could not as men of the world believe that accused could commit such a diabolical crime.

    His Honor, in summing up, said that the crime with which the accused was charged was a most terrible one, and it was fortunately rare that a jury had to listen to such disgusting evidence. He then referred to the evidence, and in doing so complimented Dr JB Nash on the straightforward, careful manner in which that gentleman had given his evidence. The result of the medical examination had been given in language which the jury could thoroughly understand.

    The jury retired at 3 o’clock, and at 6 o’clock they returned to Court, and Mr Peter Bennett, the foreman, stated that the jury had grave doubts and there was little chance of them agreeing.

    A quarter of an hour afterwards the jury returned with a verdict of “not guilty,” and the accused was discharged.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 7 Dec 1893 8

(From Our Correspondents)


Newcastle, Wednesday.

    The following cases were disposed of at the Newcastle Quarter Sessions to-day, before Judge Backhouse:—Heiken Gibson, [see also Aitken Brewster Gibson, 1884], larceny as a bailee, found guilty for the charges, three years on the first charge and two years on the second, the sentences to be concurrent; Henry Williams, stealing in a dwelling, three years’ penal servitude; Mary Coulson, malicious damage to property, remanded till Friday; Robin JE Elliott and Kate Smith, alias Elliott, breaking and entering; the male prisoner was convicted and remanded till Friday for sentence; the female prisoner, who was proved to be Elliott’s wife. Two children of the prisoners’ were taken care of in the Newcastle Benevolent Asylum. Frederick Grainger, stealing in a dwelling, six months, with separate treatment, in Maitland Gaol; Thomas Hyde, unlawful offence, acquitted.


Martha Jane Hyde, 1894

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 4 Jan 1894 9


THE excitement in connection with the tragedy that took place at Young Wallsend on Tuesday morning was intensified yesterday by the information that the victim had expired. No hope was entertained of Hyde’s recovery from the moment the bullet penetrated his temple, but his death appears to have added to the horror of the dreadful occurrence. The tragedy was the sole topic of conversation in Wallsend and the surroundings on Tuesday and yesterday, the interest in the affair being heightened by the fact that Hyde and his wife were known to almost every resident of the district. On all hands heartfelt sympathy has been expressed for Mrs Hyde. The character of the deceased man appears to have been generally known, and in Wallsend he was apparently regarded as a man to be avoided. He had lived there for many years, and every resident seems to be aware of his propensities. Mrs Hyde is the daughter of Mr Joseph Rodgers, who formerly resided at Wallsend, and is well known in the district. She is given a very excellent character, and is said to be of a most retiring and pleasant disposition. As a girl she was very much respected, and her many good qualities were even more fully recognised after her marriage. In speaking of her yesterday to a representative of this journal, one woman said, “We never could understand why she married that wretched man, and how she has managed to put up with his monstrous treatment so long. No person could ever breathe a word against her, and yet she has submitted to his cowardly assaults until they have become unbearable. She has appealed to the law courts time after time, but has not received the protection that was necessary, and has at last been compelled to take the law into her own hands.” The informant added that there were several others in the district who deserved similar treatment. Our reporter hinted that the lady’s views were of a bloodthirsty character, and she answered that if the law failed to protect women from drunken, ruffianly assaulters they should take steps to do it themselves. This conversation is given as a fair specimen of the opinions generally expressed in Wallsend regarding Hyde’s fate.


    In proceeding to Young Wallsend our representative got into conversation with a man who is connected with the deceased. This person endorsed all that had been said in Wallsend. Continuing, the stranger said: “You could not conceive the awful treatment to which that woman has been subjected for several years, and Hyde’s closest relatives could not entertain any sympathy for him.” In answer to a query as to what caused the man to get into such violent passions, the speaker said he (Hyde) was not accustomed to display any excess in that direction. He used to kick and abuse his wife without the least provocation and without displaying any excitement. Upon reaching Young Wallsend it was found that Hyde had been in an unconscious condition all the previous night, and had been watched by Constable Spicer, who was relieved by Constable Williams, of Wallsend, at 5 o’clock yesterday morning. The wounded man continued to breathe very heavily until a quarter-past 8 o’clock, when he gave two or three convulsive shudders and expired. The officer then, acting under instructions, removed the body to Nelson’s Hotel to await the post mortem and inquest.


    The house in which the fatal shot was fired is situated about a quarter of a mile to the north-west of the hotel mentioned, and is in a lonely spot. It is the property of Mr Joseph Rodgers, and originally formed part of a conditionally-purchased holding of considerable extent. Mr Rodgers lived on the land for some years, and subsequently disposed of the greater portion to the Young Wallsend Coal Company. He then took up a holding at Port Stephens and went there to reside. The house is a rough building of the cottage type, and contains four small rooms. The front ones both contain beds, one being used by Mrs Hyde, and the other by two of her little sons. The larger of the back rooms is a general eating room, and the other is a kind of storeroom, containing a sofa on which the eldest son has been accustomed to sleep. The interior of the dwelling shows unmistakable signs of poverty, and the effects largely consist of boxes of various sizes. There are two or three outhouses at the rear, but all are in a more or less dilapidated condition. The front of the house opens on to a piece of land of about an acre in extent, which gives evidence of cultivation. There are several neglected-looking fruit trees, and in two or three places attempts have recently been made to cultivate vegetables. Upon reaching the house our reporter met an elderly lady, who resides a few hundred yards away. She stated that she had visited the place to convince herself that the children were all right, and to see if anything could be done. She said Mrs Hyde was a very respectable hard-working woman, and that she provided herself and her children with the necessities of life by doing washing and scrubbing work wherever she could secure it. Continuing, our informant said:—“She (Mrs Hyde) has done my washing for the last three years whenever she was well enough, but she has been so horribly ill-treated that she has frequently been unable to do anything. Nobody but the neighbours can tell the hardships she has had to undergo.” The lady then departed, and the house was left to the care of Mrs Hyde’s three little boys. These are named Percy, Albert and Cecil, and they are aged 12, 10, and 8 years respectively. The fourth child is a little girl named Rose, 5 years, but she had been kindly taken away by Mrs Griffiths, who resides in the township.


    The boys had just finished their midday meal, and it was clear that the neighbours had provided them with an ample supply of food. They are fine healthy-looking children, and were able to answer all questions in an intelligent manner. Although rather poorly clad their clothing was neatly made, and did not show any indications of neglect. They stated that their father had been employed at the Northern Colliery, Teralba, for about two years, and that he only came home when the pit was idle. Sometimes he brought bread with him, but very often he was drunk and gave them nothing. They were very much afraid of him, because he used to beat them without cause and abused their mother dreadfully. About 18 months ago she purchased a small revolver in Newcastle to protect herself and them in case any person broke into the house, and she used to sleep with it under her pillow. On one occasion their father saw it, and chopped it with the axe. Their mother picked it up, and subsequently had it repaired in Newcastle. When the pit was working their father remained at Teralba, and they did not see him often. On New Year’s Day he was at some horseraces about half a mile away, and they knew he would be home at night. Their mother cooked some meat and prepared tea for him at 7 o’clock, and then went to bed, leaving Albert to watch the tea and wait for his father. At 1 o’clock in the morning he came home in a drunken state, and refused to eat anything, stating that the food was not good enough for him. After a few minutes he went to bed, and the boy cleared the table and also retired. The children were not disturbed by any noise until daylight, when their mother awoke them and told Percy to go to Mr Castle, a neighbour, and ask him to proceed to Wallsend and get Sergeant Grennan to come out at once. The boy performed his mission, and Mr Castle returned to the house with him. The children then went into the back to play, and a moment afterwards Mr Castle left. Their mother then told them their father had tried to choke her, and that she shot him, as she was compelled to take her own part. Sergeant Grennan, Constable Spicer, and Dr Nash reached the house about 8 o’clock, and after a little time the sergeant and the doctor went off, leaving Constable Spicer with them. Their mother was subsequently taken away, and in the morning Constable Williams had their father removed. When questioned as to anything further their mother said to them in the morning, the eldest stated that she told him their father had threatened to throw him on the fire. They also said that on the preceding pay-Friday their mother went to Teralba to get some bread, and that their father nearly murdered her. They got frightened at her long absence, and went in search of her at dark. They found her lying on a bank nearly three miles away in an unconscious state. They brought her home as well as they could, and when she got to bed Percy held a book and some ink while she wrote a statement of what had occurred so that she could tell exactly what happened. In support of this statement they produced a small memo book bearing a statement written in a legible but slightly incoherent manner, as if the writer had skipped an occasional word in her recital.


Following is the text of what was written:—

    “Saturday, December 16th. I went out to the Northern yesterday morning to meet Percy. I did not see him, and while I was waiting for him I went to see Mrs Cain at Mrs Bowman’s, because she took her sister’s death so much to heart. While I was there Tom Hyde came to the fence and wanted me to speak to him. I asked him what he wanted, and he said he had no one to do anything for him, and wanted to be good friends with me. I told him it was for his own inconvenience and not ours that he wanted to come back, and that he could find another housekeeper if he wanted someone to do for him. He wanted me to come into his house to talk to him, but I told him I would never go inside his fence, much less go into bachelors’ huts. He said that I might be glad to come. He still wanted me to go in, but I told him I would not, and I walked into the house for my umbrella. I bade Mrs Bowman ‘Good evening,’ left a message for Mrs Cain, who had gone to see a sick neighbour, and then started home. I did not see Tom Hyde anywhere. When I left went straight down to the water, thinking to see Percy come that way. I followed the road by the water until I passed a large boat drawn out of the water. I felt timid; it seemed so lonely. I saw a cart track going towards the railway line, and I went along that to get on to the line. I had nearly got to the line when I heard a noise, which I thought was someone on horseback. Someone called ‘Aye.’ I looked round and to my horror saw Tom Hyde springing over grass and sticks like a wild animal. I kept walking on. He went round through the trees to get in front of me, then he stopped. I asked him what he wanted, and if I owed him anything? I then said, ‘You have nothing to do with me; you better go back and let me alone.’ I still kept walking on. He got me by the arms and dragged me into the bush. I struggled with him as long as I could. I tried to get back to the Northern to give information, but I could not get there. He kept pulling me back and threatening me with all sorts of deaths. From about 2 o’clock until about five minutes to 5 o’clock, in all the heavy rain, he would not let me go to any house at all. I was shivering with wet and cold until I could only walk a few steps at a time. At last I got on the line away from him. I asked Jim Kearns to give me a ride on his cart into the town, but he would not let him. Once I got on the line I was right. I got down as far as the cutting, then I got on the bank and lay down cold and wet and in dreadful pain. At half-past 5 o’clock my two boys came looking for me, and Tom came again to try and persuade me to come to his place to lie down and get warm, but if I died where I was I would not go with him. ‘Forget it all; it is nothing,’ he said, and that he would come again next pay-night. I lay there until 6 o’clock, and then I and the two boys crawled more than walked home. He went back towards his place. He wanted to laugh it off when the children started to cry seeing me sitting on the wet ground. If anyone was going along the road, he would let me walk on. Then my strength would fail, and they would get too far away. Then he would stand in front of me, wanting to know if I was going to tell anyone about it. If I was, he would quieten me. If I did not, he would see what he could do. We met a man he called Mr Wilson. He stopped him, and asked him what he thought of me. I told him what Tom had done. He tried to give good advice. I told him I would not be dragged about the bush with Tom. I never interfered with him, nor want anything from him. Yet I cannot go anywhere without him following me.”


    About 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon Dr Nash, accompanied by Sergeant Grennan, reached Young Wallsend, with the object of holding the post mortem examination, and arrangements were made for the inquest, which will take place at Nelson’s Hotel at 11 o’clock this forenoon. Yesterday afternoon Martha Jane Hyde was brought up at the Wallsend Police Court before Mr Henry, PM, charged with the wilful murder of her husband.

    Sergeant [Edward] Grennan deposed to the arrest of the accused, and to a voluntary statement made by her. This was to the effect that for some time she had kept a loaded revolver under her pillow with a view of protecting herself against the brutal assaults of the deceased. On Tuesday morning her husband made reference to the fact that he had been discharged at the Quarter Sessions and intended doing as he liked. She was at last driven to desperation, and drawing the revolver, shot him. Immediately she committed the deed she sent to the nearest neighbour to go to Wallsend, and inform Sergeant Grennan. The witness also deposed to having proceeded to the scene of the tragedy in company with Constable Spicer and Dr JB Nash, and that the man had died that morning from the effects of the gunshot wound. Sergeant Grennan applied for a remand of eight days, which was granted.


    It transpires that the deceased has served two terms of imprisonment for illusing his wife, and that she obtained a judge’s order against him two years ago.

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 5 Jan 1894 10


THE verdict of the coroner’s jury in the inquest into the circumstances of the death of Thomas Hyde was almost a foregone conclusion. The jury found that the wife of the deceased had in self defence fired the shot which killed her husband, and she was accordingly discharged from custody. It remains to be seen if the Crown will take further action in the matter, for the law wisely regards affairs of this character as worthy of every inquiry. It is doubtful, however, if any fresh facts can be adduced which would be likely to place the case in any other aspect than that in which it was regarded by the coroner’s jury. The man who was killed appears to have been well-known as a person who brutally ill-treated his wife, and brought himself within the clutches of the law on two occasions as the result of conduct of this kind. At the last Quarter Sessions Hyde was charged at the instance of his wife with peculiarly atrocious conduct towards her, and the evidence of the wife was thoroughly substantiated by the medical testimony. Nevertheless, the accused got off scot free, and he appears to have determined not to forget the action of his wife as the principal witness for the Crown. The statement of the wife regarding what occurred prior to her firing the fatal shot, is borne out by the life-history of the unhappy woman and the man, who has now gone before another tribunal. It is very rarely that a woman who is not afraid of her husband thinks it necessary to produce a revolver and use it in the manner in which Mrs Hyde did. There can be no excuse for a woman having a loaded revolver in the house when her husband is at home unless she fears that bodily violence will be done to her by him. The tragic ending of this case shows how necessary it is that complaints made in court by wives regarding violent or brutal conduct on the part of their husbands should receive from magistrates, judges, and juries such attention as the nature of the cases warrant. If these are not attended to, it is probably that there will be further cases of women, temporarily maddened with ill-usage, taking such measures for their self-preservation as were adopted in the killing of HYDE.


Mr GC MARTIN, district coroner, held an inquest at Nelson’s Hotel, Young Wallsend, at 11 o’clock yesterday forenoon, on the body of Thomas Hyde, the victim of the recent tragedy.
     Sub-Inspector Saunders represented the police, and Mr Cronin appeared for Mrs Hyde, who was present..
     The jury consisted of the following persons:—Thomas McCrane (foreman), Wm Thurling, Robert Brown, Frank Allen, Robert Forrester, Thomas James, John McIntyre, Silas Ruttley (of Plattsburg), John See and William Firth (of Wallsend), John Nelson and Arthur Green, of Young Wallsend.
     The coroner, after charging the jury, requested them to confine themselves entirely to the evidence, and not to be influenced by anything they might have heard previously.

    Sergeant Grennan, of Wallsend, said that at about 20 minutes to six o’clock on the morning of the 2nd inst, Joseph Cattell of Young Wallsend, called upon him at the police station, Wallsend, and said Mrs Hyde had sent for him, as Tom was shot. Shortly afterwards witness, accompanied by Constable Spicer and Dr Nash, left for Mrs Hyde’s house at Young Wallsend. Upon arrival he saw Mrs Hyde sitting outside her house. Her children were sitting some distance off. He asked her what was the matter, and she replied, “I had to protect myself.” The police and the doctor then entered the house, and witness saw the deceased in bed. He was stripped, with the exception of white shirt. There was some froth about his mouth and chin, and a little blood-mark on the left side of his head about the temple. There was a heaving about his chest and throat, and he was unconscious. Mrs Hyde said he had come home drunk, accompanied by his son Percival, about five minutes past 1 o’clock that morning. He commenced dragging her about, and used very filthy words to her. She also said he came home drunk on the previous Sunday. While he was abusing her on Tuesday morning she said she would send for the sergeant, and he replied, “I don’t care; I got out of it before by telling lies, and I will say I saw something.” He had hold of her by the throat, and to protect herself she fired a revolver. She took the revolver produced out of her dress pocket, and stated that there were two charges out of it previous to that morning. On examining the revolver witness found that one of the chambers had been very recently discharged. It contained seven chambers, three being empty and four loaded. Witness left Constable Spicer in charge of the wounded man, and sent Constable Williams to relieve him. Constable Spicer returned to Wallsend at 6 o’clock on the morning of the 3rd instant, and reported that Hyde was dying. He subsequently received a wire in Newcastle stating that the man was dead. He had previously given instructions that when death ensued his body should be removed to Nelson’s Hotel, Young Wallsend, and the order was carried out by Constable Williams. Mrs Hyde also told him on the morning of the 2nd inst that about a fortnight ago her husband came up to her in the bush and dragged her about, ill-using her so badly that she was afterwards ill. She had previously reported to him the unnatural treatment she had received at the hands of her husband from time to time.

    By Mr Cronin: Action had been taken against the deceased on a charge of committing an unnatural offence. He had also been bound over to keep the peace, and witness believed had been twice imprisoned for assaulting his wife. After his acquittal at the Newcastle Quarter Sessions deceased was requested to keep away from his wife.

    William Cattell, a gardener, residing at Young Wallsend, said Mrs Hyde lived about 150 yards from his house. At about half-past 4 o’clock on Tuesday morning last he went to her house at the request of her son Percy. The lad said his mother wanted his (witness’s) son to go to Wallsend for Sergeant Grennan, as she had shot his father. Mrs Hyde came outside the house to meet him, and said, “I want your son Joseph to go and fetch the doctor.” He sent his son away as requested, and returned to Mrs Hyde’s cottage. He then saw deceased, who was lying in bed breathing very heavily. Mrs Hyde called his attention to red marks on her neck, and said her husband had tried to choke her. She took a revolver from her pocket, and said that was the one she had done it with. The room was in a disturbed condition. He did not hear a revolver shot during the previous night.

    By the jury: On one occasion Mr Hyde ran to his house for protection. Deceased appeared shortly afterwards, and threatened to punch his (witness’) head if he did not turn the woman out. Mrs Hyde usually did the washing at witness’s house, but sometimes was unable to carry out the work owing to the beatings she received from her husband. Witness had frequently heard him threaten to do for her.

    By Mr Cronin: Mrs Hyde had to earn a living for herself and children, and deceased had often taken the last bit of food from the house, leaving the little ones without any.

    [Albert] Percival Hyde, son of the deceased, said he was 12 years of age, and lived with his mother at Young Wallsend. At about a quarter to 1 o’clock on Tuesday morning witness met his father outside Nelson’s Hotel. He was coming from Teralba and his father had been at the Young Wallsend races. Deceased was drunk and accompanied him home. The mother was in bed, but was awake, and witness heard his father tell her that the boy was home. Witness then went to bed. At about a quarter to 5 o’clock in the morning his mother called him and told him to go to Mr Cattell and ask him to bring Sergeant Grennan out at once as she had shot her husband. Witness delivered the message, and upon returning saw his father in bed. He was at home when Dr Nash and the sergeant came, and his mother returned to Wallsend with the sergeant. After she left he saw the memorandum book (produced) on the meat safe. His sister bought it about a fortnight before, and he saw his mother writing in it.

    The coroner then read the written statement in the book. [see: ‘A Terrible Tale’, above ]

    Witness (continuing) said he and his brother found their mother lying on a railway bank near Teralba about a fortnight ago. This was before she wrote in the book. He had seen his mother cleaning the revolver (produced).

    By Mr Cronin: He had seen his father beating his mother, and pulling her along the floor by the hair of the head. He had seen her run away from his father when the latter held a knife and threatened to cut her throat. He took some of her clothes outside and burned them.

    Dr Nash said that a little before 6 o’clock on Tuesday morning he received a message asking him to proceed to Young Wallsend, as a man named Thomas Hyde had been shot. He proceeded to Mrs Hyde’s house in company with Sergeant Grennan and Constable Spicer, and reacher there at 6.35 am. He entered the front room, and saw the deceased lying on a bed. He was frothing at the mouth and breathing heavily. On the outer and back part of the left temple there was a little blood trickling from a wound 2½in upwards and forwards from the upper part of the left ear. On the following day, at 3.45 pm, he examined the body of the deceased at Nelson’s Hotel, Young Wallsend. There were no external marks of violence on the body or limbs. On the head there was a circular puncture on the upper and back part of the left temple. This pierced the skin, soft tissues, and bone, penetrating the brain. Beneath the skin of the temple some blood was effused. On removing the skull cap witness found that the wound in the brain went downwards and across to the right side. He found a blood clot lying against the inner surface of the right temporal bone, and that the wound had gone right through the brain substance. Upon searching the brain substance he found the mis-shapen revolver bullet produced lying in its right half. He was of opinion that the bullet passed through the brain, struck the bone on the inner right side of the skull, and rebounded into the brain substance. Death was due to the injury of the brin [sic] substance, caused by the piece of lead produced. Witness was of opinion that the man was slightly sitting up on the bed when he was shot, and that he then fell back.

    By Sub-inspector Saunders: The hand of the person discharging the shot must have been on a slightly higher level than the deceased. Hyde was unconscious and in a dying condition when witness first saw him.

    By Mr Cronin: Mrs Hyde said her throat was sore when he saw her on the morning of the 2nd instant, but he did not observe any marks. On the afternoon of the same day he looked at the woman’s throat at the request of Sergeant Grennan, and found that it was somewhat red. She complained of pain on pressure.

    Constable Spicer deposed to having proceeded to Mrs Hyde’s house with Sergeant Grennan and Dr Nash on the morning of the 2nd instant. He remained in charge of the deceased until half-past 5 o’clock the following morning, when he was relieved by Constable Williams. Hyde was unconscious the whole time, and did not speak.

    Constable Williams said he relieved Constable Spicer from the charge of attending the deceased at half-past 5 o’clock on Wednesday. Hyde died at 20 minutes past 8 o’clock, without having regained consciousness. Witness then had the body removed to Nelson’s Hotel.

    Martha Jane Hyde, after having been cautioned by the coroner that she need not give any evidence tending to criminate her, said she thought her husband was about 42 years of age, and was born at Tighe’s Hill. They were married at Wallsend on 11th April, 1881, and had four children. They were named Albert Thomas Percival, aged 12 years; Albert Edward Victor, aged 10 years; Cecil Joseph James, aged 8 years; and Maud Amy Rose, aged 5. They had six children dead—three boys and three girls. Deceased’s father was named James Hyde, and lived at Awaba. Her husband had been earning money lately, but spent it all on himself. She had no means to bury him. She did not expect him last Monday night, but he came to her house accompanied by the boy Percival at five minutes past 1 o’clock pm Tuesday morning. Her son had gone to Teralba on Monday, and she did not expect him home till Wednesday. When deceased came into the house she was undressed in bed. He said, “Here’s the boy.” She said, “What are you doing here,” and he answered, “I brought the boy here. He’s the fancy boy who wanted to put me in Maitland. I’ll do for him yet.” She said, “Well have you come here to kick up a row again to-night?” and he said, “I want some tea.” The boy Albert was in the next room, and she called him up to make tea. Her husband wanted to know what was in the house, and she told him, he said it was not good enough for him. He told the boy Albert not to trouble making the tea. The child did make the tea, and laid the table in the kitchen. He then said, “Daddy, come and get your tea,” and deceased replied, “I don’t want it now.” The boy said, “It’s nice tea, daddy, come and have it,” and her husband answered, “I don’t want your —– tea.” The boy brought a cup of tea into the bedroom for his father, and one for her, but deceased would not drink his. He was sitting on the side of her bed, and again told the child he did not want the tea, and to take it out of his sight. She told the boy to drink the tea and go to bed. When the boy went into the other room deceased began to call her filthy names, and asked if she had sent for Dr Nash.

    At this stage the witness broke down, but quickly recovered herself, and continued her evidence, part of which is unfit for publication. She stated that deceased acted in such a manner that she was compelled to resist him. He told her not to say anything about what had taken place near Teralba, or he would quieten her. She told him to be careful what he said, and he replied that he had got out of it before by telling lies, and that there was no law nor protection for her. She said she would either send for the sergeant or protect herself if he did not go away. He replied, “Do it if you are able.” He continued to drag her about on the bed, hissed at her like a wild animal, and then seized her by the throat, saying he would choke her. She then turned and then got the revolver (produced) from under her pillow, and before he had time to choke her she fired at his head. He had known for 12 months that she had the revolver. She purchased it about 18 months ago because about six months previously her husband came to her place drunk, with as strange man and dragged her into the yard. She asked what he meant, and who the man was, and he replied that she would know soon enough. The stranger was standing a little distance away, and she got a hammer and candle and went over to see who he was. She asked his name, and he said “Connelly,” and that Hyde had brought him. She subsequently told deceased that she had bought a revolver because of the men he brought to the place. She did not think the shot would kill him, but hoped it would stop him from coming after her. He told her when about to choke her that if she were found dead he would say other people had been there, and that he had not been to the house.

    By Sub-inspector Saunders: Deceased was drunk when he reached the house on Tuesday morning. His features were drawn, and he looked as if he had been quarrelling. On the previous Sunday he came to the house and asked if she was going to report what he had done at Black’s, near Teralba, on the 15th December. She lay in bed for 15 days in consequence of the treatment she then received. The statement in the memorandum book produced had been written by her while lying in bed on the day after deceased assaulted her at Black’s. When she bought the revolver her husband was serving three months in Maitland Gaol for having assaulted her. He had served two sentences of imprisonment for assaulting her during the past three years, and had once been bound over to keep the peace. She had discharged two chambers of the revolver previous to Tuesday. If she felt very weak and had much hard work to do she discharged the revolver. It seemed to give her strength. She call her son, Percy, within a minute after she shot Hyde.

    By Mr Cronin: Deceased generally ill-treated her whenever they met, and on one occasion knocked her head against some stones, and tore her hair out. But for the appearance of young Mr Griffiths, he would have killed her outright. He had attempted to set fire to her house, and threatened to cut her throat. On several occasions she had been compelled to leave her house owing to his threats to kill her. She had had very little support from him for five years. The house she lived in was the property of her father, and deceased had no right to go there. He had frequently taken women of ill-repute to the place. She had always been a faithful wife.

    This concluded the evidence, and after a few minutes’ retirement, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that Mrs Hyde fired the fatal shot in self-defence.


    Upon reaching Wallsend, Sub-inspector Saunders had Mrs Hyde brought before Mr Henry, PM, at the Police Court, and applied for her release from custody. The application was granted, and the woman was liberated.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 14 Dec 1894 11

(Before Mr WE Henry, PM, and
Mr T Fryar, J.P.)


ALBERT HYDE, 11 years of age, and Percival Hyde, 12 years, were charged under the Industrial Schools Act with wandering about the bush under no control. The boys were charged separately.

    Constable Dunshea deposed that on Tuesday morning, at about 8 o’clock, he saw the accused Albert wandering about the railway station at Teralba. In answer to questions the boy said he was going to Toronto to look for his brother Percy. Witness arrested him and took him to the lockup at Teralba, where, on being searched, several articles that had been reported as stolen were found. During the past three months there had been numerous complaints about batchers’ huts and boat sheds being broken into and articles taken away. Witness had frequently seen both boys wandering about Cockle Creek, Teralba, Toronto, and Lake Macquarie. On Albert he found an inkwell, two keys, and a knife, that had been identified as stolen property. After arresting the accused Percival Hyde, witness found a railway ticket on him, that had been taken from a hut near Teralba. The accused pleaded guilty to drawing the staple from the door, and searching the hut for tucker and other things. Both boys admitted taking a bottle of porter, one bottle of brandy, one bottle of ginger wine, and two or three bottles of hopbeer from a hotel at Lake Macquarie during the past 12 months. There had been numerous complaints about these boys.

    Mr Martha [Jane] Hyde, a widow residing at Young Wallsend, deposed that the accused were her sons. Both boys frequently ran away from home, usually every fortnight, and stayed away two and three days or until found and brought home. She was aware that numerous complaints had been made about the boys entering premises and stealing. Witness had told a man named Jacques that if he came to Wallsend he would get any property he had lost. Percival had frequently obtained goods in her name without the knowledge of witness. Both boys were beyond her control, and she was unable to give anything towards their support, having all four children and no means of support.

    The boys were ordered to be sent on board the Sobraon.


1     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 14 Aug 1890, p. 6.

2     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 24 Nov 1890, p. 6.

3     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 1 Jan 1892, p. 7.

4     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 8 Jan 1892, p. 3.

5     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Sat 25 Nov 1893, p. 2. Emphasis added.

6     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Wed 6 Dec 1893, p. 4.

7     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 7 Dec 1893, p. 6. Emphasis added.

8     The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 7 Dec 1893, p. 5. Emphasis added.

9     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 4 Jan 1894, p. 5. Emphasis added.

10   Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 5 Jan 1894, pp. 4, 5. Emphasis added.

11   Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 14 Dec 1894, p. 7. Emphasis added.