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Below also see: George Robert Beere, 1903,
George Robert Beere, 1908


Mercury and Weekly Courier, Thu 1 Feb 1894 1


    A local contemporary in its last issue inserted a small poster among its advertisements, occupying over a column of space, proclaiming that a lecture, under the auspices of the Church of England Temperance Society, and entitled “A Night in the Slums,” or, “The Cursed Drink,” was to be given in the Fitzroy town hall on Friday evening last, by Robert George. A synopsis of the proposed lecture was also supplied as follows:—1 am.—Scene in Gertrude-street at 1.30 am.—Scene in Lonsdale-street at 2 am.—Scene in Little Bourke-street at 2.30.—Shamming drunk in Bourke-street in disguise at 3.30.—A chat with a fallen woman — Thrilling scenes — Stirring episodes—A challenge to publicans—conclusion. And a paragraph in our contemporary’s news columns stated that “Mr Tennyson Smith’s temperance crusade was to be followed by another demonstration by Mr George.” But the alleged Mr George’s identity was not disclosed either in the paper alluded to nor in placards and bills which were distributed throughout the city. The local temperance workers were ignorant of the alleged lecturer’s bona fides, and last week, just too late for publication, we received a note from Miss Thomas, secretary of the Fitzroy branch of the WCTU, stating that George had no right to claim the patronage of that body which she had reason to believe he was doing. Several other circumstances arose calculated to throw doubt upon the promised temperance demonstration, but the climax was not reached until Friday evening, the date advertised for the lecture, when a few hundred people congregated outside the town hall, which, however, obstinately remained in darkness. Mr George was there, but apparently the cash was not, and Mr Hallkeeper Monar would not light up without the coin. Mayor Yager was subsequently appealed to, but declined to give permission to George to use the hall “on tick.” The latter was willing to pay by cheque but sovereigns were required, and these not being forthcoming Mr George was denied access to the building. He said he had sold 2000 tickets, but as admission was advertised as by silver coin and a collection, this is obviously untrue.

    It has since transpired that Mr Robert George is identical with Robert George Beere, who has written a couple of extravagantly-worded letters to the already mentioned local paper, in which a scene alleged to have happened on a Sunday morning outside an hotel is depicted. Here is a specimen of Beere’s (alias George’s) style.

“On Sunday morning, I took the opportunity of seeing for myself the deplorable manner in which the drunken beasts (save the mark!) Behaved, and, Sir, it astounded me. My heart burnt with bitter anger, and I felt inclined to knock the helpless creatures down and thus end a life of debauchery. The scene I witnessed was indescribable. It makes one cry to think over it—to see what a man or a woman will come to. Drunk, debauched, and cursed by their friends, they were standing (or, rather, leaning, for they couldn’t stand some of them) against the hotel and other people’s places, shouting and swearing, till I almost thought—well, if Hell is worse than that, then God save those people from it!”

There is half a column of this frothy nonsense printed over the signature of “Yours faithfully, George R Beere, Secretary St Saviour’s CETS.”

    The incumbent of the church mentioned has written to the Age denying Beere’s right to utilise the name of St Saviour’s, and the following letter from the same source has been forwarded to us:—

    Sir,—I entirely repudiate giving any sanction to Robert George Beere alias “Robert George” to use my name and his connection with St Saviour’s parish to procure him goods in the way he has done. I do not accuse him of criminal intent; I think he is too much excited to be altogether responsible for what he has done. He is no longer connected with work at St Saviour’s Church, Collingwood.

Edwin Rodda.

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Barrier Miner, Wed 7 Feb 1894 2

(By Telegraph.)

Melbourne, Tuesday Afternoon.

    Robert George Beere has been remanded by the Collingwood Court on a charge of obtaining boots by false pretences. Beere was formerly a lay reader and temperance lecturer.

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Mercury and Weekly Courier, Thu 8 Feb 1894 3

    The would be temperance advocate and sensational lecturer, Robert George, alias Beere, was before the Collingwood court on Tuesday charged with obtaining a pair of fashionable tan boots valued at 22s 6d, from Mr P Cassidy, bootmaker, of Victoria-Parade, by means of a valueless cheque. Mr Beere was fashionably attired in a straw hat with blue band, no vest, but a shiny white shirt, crochet tie, and nice summer pants fastened round the waist by a pale blue silk sash, the whole being set off by Mr Cassidy’s tan boots. We gave particulars of Beere’s temperance lecture fiasco in our last issue and from subsequent information to hand it seems the young fellow is demented. He was for a while acting as lay reader to St Saviour’s Church of England, Collingwood, and was secretary of the local branch of the CETS. He was on very friendly terms with the Rev Mr Rodda, incumbent of the parish, and until recently appears to have acted discreetly; but being seized with an apparent fit of temporary insanity, resembling religious mania, he has of late acted most peculiarly. He recently visited the Salvation Army meeting and after delivering a fervent address handed the commanding officer a cheque fir a guinea towards the funds. The cheque was valueless. Many similar aimless frauds has he practiced [sic] in Collingwood and Fitzroy, clearly showing that his mental equilibrium is defective, but there is evidently “method in his madness,” because all cheques he has given are post-dated beyond the 26th of January, the date on which the great lecture was to have been held, and are marked “The George temperance mission fund.” A good defence might thus be set up that accused when giving the cheques believed that he would have funds to meet them. When arrested by Constables [sic] Commons, Beere said, “Oh I expected this.” He has been remanded for medical treatment.

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Mercury and Weekly Courier, Thu 15 Feb 1894 4

    The young man Robert Beere, charged with passing a valueless cheque, was before the Collingwood court again on Tuesday. A medical certificate was received from Dr Shields of the Melbourne Gaol, saying that rest and quietness in the country for a while would restore the young man’s reason. The charge was thereupon withdrawn and accused was handed over to the care of his friends.



George Robert Beere, 1903


The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, Fri 21 Aug 1903 5

<em>The Narromine News</em> ..., 1903, masthead. Reproduction: Peter de Waal
The Narromine News..., 1903, masthead. Reproduction: Peter de Waal


    On Sunday last the Right Reverend Dr Camidge, Bishop of the Diocese, visited Narromine for the purpose of holding a confirmation service. His Lordship arrived on Saturday, and was met by the Rector (Rev AJS Seaton) at the station. After a brief rest both clerics were driven out to Mr Thos Bragg’s model farm by Mr GW Barlow, and after lunch there returned to Narromine, calling at Mr Graham Smith’s residence. During his stay, the Bishop was the guest of Dr Forster. On Sunday morning the Bishop preached at St Mary’s on the duty and necessity of coming regularly to the sacrament. There was a large congregation present. The sacrament was celebrated at the close of the address, a large number partaking. In the afternoon a private adult confirmation service was held. Twelve candidates, [three or four lines are obliterated on the original newspaper article] proved inadequate, the church being crowded to the aisle and door. The Rector read the prayers, Mr Geo[rge] R[obert] Beere the lessons. The Bishop taking his text from the first lesson, “The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruise of oil fail.” He told the story of the widow woman and Elijah, and traced the events leading up to the incident. An eloquent and forcible discourse followed, the congregation listening with marked attention to the Episcopal utterance. In closing his remarks the Bishop congratulated the people on the flourishing state of things in the church and district, which were in marked contrast to some other visits he had paid here. During the service the reader, Mr Geo R Beere, was admitted to his new office as assistant to the Rector, the latter presenting him to the Bishop, who gave him Episcopal blessing after certain questions had been answered and prayers said. The collections for the day were the largest in the history of the church, and the Bishop was delighted with the services. On Monday his Lordship, accompanied by the Rector, was driven to Mr F Mack’s station, where lunch was partaken of, after which they returned in time to catch the evening train. Before leaving the Bishop expressed his satisfaction at the progress of the church in this Mission district, and said he was leaving it much cheered by his visit to this part of his diocese.

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The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, Fri 28 Aug 1903 6


    The formation of a Glee Club at Narromine is contemplated, consequent upon the arrival of a certain gentleman, [George Robert Beere,] who has had considerable experience as a teacher of singing for some years in another State. Such a club should prove a decided acquisition and will doubtless be the means of developing some of the latent talent known to exist in our midst.

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The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, Fri 4 Sep 1903 7

Sunday, September 6th.
Narromine—Mass on second and fourth Sundays in the month at 10am.
Narromine, 11am and 7.30 pm.
Mr Geo R Beere.
Narromine, 11 am.
Timbrebongie, 3 pm.
Trangie, 7.30 pm.
Rev WG Sharpe, BA.

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The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, Fri 9 Oct 1903 8

Narromine old courthouse. Photo: Peter de Waal
Narromine old courthouse. Photo: Peter de Waal


    We are informed that Mr GR Beere, who has been acting in the capacity of reader at the local Church of England over the past two months, was recently suspended by the Rector, the Rev AJS Seaton, and has since resigned.

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The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, Fri 16 Oct 1903 9


    Some surprise was occasioned on Wednesday night, when the news became bruited about that George R Beere, who recently came here to take up the duties of lay-reader in connection with the local Church of England, had been arrested and charged with a serious offence. Beere, who is a good speaker and possessed of considerable musical ability, severed his connection with the Church, under pressure, two or three weeks ago, and has since been “holding forth” at street corners and elsewhere. He has also been conducting a singing class for children. The accused was brought up at the local Police Court yesterday morning, before Messrs F Mack and R Griffith, JsP, and charged with indecently assaulting a boy, about 13 years of age. The case was heard with closed doors and the evidence was too filthy for publication. The accused was committed to stand his trial at the Wellington Quarter Sessions on the 26th inst.

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The Wellington Gazette, Mon 26 Oct 1903 10


    Sittings of the court of Quarter Sessions were begun at the local court house this morning. His Honor Judge Docker presided and Mr AF Dawson appeared to prosecute for the crown. Mr RTB Gaden also occupied a seat on the bench.


    The first case called upon was one of indecent assault upon a male person at Narromine on October 12, 1903, from which place accused George Robert Beere had been remanded to Wellington.

    Accused who was undefended, pleaded not guilty and conducted his own case from the dock.

    Accused challenged his full complement of eight jurymen.

    As this was the only case for hearing the remainder of the jurymen summoned were discharged.
At the request of accused all females and boys under the age of 21 were ordered to leave the court.

    George Robert Beere was arraigned on a charge of committing an indecent assault on Charles Coyne a male person of the age of 13 years at Narromine on 12th instant.

    In his opening address, the Crown Prosecutor stated that accused had been for some time a lay reader in the diocese and subsequently had assisted conducting a cinematograph show in Narromine and at the time of the assault was conducting a musical society or glee club in Narromine.

    Charles Coyne aged 13 years, deposed: Know the accused Beere for about 4 weeks, he had a singing class at Narromine which was attended by boys and girls—about 40—he taught them singing. I went to his place on the 12th of the present month on a Monday at about seven o’clock in the evening, accused was in the house alone at the time and having a bath in his room.

    To His Honor—I helped him into the room with the tub.

    Accused then made some disgusting suggestions to witness after which they went to assembly hall and as they could not get into the hall, accused, witness and another boy named Jack Power came back to accused’s house where they learned a song which witness and Power had to sing. Witness and accused went home with Power, and afterwards went back to accused’s house. They went into the room where accused began to tamper with witness the remainder of whose evidence was of a most disgusting character and is altogether unprintable.

    Witness was subjected to a lengthy and severe cross-examination by accused.

    Jno McVicar, generally known as Power gave evidence in part corroboration of accused to the point where accused and previous witnesses left him on his way home.

    Agnes Coyne, widow, mother of first witness, gave evidence as to the questioning the boy after being subpenaed [sic] to the first hearing of the trial.

    Senior Constable Orlando Elliott, stationed at Narromine deposed: Known the accused who was a licensed reader in the Church of England for a while, did not know where he came from. On the 14th instant accused was brought to the Police Station by instructions. Accused said he “hoped it was nothing serious but that he had been in serious trouble before and got out of it, I suppose I can get out of this.” I then charged him with the offence and he said “oh that will be alright.” Witness asked accused several questions to substantiate the boy’s story which were answered in the affirmative by accused.

    Accused’s depositions, made in the lower court, were put in as evidence and marked for identification.

    Witness Elliott was cross-examined at much length by accused.

    This closed the case for the Crown.

    Leah Power, widow, mother of the witness McVicar was put into the box by accused and stated that she believed the association of her boy with the accused had done the boy a lot of good.

    Accused called several other witnesses who were found to be absent.

    Accused then went into the box to give evidence on his own behalf and gave his occupation as a teacher of music and elocution. He denied absolutely before God that he was guilty of assaulting the boy Coyne or of deliberately assaulting any boy. His object in having similar conversations with many lads was in order to find out all about the private lives of the boys and to endeavour to stop the very thing he was accused of doing. He had caught other boys in the very act of sodomy and had prevented much of that vice. He had found out that there were many immoral people in his choir and his congregations and he would until the very last do all in his power to stop this hidden immorality and secret sins going on in Narromine without the knowledge of the police and further that constables themselves had admitted to him that they had lived immoral lives. He solemnly swore that he had never been guilty of deliberately assaulting any boy and that on the contrary he would have been able, had he been released on bail, to bring evidence to show that he had saved many boys from utter ruin. He had testimonials to show that he had been a leader of young men and before God he swore that he was innocent and that the whole thing was a trap to ruin him.

    Accused’s depositions in the lower court were read, when put in for evidence, by His Honor and stated that it was quite true that, with the boys consent, something did take place between them. The Crown Prosecutor asked accused to explain what that statement meant and he entered into a long explanation of the incident, affirming that it was at the boy’s urgent and repeated requests.

    Accused was then granted an hour for the preparation of his address to the jury and the court adjourned till 1.30.

    Accused began his address to the jury at 20 minutes to two o’clock and shortly became entirely overcome with emotion. At 2.45 when we went to press the address was not concluded.

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The Wellington Times, Mon 26 Oct 1903  11


    The Wellington Court of Quarter Sessions was opened this morning, before His Honor Judge Docker, with Mr Dawson as Crown Prosecutor. Mr RTB Gadded, Deputy Sheriff, was in attendance.


    George Robert Beere was charged with committing an indecent assault on a lad named Charles Cohen [sic] at Narromine.
The following jury was empanelled:—JA Connelly, WH Lavers, George Wykes, AS Baird, Henry Fletcher, Peter White, William Waring, EJ Matthews, J Irving, L Crawford, JN Payne, EB Edwards.

    Charles Cohen [aka Coyne], residing with his parents at Narromine, deposed: I am 13 years of age; knew accused about 4 weeks; he had a Glee Club there which was attended by boys and girls and he taught them singing; on the night of the 12th of this month went to accused to his place; there was no one there but accused when I went there; he had a bath in the room whilst I was there (witness here gave evidence of what took place); afterwards he got dressed and we went to the club; later Jack Power and I went back to his house; then Mr Beere and I saw Jack home and Mr Beere and I returned to Mr Beere’s place; (here followed evidence which is unfit for publication).

    To accused: Came to your house on 12th instant because I thought the Glee Club would be held there; did not come at your invitation; did not complain to my mother till she asked me, after the police had got an anonymous letter; you have not done me any harm before; you have never done me any good.

    John McVicar, aged 15 years, sometimes known as John Power, gave evidence bearing out the previous witness’ evidence about accused, Cohen, and witness going to accused’s house on night of 12th instant.

    Agnes Cohen [aka Coyne], mother of the lad Charles Cohen, [sic] gave evidence. She did not know Beere. Her son had told her about Beere when she had questioned him. Her son had said in reply to her question that Beere had interfered with him.

    Constable Elliott, of Narromine, deposed: Accused was licensed Church of England reader at Narromine for some weeks; accused was brought to me at the Police Station on 14th instant; he said he understood I wanted to see him and hoped it was not serious; I said it was serious; he said “well I’ve been in serious trouble before and I suppose I can get out of this”; I then charged him with committing an offence on Charles Cohen; I cautioned him and questioned him; he admitted being at his house on the Monday (12th inst) night, that he had a bath that night and that Charlie Cohen was there with him alone, that he went to the Glee Club, returned with Cohen and Power, practised some songs there, he and Cohen saw Power home, and he and Cohen returned to his (accused’s) house and were there by themselves.

    (Depositions of accused’s evidence, given at the Narromine Court, were here put in. In them accused deposed he had been charged with being of unsound mind, also of passing a valueless cheque, the latter charge being withdrawn on account of his mental incapacity. He swore before his God that he was guiltless of the charge laid against him. He admitted in cross-examination that something had transpired between him and the boy.)

    To accused: I got word about you by means of an anonymous letter; think there is a good deal of credit due to the person who wrote the letter.

    Accused: Did you ever hear me saying something about your wife?

    Witness: No, I did not, and it’s a good job for you that I did not. (Laughter).

    Witness, continuing, said: I said at the Narromine Court that I pitied you more than anything else, as I did not think you were right in the head; did not say that I treated you as an escaped lunatic.

    Accused gave evidence as follows: Am a music teacher and teacher of elocution, present address Dubbo gaol; I swear before my God, whom I hold in greater reverence than, apparently, some of those who give evidence against me, that I am guiltless of the charge of having assaulted Charles Cohen; I had the conversation with Cohen and other boys about girls to find out their characters and stop them in their evil ways; at the request of one of my congregation I personally interviewed her brother, whom she said was addicted to bad conduct; I did this to try and save him; have caught boys in the very act of committing unnatural offences and have informed their parents about it; I have also found out that there were immoral people in my choirs and congregations; until the last I shall by all means in my power endeavour to stop this hidden immorality and secret sin which is going on at Narromine without the police knowing; I lost my position in the church, or, rather, I resigned my position of church reader at Narromine, because from printed evidence in London “Truth” (not the dirty Sydney paper) I had learnt something against a certain clergyman I was to study under, who had escaped to the bush of Australia; could I have got out on bail I could have brought evidence to prove that I have saved many boys from utter ruin and have ever tried to keep them from the very thing I am charged with; the whole thing is a charge brought to trap me because I exposed the heinous sins of my congregation.

    Accused addressed the jury for one hour and forty minutes. His Honor summed up shortly and the jury returned in 20 minutes with a verdict of guilty, with a recommendation to mercy.

    Accused, who was much affected, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment in Dubbo Gaol with hard labour.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 27 Oct 1903 12



Bateman’s Bay, Sunday.

    A fire destroyed the police barrack, the courthouse, and warden’s office, and also the private residence of Mr Latter, last night. Between the hours of 8 and 10 o’clock. The constable in charge was absent on duty st Mogo, and his family were attending church, when the fire was discovered in the top story. A large party of workers was soon on the spot, and with a supply of salt water from the river, obtained bu buckets, attacked the fire, which rapidly spread from the courthouse, a two-story building, to Mr Latter’s premises, which were totally destroyed, as were also the constable’s furniture and effects. The courthouse books were saved. The wind fortunately was from the south-east, blowing towards the river, otherwise the fire would probably have spread to the main township. Much difficulty was experienced in saving Mr George Guy’s store, the premises getting heated, and but for the quantity of water supplied would have been destroyed, as it was, Mr Guy’s premises suffered, and a portion of his stock was damaged by salt water and removal. The buildings, it is understood, were insured for a small amount. The origin of the fire is attributed to rats.


Wellington, Monday.

    The Quarter Sessions court was opened to-day before Judge Docker, and concluded this afternoon. Me Dawson was Crown Prosecutor. John Thompson was charged with maliciously wounding Susan Owens and Annie Dixon. He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to three years’ and one year’s hard labour, the sentences to be concurrent. George Robert Beere, described as an ex-lay reader, was charged with assaulting a boy, aged 13 years. Accused, who appeared on his own behalf, pleaded not guilty. He addressed the jury for an hour and three-quarters. A verdict of guilty was returned, accused, who was visibly affected, was sentenced to 12 months.

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The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, Wed 28 Oct 1903 13


    George Robert Beere, charged at Wellington Quarter Sessions on Monday with indecent assault at Narromine on October 13, was found guilty and sentenced to 12 months’ hard labor in Dubbo gaol. Prisoner’s address to the jury lasted 1 hour 40 minutes.

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The Wellington Gazette, Thu 29 Oct 1903 14



    Sittings of the court of quarter sessions were continued on Monday afternoon last His Honor Judge Docker presiding.

    When we went to press George Robert Beere, accused of indecent assault on a lad named Charles Coyne, aged 13 years, was addressing the jury on his own behalf. The address lasted about an hour and a half and concluded at 3 o’clock amidst a great outburst of emotion on the part of accused.

    The Crown Prosecutor did not address the jury and His Honor summed up briefly pointing out that the depositions of Beere taken in the lower court admitted the offence.

    The jury retired to consider their verdict and in about twenty minutes returned with a verdict of guilty. They wished, however, to recommend the accused to mercy on the ground that they considered him mentally insane on the one point of sexual relationship.

    Beere then thanked the jury for their recommendation and further pleaded for mercy at His Honor’s hands.
Judge Docker, in passing sentence, said it had been impossible for the jury to come to any other decision in view of prisoner’s own evidence. He also thought the jury had plenty of reason for saying that he was mentally weak but His Honor was very much afraid that that weakness had been brought about by prisoner’s own self abuse. That was a view concurred in by most doctors and it was undeniable. His Honor was afraid there was a terrible and appalling amount of immorality throughout the country. Time after time revelations had been made in the courts and he himself had been taken to task for speaking about it. The accused Beere had said that he had asked boys certain questions in order to get and [sic] opportunity to advise them but it seemed to him (His Honor) that getting boys to make revelations of their own wrong doing was not the way to get them to stop. This was Beere’s first conviction and he trusted it would be his last. Certainly he must give up all ideas he had of entering upon the ministerial career which he had apparently marked out for himself.

    His Honor then sentenced prisoner to twelve months’ hard labour in Dubbo Gaol stating that this was a most lenient punishment inasmuch as the law provided for penal servitude for seven years for such an offence.

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The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, Fri 30 Oct 1903 15


    The Female Electors’ Rights are now at the local police station for delivery.

    John Thompson, charged at the Wellington Quarter Sessions on Monday with inflicting grievous bodily harm on Susan Owens and Annie Dixon at Narromine on the 15th October, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with hard labor.

    George Robert Beere, charged at Wellington Quarter Sessions on Monday with indecent assault at Narromine on October 13, was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months’ hard labor in Dubbo gaol. Prisoner’s address to the jury lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes.

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George Robert Beere, Gaol photo sheet 16

SRNSW: NRS2232, [3/5974], Goulburn Gaol photographic description book, 31 Jul 1902-29 Apr 1904, No. 1744, p. 170, R5120

Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. 1744

Date when Portrait was taken: 11 February 1904

Name: George Robert Beere

Native place: Victoria

Year of birth: 8/6/1874

Arrived       Ship: –
in Colony }   Year: BS

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Church of Eng Reader

Religion: C of E

Education, degree of: R & W

Height: 5' 10¾"

Weight     On committal: 143
in lbs     } On discharge: 151

Colour of hair: Brown

Colour of eyes: Brown

Marks or special features: Nose large, mouth & chin medium. Scar back of left legMarks or special features: 4 vaccine marks left upper arm. Scar first joint left thumb. Scar top of right middle finger. Mole near right eye mole back of neck. Mole near right shoulder. Mole on right buttock

(No. of previous Portrait ... ) 


Where and When Offence. Sentence

Wellington Q.S

Malvern Vic PC

Melbourne GS










Indecent assault on a male person
Discharged by remission


False pretences 

1 year HL

Fine or 3 months imprisonment

12 months HL 



George Robert Beere, 1908


The Argus, Tue 7 Jul 1908 17


    At the Malvern Court yesterday, before Messrs Kiddle and Holmes, JP’s, George R Beere, who was a conspicuous figure in a recent deputation to the Premier (Sir Thomas Bent), was sued by Messrs Duncan and Weller, auctioneers, for the sum of £2 1/, alleged to be due for goods sold and delivered. Beere did not appear, and an order for the amount was made, with 13/ costs. Sir Thomas Bent, who was present in court, then left.

    At a later stage Beere appeared, and asked what had been done with his case. On being informed he said, “Unfortunately, I missed my train. I’ve had so many things to attend to. I’ve had no breakfast yet. I was to have been married to-day. (Laughter.) The verdict is against George R Beere. That will suit me very well. I bought the goods in my professional name, Robert George. I intend to fight this to the end. I have already offered the money.”

    Beere then inquired as to the usual procedure to secure the re-opening of the case, and on being informed left the court.

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The Argus, Tue 14 Jul 1908 18


    Before Mr Read Murphy, PM, and Messrs Holmes and Kiddle, JP’s, at the Malvern Court yesterday, George R Beere, who has been before the public in various capacities lately, was charged with having assaulted William Henry Nicholls, an ex-councillor of Malvern. Mr WS Fergie prosecuted. Beere was not present.

    An officer of the court having explained that Beere would probably be at the City Court, Mr Murphy satisfied himself that the summonses had been properly served, and agreed to the case being proceeded with.

    William Henry Nicholls, builder, of Malvern, stated:—I had great difficulty in getting possession of my property in Alice-street, Malvern, of which defendant was the tenant. On June 30, after getting Beere out, I went to the place. I found Beere there. He said, “I am going to take what belongs to me.” He then rushed at me, and bashed me about. I fell, and dislocated my finger. He partly ripped off my clothing in the scuffle, and then he broke these palings—(witness produced several stoutish pieces of paling)—over me. Beere then said to me, “Now, you —–, go to the police?”

    Edward Doherty deposed:—On June 30 Nicholls came to my fruiterer’s shop. He was very excited, and had his clothes all torn. He was smothered with mud. He appeared to have been knocked about, and said he had had a rough handling. His finger was dislocated. He is an inoffensive man.

    Mr Murphy, PM.—There is no doubt that the service is good, and the evidence is consistent and reasonable. A violent assault has been committed without provocation on an aged and respectable citizen. It is one of those cases in which severity is necessary. Defendant will be fined £10, with £1/3/6 costs, or three months’ imprisonment.


    George R Beere was before the City Court yesterday morning charged with having obtained goods by false pretences from Rose Levy, Collins-street, on July 9.

    Detective [W] Tognini said:—In company with Detective Lonsdale I arrested the accused on Saturday on a charge of having given a valueless cheque for 6/6 to Rose Levy. I ask for a remand until to-morrow.

    Beere.—I object to the remand. My business is suffering, and I was to have been married last Wednesday. If there is to be a remand I hope I shall not be sent back to the watchhouse. I have had to mix with publicans, sinners, women of ill-fame, and other undesirables.

    Mr Cresswell, PM, granted the remand, and fixed mail in one surety of £25.

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The Argus, Wed 15 Jul 1908 19


    George R Beere was charged on remand yesterday, before the City Court, with having obtained goods from Rose Levy on July 9 by means of a valueless cheque for 6/6.

    Mr Barnet appeared for the prosecution, and Mr Beere conducted his own case, in the absence of Mr Crouch, who, defendant informed the Bench, was engaged to defend him, but had business in the other court.

    Rose Levy, indentor, 261 Collins-street, said:—Beere had an office in the same building. On July 9 I took him a parcel of postcards which he had ordered. He told me at first he wanted 5,000 for the American fleet. Ultimately, however, he ordered a gross at 6/6. On delivery he gave me the cheque produced.

    Beere.—Do you remember giving me an indecent postcard?—There’s not an indecent card in my whole stock.

    Percy Richardson said:—Beere was my employer. On July 1 he paid me my wages by a cheque for £2. I got 5/ for it at the bank. He signed it by his professional name.

    Charles Jennings deposed:—I am ledger-keeper at the Malvern branch of the English, Scottish, and Australian Bank. Beere hd two accounts there under different names. They were both closed by July 2.

    After Detective Tognini had given evidence, the accused, Beere, went into the box.

    “My occupation,” he said, “is various.” (Laughter.) “I wish to be known as acting secretary for The Block committee for the American fleet decorations. I understand I was fined £10 in my absence yesterday at the Malvern Court. They won’t get that £10. The woman Levy has been so misbehaving herself as to cause me to forbid my clerks—–”

    Mr Cresswell, PM.—You can’t go into that.

    Beere.—How far did I get? Oh, yes! She came to my office and behaved in such a manner—–

    Mr Barnett.—This is monstrous. These statements are wildly improbable.

    Mr Cresswell.—We think so too. Keep to the case.

    Beere.—I admit ordering the postcards. Upon delivery they weren’t up to sample, and I sent them back. Then Rose Levy came down in a fury, and accused me before all hands and the cook with not paying for them. I said, “Here, take them back.” This cheque was not intended for her, but it was lying on top of the package, and as I grabbed them up I grabbed it too. She said, “But the cheque is for 6/6, not for the 6/ you owe me.” I said, “Get your hair cut with the extra 6d.” (Laughter.) If I’m guilty of any offence I desire to be punished.

    Beere was committed for trial. Bail was allowed in one surety of £25.

    During the afternoon Beere was also committed for trial on a similar charge of obtaining goods by means of a valueless cheque from Beaconsfield and Son, 199 Bourke-street.

    Upon Mr Cresswell advising him to reserve his defence, he objected that the public would think him guilty, and that he had already spent much time in the “disreputable watchhouse.”

    And upon the subject of bail he was not sure. “I don’t know,” he said. “I have better friends in gaol than outside, upon my savee. If you reduced bail in the other charge I might get a surety. I want to see my girl.” (Laughter.)

    But there was no reduction, and Beere went back to gaol.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Argus, Tue 21 Jul 1908 20


    George R Beere, whose name has been a good deal before the public of late, appeared before Mr Justice Hood in the Criminal Court yesterday to answer a charge of obtaining goods by false pretences. He was defended by Mr Crouch. The evidence against him was that on Saturday, July 4, he went to the shop of Messrs Beaconsfield and Sons, in Bourke-street, and bought badges to the value of £1/6/4. He offered to leave his spectacles or his watch as security, but as these were not accepted, he went to his office and wrote out a cheque for the amount on the branch of the English, Scottish, and Australian Bank at Malvern. There was some arrangement that the cheque should be held over, and three days later he left a note saying that it should have been drawn on the bank at Melbourne and not at Malvern. It was given in evidence that Beere’s account at Malvern had been closed, and that he had not opened an account in Melbourne. Beere’s defence was that he had arranged to open the account in Melbourne, but some money which he had expected did not come to him. The young woman to whom he is engaged swore that she had promised to give him £3 for his business on Saturday, July 4, but on thinking the matter over she had come to the conclusion that he would spend it foolishly, and she did not do so. Mr Justice Hood said that the only question was whether Beere thought he would have money to meet the cheque when it was presented, or intended at the time to cheat the shopkeeper out of his goods. The jury, after a short retirement, returned a verdict of not guilty. A second charge was postponed until the General Sessions on August 1.

    Beere was recently fined £10 at the Malvern Court, in his absence, for assault. As the absence was due to the fact that Beere was detained for appearance at the City Court on another charge, the Crown Law authorities have ordered the warrant of commitment to be held over to allow Beere an opportunity of having the decision reviewed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Advertiser, Tue 4 Aug 1908 21


Melbourne, August 3.

    Upon being found guilty in the Criminal Court to-day of false pretences, George Robert Beere made an impassioned appeal to Judge Box for mercy. In tearful strains he said:—“I only tried to do what was right, and I have always fallen in. Now I am a convicted thief, and I swear before heaven and earth not with guilty intention. I have lost my parents and friends. I had two brothers who were found dead in the streets and my sister is in a slum, and now I am a convicted thief. In the past weeks I have been in gaol consorting with murderers and men who have tried to assault me. I was to have been married on the first of the month to a girl who was to come into £200. The wedding bells will not ring out now. The wedding dress is ready and the feast is ready, but the song of rejoicing is turned to one of lamentation. Your Honor will remember that the bridegroom must don the prison dress instead of the wedding garb. There is nothing left to hang on to life for.”

    Beere was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Argus, Tue 4 Aug 1908 22


    George Robert Beere was placed on trial at the General Sessions yesterday, before Judge Box, on a charge of having obtained goods by false pretences. He had been acquitted on a somewhat similar charge at the last sittings of the Supreme Court. He was defended by Mr Crouch, and Mr Finlayson, KC, prosecuted for the Crown.

    The Crown case, as outlined by Mr Finlayson, was that Beere had rooms at 261 Collins-street, in the same building as Miss Rose Levy, importer of post-cards. On July 6 Beere wrote to Miss Levy asking her to deliver 100 tinsel post-cards “at 6/ per hundred, all orders for cash.” On July 9 Miss Levy went to Beere’s office and asked him what he meant by not paying for the cards. He handed her a cheque for 6/6, and when she pointed out that it was sixpence too much he said it did not matter, as that would pay the girl’s fare to Malvern and back, the cheque being on the Malvern branch of the ES and A Bank. The cheque was dishonoured. Beere had closed his account at the bank by giving a cheque to his clerk filled in to “pay balance of account.” There was only 5/- at the time the clerk presented the cheque to Beere’s account.

    Beere’s defence was that he had an honest belief that the cheque would be honoured when presented.

    The jury were absent over the dinner hour, and when the Court resumed returned with a verdict of guilty.

    Beere said he felt he would break down if he had to bear any further suspense, and he asked the judge to sentence him at once.

    On being asked if he had anything to say why sentence should not be passed, Beere burst into tears and said:—Your Honour, for three weeks I have been consorting with thieves and murderers, and even down here below they have attempted to assault me. I don’t want any mercy; I want justice. Surely, if I was going to be a criminal, it would not be for 6/6. I was to have been married on the first of the month to a girl who has just come in for £200, and I only had to go to her for whatever money I wanted. If you sentence me I can never marry her. I would be ashamed to marry a decent, honourable girl. Her life is ruined, and my life is ruined, and the wedding bells will not ring out. It will be, instead, the death knell of all our hopes. The wedding presents are all sent in, the clergyman is engaged, but the rejoicings will be turned to sadness, and all for the sake of 6/6. I have been preaching to little children for twelve months to do right, and the one who has taught them is now found guilty of breaking the eighth commandment. I swear before heaven and earth that I am not guilty of any wrong intention. If I am guilty, no one more hypocritical has ever stood in this dock, and I hate hypocrisy. I have tried to teach the little children what is right, and what will they think when they read in the papers that I am found guilty of that which I taught them not to do? Consider that I am not pleading thus for mercy for myself, but for others. I know what the result will be on that tender heart that has been waiting for me for 17 years. We grew up together, and taught in Sunday-school together. I will come out with my business wholly ruined and my prospects wholly blighted, and I have come to conclusion that it is useless to attempt to do any good to anyone when, by a slip of the pen, one can be landed so easily in difficulty. I plead now, not for mercy for myself, for believe me in the three weeks I have spent in gaol, although amongst the worst classes, I have had more rest and benefit than among my so-called friends. I don’t want to be a coward, but if you blight my prospects what is left for me to live for? My voice will be stilled, and I can no longer sing the merry songs. I am only young yet. I have my life before me, and I want to make it better than in the past. I tried to be good, and the little children will say, “He preached to me to be honest, and he is not honest himself.” I have been offered a curacy, though I am not yet ordained. I have been lay curate at Malvern for 12 months. I have been offered good positions, but I have refused them all simply to be near her. I don’t know whether your Honour has any sons. If so, think that I am one of them. I have no father to offer me advice, and when you are sentencing me hope you will remember that—when you are sending me where I shall have to listen to putrid stories, as I have for the last three weeks, among rogues and thieves and murderers. What will my condition be when I come out? But I must not complain. My own fellow-countrymen have found me guilty, and I do not complain for myself, but for the sake of those dependent on me, and for the sake of the family I hope to rear. There is no sympathy in gaol—there is no mercy. Therefore I throw myself on your mercy to make my punishment so that I can pass it as I ought, and that I can come out purified and purged by the fire of affliction. If years of gaol will so refine me, then I cry, Welcome punishment! Welcome gaol! I call God to witness that I am innocent, and in your punishment bear that in mind. Before the great judgement seat of God I will say, “I am not guilty of the crime of fraud.” I take it that your Honour will temper justice with mercy. I have spent my life rescuing the little ones from the hands of criminals and from the hands of the law. What is to be my sentence? The hopes I had of seeing the American fleet I suppose will be dashed to the ground. (Laughter.) The work I did will not be paid for—–

    Judge Box (quietly).—How does the fact that you will not be paid affect your sentence. I would be obliged if you would limit yourself to that.

    Beere.—I did all this work for the fleet, and how any woman, for the sake of 6/6, could bring this charge I do not understand. All I ask is that you temper justice with mercy. Try and make the sentence so that I shall avoid a breakdown, for in the summer I almost always break down in health. And, in conclusion, think of my intended wife. I don’t think I can marry her now, but I wish I was out to bear her trouble. I know I am not guilty, but my country has found me guilty. I thank your Honour for your patience; I thank the jury for giving me their attention; I thank my solicitor for defending me as well as he was able; and I thank the Crown prosecutor for what he has done in the interests of justice. I bow my head to receive sentence.

    Judge Box.—George Robert Beere, the sentence of the Court is that you be imprisonment in His Majesty’s Gaol at Melbourne for twelve calendar months, with hard labour.

    Beere, who in his address had alternated between tears and tragedy, leaned dramatically on the iron rail of the dock when the sentence was pronounced, until the warder touched him on the shoulder, when he walked down the steps.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Horsham Times, Fri 7 Aug 1908 23


    George Robert Beere, secretary of the American fleet decorations committee, was found guilty by the jury in the Melbourne Criminal Court on Monday of false pretences. The evidence showed that accused did some business with Rose Levy, importer of postcards, and gave her a cheque for 6/6, which was subsequently dishonored.

    Accused denied the charge in a lighthearted speech. He said he was a professional singer, musician, and elocutionist, and sang under the name of Robert George, as Beere was rather a bad name to sing under. (Laughter). His explanation was that he expected some money to come into the bank the day after he tendered the cheque. Beere’s demeanor, however, underwent a marked change when the jury returned a verdict of guilty. He burst into tears, and pleaded for leniency in heart-broken strains. He said he had lost his parents and friends. He had two brothers who were found dead in the street, and his sister was in a asylum. Now he was a convicted thief. Surely in the past few weeks he had been in gaol consorting with murderers and men who had tried to assault him. He was to have been married on the 1st of the month to a girl who was to come in for £200. He would never marry a decent woman now. “The wedding bells,” he added in dramatic accents, “will not ring out now. The wedding dress is ready and the feast is ready, and the song of rejoicing is turned to one of lamentation. I have told the little children always to try and do right. They have put their arms round my neck, and have told me that they loved me. Your Honor will remember that the bridegroom must don the prison dress instead of the wedding garb. There is nothing left to hang on to life for. I ask your Honor to temper justice with mercy, and make the sentence so that I can turn over a new leaf.”

    He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.


1     Mercury and Weekly Courier, Thu 1 Feb 1894, p. 2. Emphasis added.

2     Barrier Miner, Wed 7 Feb 1894, p. 1.

3     Mercury and Weekly Courier, Thu 8 Feb 1894, p. 3.

4     Mercury and Weekly Courier, Thu 15 Feb 1894, p. 3.

5     The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, (NSW), Fri, 21 Aug 1903, p. 2. Emphasis added.

6     The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, (NSW), Fri, 28 Aug 1903, p. 2. Emphasis added.

7     The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, (NSW), Fri, 4 Sep 1903, p. 2. Emphasis added.

8     The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, (NSW), Fri 9 Oct 1903, p. 2. Emphasis added.

9     The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, (NSW), Fri 16 Oct 1903, p. 2.

10   The Wellington Gazette, Mon 26 Oct 1903, p. 2. Emphasis added.

11   The Wellington Times, Mon 26 Oct 1903 p. 2. Emphasis added.

12   The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 27 Oct 1903, p. 7. Emphasis added.

13   The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, Wed 28 Oct 1903, p. 3.

14   The Wellington Gazette, Thu 29 Oct 1903, p. 5.

15   The Narromine News and Trangie Advertiser, (NSW), Fri 30 Oct 1903, p. 2. Emphasis added.

16   SRNSW: NRS2232, [3/5974], Goulburn Gaol photographic description book, 31 Jul 1902-29 Apr 1904, No. 1744, p. 170, R5120

17   The Argus, Tue 7 Jul 1908, p. 4.

18   The Argus, Tue 14 Jul 1908, p. 7. Emphasis added.

19   The Argus, Wed 15 Jul 1908, p. 9. Emphasis added.

20   The Argus, Tue 21 Jul 1908, p. 7.

21   The Advertiser, Tue 4 Aug 1908, p. 6.

22   The Argus, Tue 4 Aug 1908, p. 4.

23   The Horsham Times, Fri 7 Aug 1908, p. 5.