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1899, John Dow - Unfit For Publication
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Below also see: John Dow, 1902


The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Fri 13 Oct 1899 1


    A man named John Dowe [aka John Dow] was charged with a serious assault upon a girl named Winifred Ethel Pickett, aged 13 years and 2 months, at the Corowa Police Court on Wednesday, October 4th, before Mr Barnett, PM. The offence is alleged to have taken place on the 19th ult. Mr ER Nicolson appeared for the accused.

    After a considerable amount of evidence had been adduced, the Police Magistrate expressed his intention of committing the prisoner for trial at the Albury Quarter Sessions.

    Mr Nicolson, in asking for a remand, said that there was not, in his opinion, sufficient prima facie evidence to warrant a committal, in the absence of the certificate of birth, which under the 9th section of the Criminal Law and Evidence Act was required.

    The PM said he did not take the same view of that section as Mr Nicolson did. To him it meant that failing other evidence of birth the certificate should be taken as prima facia evidence. But in this case the mother and father both testified to the age of the child, and that was sufficient. Certainly there would be further proof required at the trial, but there was ample evidence on which to send the case for trial.

    The police stated that they had sent to the registrar for the certificate, but it had not come to hand.

    The PM—Very well, under those circumstances I will grant Mr Nicolson’s request for a remand. In the meantime the witnesses will be bound over to appear at Albury Quarter Sessions on a date which will be communicated to them. The witnesses were then bound over and the case was adjourned.

    The prisoner was remanded till next Wednesday, when he will again be remanded for eight days. Bail was allowed, self in £80, and two sureties of £40 each.


    Ethel Winifred Pickett was then charged under the Children’s Protection Act with being a neglected child.

    The PM called Edward Pickett, father of the child, and said to him:—The sergeant has sworn an information under the Act mentioned that he has reasonable cause to suppose that your child has been ill treated in such a manner as to be prejudicial to her health, and the proceedings were taken, in her interest, to remove her from your custody. I will give you every opportunity to explain anything that may be stated against you. Just take a seat at the table.

    Sergeant Bedingfeld, sworn, deposed: Because of something I heard on the 21st of last month I went to the residence of the child in company with Constable Middleditch, of Victoria, and in answer to a question by Constable Middleditch she stated that she had been assaulted by a man named Dowe. She said her father had been away at work for a day and a half, and that her mother was in Melbourne and would probably not return before about six weeks. She led him to understand that it was not certain that she would return even then. Had a look around the house and considered it unfit for a child to live in. She said to me that she had been induced by a man named Mitchell to go to Wahgunyah on the 18th and stay with him at the Empire Hotel; that she was ordered out of the hotel by Mrs Kirkup, and had to go to Mrs Ah Hoe’s. I have known the father and mother of the child for some time, and consider them unfit to have charge of the child. I am moved to that opinion by having seen a statement made to Constable Middleditch by Mrs Pickett.

    Edward Pickett made a statement in which he said that he left the child asleep in bed on the morning of the 19th ult, and when he came home at night found a note on the table from his daughter telling him that she had gone with Mr Mitchell. He was quite satisfied that the girl was all right, for Mr Mitchell had promised to take her to his place for a holiday, and he had known him for a long time, and considered him a respectable man. He suspected nothing until the police came. The child was well conducted, and he could not account for her conduct on that occasion. She had been the cause of former proceedings when they lived in Clayton’s cottage on the river bank.

    Sergeant Bedingfeld —That was a case of indecent assault, your worship, for which a man was tried at Albury [Circuit Court] on the 5th October, 1897, and acquitted.

    The PM.—What! With this same child!

    Sergeant Bedingfeld—Yes, your worship.

    The case was adjourned till Friday at noon, and Mr and Mrs Pickett were ordered to be in attendance then.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 18 Oct 1899 2


Corowa, Tuesday.

    At the local court to-day, before the Police Magistrate, a young man named John Dowe was committed for trial at the next Albury sessions on a charge of assault.

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The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Tue 23 Jan 1900 3

Tuesday, Jan 23.
(Before Judge Docker.)

Crown Prosecutor—RD Armstrong.

    John Campbell, on a charge of stealing; John Dowe, on a charge of carnally knowing a girl under 14 years of age at Corowa; and Wm Jones, for damaging property, pleaded guilty and were remanded for sentence.

    The following is a list of the cases set down for hearing at the Quarter Sessions this morning before Judge Docker:—
    John Campbell, stealing in a dwelling house
    John Dowe, carnally knowing a girl under 14 years of age.
    George Fisher, false pretences.
    Louie Ah Pay, larceny.
    David Halliday, larceny.
    William Jones, maliciously injuring property over £5.
    William Christopher Valentine, false pretences.

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The Albury Daily News and Wodonga Chronicle, Tue 23 Jan 1900 4

(Before His Honor Judge Docker).
Crown Prosecutor: Mr J Armstrong.


    John Dow, a youth, pleaded guilty to a charge of carnally knowing a girl named Winifred Ethel Pickett, under the age of 16 years, at Corowa. Remanded for sentence.

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The Albury Daily News and Wodonga Chronicle, Wed 24 Jan 1900 5


    Prisoners who pleaded guilty and were convicted at the Sessions yesterday, were brought up for sentence this morning.

    John Dowe [aka John Dow], who pleaded guilty to carnally knowing Winifred Ethel Pickett, under 16 years, at Corowa, said the girl was more to blame than he was, as she was a consenting party.

    His Honor: I don’t doubt that for one moment. Did you know the girl?

    Prisoner: I had known of her for three years and had heard she was a bad character. He had called there to get a drink of water on passing on the day in question.
His Honor said a great deal was to be said in excuse of Dowe’s offence. He did not believe the girl when she said it was the first time she had been so assaulted. The prisoner’s story was the most likely, and he fully believed she was the soliciting party. It was a horrible story, which the girl told against herself, although she was only 13 years and 2 months old. She was exceptionally well developed, and was now a thoroughly bad and abandoned woman (he could not call her a girl), who had gone utterly wrong. Of course the law did not recognise that the girl’s consent was any defence, and prisoner was liable to 10 years penal servitude. But as it was not a bad case and Dowe was only 23 years of age, he would pass a light sentence. At the same time he would not suspend it under the First Offenders’ Act . It was a very sad and serious thing to see young men and women growing up without any regard for morality. Dowe was sentenced to six months in gaol.

    Before sentence was passed on Dowe, Senior-sergeant Bedingfeld and David Oswald were called, and testified that he was a young man of the best character. The girl, on the other hand, was of very bad repute. Mr Belbridge appealed to the judge to treat Dowe under the First Offenders’ Act , but in vain.

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The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Fri 26 Jan 1900 6

Tuesday, January 23.
(Before His Honor Judge Docker.)

    The Quarter Sessions were opened this morning, His Honor Judge Docker presiding. Mr J Armstrong held the briefs as Crown Prosecutor, and the bar was represented by Messrs P White, M Stephen, Tietyens, Belbridge, Wilkinson, and Henderson. Mr JG Hoffmann, of Walla Walla, was sworn in before his Honor as a justice of the peace.


    John Dow was charged with unlawfully assaulting a girl at Corowa. Accused pleaded guilty. Remanded for sentence.

Wednesday, January 24.

    His Honor Judge Docker took his seat on the bench at 9.15, and the following prisoners received sentence:—

    John Dow, for indecent assault, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment in Albury Gaol.

    The Court then adjourned.

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The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Fri 26 Jan 1900 7

Tuesday, Jan 23.
(Before Judge Docker.)
Crown Prosecutor—RD Armstrong.


    John Dowe, a young man, on a charge of carnally knowing a girl under the age of 14 years, was sentenced to six months’ hard labor in Albury gaol.

    Prisoner: It was with the consent of the girl that I committed the act. I was aware that she did not bear a good character.

    His Honor: No doubt; but that does not count in law. There was, however, a good deal to be said in favour of the prisoner. He did not believe the girl’s statement that this was the first time she had been visited by a man. He was rather inclined to believe prisoner’s story, because on the same day that prisoner was alleged to have committed the offence, she had connections with another man. It was a horrible story which the girl told against herself. She was evidently a bad girl, and he might now term her an abandoned woman. She was only 13 years old and prisoner knew the risk he ran in going with her.

    Prisoner: I was led to believe that she was much older.

    His Honor: That was all the more reason why you should have kept away from her. Had she been under the age of 10 years you would be liable to the death penalty, but as she is under 14 you are liable to penal servitude for a period of 10 years. Taking everything into consideration he would only pass a light sentence, as he could not see his way clear to suspend it under the First Offenders’ Act . It was a sad thing to see young men and young women growing up without the slightest regard for morality. He fully believed that prisoner, who was only 23 years old, was led into committing the offence by the girl herself. The sentence of the court was that prisoner be imprisoned in the Albury gaol for a period of six months.

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John Dow, Gaol photo sheet 8

 9 SRNSW: NRS2232, [3/5973], Goulburn Gaol photographic description book, 12 Oct 1899- 25 Mar 1902, No. 1380, p. 57, R5120.

Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. 1380

Date when Portrait was taken: 20-2-1900

Name: John Dow

Native place: Ballarat

Year of birth: 1877

Arrived       Ship: –
in Colony }   Year: BC

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Laborer

Religion: R Cath

Education, degree of: R & W

Height: 5' 1½"

Weight     On committal: 120
in lbs     } On discharge:

Colour of hair: Light brown

Colour of eyes: Blue

Marks or special features: Small scar centre forehead, mole left thumb

(No. of previous Portrait ... ) 


Where and When Offence. Sentence

Albury Q.S





Carnally know a girl above 10 and under 14 years

6 months HL



John Dow, 1902


The Hillston Spectator and Lachlan River Advertiser, Sat 12 Apr 1902 9


    TENDERS are called in this issue for laying road metal in High street.
    ANNUAL meeting of members of Debating Society to be held at Royal Mail Hall on Thursday evening next.
    A WELCOME social will be tendered to Rev Mr and Mrs Moffatt on Wednesday evening.
    A LENGTHY list of subscribers to the refreshment booths at Hospital fete will appear next issue.
    MRS CRESSWELL, second daughter of Mr FA Byrne, MLA for Hay, died in Sydney on Sunday.
    IT is said that “Tattersall” is launching a new scheme for receiving letters.
    AT a meeting of the Condobolin Hospital Committee it was resolved that no private patients be admitted to the hospital.
    THE FEDERAL Government has decided to prohibit the delivery of all mail matter to turf tipsters, bookmakers, secretaries of art unions and church bazaars.
    Staff-Captain Hoare, of the Salvation Army, will visit Hillston from Thursday next till following Tuesday. Special meetings will be held during the Staff-Captain’s stay, and a good time is anticipated.


    AT the above Court on Monday John Dow was charged, before Messrs Stewart, Nall, Smith and Terry, J’sP, with soliciting a certain townsman to commit an abominable crime. Five witnesses were called for the prosecution, and the evidence adduced is unfit for publication. The accused , in defence, made a statement that he knew nothing at all about the affair. He was committed to take his trial at the next court of Quarter Sessions to be held on 16th July.


    GEORGE TAYLOR, the West Australian rider, who was disqualified for life by the New South Wales League for competing at country race meetings under the name of Fraser, has written to the league secretary asking for a remission of his sentence. Considering the enormity of “Fraser’s” offence and the number of country clubs, Hillston amongst them, that were victimised by him, not one day’s remission of the sentence should be granted.


    Mr JG Carroll has received the following official intimation:—Public Works Department, Sydney, 2nd April, 1902. Sir,—With reference to my letter of the 20th December last, intimating that tenders would shortly be called for the construction of a tank a Polygonum Hut, I am now directed by the Minister to inform you that no further steps can be taken in the matter until additional funds shall have been voted by Parliament.—I have the honour to be, sir, Your obedient servant, J Davis, Under Secretary.

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The Hillston Spectator and Lachlan River Advertiser, Sat 19 Jul 1902 10

Wednesday, July 16th, 1902.
Before His Honor Judge Rodgers.

    Deputy Sheriff, A Gates, Esq, PM. Mr Merewether prosecuted for the Crown.
    His Honor excused a number of absent jurymen who were absent through having to attend to their stock.


    John Dow, charged with soliciting with a view to committing an abominable offence on the 5th April.
    Mr Bolton appeared for accused.
    The following jury were empanelled: JR Horne, JB Broatch (foreman), WA Varcoe, TA Thompson, RC Webb, G Greig, GJW Brown, W Thomas, J Anderson, AE Smith, D MacKay, and WP Ritchie.
    Mr Mereweather, in opening the case, said that it is a pity that such cases come before the court, the offence would perhaps be better met with a good kicking.

    Augustus Phelan, laborer, residing in Hillston, deposed: Remember being on the verandah of Stowe’s Hotel about 1 o’clock on the 5th April; accused said to witness “Will you have a drink”; witness accepted and they had a drink; then came outside and sat on the verandah. (Witness here detailed the conversation between himself and accused, during which accused made the proposition, the subject of the charge. The evidence at this stage is unfit for publication.) Witness met accused again at 8 o’clock that evening; witness asked him what he really meant that day; accused replied, and witness said “I have a good mind to hit you in the mouth.” (His Honor: “A pity you did not.”) Accused was sober.

    To Mr Bolton: Accused was not drunk; no other man had ever made a similar proposition to witness; accused was perfectly sober as far as witness could judge.

    Alexander Mozzini, laborer, residing at Moolah, deposed: Saw accused on 5th April between 6.30 and 7 pm on that date on the verandah of Stowe’s Hotel; accused asked witness where he was staying and he replied at the hotel. (Witness here detailed filthy evidence unfit for publication.) Accused was sober.

    To Mr Bolton: Accused was drunk when witness saw him; accused had not been drinking to witness’ knowledge.

    Henry Eaton, bootmaker, residing at Hillston, deposed: Remembered seeing the accused about 9 o’clock on the night of 5th April; witness was standing at the door of his shop; accused came up and asked witness if he lived there and he replied yes; accused asked witness if he was married or single; then later “I suppose you are pretty lonely”; he asked me if he could stop there and witness replied he had no room; accused said he would sleep in the shop; witness refused him. (Here were given more filthy particulars.)

    To Mr Bolton: Accused was, in witness’ opinion, perfectly sober.

    Sergeant Sawtell, stationed at Hillston, deposed: Arrested the accused about a mile from Hillston on the 6th April and brought him back to Hillston; when charged accused said “That is wrong.”

    Accused elected to make a statement as follows:—“I must have been drunk or mad on the occasions as I remember nothing of the matter. He had met with an accident in New England, and was very foolish when in drink. He knew nothing of the matter.”

    Mr Bolton, on addressing the jury, said that the accused came to Hillston with a few pounds and through drink is placed in his present position; he was of opinion that the witnesses for the Crown would not have taken action but for the police; he asked the jury to find that the charge was only the outcome of drunken foolishness.
His Honor summed up reviewing the evidence as follows: It had been contended by the defence that the accused was drunk at the time, but the evidence of the Crown witnesses was to the effect that the accused was sober; his Honor explained that drunkenness was no excuse in the law; if they had any reasonable doubt they would find for the accused.

    The jury returned a verdict of guilty.
    Mr Bolton made a strong appeal on behalf of the prisoner.
    Accused put in a written statement.
    His Honor, taking into consideration that accused had been in gaol four months, sentenced him to two months in Hillston gaol.


    THE Council meeting, which should have been held last Wednesday evening, lapsed for want of a quorum.

    DON'T omit to read Nall, Jackson and Co’s advertisement; it will pay well to act upon it.

    ACCORDING to Goldsbrough, Mort, and Co, there is a decrease of 11,500,000 sheep in Queensland and of 25,000,000 in NSW as compared with 1892.

    WE are requested to offer the thanks of the committee of the Benevolent Society to all those who contributed and assisted in making the recent ball and concert such an unqualified success.

    THE nominations for the great road race from Goulburn to Sydney total 128. Amongst the entrants we notice WA MacKay, J MacKay, and W O’Connor, Hillston, and AH Drinkwater, Hay.

    AT the Licensing Court on Monday the following renewals were granted:—AW Chapple, Commercial Hotel, Mt Hope; WP Ritchie, Gladstone Hotel, Hillston; Maurice Sullivan, Royal Hotel, Mossgiel.

    THE Rev CJ Griffin, who arrived in Hillston on Friday last, was the recipient of a send-off at Cobar the week previously. The reverend gentleman was presented with a purse of 25 sovereigns. A full report of the proceedings appears elsewhere.

    A CHANGE of officers of the local Salvation Army has been effected. Ensign Lee and Lieutenant Glover who have been in charge of the local corps for the six months left for other spheres on Tuesday last. Captain Connell and Lieutenant Kells arrived this week to carry on the work.

    Mr [FRANK BURFORD] TREATT, PM, left Cobar last week on a six weeks’ leave of absence. All wish him the greatest enjoyment out of that short period, for it is a long time since Cobar has had a PM so popular, or one who attended to his duties so attentively and thoroughly, although unostentatiously.—“Cobar Herald.”

    OUR readers will learn with regret that the Rev J Ward, who has been in charge of Hillston district Church of England since November last, announces in this issue his farewell services. The reverend gentleman has been appointed to the Lockhart district, and leaves for his new sphere on the 28th inst.

    THE illuminated address to be presented to Mr NF Smith has arrived from the artist and is on view in Mr TT Earngey’s shop window. It is a splendid sample of the artist’s skill and reflects great credit on the gentlemen. We understand it is proposed to present the address to Mr Smith on Tuesday evening next at the Club House Hotel.

    MESSRS A Anderson and J Wilson have lately started a butchering business in Hillston. We had the opportunity of inspecting three splendid beasts they have just procured for slaughtering. It is remarkable that such fat cattle can still be found in the district. For further particulars see advertisement elsewhere in this issue.

    IN a New South Wales town the other day a court official was swearing in the jury. A large-footed man, burdened with much hair, on being called to the jury-box was confronted by the official, who started off, “You shall well and truly try, etc,” when the bewhiskered party said, “Oh, none ‘er yer kid, let me kiss the darned book and have done with it!” The fat constable in the gods’ gallery was too convulsed with laughter to yell the usual “Soilence.”


1     The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Fri 13 Oct 1899, p. 34. Emphasis added.

2     The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 18 Oct 1899, p. 5.

3     The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Tue 23 Jan 1900, p. 6. Emphasis added.

4     The Albury Daily News and Wodonga Chronicle, Tue 23 Jan 1900, p. 2.

5     The Albury Daily News and Wodonga Chronicle, Wed 24 Jan 1900, p. 2.

6     The Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Fri 26 Jan 1900, pp. 3, 4.

7     The Albury Border Post and Wodonga Advertiser, Fri 26 Jan 1900, p. 5. Emphasis added.

8     SRNSW: NRS2232, [3/5973], Goulburn Gaol photographic description book, 12 Oct 1899- 25 Mar 1902, No. 1380, p. 57, R5120.

9     The Hillston Spectator and Lachlan River Advertiser, Sat 12 Apr 1902, p. 10. Emphasis added.

10   The Hillston Spectator and Lachlan River Advertiser, Sat 19 Jul 1902, pp. 10, 12. Emphasis added.