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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 15 Oct 1901 1

COUNTRY NEWS.
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SOUTH COAST.
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Moss Vale, Monday.

    At the Police Court to-day, before Mr WS Caswell, and Mr Hewison, JP, Matthew Willis was charged with assaulting a boy under the age of six years. Accused was committed to take his trial at Darlinghurst Quarter Sessions, to be held on the 31st instant.

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The Scrutineer and Berrima District Press, Wed 16 Oct 1901 2

MOSS VALE POLICE COURT.
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Monday, October 14, 1901.
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(Before Messrs WS Caswell, PM, and E Hewison, JP.)

Moss Vale courthouse, built 1880. Image: Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 16 Sep 1882, p. 552. Reproduction: Peter de Waal
Moss Vale courthouse, built 1880.
Image: Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat
16 Sep 1882, p. 552. Reproduction: Peter de Waal

    Matthew Willis was before the court charged with having indecently assaulted Harold Gordon James, a boy six years of age, at Bundanoon on Tuesday last.

    Constable Torpy deposed that from information received he went in search of the accused, whom he arrested about two or three miles from Barber’s Creek on Tuesday night and brought him to Moss Vale. He placed the accused with two other tall men in the gaol yard and asked the boy James to place his hand on the man who had assaulted him. The boy unhesitatingly placed his hand on the accused; he then asked the accused if he saw the boy at Bundanoon on Tuesday last; he replied, “No.” I said were you sitting on a log near the church? He said, “No.” I produce a plan and elevation of church and grounds; plan showed to prisoner and put in; I have marked the place with a cross where there is an opening of about 2ft by 3ft 6in, by which anyone can get under the church floor, the church being built on piles from 1ft to 3ft 6in above the ground.

    Frederick James, a laborer, residing at Bundanoon, deposed that his son Harold Gordon James is just turned six years of age; on Tuesday last the boy was sent by his mother on a message to Calverley’s store at about 4.30 pm; I saw him join company with the accused who was walking along the road towards the store; the church is on the same road not quite so far as the store; I saw the accused and the boy in company about 100 yds from the church; they were going in the direction of the church; I then went back to my work; after about half an hour I became uneasy, as the boy did not return, and I went to look for him; I heard they were seen at the church and I went there, but did not find them; I went to Calverley’s store and inquired for the boy; I then went back and looked under church, but inside the manhole it was so dark that I could see nothing; after looking down a gully about five minutes later I saw the child coming from the church gate across the road; I went to him and asked what had happened to him; he was crying and seemed dazed; he said “A man took me under the church”; I said what did he do to you? …… After hearing the child’s account, I went to the accused, who was then on the road; I made a grab to catch him by the throat and he struck at me with a soldering iron; he said you won’t stop me; I did not then accuse the prisioner [sic] of anything; he went away at a fast walk and I went to the railway station to wire for the Moss Vale police as the local policeman was at Goulburn; the accused was quite sober.

Calverley’s Bundanoon Emporium, c 1901, with Benjamin driving the cart. Photo: Courtesy Bundanoon History Group
Calverley’s Bundanoon Emporium, c 1901, with Benjamin driving
the cart. Photo: Courtesy Bundanoon History Group

    Harold Gordon James, an intelligent little fellow of six, said that he recognised the accused, whom he saw on Tuesday last near Bell’s; the accused took him down the gully and under the English Church; he told me he would give me threepence to buy nine sticks of lollies. (Details of accused’s actions unprintable). I met my father; I did not cry; he (accused) tried to strike father with a soldering iron.

    Robert William Joseph Lancelot Manns aged ten years deposed that he saw the accused with Harold James on Tuesday last; he was near the English Church at about 4.30 pm; he was going to his grandmothers and when he returned he did not see them again.

    Benjamin Calverley, residing at Bundanoon, a youth of 16 deposed that on Tuesday last at about 4.30 pm he saw the accused with Harold James at Bundanoon, at the corner of the Church yard near the gully; he was then going to deliver some goods and when he returned they were sitting on a log; he recognised the plan and they were sitting on the log shown in the sketch.

Calverley family portrait: Benjamin, James, Charlie and Henrietta, 1892. Photo: Courtesy Bundanoon History Group
Calverley family portrait: Benjamin, James, Charlie and Henrietta,
1892. Photo: Courtesy Bundanoon History Group

    Walter Farthing, a plate layer, of Moss Vale, deposed that he was camped on Tuesday night about 3 miles out of Bundanoon, along the railway line; he saw the accused about 6.30 pm coming across the line; he (accused) said ‘Good God I’m in trouble;’ I said what’s up with you? he said I’m just after laying out a bloke in Bundanoon with a soldering iron; I said what did you do it for? he said a bloke came up and accused him of insulting a little girl; I said what do you mean by insulting; he said we’re men amongst men and I’ll tell you …… He asked about trains and whether he could get away by one of them; I told him his only chance would be to go to Wingello and catch the mail train; he said he had thrown away his soldering iron in the bush; I said where is your swag? he said it was at the hotel, Bundanoon; he had some tea and food; he said before he’d be taken for a thing like that he’d go bushranging, and he would shoot the first man that tried to take him; he was quite sober.

    Constable White deposed that on Wednesday last he took the boy James to the church; he showed me an opening about two feet wide where they went in; he went under the church about 25 feet and there saw feet marks and marks of clothing on the soft ground; he saw marks of a man’s foot (the toe marks) and also marks of a child’s foot; at that place the church floor was three feet above the ground.

    The accused was committed to stand his trial at the Quarter Sessions, Darlinghurst, on 31st October.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 16 Nov 1901 3

LAW NOTICES.

SYDNEY QUARTER SESSIONS.
Monday, November 18.

    Charles Tolliday, housebreaking; Howard Wilson, breaking and entering (two charges); Matthew Willis, assault.

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The Daily Telegraph, Tue 19 Nov 1901 4

METROPOLITAN QUARTER SESSIONS.
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(Before Judge Docker and Juries.)

    Mr WL Merewether prosecuted for the Crown.

ASSAULT.

    A middle-aged man named Matthew Willis was charged with having assaulted a boy, at Bundanoon, on October 8 last. He pleaded not guilty, and was undefended.

    The accused [Matthew Willis] made a lengthy statement to the judge, to the effect that he had been wandering about the country, drinking heavily prior to his arrest.

    After a short retirement the jury found the accused guilty, and he was remanded for sentence.

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Evening News, Tue 19 Nov 1901 5

AGRICULTURAL AND
PASTORAL.
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    A middle-aged man named Matthew Willis was found guilty at the Darlinghurst Quarter Sessions yesterday of a serious assault upon a boy at Bundanoon in October last, and was remanded for sentence.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 19 Nov 1901 6

QUARTER SESSIONS.
(Before Judge Docker and juries.)

    Mr WL Merewether Crown Prosecutor.

ALLEGED ASSAULT.

    Matthew Willis, a tall, strongly-build young man, pleaded not guilty to a charge of having on October 8, at Bundanoon, assaulted a boy. Accused was undefended. The case disclosed a very serious assault committed upon a child under a church. Accused made a general denial of the evidence given by the Crown witnesses, and in the course of a long address made a number of references to matter having no bearing upon the case. The jury found him guilty, and he was remanded for sentence.

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The Daily Telegraph, Wed 20 Nov 1901 7

METROPOLITAN QUARTER SESSIONS.
———
(Before Judge Docker and Juries.)

    Mr WL Merewether prosecuted for the Crown.

ASSAULT.

    Matthew Willis, who was convicted on the previous day of indecently assaulting a boy at Bundanoon, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, with hard labor.

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Evening News, Wed 20 Nov 1901 8

TREASURE TROVE.
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    Matthew Willis, convicted at the Darlinghurst Quarter Sessions on Monday of a serious assault on a boy at Bundanoon, has been sentenced by Judge Docker to two years’ imprisonment with hard labor.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 20 Nov 1901 9

QUARTER SESSIONS.
(Before Judge Docker and juries.)

    Mr WL Merewether, Crown Prosecutor.

SENTENCES.

    Matthew Willis, who had been convicted of a serious assault upon a boy, was sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour for two years.

    Charles Tolliday, who had been convicted of receiving stolen property, was sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour for two years.

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South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus, Sat 30 Nov 1901 10

OUR NEIGHBOURS.
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(From Our Exchanges.)
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MOSS VALE.


    Matthew Willis, a tall, strongly built young man was charged with having, on October 8, at Bundanoon, assaulted a boy. The prisoner was undefended. The case disclosed a very serious assault committed upon the child a church. Accused was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

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Matthew Willis, Gaol photo sheet 11

SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6067], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1901-1902, No. 8493, p.72, R5109.


Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. 8493
E[ntry] book 01.4755

Date when Portrait was taken: 19-11-1901

Name: Matthew Willis

Native place: America

Year of birth: 1858

Arrived       Ship: San Julian
in Colony }   Year: 1829 [sic]

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Tinsmith

Religion: C of E

Education, degree of: R&W

Height: 6' 4¾"

Weight     On committal: 200
in lbs     } On discharge:

Colour of hair: Brown

Colour of eyes: Grey


Marks or special features: Scar outside right upper arm EJD over JL outside left upper arm scar on bridge of nose & 2 on forehead

(No. of previous Portrait ... ) 

CONVICTIONS

Where and When Offence. Sentence

Sydney Q.S

18

11

1901

Indecent assault on male person

2 years H.L.

 


1     The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 15 Oct 1901, p. 3.

2     The Scrutineer and Berrima District Press, Wed 16 Oct 1895, p. 2. Emphasis added.

3     The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 16 Nov 1901, p. 6. Emphasis added.

4     The Daily Telegraph, Tue 19 Nov 1901, p. 8. Emphasis added.

5     Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Tue 19 Nov 1901, p. 8.

6     The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 19 Nov 1901, p. 7.

7     The Daily Telegraph, Wed 20 Nov 1901, p. 10.

8     Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Wed 20 Nov 1901, p. 7.

9     The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 20 Nov 1901, p. 4. Emphasis added.

10   South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus, (NSW), Sat 30 Nov 1901, p. 5.

11   SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6067], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1901-1902, No. 8493, p.72, R5109.