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The Mercury, Thu 20 Jul 1922 1 


    To the Editor of “The Mercury.”

    Sir,—For some time I have declined to contribute to the General Church Fund, as a certain High Church city parish is reported to be spoon fed therefrom. If to stand up for what one believes to be right, and to refuse to compromise with what appears to be wrong, and acting the whole time in a constitutional and decent manner is rebellion, then I am guilty of being a rebel, and I am proud of it.

    Why is it certain Anglican clergymen strive to thrust High Church teaching down their parishioners’ throats, when they know the great bulk of them object to it? Is it simply to arrogate to themselves the same power that the Roman Catholic Priest has? I think it is. I am immensely fond of our Bishop, and, personally, would not give him a second’s worry, but he has a serious and solemn trust. He should act and guide the Church, but perhaps he won’t, or may be he can’t. He must know what is going on in a certain city church in Hobart; deputations have told him all about it, and asked for their accustomed service.

    Churches must not be made business propositions, but they should have some business methods. If it is found in a small city parish that over one-third claim to attend a neighbouring parish church, one-third attend no church at all, and less than one-third the parish church, doesn’t it appear that something is wrong from a business and church welfare point of view? Or are all the great majority to be simply and satirically classified as rebels and nuisances? I have purposely refrained from dealing with any of the objectionable practices, and simply ask if the bulk of parishioners require a service not in conflict with church law, why can’t they have it? Why?—Yours, etc.


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The Mercury, Thu 27 Jul 1922 2 


    To the Editor of “The Mercury.”

Arthur Charles Pennefather-Elrick, 12 Mar 1923. Source: TAHO: GD63/1/6, Prisoners Record Books, p. 75. Reproduction: Peter de Waal
Arthur Charles Pennefather-Elrick, 12 Mar 1923. Source: TAHO:
GD63/1/6, Prisoners Record Books, p. 75. Reproduction: Peter de Waal

    Sir,—“Knocklofty’s” letter calls for a few comments—(1) As the parish which he attacks is quite obviously St Michael and All Angels, West Hobart, and its rector, why does he not sign his name instead of writing anonymously? (2) What is the service opposed to Church law in use at St Michael’s? (3) Why did not deputations make their protest earlier in the day instead of waiting nearly two years, considering that no alterations in ceremonial were made in that period. (4) If one-third of the parishioners attend no church presumably, according to “Knocklofty” on account of the ritualistic practices of St Michael’s—their Protestantism is a very poor thing. (5) The attendances at St Michael’s and All Angels’ compare very favourably with any other church of its size—especially at the 10 o’clock Sunday Eucharist, which is the chief service of the day, and which is being increasingly attended by the parishioners. Moreover, one will find at St Michael’s reverence and devotion and true evangelical teaching and preaching. If parishioners feel the need for confession they know they may go to their pastor, as in the name of freedom why should they not? But the teaching on the subject does not go a bit beyond the position, as stated by “Prayer Book Churchman”in his letter—1. Anyone may go. 2. Some should go (abnormal cases). 3. None must go. This is the Anglo-Catholic position.—Yours, etc,


    Selma, Bothwell.

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The Mercury, Fri 18 Aug 1922 3 


    To the Editor of “The Mercury.”

    Sir,—Mr AC Pennefather asks why were protests against the ritualistic practices at St Michael and All Angels’, Hobart, not made earlier instead of waiting nearly two years. Were they not? Mr Pennefather is surely not including the period when services were held in various places before the parish had a building of its own? The church hall was dedicated on August 8, 1920 (not quite two years ago), and before the end of that year at meetings of parishioners there were vigorous protests against the objectionable practices in vogue. It was within a few months (not two years) that a petition to the Bishop was arranged for. Does Mr Pennefather know why churchwardens resigned, and why, whereas in 1920 there was not seating accommodation for all who attended, for a long time past the building has seldom been more than half filled? These things are the result of the objectionable practices which still obtain there.

    The statement that “the attendances at St Michael and All Angels’ compare very favourably with any other Church of its size” is no credit to St Michaels’, which if the service desired (ie according to the Book of Common Prayer) were granted would be taxed to its utmost to accommodate the congregation. It is a great pity the Bishop does nothing to relieve our disturbed feelings. I, too, ask (in “Knocklofty’s” words) if the bulk of parishioners require a service not in conflict with Church law why can’t they have it? Why?—Yours, etc,


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The Argus, Tue 10 Oct 1922 4


    There was no appearance of Arthur C Pennefather-Elrick, [aka Pennifather-Elrick] aged 39 years, school master, when his name was called in the City Court yesterday. Pennefather-Elrick was arrested on a charge of having committed an unnatural offence, [buggery with Arthur George Liberty], at Hobart (Tasmania), between December 13 and 22, 1921. He was remanded to await the arrival of an escort from Tasmania.

    Senior-Detective TG Clugston said that he had recived [sic] a letter from the accused saying that he would not appear at the Court. He left his home on Sunday night, leaving a similar letter there.

    Mr R Knight, PM, estreated the accused man’s bail of £200, entered into by his mother, and issued a warrant for his arrest.

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The Mercury, Sat 13 Jan 1923 5


    The Commissioner of Police (Colonel JEC Lord) stated yesterday that word had been received that Ellrick [sic] Pennefather has been re-arrested in Melbourne. It will be remembered that a warrant had been issued for Pennefather’s arrest in Tasmania some time ago on a serious charge. He was arrested in Melbourne and released on bail when the case came before the court again. The Victorian police have only recently been successful in locating him. Sergeant Dowling has been detailed to escort Pennefather back to Tasmania.

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Examiner, Sat 20 Jan 1923 6 


Hobart, Friday.

    In the Hobart Police Court, before Mr G Crosby Gilmore, PM, to-day,

    An application made by Chief Detective Oakes for a remand for a week in a case against Arthur Elrick Pennefather, who was charged with having committed an unnatural offence, was granted, bail being allowed in one surety of £100 and accused in a like amount.

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World, Sat 20 Jan 1923 7



    Arthur Elrich Pennefather was charged in the City Police Court yesterday morning with having indecently assaulted a youth named Arthur George Liberty. The offence was alleged to have been committed at Hobart between December 13 and 20, 1921. Mr GC Gilmore, PM, was on the bench. Chief Detective Oakes stated that the defendant had been arrested by the Victorian police and had been escorted back to Tasmania. He applied for a remand until next Friday. In regard to bail, he would point out that Pennefather had been admitted to bail in Victoria, but had absconded. The defendant said that he had reason for absconding. Later he had voluntarily given himself up to the Victorian police. The defendant was remanded until January 26. Bail was fixed in one surety of £200, and the defendant himself for a like amount.

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The Mercury, Sat 27 Jan 1923 8 


    At the City Police Court yesterday, before Mr G Crosby Gilmore, Police Magistrate.

    Arthur Pennefather Ellrick, [sic] who had been arrested in Melbourne on a warrant, was charged with an unnatural offence. Upon the application Chief Detective Oakes, a remand to February was granted.

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Examiner, Tue 6 Feb 1923 9 


Hobart, Monday.

    Before Mr G Crosby Gilmore, PM, in the Police Court this afternoon, Arthur Charles Elrick Pennefather, aged 26 years, school teacher, was committed for trial for an unnatural offence on a boy aged 12, and which was alleged to have been committed at Melton on September 30, last.

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World, Tue 6 Feb 1923 10


    Arthur Charles Elrich Pennefather, 28 years of age, a school teacher, was presented at the City Police Court yesterday afternoon before Mr GC Gilmore (Police Magistrate) on a charge of carnally knowing a boy under the age of 13 years at Kempton, about September 30, 1921.

    Messrs AG Ogilvie and AG Richardson appeared for the accused, who pleaded not guilty, and Chief Detective Clugson, of Victoria, concerning the arrest of accused in that State, and submitted a statement reported to have been made and signed by accused when arrested. Three other witnesses tendered evidence for the prosecution.

    Defendant reserved his defence and was committed to stand his trial at the next sittings of the Criminal Court. Bail was allowed in one surety of £30, and himself in a like amount.

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Examiner, Wed 21 Feb 1923 11


Hobart, Tuesday.

    The non-appearance of Charles Pennefather Elrich, to answer a criminal charge at the Criminal Court to-day, coupled with the inference drawn from a letter written by the accused gave rise to the expression of fears by Mr AE Richardson, counsel for accused, that he had resorted to extreme measures, and had done away with himself. Elrich was charged with having attempted an unnatural offence, and counsel said he had been instructed to plead guilty for him. Mr Richardson said that accused had been remanded on very substantial bail a fortnight ago to appear at the court to-day. Counsel had a long conversation with him on Friday last, and when he left him he said he was quite prepared to meet the case. Yesterday Mr AG Ogilvie (Opines and Ogilvie), by whom counsel was instructed, received the following letter by messenger:—

    “Mr Ogilvie,—Dear Sir,—It seems to be of no use my facing this out. You see I am on my own, yet even then should not fear, only that the other side are distorting facts so, and that on top of my admission . So as I do not want further intolerable disgrace on my family and friends, I am seeking the more honourable way out of the difficulty. If I had no fold and was in a state where I was quite unknown, things would be different. I think you will understand. Yours truly, AC Pennefather Elrich.

    PS.—My deposit, I suppose, carries me to Tuesday.”

    Mr Richardson asked that in the interest of the person who had gone bail for the accused the case ne allowed to stand over.

    The Crown Solicitor (Mr AB Smith), who conducted the prosecution, said that the only difficulty was that if there were an adjournment, the accused, if he were alive, would be at large. He asked the judge to direct that a fresh warrant be issued for the accused’s arrest.

    The bondsman, who was then called, said he had nothing to say why the bond should not be forfeited. He had received a similar letter to the one that had been read.

     The judge made an order for the bond to be estreated and a fresh warrant issued.

    The bondsman—If the accused has carried out his treat the bond will no have to be estreated?

    The judge—That will be a matter for the Crown to say.

    On receipt of the letter from Elrich on Monday, Mr Ogilvie notified Chief Detective-Inspector Oakes, and he, with Plain-Clothes Constable Whittle, immediately made enquiries at Elrich’s residence, Macquarie-street, where he was living under the name of Collins. It was learned that he had informed the housekeeper on the Friday previous that he was going away into the country for a week-end. He has not been seen since. In his room he left a kit bag containing soiled clothes, a razor, cigarette case, and two watches.

    In addition to the letter received by Mr Ogilvie, Elrich wrote a letter to his bondsman, who received it yesterday. He also wrote to the Commissioner of Police, who received the letter to-day. The postmark was not clear, and the date indiscernible. The letter to the Commissioner was in a similar strain to the others, with the addition, “I do not want any sensations or enquiries with pressmen. I am simply going into the mountains, which I have always loved, and there I shall end my life quietly and painlessly.”

    The police are making enquiries, and have communicated with the police on the mainland informing them of Elrich’s desertion.

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Advocate, Thu 22 Feb 1923 12


    HOBART, Wednesday.—At the Criminal Court on Tuesday, A Pennefather Elrick was to have appeared, charged with an unnatural offence. He sent a letter stating that he could not face the disgrace and that he was going to the mountain there to undergo a painless death.

    To night word was received from Sydney that Elrick had been arrested there.

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Examiner, Thu 22 Feb 1923 13


Hobart, Wednesday.

    Arthur Charles Pennefather Elrich, who failed to surrender to his bail at the Criminal Court on Tuesday, and who wrote to his counsel and to the Commissioner of Police, stating that he was going to commit suicide rather than face trial, was arrested in Sydney to-day. The Commissioner of Police received a wire from the Inspector-General of Police, Sydney, to that effect to-night. It stated Elrich had admitted his identity.

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The Mercury, Sat 3 Mar 1923 14


    Charles Pennefather-Ulrich, [sic] who was committed for trial and failed to surrender to bail at the Hobart Criminal Court on February 20, and was re-arrested in Sydney, will be brought back to Hobart under escort next week-end.

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Examiner, Mon 12 Mar 1923 15


    Arthur Charles Pennefather Elrick, school teacher, who absconded from bail when committed for trial on a charge of having committed an unnatural offence, was arrested in New South Wales recently. He returned to Hobart by the Riverina yesterday under the escort of Sergeant AC Cooper, and upon arrival was taken to gaol. He will be presented on the original charge at the next sittings of the criminal court.

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The Mercury, Fri 27 Apr 1923 16


    The Solicitor-General (Mr LE Chambers) applied to Mr Justice Crisp in the Practice Court yesterday for the leave of the Court, under section 16 of the Judiciary Act, to serve a subpœna out of the jurisdiction, viz, in Victoria, on Detective Thos Jno Clugson, to attend the Supreme Court in Hobart on the hearing of the pending misdemeanour case of the Crown v. AC Pennefather, and to produce a letter which passed between the detective and Pennefather. The Crown, he said, would pay the expenses of the witness.

    The application was granted.

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World, Fri 27 Apr 1923 17



    In Chambers yesterday, before Mr Justice Crisp, the Solicitor-General, Mr LE Chambers, asked leave under the Judiciary Act to serve, in the State of Victoria, a subpoena on Detective Thomas John Clugson, of Melbourne. It was stated that his evidence was necessary in the case of The King v. Arthur Charles Pennefather Elrich, who would be charged at the next Criminal Court sittings, with an offence against a boy. The Crown would give an undertaking that it would pay the witness’ expenses. The application was granted.

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World, Thu 3 May 1923 18



    His Honor, Mr Justice Crisp, will preside at a sitting of the Criminal Court, Brisbane street, on Tuesday morning, when the following charges will be dealt with: Arthur Charles Pennefather-Elrich, Hobart, offences against a male person; Reginald George Warren, Hobart, arson; JE Crony and DJ Ryan, Hobart, conspiracy; Samuel Norton, Huonville, (1) shooting with intent (2) causing grievous bodily harm with intent; Joseph Ledger, Queenstown, carnal knowledge of a girl under 17 years of age. The Solicitor-General (Mr LE Chambers) will conduct the cases for the prosecution.

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Advocate, Sat 12 May 1923 19


    HOBART, Friday,—In the Criminal Court to-day, AE Pennefather, for having committed an unnatural offence against a boy, was ordered to be sent to a reformatory prison during the Governor’s pleasure.

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Pennefather-Elrick’s Tasmanian Supreme Court Record, Fri 11 May 1923 20

TAHO: Supreme Court Record SC32/1/20, Image 214, pp. 417-8. Reproduction: Peter de Waal
TAHO: Supreme Court Record SC32/1/20, Image 214, pp. 417-8. Reproduction: Peter de Waal

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The Mercury, Sat 12 May 1923 21



    Arthur Charles Pennefather-Elrich, school teacher, pleaded guilty to a charge of having committed an unnatural offence. The Solicitor-General read the accused’s admission, and mentioned that he absconded twice, having been arrested in Melbourne and re-arrested in Sydney.

    Mr AG Richardson appealed to his Honor [Mr Justice Crisp] for merciful consideration of the case, and urged that the nature of the offence had been much exaggerated. It was the case of a single lapse of a sober, honest, cultivated, and industrious gentleman, the whole of whose family were of a very high respectability, were held in high regard, and who had done much good in the world. He read several strongly worded testimonials in the accused’s favour, showing that until now he had filled high positions in the teaching world and borne himself with the highest credit.

    His Honor said he had been impressed by the powerful appeal made to him by the learned counsel and by the accused’s sister; but as they knew he had a duty to perform. He agreed that the man was to be pitied almost as much as to be blamed. He ordered, in the words of the Act, that the accused be sent to a reformatory prison and there be detained at the Government’s [sic] pleasure. Whilst there, if he showed reformation, he would in time be released.

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World, Sat 12 May 1923 22


    Having pleaded guilty to committing an unnatural offence, Arthur Charles Pennefather-Elrich, a school teacher appeared be fore Mr Justice Crip in the Criminal Court yesterday to receive sentence.

    The Solicitor-General said that the statute provided a penalty of seven years for such an offence. He then proceeded to read a lengthy statement, said to have been made by the accused, but was interrupted by His Honor, who inquired whether it would not be possible to hand the document in.

    This was accordingly done.

    Mr Richardson, who appealed for leniency to be extended to the accused, said the mother of the boy had written, stating that she regretted anything she might have said against him. The rector of a Victorian church in the course of his testimonial said that he had known Elrich for about nine years. He had always found him a good churchman—a good Scoutmaster, and a keen educationist.

    The sister of the accused man then made an impassioned appeal to the judge to extend leniency. She said: “He has been most wonderful to my widowed mother at all times. I ask you to temper justice with mercy.”

    In delivering the verdict of the Court, His Honor said that despite the most powerful appeal made by Mr Richardson and the appeal of the accused man’s sister, he had a duty to perform. He agreed with counsel that he was a man more to be pitied than blamed. They knew that they had unfortunates in the community, but he thought he should not hesitate as to the course he should take, because the law set out a certain action to be pursued. He would order the accused to be sent to a reformatory prison and detained there during the Governor’s pleasure.

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Arthur Charles Elrick-Pennefather, Gaol photo sheet template 23 

TAHO: GD63/1/6, Prisoners Record Books, p. 75.

Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

[page] 7

 Name: Elrick-Pennefather, Arthur Charles

Ship: “Loongana”

Photo No: 979 C

FP Classification:

School Master

C of E

5 ft 6 in

10 st

Year of Birth


Medium Large

Dk Brown Thin on top



Medium high






Native Place


R & W. Single

Boil mark outside left arm, near elbow.

Date Where Tried Offence Sentence
8 May 1923 Supreme Court Hobart Gross Indecent Assault on a male person Governor’s Pleasure
To be detained in a Reformatory Prison during the Governor’s Pleasure
Discharged 11/12/1924


1     The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas), Thu 20 Jul 1922, p. 10.

2     The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas), Thu 27 Jul 1922, p. 2. Emphasis added.

3     The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas), Fri 18 Aug 1922, p. 9. Emphasis added.

4     The Argus, Tue 10 Oct 1922, p. 6.

5     The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas), Sat 13 Jan 1923, p. 9.

6     Examiner (Launceston), Sat 20 Jan 1923, p. 7.

7     World, (Hobart, Tas), Sat 20 Jan 1923, p. 4.

8     The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas), Sat 27 Jan 1923, p. 10.

9     Examiner (Launceston), Tue 6 Feb 1923, p. 5.

10   World, (Hobart, Tas), Tue 6 Feb 1923, p. 4.

11   Examiner (Launceston), Wed 21 Feb 1923, p. 5.

12   Advocate, (Burnie, Tas) Thu 22 Feb 1922, p. 5.

13   Examiner (Launceston), Thu 22 Feb 1923, p. 6.

14   The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas), Sat 3 Mar 1923, p. 6.

15   Examiner (Launceston), Mon 12 Mar 1923, p. 5.

16   The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas), Fri 27 Apr 1923, p. 5.

17   World, (Hobart, Tas), Fri 27 Apr 1923, p. 4.

18   World, (Hobart, Tas), Thu 3 May 1923, p. 4. Emphasis added.

19   Advocate, (Burnie, Tas) Sat 12 May 1923, p. 5.

20   AOT: Supreme Court Record (SC32/1/30), pp. 417-8.

21   The Mercury, (Hobart, Tas), Sat 12 May 1923, p. 8.

22   World, (Hobart, Tas), Sat 12 May 1923, p. 6.

23   TAHO: GD63/1/6, Prisoners Record Books, p. 75.