William Ward

William Ward was my Great Great Great Grandfather.

He lived in Tasmania and was the District Constable. He was murdered in 1843 by bushrangers.


Here is an account from the Colonial Times 9th May 1843.


Our readers will recollect an account in last Colonial Times, of the gallant manner in which Mr. Ward, District Constable at Fingal, made his escape from the two armed bushrangers, taking his chance of being shot rather than allow himself to be tied. Since then he has been murdered by these villains, as will be seen by the following letter which we copy from the last Review. We trust the government will provide handsomely for tho widow and children, and that the dastardly coward who could sit so coolly, without even an attempt to prevent the death of a fellow creature, will be taken up and tried as an accessory to the murder :

To the Editor of the Review

Fingal, May 4, 1843.

Sir,-An unfortunate circumstance has hap- pened in this district on the "2nd instant. Mr. District Constable Ward has been murdered by two armed bushrangers-the same two men who shot at him about a fortnight ago. From circumstances collected, it seems that Mr. Ward was returning from visiting St. Paul's, where a party of constables are stationed ; on his arrival at Fingal he called in at Mr. Gilligan's for a few minutes, when these men came in. Mr. Ward was desirous of capturing them, and on one of the party coming through the passage he made a rush and threw him, and was getting the best of him, when the other man came up and said, " Which is you, mate ?" and seeing his unfortunate victim on the ground, shot him through the right shoulder. He never spoke afterwards. There was a free man in the house at the time, who, if he had been so minded, could have rushed the man that shot Ward ; but no, he made his escape, and the consequence was fatal. The above case is most deeply to be deplored: the unfortunate man has left a wife and seven small children (five of whom are under ten years of age) wholly unprovided for. It is sincerely to be hoped that the Government will in some way ameliorate their unfortunate condition, and not let them know want : it was in the zealous discharge of his duty that Ward lost his life; and under such circumstances there can be no doubt that the settlers will hand-in-hand raise a subscription for his unhappy family. Yours, AN INHABITANT.

The following is another account of the murder of Mr. Ward. We copy it from tho Cornwall Chronicle of the 6th instant:

ATROCIOUS MURDER. - Information reached Launceston this morning of the cowardly murder of Mr. William Ward. Chief District Constable of Fingal. From private sources, we furnish the following particulars :-On Tuesday evening, the 2nd instant, Mr. Ward was passing the house of Mr. James Gilligan, of Clifton Lodge, about four miles from Avoca, when he was invited in by Mr. Gilligan, to take a cup of tea : whilst so engaged two bushrangers marched into the kitchon, having under their charge five men, secured with ropes, whom they had brought from Mr. Hamilton's, a neighbouring farm ; with these men, one of the bushrangers remained in the kitchen, while the other entered the room in which sat Mr. Gilligan and family, and Mr. Ward, whom he instantly ordered to march into the kitchon, adding to Mr. Ward-" Oh you are here, are you? we only winged you the last time we met ; now we will do for you." Mr. Ward instantly rushed on the bushranger, and a scuffle took place, when the bushranger finding himself overpowered, called to his comrade in the kitchen to assist him, which he did, and knocked Mr. Ward down ; he then deliberately placed the muzzle of his gun to Ward's breast, fired, and killed him - shooting him thro' tho heart. The ruffians afterwards coolly proceeded to plunder the house, and then made off. Mr. Ward has left a wife and seven children to lament his brutal murder. The bushrangers are supposed to be the two men, John Price and William Glover, who escaped from the constables when two were captured at Mr. Cowell's farm, and tried at the last sittings of the Supreme Court at Launceston; but we have information that such is not the case. One of them is a very short man, about 35 years of age, who says he has been six years in the bush ; the other is a tall athletic man, about the same age : they are unknown to all who have seen them. An inquest could not he held on the day following the murder, in consequence of Mr. Franks, the Police Magistrate and coroner, haviing gone in search of the murderers. It is a positive fact, that, before starting inquest of them, the constables were actually begging charges of powder from the inhabitants of the township, the Government having none to serve out to them. The wretches who took the life of Mr. Ward declared that they would not be satisfied till they had served Mr. Franks and Mr. Grant in the same manner. How can the Local Government satisfy the colonists that it has adopted proper measures to save the destruction of human life

We take the following from the same paper: THE BUSHRANGERS.- On the evening of Sunday, the 23rd ult., two bushrangers v¡sited the farm of Mr. Henry Steiglitz, of Rose Mount, St. Paul's Plains, and plundered his house of necessaries of the description they required. They are about thirty and thirty-five years of age, and wore their hair cut quite short ; were well dressed and armed, each fellow had a double barrelled gun, and one three brace and the other two brace of pistols, mostly double barrelled : the two could discharge eighteen rounds without re-loading. The conduct of these men to Mr. Steiglitz was barely civil : they left him secured in a room, and cautioned him not to leave it before the morning, on pain of being shot. Mr. Steiglitz, however, contrived to release himself shortly afterwards, and rode away to the nearest police station, and gave information of the robbery. On the Thursday following, the same bushrangers entered the house of Mr. Francis Steiglitz, who resides four miles distant from Mr. Henry Steiglitz, and robbed him of necessaries and provisions. Mr. F. Steiglitz, aware that the bushrangers were in the vicinity of his residence, and thinking a visit from them not improbable, was prepared to give them, in the event of their coming, a warm reception, and had actually a gun and pistols lying on the table in the room they entered and surprised him. A third robbery was committed by these bushrangers at a farm on St. Paul's Plains, the three depredations having been perpetrated within the extremely short space of ten days. We understand, that with the system adopted by the bushrangers, precautionary measures are useless ; their plan is to lie about the premises they purpose robbing, until they have an opportunity of capturing one of the servants, whom they secure, and compel to give such information as they deem necessary to enable thom to accom- plish their intentions successfully, and without alarming the household. It is all very well that the settlers should resist, when they see the smallest chance of resisting successfully ; but none would be mad enough when unarmed, and taken by surprise, to fight with bushrangers, armed to the very teeth, and not perhaps over delicate in enforcing obedience to their illegal authority.

Ref: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/8753581?searchTerm=&searchLimits=l-publictag=Avoca+Fingal+Bushrangers




The Hobart Town Courier & Van Dieman's Land Gazette - 12 May 1843


Reward of One Hundred Sovereigns and a Free Pardon, with a Free Passage from the Colony.

Police Department, 10th May, 1843.

Whereas information on oath is now before me that, on Tuesday, the 2nd day of May now last past, at the house of Mr Gilligan, on the road leading from Avoca to Fingal, William Ward, then District Constable, was barbarously murdered by two armed men, believed to be Riley Jeffs and John Conway, convicts formerly em- ployed at Picton Road Party, and whose descriptions are hereunder: This is to give notice, that I am authorised by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor to offer a Reward of One "Hundred Sovereigns to any person or persons who shall by information or otherwise be the means of capturing and lodging in safe custody both or either of the said Murderers ; and should this service be performed by any convict, then, in addition to such pecuniary Reward, a Free Pardon, and if claimed within one month after the conviction of both or either of the said Murderers, then a Passage from the Colony free of expense.

M. FORSTER, Chief Police Magistrate.


1002 Riley Jeff's, per Elphinstone (2.) trade groom, height (without shoes) 5 feet 1, age 22 in 1843, complexion pale sallow, head round, hair brown, whiskers none, visage round, forehead high, eyebrows dark brown, eyes blue, nose medium, mouth large, chin medium.

Remarks none, native place Sutton, Berks.

2474 John Conway, trade tailor, height (without shoes) 5 feet 5-1/2, age 23 in 1843, complexion ruddy, head long, hair brown, whiskers none, visage long, forehead high, eyebrows brown, eyes hazel, nose large, mouth large, chin medium. Remarks-W. W. M. W. J. C. J. H. on right arm, 6 blue dots on left arm, 2 scars on each side of neck, native place London.

Ref: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2952734?searchTerm=&searchLimits=l-publictag=Avoca+Fingal+Bushrangers



This story is told by Michael Crouch.

Samuel Garett's wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of William and Ellen (Ellena / Eleanor) Ward (nee Robinson). She was born around 1822-23. From England the family travelled to Tasmania in 1831 as free settlers aboard a ship called the Rubicon. William Ward was on half pay from the 3rd Dragoons and came to Australia with the promise of being given land. The couple had two children when they arrived, daughter Elizabeth Ward, and the other probably a son named Thomas Ward.

During the 1830's, William tried repeatedly to claim his land but was unsuccessful in doing so. In the meantime, he and Ellen had four more sons and another daughter born in 1842. William Ward became the Chief District Constable for the Avoca and Fingal districts in north-east Tasmania. Even today these districts are very rugged areas. Coal was discovered there and many people as well as major landowners moved there as a result. William Ward faced a long battle in his attempts to take the post. The Chief Police Magistrate suggested that old soldiers were drunkards and not trustworthy, and so William was forced to take on assigned convicts to help out with fencing at Oaklands, biding his time.

By 1842 he had moved to Fingal with his wife and children to take on the post of District Constable and Stock Inspector for the District of Avoca. A press report from 1842 tells a story of how William Ward walked in on a gang of bushrangers who forced him to his knees at gunpoint and cocked the gun. At this point, another man spoke temporarily distracting the gunman. William took this moment of grace to make an escape, "jumping away with the velocity of a deer". He was shot through the ear as he got away.

Bushranger incidences grew in the area and a police task force was set up, headed by William, to scour the area and bring them to justice. By pure coincidence, William was taking tea with an elderly ex-convict and his family when the very same band of bushrangers entered the house. Riley Jeffs searched the house while John Conway stood in the doorway, ordering William Ward into the lounge with the words, "Oh, you're here, are you? We only winged you last time we met, now we will do for you." With that, Ward rushed at Conway, overpowering him. He was then attacked by Jeffs. Conway took the gun and fired. The two leaden bullets broke William's collar bone and first rib, both bullets passing through his lungs. An inquiry suggested that Mr. Hamilton, the elderly ex-convict was involved with the bushrangers since he had sat in his kitchen and did nothing throughout the furore. William Ward died. The two bushrangers were caught shortly after and at their trial, the Chief Justice summed up:

"...the victim had been hurried into eternity in a moment, while performing a duty incumbent upon him, leaving a widow and orphan to lament his loss . . . nothing now remains but to pass upon you the awful sentence of the law, which is, that you be taken from here to the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, there to be hung from the neck until each of you be dead and your bodies be dissected - and may the Lord have mercy upon your souls."

from the Trifler and Literary Gleaner for July 12, 1843

Nearly a thousand people, a quarter of the population of Launceston turned out for the 8am hanging, many having slept overnight in the park. The press reported it as "a revolting spectacle . . . The executioner puts the rope around their necks - the delightful moment approaching . . . a crash from the scaffold, a slight shudder from the crowd . . . unmoved and uninfluenced, save by a feeling that any of their companions should miss such a sight."

from the Launceston Advertiser for July 27, 1843

There was no legal recompense for Ellen Ward and her family's loss. The press took up her case and such was the public outcry that the government was eventually forced to act and awarded Ellen a pension of thirty pounds a year for life plus fifteen pounds a year for the upkeep of William's horse of which he had been an expert rider since his days with the 3rd Dragoons. Ellen Ward became the first wife of a person employed in public service to receive a pension. She died in 1889 and was buried in Queensborough Cemetery.

Ellen Ward never remarried after the death of William. Four years after his death, Samuel Garrett's wife died at age 23. There is a possibility that the two may have shared a house together in order to bring up their children. Samuel's children at this time were aged six, four and two. The children of both were all baptised together at Wesley Church in Hobart on September 11, 1846. They remained in the Avoca and Fingal districts for some time thereafter.


Michael Crouch also tells more about the Garrett family. Elizabeth Ward married Samuel Garrett.

The Garrett family
from Bath to New South Wales

Samuel Garrett was born in Somerset in 1810. He had at least one sister, Elizabeth, although there may possibly have been others. A record exists showing the marriage of the parents, Samuel Garrett and Elizabeth Skidmore in 1805 at St. James, Bath. While no children appear on the registers thereafter, this is not unusual for the time; Baptist Church members, as this family were, did not usually baptise infants. Samuel's daughter, Elizabeth, was not baptised until April 1, 1866 in the Abercrombie District of New South Wales, Australia. She was aged 61. The record shows that her father was himself a Baptist Minister. The death certificate and newspaper notice for his son declares Samuel Garrett (junior) to be "the only son of the late Reverend Samuel Garrett, Bath, England". Elizabeth married William Davey and together they migrated to New South Wales, Australia as free settlers around 1840-42. Reverend Garrett died when Samuel was a young boy and the child was apprenticed to a stepfather as a shoemaker.

Life for Samuel changed forever when he was sixteen. Along with an eighteen year old boy, Robert Rogers, also of Bath, the two were sentenced to death for the robbery on April 25, 1827 of the house of Elizabeth Rawlings. This name is taken from the Jurors document and differs from the Lammas Assizes which states the name Elizabeth Brooks. Two possible explanations exist. One is that Samuel and Robert robbed two different women within a day of each other. Another is that Elizabeth Rawlings married and took on a new surname between the crime taking place and the court trial. It is said that Samuel and Robert "feloniously did enter" stealing "one shawl" worth ten shillings, "three gowns to the value of fifteen shillings each" and other effects to the value of forty shillings. Due to their young ages, the death sentence was commuted to transportation and exile for life.

The two boys sailed aboard the Bengal Merchant which left Plymouth on March 25, 1828 and arrived at Hobart Town, Tasmania on August 10, 1828. The ship stopped at Rio de Janeiro along the way and took 138 days to reach Hobart, a slow and hazardous journey. The ship had been built in Calcutta sixteen years earlier in 1812 and its crew included the ships master, Alex Duthie, and the ships surgeon, Jas Skeogh.

Upon arrival in Hobart, Samuel Garrett was apprenticed to Samuel Wintle who owned a shoemaking business at which young Samuel had some experience. Samuel Wintle, a married man, was some years older than Samuel Garrett and had a child born only a couple of months after the younger Samuel's arrival. The public, free settlers and often ex-convicts could apply for another convict to work for them. He would receive no pay but would get board, lodging and clothing. He would also be under government restrictions which would include attending church every Sunday and not drinking or gambling in public houses. He was not guarded but if he did anything which was considered untoward or unacceptable then he would be taken before the local magistrate who would decide on what form of punishment to administer.

Samuel did not take too well to servitude and made several trips before the magistrates. His first offence was on December 8, 1828 when on Wintle's evidence, he stood accused of neglect of duty and insolence to his master. He got away with nothing more than a strict admonishment. However, one month later on January 12, 1829, he was accused of being absent from his masters house until 12 O'clock and returning home drunk. This time he was not so lucky and sentenced to twelve lashes of the whip. His next escapade was far more serious. He absconded from the service of his master on November 14, 1829, and was not apprehended until March 30, 1830. He was found in the province of New Norfolk, a district widely settled by ex-convicts from Norfolk Island off Tasmania. As such they were probably easier on escaped convicts, hiding them when the authorities came through and using them as labourers the rest of the time. How Samuel looked after himself during that time is unknown but he may well have been hidden by locals in exchange for work. His punishment for this misdemeanour was severe; six months on the treadmill.

Time passed by and Samuel was back with Mr. Wintle. This time he went absent without leave for one night and received a sentence of seven days on the treadmill. By now Samuel had been in Tasmania for the best part of three years. Clearly he was not learning any lessons. History repeated itself and in September of 1830 he was found at Benjamin Walford's Public House at 9 O'clock at night - a further fourteen days on the treadmill. Twenty-five lashes later for being absent after hours yet again, Samuel went absent from the church muster and reprimanded.

By now it must have seemed as if Samuel was going for some kind of a record. His various convictions were building up and showed no signs of abating. In May of 1832, he was found playing cards during working hours and received a further twenty-four lashes. In late July he was confined to a cell for seven nights for being absent after hours although during the daylight hours he continued to work for Samuel Wintle who must have been an exasperated man by now. AWOL again in September, he was given another twenty-five lashes before running away from service and remaining at large until apprehended once again in New Norfolk.

Samuel Garrett was twenty-two years old. He had been given a total of 160 lashes of the whip, 6 months on the chain gang, 21 days on the treadmill and solitary confinement for 7 nights. There is no record of any further punishment. After all of this, Samuel Garrett appeared to start towing the line. In July of 1837 he was given his ticket-of-leave, and on November 4, 1840, his Conditional Pardon. His CP was recommended by four men, two of whom were religious ministers, another a magistrate. He was now thirty years of age.

Samuel Garrett was married on March 29, 1839 to Elizabeth Ward who was aged sixteen. The marriage produced three children; Samuel Thomas Garrett born on February 3, 1840 at Green Ponds, now Kempton, Tasmania; Eleanor Elizabeth Garrett born in Avoca on June 9, 1842; and William Ward Garrett born in Fingal on September 13, 1844. Elizabeth Garrett, Samuel's wife, died aged only 23 on January 21, 1847. Samuel Garrett died on January 4, 1876, aged 65 years. An inquest taken in The Royal Exchange, Hobart, said that he had been "found drowned in the waters of the River Derwent". A Coroner, William Tarleton, and seven jurors reported that "how or in what manner" he had ended up in that state there was "not sufficient evidence" to declare. The inquest brought to a close a tragic and difficult life.



The Judgement of the Murderers



R. v. Jeffs, Conway and others

Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land

Pedder C.J., 3 and 4 July 1843

Source: Cornwall Chronicle, 8 July 1843[1]


Monday, July 3, 1843

Before Sir J. L. Pedder, Chief Justice, and the following Jury:-

Messrs. B Francis, (foreman), G. Goldstraw, W. H. Luckhurst, J. Ferguson, W. Herbert, C. Grant, T Knowles, J McLachlan, E. P. Tregurtha, C Clepham, and J. Webb.

Riley Jeffs and John Conway were indicted for feloniously stealing one gun, and various other articles, from the dwelling-house of Thomas Massey, on the 4th of May last; and George Ewings and Henry Blunt were indicted for being accessaries after the fact.

The Attorney-General opened the case, explaining to the Jury that the reason Riley Jeffs and John Conway were now placed on their trial for an offence, comparatively of a minor nature to the one they would yet have to answer for, was, that it was necessary to prove that the robbery had been committed, in order to bring the charge home to the prisoners Blunt and Ewings at accessaries. The Attorney-General stated the case at some length, detailing the circumstances of the robbery at Mr. Massey’s, and pointing out how the evidence bore against the prisoners Blunt and Ewing.

The prisoner Jeffs, in consequence of his wound, was accommodated with a chair during the trial.

Thomas Massey. - I reside at Ellerslie, on the South Esk, in the district of Fingal. I know the prisoners Jeffs and Conway; I saw them on the 4th of May last, about 6 in the evening; they were in the front of my house. I was then in the verandah, in the front of my house; Conway was about six steps from me when he presented the gun. It is the tall man I mean; he was about six paces from me. The little man was behind with two prisoners they had brought tied. One of the men was a shepherd to Mr. Youl; that prisoner is the man, (Blunt). The prisoner Jeffs was armed also; Conway told me to stand. I told him I would sit; that was my reply. He then asked me where my man was; I told him he was round at the hut. Jeffs then went round and fetched him. They brought us all into my sitting-room, and demanded the keys; I mean the prisoners Conway and Jeffs brought us in. My housekeeper, Mary Bryan, was in the verandah with me. She went into the house also, and her daughter. We went into my sitting-room. The prisoner Blunt was brought into the house. They wanted to know where my money was; they demanded my money; they said they wanted many things. I had fire-arms in the house; they demanded them; they took one gun away; they had possession of two, but did not take them away. The small man took my gun; the other, Conway, stood with his gun presented at me. I was afraid to move. I could not say what might happen. I should know the gun again that was taken; the one now produced is the gun. I saw them take the powder flask and belt. After they were gone I missed several other articles; I missed two shirts and three handkerchiefs; the handkerchiefs taken were like the two now produced. The gun is worth four or five pounds; it is an excellent gun. They took a quantity of tea, sugar, and flour; they also took about a gallon of rum. I had about £30 in the house. They took two newspapers, I saw them take the gun, shot belt, flask, and spirits; they put the rum into bottles. They were in the house about an hour and a half. I was in the sitting-room all the time. There was a light in the room. They were not disguised in any way. The house was ransacked by Jeffs; the housekeeper went with him over the house. Conway was about two steps from me when he stood at the door way; I know Jeffs by his passing backwards and forwards into the room so often; he was very active.

By Jeffs. - Your single-barrel gun was left outside; the piece you presented at me was a double-barrel one. I was sitting in a chair when you left the house; I could not see the door-way. I cannot say which of you took the double-barrel piece away. I saw you take the gun and things out.

Mary Bryant. - I was in the service of Mr. Massey on the 4th of May; I saw the prisoners, Jeffs and Conway, on the 4th of May last, in the evening; when they came, Mr. Massey was in the verandah; I saw Conway present a piece at Mr. Massey and keep it so; Jeffs at the time I first saw him, was bringing the man from the hut; Jeffs ordered me to tie the man - I did so; Conway stood in the one position all the time, with his piece presented at Mr. Massey; there were two men with Jeffs and Conway at the time; one of those men was Mr. Youl’s shepherd; the prisoner Blunt is that man; Jeffs ordered us all in doors; we all went in; Jeffs asked Mr. Massey for his keys; Jeffs took the keys, and put them in his pocket; Conway stood in the door-way, with his gun presented at Mr. Massey; Jeffs then asked where the fire-arms were; on being told in the bed-room, he went and brought them out; when they left the house, they took a pair of blankets, tea and sugar, soap, tobacco, pepper; salt and candles, two silk handkerchiefs and two shirts; there was a double-barrelled piece; they made me put water down Mr. Massey's guns; I saw them leave the house; they took one gun with them, and the other things I have described; the handkerchiefs now produced are the ones that were taken; I saw Jeffs take them out of a chest in the bed-room; the three men sat on the sofa; Jeffs untied the prisoner Blunt, and ordered him to untie the others; they all went away together; they took away a quantity of spirits with them; I saw Jeffs take a telescope; Jeffs kept me very busy, going from room to room, collecting the things; they were in the house a considerable time; the prisoner Ewing was not there that night.

Cross-examined by Jeffs. - I am indeed certain that you was at Mr. Massey’s; I did not look at Conway’s whiskers; I looked principally at his nose; he has a very large nose; I saw only his nose; I did not measure his nose; I was from room to room with you; you carried the bundle with the shirts and handkerchiefs, also the double-barrelled gun; I was standing at the end of the table when you left the house; I did not see Conway take any thing away; you took the keys, and gave them to me one at a time, as they were wanted.

Examination continued. - I had a full view of Conway when I sat down; I am positive he is the person.

Thomas Connell. - I am a constable in the Campbell Town police; I was in pursuit of the bushrangers, Jeffs and Conway, on the 22nd of May; there were five other constables with me; I was in pursuit of the bushrangers to the 2nd of June; that day was a rainy day; we took shelter about a mile and a half from Mr. Youl’s hut; that hut was occupied by the prisoner Blunt; I observed Blunt passing in the direction of the hut; we proceeded in the direction of the hut; I saw some of my party running, and I immediately ran in the same direction; I kept Stephen Wright, one of my party, in sight; I saw Jeffs and Conway. Jeffs and Conway had placed themselves under cover of trees; two of my party were holding them at bay. We captured them on that occasion; I cannot say whether they were armed when they were running away. I took them to Mr. Aitkin’s, and from thence they were removed to Campbell Town. I searched them at Campbell Town. I found the handkerchiefs now produced on Conway and Jeffs. The place where the bushrangers were taken is about 400 yards from the hut. I saw two of my party take a quantity of arms from the spot where the prisoners Jeffs and Conway stood. I went to Youl’s hut about an hour and a half afterwards. I saw a man about the hut, at the time the bushrangers were taken; I believe the prisoner Ewings is the man; he was partly showing himself.

By Ewings. - I was about 150 yards from the hut when I saw the man. I believe it was you, being a remarkable man; I cannot swear that it was you.

Stephen Wright. - I am a constable of the Campbell Town police. I was in pursuit of the bushrangers Jeffs and Conway on the 2nd of June last. I saw them on that day. I first saw them come out of a new hut. I do not know that part of the country well. After taking the bushrangers, we came back to the hut. I do not know of any other hut in the neighbourhood. There was no other hut between that and Mr. Aitkin’s. The hut was newly weather-boarded; there was only one room in the hut. I was in shelter with Connell and the others before we came up to the hut. We went two or three hundred yards beyond the hut. There was no other hut in sight. Directly after Jeffs and Conway came out of the hut, a third man came out. I do not know who that man was. I saw a man’s head out of the door; I saw nothing but his head; I should think he was stooping when Jeffs and Conway ran out of the hut; I saw that one of them had a piece. The man had not his hands tied that came out of the hut after Jeffs and Conway. I should think it was the tall prisoner that was looking out of the hut; it was a man with a large head; he had a fur cap on. I saw the prisoner, Ewings, at the Police-office, afterwards. I saw Ewings the same night that Jeffs and Conway were captured at Mr. Aitkin’s; he had a cap on then; it was a hair cap, very much like what the man had on who was looking out of the hut. Ewings was asked by some one if he was in the hut when Jeffs and Conway were there; I don’t know the exact words of the question, but he answered that he was in the hut at the time Conway and Jeffs were there. Ewings said the bushrangers tied him when they came into the hut.

Cross-examined by Ewing. - I was about fifteen or twenty yards from the hut when I saw a man looking out of it; there was a dog near the hut on a chain; I passed close by the dog when I was running.

Re-examined. - There was a dog kennel near a tree - some sacking thrown over a paling; there were two dogs; one was a large kangaroo dog; it nearly bit me; the dogs were about fifteen yards from the hut.

Matthew Berry. - I was out with Connell’s party the day the bushrangers were taken; I saw two men come out of the hut; I was sent by Constable Connell to a hut on that day; I saw Jeffs and Conway taken; I cannot say they were the two men who came out of the hut; I was sent to the hut where the men ran out of. [His Honor took an objection to the line of examination pursued, the witness not speaking of his own knowledge.] I went to the hut; I cannot say how long it was after the bushrangers were taken - it might be a quarter of an hour; there was no person in the hut then; I saw a man near the hut; the prisoner Ewing is the man I saw; he said he had been stopping at Mr. Youl’s place; he said he had been stopping at the hut; I went to the hut alone; his hands were not tied; I took him to Mr. Aitkin’s; he was searched there; some medicine in a bottle was found upon him; he said it was what he had for his eyes; I saw Jeffs and Conway taken; Jeffs told me that he had shot himself; I searched the hut I was sent to and found a knapsack and some sugar. There was a dog near the hut; a black kangaroo dog; no spots on it; all black, there were two dogs, both chained. Both Jeffs and Conway were armed; they each had a piece. I saw them thrown down their arms; I saw Dresser take up the arms of the prisoner Jeffs.

By Jeffs. - I can’t say what arms you throw away.

Aaron Dresser called, but did not answer.

John Sykes. - I am one of the police stationed at Campbell Town. I know the prisoner Ewings; I saw him about the 31st of May.

Peter Ferrett. - I am an assigned servant to Mr. Youl. I have only seen Ewing once. Blunt was in the service of Mr. James Youl on the second of June last; Blunt was shepherd to Mr. Youl; I know it of my own knowledge. I live with Mr. John Youl; the prisoner Blunt lived on Mr. James Youl’s run, in a hut himself. I know Mr. Aitkin’s house; it was about half a mile from the hut, across the river. There is no other hut near Blunt’s that I know of; it is a new hut; there are no rooms in it; there is a fire-place in it. Blunt had a kangaroo dog; it was a black one. There were three dog-kennels; there was a tree near one dog-kennel; that dog-kennel was the shell of a burnt tree; all three were the same. Blunt told me that the bushrangers were at the hut when he got back, after being round the run, on the 2nd of June, and that they had tied him up. He said there were six or seven constables after the bushrangers, and that he had come to report it to his master. Blunt slept at my house that night; Blunt told me the constables were a short distance from his hut when the bushrangers ran out. Blunt has some times slept at my hut; the last time was about two months before. I have never seen Ewings but once before. Blunt always kept three dogs - one a kangaroo, and the other two sheep dogs.

Edward Moring. - I was at the hut of Peter Ferrett on the night of the 2nd June last, and saw the prisoner Blunt there; he said the bushrangers had been at his hut and he was going to report it to his master; he did not mention their names, he said they had been to the hut that afternoon; he said he had been to Bennett’s hut for some sugar; Blunt told me that after he had been in the hut a few minutes the constables came up; the bushrangers went out and he saw the constables follow them. Blunt’s hut is about twelve miles from Campbell-Town.

Robert Bennett. - I recollect being at Peter Ferrett’s hut on the night of the 2nd June last and seeing the prisoner Blunt there; he told me that he had been round his run, and when he came back to his hut, two bushrangers were there, and that he was going to Mr. Youl’s to report it; he did not say anything about their being taken. I know the prisoner Ewings; I have known him about four years; he lived at that time about the same spot where Blunt’s hut is now; Mr. Aitken’s is the nearest place to the hut.

R. P. Stewart, Esq. was called to prove the statement of the prisoner Ewings, made at the Police-office, Campbell Town.

The statement of the prisoner Ewings, as made at the Police-office, was here read.

William Gunn, Esq. - I have charge of the prisoner’s barracks at Hobart Town; I know the prisoner Ewings, he was in my custody in February last; I know the prisoner Conway, he was in my custody at the same time; Ewings, was in the building during the whole time Conway was there - about three weeks; the prisoners were in the same yard; Ewings and Conway were not in the same gang; Ewings was under the Doctor's hands for treatment of his eyes.

This closed the case on the part of the crown.

A statement made by the prisoner, Jeffs to Captain Gardiner was read in his defence, in which he exonerated the prisoners Ewings and Blunt.

His Honor then proceeded to charge the jury, explaining that he had not called upon the prisoner Ewings for any defence; going through the evidence, and commenting thereon at some length.

Verdict - Jeffs and Conway, Guilty; Blunt and Ewings, Not Guilty.


Tuesday, July 4.

The following jury was sworn:-

Messrs. B. Francis, (foreman), J. Marsden, H. White, G. Sparrow, J. Lyall, J. East, E. West, H. Bennett, J. G. Thomas, J. Webb, J. Courtney, and H. Reading.

John Conway and Riley Jeffs were indicted for the wilful murder of William Ward on the 2nd May last; and Joseph Selby, George Pearse, and James Rushbrook were indicted as accessories after the fact.

The Attorney-General opened the case in an eloquent address to the jury, detailing the circumstances of the death of Mr. Ward, with the subsequent proceedings of the prisoners.

His Honor took an objection to the indictment as regarded the prisoners Selby, Pearse, and Rushbrook, they being charged with committing one offence, where in reality there were two distinct charges. Considerable delay took place in the proceedings in consequence; when the Attorney-General requested the Solicitor-General might be sent for.

The real fact of the case was, that the prisoners Selby and Rushbrook had made a false representation of the movements of the bushrangers at one place, and the prisoner Pearse at another.

On the arrival of the Solicitor-General, that gentleman argued in support of the indictment - several cases were quoted, and ultimately it was determined that the trial should proceed.

James Gilligan. - I resided on the Break o’ Day road on the 2nd May last, leading up to the new settlement; it is called Clifton Lodge in the district of Campbell Town; I know the prisoners Jeffs and Conway; I saw them on the 2nd of May about six o’clock in the evening; I was in my sitting-room taking tea with Wm. Ward; I had known Ward since he first came to the settlement; I did not know his name was William, until his wife told me after his decease. My wife and a little girl were in the room at the time beside Mr. Ward. I saw Jeffs first; he came into my hall and stood with his back to the staircase; he pointed a piece in and told us that if any of us moved he would blow all that was in the piece through those that did so. Mr. Ward got up, ran to him, and got hold of him; he stood at the staircase until Mr. Ward got hold of him. The staircase is opposite the door; the stairs are about a yard and a half from the door; the door was open. Mr. Ward’s face was forenent the door; my back was towards it. Mrs. Gilligan’s face was to the door. I turned round and saw Jeffs; Jeffs was in the passage when Mr. Ward seized hold of him; the passage led into the kitchen at one end; and the other to the front door. I did not go into the passage while they were struggling; my wife shut the door and prevented me. After my wife shut the door I heard a shot; it appeared to come from the kitchen; I heard a struggle before I heard the shot; I heard a struggle in the passage; it was a very short time; it might be a minute after Ward seized Jeffs that I heard the shot. I got my wife to open the door, and went down in the kitchen; my wife was with me; the servant woman was also with me; I saw the servant woman in the kitchen after I got there; her name is Sarah Verse. When I went into the kitchen, I saw Ward laying on the ground. There is a small step from the hall into the kitchen. Jeffs, at the time I went into the kitchen, was there; Conway was in the kitchen; there were four men belonging to Mr. Hamilton there also. The prisoners Selby and Rushbrook were two of them. Conway had fire-arms; he had something round his waist, and pistols stuck into it. I don’t recollect that he had any thing in his hands; the hands of the four men were tied. I saw a piece in the kitchen; it was broke. It was at the corner of the dresser on the ground. I don’t recollect how the men’s hands were tied. Conway spoke to me when I went into the kitchen; he said - “get up old man, and go into your room, so I’ll make you go in,” that was all he said, I don’t recollect that Jeffs spoke to me. I laid my hand on the body of ward; I believe Conway asked me if his breath was gone. Ward had his breath at the time, but very weak. There was some wadding on fire on his shoulder; I brushed that off. I did not observe blood. I was in such a state I could not ascertain. I went then into my own room. I saw none of them after. I had a musket in the house. To the best of my opinion, Jeffs came and asked me for my arms; that was after I had left the kitchen; I cm certain Jeffs asked me for my arms; I cannot recollect if I told him what arms I had; I think I told my wife to get him the musket; I think I saw my musket in Jeffs; hands coming down stairs; I told my wife to go up stairs and get him the musket; Jeffs went with my wife; they went towards the room. The party remained a very short time after that. A man of the name of Sewell was in my service that night; he was eating his supper, in the kitchen when the bushrangers came; I saw Sewell a very short time before the bushrangers came in. I don’t know that they took any thing out of my house but the musket; I saw Ward, afterwards, lying in the kitchen; he was dead. It was not a quarter of an hour from the time the shot was fired until I saw Ward dead. I cannot tell how long I laid on my bed previous to seeing Ward dead. Ward was just opposite the door when Jeffs came in; there was no light in the hall; there was a candle in the kitchen, and a candle in the sitting-room; the candle from that room threw a light into the passage, as did also the candle in the kitchen. I was sitting about a yard and a half from the door; the candle in the kitchen was five or six yards from the spot where Jeffs stood. The light was sufficient for me to know a man again. I don’t think any part of Jeffs’ musket was in the room. Ward jumped up immediately and got hold of the man; as soon as they struggled into the kitchen, my wife shut the door, and would not let me go out. I was in the kitchen two or three minutes before Conway ordered me to go to my own room. When I first saw Jeffs, he was standing with his back to the staircase; I had never seen Jeffs or Conway before. Jeffs did not hold his piece to his shoulder. I can’t tell whether Jeffs had any thing on his head. I think he had a grey jacket on; his face was not concealed. I think Conway had a cap on. I smelt wadding that was burning when I went into the kitchen. I was alarmed at the attack; I have never got the better of it since.

By Conway. - I never saw you until I saw you in the kitchen. You was standing about the middle of the kitchen; I can’t recollect how far you was standing from me; the kitchen is about four yards long. I never thought about your whiskers; I cannot tell if you wore whiskers. There is nothing particular in your appearance to know you again.

By Jeffs. - My sitting-room is about four yards from the wall to the door, and about three yards wide; the door opens in the middle of the room. There was a large table in the room; ten men might sit round it. I was sitting right opposite the door. The passage might be eighteen inches wide; it might be two yards wide. It was a double-barrelled piece that was broke in my kitchen; I know it to be a double-barrelled piece. I only think it was the same piece I saw. You are the very man that presented the piece. I never saw you before; I only saw you for a short time; I cannot say how long; I have a very bad recollection. I can’t tell if you was in your shirt-sleeves.

By a Juryman. - My kitchen is attached to the house; there are four rooms below.

By the Attorney-General. - The light from the kitchen partially lighted the passage; the passage was also partially lighted by the candle in the sitting-room; the staircase did not take off from the width of the passage.

By the Court. - On passing from my sitting-room to the kitchen, I had to turn to the left; the staircase was on the right.

Thomas Sewell. - I was in the service of Mr. Gilligan on the 2nd of May last; I saw Jeffs and Conway on that day at Mr. Gilligan’s, in the kitchen. Selby, Rushbrook, and Pearse are three of the men; a man of the name of John Phillips is the fourth; the four men had their hands tied; I cannot say whether their hands were tied before or behind. Me and the servant woman had just sat down to get our supper when the people came in. I knew Mr. Ward; I had known him about two months. I have known him answer to the name of William Ward. I saw Mr. Ward that night in the parlour; I also saw him laying in the kitchen when they both fell; I mean Jeffs and Mr. Ward that fell; they fell in the kitchen; they had hold of one another, struggling. I did not see that the little man had any fire-arms. Conway was standing just inside the kitchen door at the time Jeffs and Ward fell. Conway had a double-barrelled piece in his hand; I did not observe any other arms in his possession; I did not observe that he had any belt about his waist. I did not hear him speak, that I recollect; I could not swear whether I did or not; I am not certain whether Conway spoke to Jeffs or not. I did not hear any person say, “Mate, mate, are you under or over?” I did not hear the words used, “Which is you mate - above or below?” Conway was close to Jeffs and Ward when I left the kitchen. Sarah Verso was not in the kitchen when Conway came up to the parties on the ground; I swear that positively I did not see her; I will not swear she was not there. When I saw Conway go up, I ran out. I never saw anything of the kind before, and I was terrified. I did not hear any shot before I ran out. I heard a shot just as I got outside the kitchen door. I did not return. I went down to a paddock. I afterwards went to the barn and hid myself under the straw; I stopped there all night; I returned to the house in the morning. I am still with Mr. Gilligan. I went into the kitchen when I returned. I saw Mr. Ward; he was dead. Ward and Jeffs fell close to the passage door that comes from the parlour. When I saw him the next morning he was in the same place. I did not observe Conway stoop before I ran away. Sarah Verso did not run away. I don’t know, only as I heard. I saw Sarah Verso in the kitchen after the bushrangers came in; I mean Jeffs and Conway. Jeffs was in the kitchen at the time I saw Sarah Verso. Ward was in the parlour. Conway was in the kitchen. I saw Sarah Verso leave the kitchen before Ward and Jeffs fell. I did not see her return before the shot was fired. I did not see her any where close before the shot was fired. Jeffs was outside when I saw him first that evening. I was sitting in the kitchen at that time; there was no one else in the kitchen. Jeffs came in; there was a light on the table; he had a double-barrelled piece in his hand; he had the piece in both hands; he carried it with him to the parlour door. He asked me how many men were there? It old him there was only me. I did not see Conway until I saw him in the kitchen; he came directly after Jeffs; the other four men followed Jeffs in. The four men did not leave the kitchen. Jeffs went to the passage door leading from the kitchen to the parlour; he went forwards, and I remained in the kitchen. He came back with Ward in about two minutes. I heard a noise, like scuffling, before they entered. Conway had a double-barrelled piece. Jeffs presented his piece, and said he would shoot any one that stirred. He said, “Sit still; the first one that moves I’ll shoot you.” Conway stood near the outer door of the kitchen when Ward and Jeffs fell. It was about three minutes from the time Jeffs came in until I went down to the field. I did not see any other arms with Conway than the double-barrelled piece, I don’t recollect seeing any pistol on Conway’s person. I saw a double-barrelled gun fall before I left the kitchen; it fell close alongside Jeffs and Ward. Conway was standing at the door at the time he had his double-barrelled gun in his hand.

By Jeffs. - I never saw you until that night. You never was in my presence more than a minute. I think you had a blue shirt on. I could not say whether you had a hat or cap on. I cannot swear that you had any thing on your head. To the best of my recollection you had a waistcoat over the shirt. I did not take notice if your hair was short or long.

By Conway. - To the best of my recollection you had a short fustian jacket on. You was in the kitchen about two minutes when I went out. I did not notice your whiskers; I don’t recollect if you had whiskers or not. I swear you are the man that was at Mr. Galligan’s. It might be nine or ten feet from where I sat to where you stood. I saw a scar on your neck as I passed you.

By the Jury. - Conway did not speak to me as I passed out. He was not at the door when I went out; he was near Ward at that time.

Sarah Verso. - I was living at Mr. Gilligans on the 2nd May last, and saw the prisoners Jeffs and Conway there on that evening; I had not seen Conway before that evening; I saw Jeffs first; I saw him when I opened the kitchen door; the little man presented a piece at me and asked who was in the kitchen; I mean the prisoner Jeffs; it is the outside door I speak of. There were other four men and Conway behind them; the three prisoners next me are three of those men; Jeffs asked me who was inside; I told him my master and mistress, and a gentleman at tea with them; I went into the parlour and little Jeffs followed me; Jeffs presented his piece into the parlour door and said if any body moved he would shoot them; Conway and the four men were at this time in the kitchen. Mr. Ward was in the parlour, my master and mistress and two children. When the little man, Jeffs, turned round to order us all into the parlour, Mr. Ward rose, and struggled out with Jeffs towards the kitchen through the passage. I was standing with the parlour door in my hand preventing my master and mistress from going out; I saw Ward and Jeffs get into the kitchen; I heard very little noise until I heard the piece; I heard a noise as if some wooden thing broke a little more than a minute before I heard the piece; I heard Conway say: “My mate mate, above or below.” I know Thomas Sewell; I do not know where he was when I heard those words. I heard the little man Jeffs reply to Conway “Above”; it was more than a minute before I heard the shot; I don’t think I could walk three times the length of the court, before I heard the shot; I went immediately into the kitchen along with master and mistress; Sewell was not in the kitchen then; I could not see any person going out of the kitchen from where I stood; there were four men tied, two with their hands before, and two with their hands behind. When I went into the kitchen I saw Mr. Ward lying on the floor; Conway was standing behind a bench near Mr. Ward; my mistress and the little man went up stairs for a piece; while they were away Conway lifted Mr. Ward up with his back against the bench and put out the fire that was burning on his coat. Jeffs asked if they had any fire arms in the house - my master said there was an old musket up stairs. Jeffs returned to the kitchen with my mistress, he had a musket with him; my master was going up to Conway in the kitchen, when Conway told him to stand back or he would shoot him. My mistress said it was a great pity, as Mr. Ward had a large family - she said that to Jeffs and Conway. Jeffs said “I know that.” Conway said “Why did he not keep out of our road, we tried to shoot him before.” Jeffs stamped, was very angry, and said he would rather give a thousand guineas it had not happened. My mistress and I went into the parlour; the little man came after me and presenting his piece asked me where the man had run to, and whether I was his wife; Sewell had run away; Jeffs bid Conway look after that man before he presented the gun at me; they left the house directly after. I saw Mr. Ward after they had gone, he was dead.

By the Court. - I had known Mr. Ward about six weeks, he was District Constable of Fingal; I had never seen Jeffs or Conway before; I recollected Conway’s voice when he said “above or below.” The four men that were tied went away with Jeffs and Conway; Jeffs told my mistress he would send somebody back to keep us company, and afterwards the prisoners Selby and Rushbrook came back.

By Jeffs. - The first time heard Conway speak was when he came into the kitchen and told the men to stand all of a row before the fire; I heard him speak to my master afterwards; the master never left the kitchen until you came down stairs, the first time I heard you speak was when you asked me how many men were in the kitchen; the next time I heard you speak was when you asked me if there was any money or drink in the house; it was after the man was dead that you asked for the piece.

Re-examined. - I heard Jeffs speak when he presented the gun at Mr. Ward.

Mary Ann Gilligan. - I am the wife of Mr. Gilligan. I know all the prisoners at the bar; I saw the prisoners on the night of the 2nd of May last. Riley Jeffs came to the parlour door and presented his piece, and told us to stand; there was in the parlour, Mr. Ward, my husband, one child, and myself. Mr. Ward rushed out at the door, and caught hold of Jeffs. I afterwards went into the kitchen; Ward and Jeffs had left the parlour door before I went into the kitchen. They were struggling in the passage. I heard a shot fired. As Ward rushed out, Sarah shifted in behind the door; she had hold of her master’s coat, begging of him not to go out. We went into the kitchen, after we heard the shot fired; there was in the kitchen then, Jeffs and Conway, and the four men who were tied. Mr. Ward was dead on the floor. Conway had a gun in one hand, and appeared to have pistols in his belt. When I first entered the kitchen Conway was taking a small pistol from Mr. Ward’s coat pocket, which he placed in his own belt. Conway was stooping, and held a gun in his hand; Jeffs had a pistol in his hand, but no gun. I saw a broken gun on the floor, after Mr. Hamilton’s men came back in the course of the night; I did not see Sewell during the night, nor until eight o’clock the next morning. I asked the bushranger what made them shoot Mr. Ward - that he had a large family. Conway told me not to be frightened - to attend to him - there [???] life yet. Sarah was present at the time, Conway asked Mr. Gilligan to lift Ward up. Riley Jeffs said they would not have shot him, if he had sat quiet; Jeffs said he would not have had it happened for a thousand pounds; he appeared very much hurt. It was about ten o’clock when the two men came back; Selby was one of those men. The three prisoners, Selby, Pearse, and Rushbrook, were three of the men who were tied. The four men went away with the bushrangers, Selby and Rushbrook came back about ten or half-past ten; they said the bushrangers desired them to come back. Selby brought back the barrel of the piece that was broken; he said by desire of the bushrangers. He looked about for the pieces that were broken; he picked up some small screws. They told me they had left the bushrangers two miles or two miles and a half away in the direction of St. Paul’s Sugar Loaf; they said they had been taken two miles or two miles and a half before they were untied; they said the bushrangers had told them to come back, and the two other to go to Mr. Rosier’s house. Selby remained until four o’clock in the morning; he left the house on Mr. Ward’s horse; he told me he was going to Fingal; he took the barrel of the gun, and some papers belonging to Mr. Ward; he said he was going to Mr. Franks to raise the alarm, about the bushrangers; he told me he would have gone before, only he was waiting to know if Sewell had gone to Avoca to give the alarm. Rushbrook remained until eight o’clock the next morning; I asked him to wait and have some breakfast. Selby told me the bushrangers had given him the barrel of the gun, and he was going to take it to Fingal. I have known Mr. Ward twelve months; I have seen him frequently; his name was William Ward. I saw the stock of a piece when Selby and Rushbrook came back; it was on the floor in the kitchen; there was no barrel in it; it was a double barrel. I had seen all the three men before that night; I had never seen Jeffs or Conway before that night.

On the prisoner Jeffs being asked if he wished to cross-examine the last witness, it was discovered that the unfortunate man was in a fit; he was immediately removed to the jury room, and Dr. Benson promptly attended. Considerable confusion was created by this accident, and much uncertainty prevailed as to the proper course to be pursued; at length it was determined to adjourn the case until the morning, proper officers being sworn in to prevent the jury from having any communication with other persons. The court was excessively crowded during the day. The jury were furnished with proper accommodation at Mr. Hinshaw’s hotel.

Wednesday, July 5.

His Honor the Chief Justice took his seat on the bench at 10 o’clock. The Jury were brought into Court and called over, for the information of the prisoner Jeffs.

Mr. A. Gilligan cross-examined by Jeffs. - The woman pushed the parlour door partly too.

By Selby. - I don’t recollect anything particular occurring when you came back. I recollect your saying you was going to Fingal with the barrel of the piece. I told you Sewell must certainly have gone there. I told you to wait to see if the constables came from Avoca, and asked you to tell me the particulars of what had occurred in the kitchen.

By the Jury. - It is four miles to the nearest police station from my house.

John Phillips. - I was in the service of Mr. Hamilton on the lst of May last. I know all the prisoners at the bar. I saw Riley Jeffs about 4 o’clock in the afternoon of the lst May. I went in company with Jeffs, and Conway the next evening to Mr. Gilligan’s. Selby, Rushbrook, and Pearse were with me also. Jeffs and Conway forced us to go with them. Our hands were tied when we went to Gilligan’s. The two whose hands were tied behind did not carry any thing; the other two carried empty knapsacks. I saw Mr. Ward jump to Riley Jeffs and catch hold of him. Jeffs had a double-barrelled percussion piece in his hands. He had several pistols in his belt. I do not know if they were loaded. I know one of the barrels of the piece was loaded. I saw Jeffs and Mr. Ward in the kitchen after they were both down. I did not see them fall. I saw Conway; he was standing at the kitchen door; the outer door. When Ward had Jeffs down, Jeffs called “Let me go! Let me go!” Conway stepped forward and shot Ward, but whether with a gun or a pistol I can’t say; Before Conway fired, he said, “Where are you, mate?” There was a candle on the table, about four yards from them. I did not hear any answer when Conway said “Where are you mate!” I did not hear the words above or below mentioned. There was light enough in the kitchen to see which was uppermost. Riley Jeffs was uppermost. I did not see Jeffs draw any pistol from his belt; he had a pistol in his hand when he arose. I do not know if the pistols Jeffs carried were loaded. Mr. and Mrs. Gilligan cried out, “Oh, my God! what a family of children he has left behind him!” Riley Jeffs said he would not have had it happen for ten thousand pounds. Jeffs asked if there was any tea or sugar, grog, or money in the house? I saw Jeffs leave the kitchen with Mrs. Gilligan. Jeffs came back into the kitchen with Mrs. Gilligan. Jeffs had a musket with him then; he had not that musket when he went out of the kitchen. Thomas Sewell was in the kitchen when we went in first. He want out about two minutes after we entered. The shot was fired the moment after. I heard Conway say, “There is a man gone; who is he?” He left the house about five minutes afterwards. We left the house in the same manner as we came in. We proceeded round the fence, between the fence and the river that led to Fingal. You must keep on the main road to go to Fingal from Gilligan’s house; but you keep more on the right to go to St. Paul’s Sugar Loaf. We went along the road ten or fifteen yards after we passed the brush fence. We went out the front of the house. It was necessary to go round the bush fence to reach the spot we went to that night. We went about 30 yards in the direction of St. Paul’s Sugar Loaf in the bush. They did not give any reason for going that way. We afterwards turned back in the direction of Mr. Hamilton’s place. We were all together  untied before we got to Mr. Hamilton’s; we were untied at the back of the fence when we left Mr. Gilligan’s house. None of us were armed that were tyied. Conway untied me, and I untied the others, by the directions of Jeffs and Conway. Jeffs and Conway were armed then. We were directed to go back to Hamilton’s by Jeffs and Conway. I was ordered by Conway to stop outside the house, about twenty yards, and walk backwards and forwards; and if I heard or saw anybody, I was to call out “No 2 look out.” Conway remained at the door, and the others went inside. They remained in the house about ten minutes; they then told us to dry ourselves, and left us. They went away. They told us that two of us were to go to Mr. Rosier’s, and two to Mr. Gilligan’s, and report which way they were gone. They desired all of us to report that they had gone in the direction of Sr. Paul’s Sugar Loaf, two miles from Mr. Gilligan’s house. [The witness was here directed to show upon paper the various localities of the Sugar Loaf, Gilligan’s and Hamilton’s houses.] We parted company with Jeffs and Conway at Mr. Hamilton’s house. They went away in the direction of Benlomond Creek. That is directly opposite to the Sugar Loaf. They had not to cross a ford in going from Hamilton’s house. We crossed a ford coming from Gilligan’s house. The directions were given to all the four of us. We were all together when those directions were given. It was not mentioned which two were to go to Gilligan’s; it was left to our own discretion. I said that I had been living at Mr. Rosier’s, and that I would go with Pearse and report it there. The four of us were together at this time. Selby and Rushbrook were to go to Gilligan’s; to report the way the bushrangers had gone; they were to report that had been agreed upon. There was no other place mentioned than Gilligan’s and Rosier’s. Nothing was said about Fingal or Mr. Franks the magistrate. Selby and Rushbrook said they would go to Gilligan’s; we all four left Hamilton’s together; we went as far as the ford together; we parted there; Selby and Rushbrook went in the direction of Gilligan’s house, me and Pearse went to Rosier’s that night. Rosier’s is a little better than a mile from the ford; it is two miles from Gilligan’s to Rosier’s. I did not see Selby or Rushbrook during the time I was at Rosier’s; I saw Mr. and Mrs. Rosier and two men when I got there. [The Chief Justice here objected to the Attorney General giving in evidence as to what they had reported at Rosier’s.] Pearse was present at Rosier’s. We were tied about a quarter of a mile before we got to Gilligan’s. It was on the afternoon of the lst of May that I first saw the bushrangers; I saw them all the day of the 2nd of May; the prisoners Jeffs and Conway are the two men I speak of. We went to Gilligan’s by the orders of Jeffs and Conway; Jeffs and Conway told us, that if we did not report as they directed, that they had taken us two miles under St. Paul’s Sugar Loaf, they would come back and shoot the whole four of us.

By Jeffs. - We crossed the Fingal road twice in going to Hamilton’s; the first time we crossed the road after we came out of the home was when we went in the direction of the river; the fence is opposite the house; it is not in the direction of St. Paul’s Sugar Loaf; when we first crossed the road we were going in the direction of Mr. Hamilton’s; the second time we crossed, we were going in the direction of St. Paul’s Sugar Loaf; we went about thirty yards in that direction; after going about thirty yards we turned back and crossed the road to Mr. Hamilton’s place; after we crossed the road a third time we crossed the ford also, to go to Mr. Hamilton’s; it was about twenty minutes after we crossed the ford that you and Conway left us altogether; you mentioned two or three times about us going to Gilligan’s and Rosier’s. When Mr. Ward was shot his head was about two yards from the outer kitchen door; Mr. Ward was lying on the floor then, and you on top of him; Mr. Ward was dead while you were on top of him; he was not dead until you cried out “let me go, let me go;” he was then shot; his head was fronting the outer door; Conway was not a foot from Mr. Ward when Ward was shot; I was a yard and a half from him, standing before the fire; my back was towards the fire; I was looking towards where Mr. Ward was on the ground; I could see Mr. Ward’s body, head and shoulders; Conway was to the right of me, the outer door was to my right hand; I could not see any body at the outer door at the time I was looking at Mr. Ward; I only heard one shot fired in Mr. Gilligan’s house; if any body had come to the back door and fired a shot, I must have seen them; the back door was shut; Sewell was not in the kitchen at the time the shot was fired; I saw Sewell go out of the kitchen directly Conway stepped forward; Sewell pulled the door too; I could not tell whether I could put my arm through; I was not near enough to the door to see if any one pointed a piece through; I can swear that no person fired any shot except the time Conway stooped; the shot I heard must have come from a pistol or a percussion piece that Conway had in his hand; when Conway stood at the door he had a pistol in one hand and a percussion gun in the other; the shot was fired directly Conway stopped; I could not say whether the shot was fired from the gun or the pistol; it must have been fired from the one or the other; I heard the cap go off; I did not see any flash; I did not see Mr. Ward’s hands when the shot went off; I could not see whether Mr. Ward had a pistol in his hand or not; I did not see that you have a piece or a pistol when the shot was fired; the shot was fired when Mr. Ward’s head was between you and Conway; at the time the shot was fired I was frightened, I could not tell who fired it.

Re-examined. - I did not see any flash at the time I heard the report; if a gun had been fired at the kitchen door I must have seen it; Conway was standing between me and the two parties on the ground at the time the shot was fired; I did not see any smoke when the shot was fired; I saw no smoke at all; I saw a dimness in the light of the candle; I did not perceive the dimness until after the shot was fired; I saw no smoke; the report was a loud one; I heard the cap snap directly Conway stooped; I heard the report and the snap distinctly; Ward and Jeffs were lying on the ground; Conway seemed quite close when the piece was fired; he was standing at Ward’s head immediately behind him.

By the Jury. -I do not know whether the pistol was a percussion or not that Conway had; I saw one percussion pistol in his possession.

The witness was cross examined at considerable length by Jeffs, as to the direction of the doors, and the position of the parties in the kitchen, to elucidate which, the witness with some difficulty sketched out a plan upon paper.

(The witness was ordered to be detained in custody.)

William Franks, Esq., - I knew Mr. Ward; I am Assistant Police Magistrate of Fingal, and also Coroner; I held an inquest at the house of Mr. Gilligan on the 5th and 6th of May, on the body of William Ward, the district constable; I know his name was William Ward; the body was examined by Dr. Thomas Smart.

Dr. Thomas Smart. - I am a surgeon; I am in the service of Government, and stationed at the Fingal probation party; I attended an inquest on the 5th May at the house of Mr. Gilligan; I saw a body in the kitchen, it was the body of William Ward, the district constable of Fingal; the body was lying on the kitchen floor, I examined it externally; I saw a large lacerated wound on the right shoulder - rather behind the shoulder; the wound was black with powder and full of burnt rags; I traced the bullet through the right collar bone which was broken; it was a gun shot wound; the piece must have been discharged very close to the body; I opened the body for the purpose of tracing the wound further; on opening the chest I found the wound had penetrated it immediately behind the right collar bone, on tracing further I found two of the vertebrae divided; there were two wounds about an inch and a half apart; they were the second, third or fourth darsal vertebrae immediately between the shoulders; the piece must have been levelled as near as possible horizontally to the body; the wound could not be inflicted by himself; I think it barely possible; I saw two wounds through the left lung corresponding with the wounds through the vertebrae; these wounds were three inches apart, and could not be inflicted by one ball; there were two wounds on the inner side of the surface of the chest; I saw one external wound on the left side of the chest; that wound was inflicted from within, a ball having passed through; that wound corresponded with the one in the lowest vertebrae and the wound in the left lung; I traced the other wound and found a bullet lodged in the inner surface of the left shoulder blade; I made search where the body was lying and found a bullet underneath the body; these are the bullets which I found; (bullets produced) they are in the same state as when I found them; the wounds were of a mortal character, calculated to produce immediate death; death would equally ensue from the division of the spinal chord as from the wound in the left lung; the more immediate cause I think was the wound in the lung; death was caused by those wounds; if that wound was inflicted by a person near Ward, he must have stood immediately behind him or a little to the right side; it could not have well be done by a person on the left side; I am assuming that Mr. Ward was lying on his back at the time of receiving the wound; the wound in the lung was the more immediate cause of death although they were both mortal wounds; either of the wounds would have caused instant death.

By Jeffs. - One ball was on the floor, the other was not.

This closed the case on the part of the Crown.

The prisoner Conway made no defence. Jeffs addressed the Court, pointing out the deficiency of the evidence as to his identity, and accusing the several witnesses of having perjured themselves. The other prisoners made no defence.

His Honor, the Chief Justice commenced summing up at half-past three, going most minutely over the whole case and commenting at great length upon the evidence.

The Jury retired (about 6 o’clock) for a short time, and returned a verdict - finding Conway and Jeffs - Guilty, and acquitting the other three prisoners Selby, Rushbrook, and Pearse.

The Jury recommended the prisoner Jeffs to mercy.

The Attorney General requested that Rushbrook, Selby and Pearse might be remanded, as it was his intention to file an information against them for perjury.

The prisoner Jeffs, although suffering severely from the effects of his wound, cross-examined the witnesses with considerable tact; in fact, he was spokesman for the whole of the party accused.

The Court was excessively crowded during the whole day.

[The remainder of the trials will be published in the Trifler.]

Pedder C.J., 10 July 1843

Source: Cornwall Chronicle, 15 July 1843


Monday, July 10 - On the court being opened, the two prisoners, Jeffs and Conway, were placed at the bar. On being asked in the usual form if they had any thing to say why they should not be adjudged to die according to law, neither of them answered further than “No.” His Honor then proceeded to address the prisoners, pointing out the enormity of the offence - that their victim had been hurried into eternity in a moment, while performing a duty incumbent upon him, leaving the widow and the orphan to lament his loss. They went there armed - premeditating robbery - perhaps murder. The circumstance of the crime, His Honor observed, was most atrocious, even for men in their situation - they were two to one - there was nobody to oppose them but a helpless old man and two females - the remainder of the persons being already secured. The jury had recommended the prisoner Jeffs to mercy; I shall be most happy, said His Honor, to be the bearer of that recommendation to the proper authorities, but I should do very wrong were I to hold out hopes that mercy will be extended towards you - there is mercy towards society to be shown, as well as mercy towards you. Were it once suffered to go abroad that offences might be committed with a hope of pardon, stopping short of murder, the consequences would be serious indeed - there is one circumstance, observed the learned judge, in your favour - you did not shoot the unfortunate man when he attempted to secure you - the circumstances of the case must be left to wiser men than me to determine on. I shall not detain you from where your time may be better employed, and nothing now remains for me but to pass upon you the awful sentence of the law which is, that you Thomas Conway, and you Riley Jeffs be taken from hence to the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, there to be hung by the neck until each of you be dead, and your bodies to be dissected - and may the Lord have mercy upon your souls.

The prisoners were then removed - Conway preserving the same hardened obstinacy which he had exhibited during the whole of the proceedings. Jeffs, whose case certainly excited some feeling of commiseration, was observed to shed tears. His Honor was much affected while addressing the prisoners. A military guard was in attendance.

* * * *

An unsuccessful attempt was made by the Attorney-General, at the sessions just terminated, to bring to punishment certain parties charged as accessaries after the fact - persons who, by false information given to the police, prevented in some measure the capture of the misguided men, immediately after committing the atrocious murder of Mr. Ward. Had the Attorney General succeeded in obtaining a verdict, it would be striking at the root of the evil at once; for what is so important as correct information of the movements of desperadoes, setting the peaceful part of the community at defiance? The Attorney-General would have succeeded in the charge against the accessaries in Mr. Ward’s case, had it not been for an informality in the information. As it is, there is no doubt much good will accrue when it becomes known that persons assisting bushrangers, even in the most indirect manner, will be proceeded against with the utmost rigour of the law.


[1] AOTSC 41/5: Jeffs and Conway were sentenced to be hanged and dissected. Joseph Selby, George Pearse and James Rushbrook were charged with being accessaries but found not guilty.



Tuesday 13 June 1843


Hobart, June 8. 983

Subscription to the Widow of the late District Constable Ward.

THE late Mr. District Constable Ward lost his life on the eveningof the 2nd May, under the

following circumstances :—He was returning on duty from St. Paul's to his station (Fingal), and stopped at the home of Mr. Gilligan; whilst taking tea there, the parlour was entered by an armed bushranger, upon whom Mr. Ward rushed; they fell together in the scuffle, when the bushranger, with whom Mr. Ward was engaged, called to his companion for assistance, who im mediately drew a pistol from his belt and shot Mr Ward dead. Mr. Ward thus sacrificed his life to his duty, and having left a wife and six children totally unprovided for, it is hoped that the public will sympathise in the destitute condition of this family and their Irreparable loss.

Amount already advertised - £219 18s 4d

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Joseph Johnson £ 1 Henry Jones - 5s

John Ashton 2s 6d James Brown - 5s Dr. Stoddart . 4s

Thomas F. Gorringe 4s William Reynolds - 1s Major Cheape £ 1

Brighton Constables Win. Webb -2s 6d ditto Thos. Jones -2s 6d ditto Wm. White - 6d

ditto Geo. Pearle £ 1 2s 6d ditto Geo. Potts -2s 6d

William Gill - 2s 6d M. M'Donald - 1s 6d John Rider 2s 6d

Henry Speaks 10s

Mr. James Staples 4s

... Win. Blaclklow 4s

Mr. Davis has given

up a bill of accept- ance from the late Mr. Ward of the amount of - £ 11 18s 8d

Richmond. Chas. Schaw, P. M £ 1 Thomas Stansfield 10s

James Bonney 10s Christopher Bonney 10s

W'. J. Aislable £ 1 Mrs. G. £ 1

Captain Booth, R.N. £ 1 J. Jennett, P. C. - 5s Simon M'Culloch 10s Francis Rose 10s

Daniel Murphy . 10s

Mrs. Atkinson 10s John James Low £ 1 James Cook . . 5s

Walter Sky - 2s 6d

Harriet Baines 2s 6d

Francis Smith, Esq., £ 2

H. B. - 5s

Richard Ockerby £ 1 5s 6d Andrew Tolmey 10s John Smith - 10s Mrs. Smith 5s

Charles Lamb 10s Edwin Lascelles . 10s

J. A. Thrupp - 5s

John Holmes - 10s Miss C. - 5s

Charles Robert D.C. 10s Walter Frayne 2s 6d

John Milward - 2s 6d

Henry. Barnes 2s 6d James Corrigan 10s Keady Leary - 5s Peter Magin - 5s

Henry Brice , D. C. 5s

Mr.s. J. Bonney 2s 6d

W. Lennard 2s 6d Samuel Holmes 1s Mr. Jarvis 4s

William Williams - 2s 6d

Charles Sharpe 2s 6d

Robert Archer 2s 6d Richard Davis 2s 6d R. Robertshaw 5s

M- Dunphy - 5s

Geo. Williams, D.C. 5s Robert. Blyth - 5s

C. Gatehouse - 2s 6d Jonathan Watson - 5s T. Featherstone 1s

B. Zelley 4s

D. Hildyard - 4s John Webster 2s

Joseph Paterson 2s 6d Mary Smith - 1s

Campbell Town

James Hamilton £ 1 Hugh Kean - £ 1 10s Charles Price 19s

Wm. Bedford, jun £ 1

William Valentino £ 1 Robert Sutton 10s William Dodd 10s John Lee 5s

James Turner 5s

Wm. M'Lennon 10s James Thomson 5s James Drew - 5s

George Fellows 2s William McKay 10s

John Griffin - 5s George Scott 5s

Joseph Musselwhite 10s William Broad 10s

George Birch 4s John Leake - £ 5

James M'Neal - 5s Hezekiah Harrison £ 3 Charles McKenzie £ 1 1s

Honry Addison 5s George Scott 5s

James Smith 10s Walter Davidson £ 3 Adam Robertson 10s Thomas Tucker £ 1 1s John Leake, M. D. £ 1 1s

J. C. Sutherland £ 2

.W. J. Ruffey - £ 1

H. Keach £ 1

William Ward £ 1 James Whitehead 10s Robert Taylor £ 1

Benjamin Hearne - £ 1

John Fletcher - 10s

Edward Bartlett - 2s 6d John Kidd 5s

George Bennett 10s

James Barefoot 2s 6d

Thomas Davidson 2s Samuel Horton £ 1

C. Hewer 2s

A Friend 1s 6d John Cook 1s Dennis Bacon 1s

William Thornhill £ 2 2s 6d Henry Smith - 2s Charles Inglebert . 10s

Thomas Hamilton 5s'


The A.P. Magistrate £ 1 James Cox, Esq. - £ 2 J.R.Kenworthy, Esq £ 2

Rev. G. Wilkinson - £ 1

Mr. K.Murray, D.C. £ 1

... J. S.Martin.P.C. £ 1 Constable Harvey - 10s

Matthews 10s

Brighton Constables

ditto John Walpole 1s

ditto Alex. Adams 1s ditto John Ling - 1s James James 2s

Henry Farrings 4s

Charles Littler 4s

Thomas Chadwick - 2s 6d William M'Kennan 4s George Miller 2s 6d

Maurice Clifford 4s

Rev. George Otter 10s

Constable Howe 10s

ditto Broadhurst 10s ditto Crother - 10s onst. Butt : 10s

Const Ingham 10s Const M'Inley 10s Const Pestell 10s Const J Saxson - 10s

Const.Cuft 10s Const Reed 5s Thomas Falls £ 1

Henry Bloer - 5s

William Sutton £ 1

William Sidebottom 7s 6d John Morrisson - 5s Thomas Wass - 10s William Peek £ 1

Bartholomew Soden 10s Wiliiam Carlow 5s

Lawrence Council - 10s Henry Stephenson - £ 1

John Whittle - 5s Wm. Bramick £ 1 Win. Muchall 10s

John Powell - 4s 6d

Murphy & Son £ 1 Samuel Bryan £ 1

John Glove, sen. 10s James Pyke 10s

Britton Jones 10s

Joseph Moore, jun . 10s John Lawson 10s Samuel Porter 3s 6d

Thomas Wellington 5s

William Stone 10s John Moore - 10s

Thomas Dowling - 10s

John Bondel - 2s 6d W. R. Hawkes 10s Mr. Jenner 2s 6d


Rev. G. Bateman - £1 John Whitefoord, P.M. £2 2s Captain Bush, V. M £. 1 Thomas Anstey £2 Joseph Cahill - £1

Francis G. Tabart - £2 Thomas M'Kee £1

John Starmsworlh - £1

William Nicholls, jun. £1

Samuel Thomson - 10s Andrew Mitchell - £1 William Neale 10s

Samuel Dickson £1 Daniel O'Connor £1 Edward Greenbank - 10s Robert Harrisson - £1 James Pillenger 10s William Kimberley - £1 Thomas Hughes 10s Robert Davidson - £1 Matthew Miller 5s John Picken - 4s George Wilson £1 John Wilson - £1 A. McLeod - 10s

James Pennycuik 8s

Thomas Hudspeth - £1

Peter Harrison £1 H. Nicholas - £1 James Jones - £1 John Jones £1

Robert Jones - £1 Robert Jones - £1 William Gibbs 5s

Thomas Brown 10s

Henry Taylor 5s John Page 5s

William Pyke £1

Edward Bisdee £1

O. G. Armstrong - 5s

M. Coullen 4s

Robert Evans 5s

Robert Young 5s

John Nixon 3s

John Main - 5s Alexander Smith - 4s Percival Gledhill . 5s John Collins - 4s

Thomas Donaldson 4s

James Brutley 4s S. Tracey 4s

Mr. Simmonds 4s W. Walter 4s Mr. Roberts 4s

Joseph Creswell 5s

Henry Hunt - £1 F. Weeding £1 William Porter 2s 6d

Samuel Page 10s Charles Sutton 2s 6d James Smith 2s 6d

A Friend 1s A Friend 10s

John G older £1

Thomas Nicholls 10s Edward Barwick 2s 6d

William Young 2s 6d S. B. Ringsley 5s

Oatlands Javelin Men 15s Samuel Walker 5s

Thomas Burbury £1 1s

John Beard - 5s Joseph Cahill, jun. £1

Mr. John Robinson

forgives a debt of £3 3s 6d

Additional Morven. Theodore Bartley - £ 1 Mr. William Huxtable £1

... George Collins - 10s

... John Relstone - £1 ... Matthew Relstone 10s ... Henry Glover - 10s

Prosser's Plains.

Gen. Yeoland,A.P.M. £ 2 Ditto (apprehending

a runaway) . £2 C. O. Parsons, J.P. £ I Edw. Rainsford, D.C 1 Thomas Egon, P.C. £1 A. F. Stuart, Supt. £ 1 G. Stanley, storekpr. 10s C. W. Seeburg, ovr. 10s

S. H. Grueber - £ 1 Thomas Cruttenden £1 George Banzing - £1 James Rawlings 5s

Solomon Green 5s Frederick Rose 4s

Thomas Bath . 5s

Maria Tarvey 5s John Tarvey - 5s

John Lear 2s

John Ceasby - 4s

Prosser's Plains Constables Jon Hope - 4s Ditto Thos. White 4s ditto John Ingram 4s

ditto ' Joseph Minerds 4s

ditto James Tyror 4s

ditto Steph. Nessley 4s

ditto John Glazier 4s Prosser's Plains Ticket of Leave Men Francis Lovett 4s

ditto James Moring . 4s

ditto John Haines - 4s ditto James Smithson 4s ditto James Taylor 2s ditto John Shipley 4s ditto Leonard Horner 4s ditto George Hawkins 5s ditto William Fox - 4s

ditto Thos. Langford 2s

ditto James Smith .4s ditto John Fullock - 4s

ditto Samuel Carter . 4s ditto James Blackett 4s ditto Chas. Deverhall 4s ditto Geo. Digarton - 4s ditto George Parker 5s ditto William Arnold 4s ditto Samuel Howell 5s

ditto John Smith 4s

Spring Bay.

F. Auber, Esq., J.P. £ 2 W. B. Iles, D.C. - £1 Marianne A. Iles - £1 M.Vicary, Esq.,J.P. £1 Jas. Hobbs, Esq., J.P. £1 George Rudd 10s

Mrs. .Elliott - 10s

... Radford . 10s W. S. - 5s

Mrs. Mitchell 2s

Three Children 5s A Friend 3s

Henry Pullen - 2s 6d.

Spring Bay Constable 4s

William Ford 4s

Thomas Purdon 4s

Robert Ferrie . . 4s Thomas Raynor 4s


G. Hunt, Esq., J.P. £1 J. Dixon, Esq.; J.P. £ 1 J. Abbott,Esq., J.P. £.1

A. F. Kemp,-Esq., £1. V. D. Ainsworth, Esq. £ 1 E. Macdowell,,Esq. £1 Joseph Hone, Esq. . £2

'Total amount of Subscriptions £705 0s 9d