ON THIS DAY ……. 24th March 1951


Herbert Frederick Wason aged 16, of Long Gully, Bendigo, was sent to gaol for five years by for the manslaughter of his former employer. Wason, who cannot read or write and is said to have the mental age of about 9 1/2 years, was charged with the murder of George Archibald Bill aged 49, of Yarrawalla South on This day in 1851. The evidence showed that Wason missed his bus from Yarrawalla South to Bendigo and went to Bill’s home with the idea of taking Bill’s car. Wason found a rifle in the car and shot Bill when he was not looking. Bill ran to an old dairy and Wason fired again. Wason drove the car to Yarrawalla South and abandoned it. He told police he did not mean to kill Bill. Evidence also showed that Bill had taken a fatherly interest in the youth and that they got on well together. In passing sentence, Justice Hudson told Wason, “Your crime consisted of shooting at short range at a man who gave you no provocation whatever. The only semblance of reason for shooting Bill was that you wanted to take a motor vehicle to go home. Ironically enough you were taught to use a rifle by the man you killed. The jury apparently took the view on the medical evidence that mentally you did not realise the consequences of shooting, and the likelihood of killing.”