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EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 20, 1891

The execution of Cornelius Bourke, convicted of the murder of Peter Stewart at the Hamilton lock-up, took place in the Ballarat Gaol at 10 o’clock on Monday morning. It will be remembered that after sentence was pronounced, some doubts arose as to the sanity of the prisoner, and he was examined by medical men who failed to find any evidence of mental aberration beyond imbecility consequent on old age. The law was therefore allowed to take its course, and on being informed of the determination of the Executive, Bourke listened without emotion, and has since looked calmly upon his fate, his only solace being his pipe and tobacco. He has been most diligently attended by the Rev. Father Rogers, who at first appeared to make little impression upon the condemned man, but within the last few days he was more attentive to his ministrations. However, Bourke was quite resigned to his fate, and when spoken to on the subject on Saturday last said he might as well die now as at any future time, as life was only a few minutes strung out, and that he was now an old man and had nothing to live for. On Sunday he was visited by Bishop Moore, and he slept soundly on Sunday night. On Monday morning he was engaged in religious devotion with Father Rogers in the condemned cell, and punctually at 10 o’clock the Sherriff (Mr Anderson) demanded the body from the Governor of the Gaol (Mr Gardiner) in the usual manner. Shortly afterwards Bourke emerged from his cell with his hands securely bound behind him. He was given over to the custody of Jones, the hangman. The melancholy procession proceeded towards the scaffold, the clergyman, at the same time, pronouncing the service for the dead. There were very few spectators besides the officials and the representatives of the Press. On taking his place on the drop of the scaffold, and his legs being bound together, the Governor asked Bourke if he had anything to say, to which he replied, “No, I have nothing to say. What should I say ?” The white cap was then drawn over his face, and the rope adjusted by the hangman. This being done, Jones, the executioner, was proceeding to draw the fatal bar, when Bourke ejaculated, ” I am choking, I am choking” at the same time moving off the drop as well as he could with his legs pinioned together. A little excitement was caused by this incident, but Jones and some of the officials managed to place Bourke on the drop again, when the bar was drawn and he fell a distance of about 5ft. Death appeared to have been instantaneous, as there was not the slightest contraction of the body or other movement. Thus ended the career of Bourke, and at the formal inquest held it was decided that he had been hanged in a judicial manner. The body was buried within the precincts of the gaol, and destroyed as usual by quicklime.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – September 13, 1897 

Charles John Hall who murdered his wife Minnie at Eaglehawk on February 11th was executed at the Bendigo Gaol this morning.  Hall’s parents spoke to him for the last time on Saturday evening, and the parting was a most painful sight, moving the warders to tears.

One warder told me today that he does not want to see such a scene again, and pronounced the sight as worse than witnessing the actual execution.  The mother and father were in a prostrated condition, the mother shrieking in tones that could be heard all over the gaol, “My poor boy, my Charlie”.  She was assisted to a cab and driven home and was at once put to bed.  Both the parents were in a state of collapse with grief, received kind attentions from their neighbours.  Hall broke down himself and the clergymen, Revs Kelly and Crawford, Anglican ministers who attended him, said he very pentinent towards the very end.

Hall passed a bad night and rose at half past seven, when he ate sparingly of bread and butter and drank tea for breakfast.  About nine o clock, the clergymen entered his cell and remained with him until his body was demanded by the Sherriff, spending time in religious exercises.

The prisoner when transferred from Castlemaine Goal weighed 11st 13lbs and today weighed 11st 12lbs. He walked very firmly to the scaffold and looked calmly at the hangman Smith as the latter fixed the fatal noose around his neck.  When asked by the Sherriff if he had anything to say he replied in a low but firm tone “I commit my soul to God”.  He had a drop of seven feet and death was instantaneous.

At the customary inquest a verdict of judicially hanged was returned.

A large crowd of people assembled outside the gaol, the greater portion being women and children. Much feeling was shown against the murderer and great sympathy was expressed for the parents.

EXECUTED THIS DAY – September 13, 1897 

Charles John Hall who murdered his wife Minnie at Eaglehawk on February 11th was executed at the Bendigo Gaol this morning.  Hall’s parents spoke to him for the last time on Saturday evening, and the parting was a most painful sight, moving the warders to tears.

One warder told me today that he does not want to see such a scene again, and pronounced the sight as worse than witnessing the actual execution.  The mother and father were in a prostrated condition, the mother shrieking in tones that could be heard all over the gaol, “My poor boy, my Charlie”.  She was assisted to a cab and driven home and was at once put to bed.  Both the parents were in a state of collapse with grief, received kind attentions from their neighbours.  Hall broke down himself and the clergymen, Revs Kelly and Crawford, Anglican ministers who attended him, said he very pentinent towards the very end.

Hall passed a bad night and rose at half past seven, when he ate sparingly of bread and butter and drank tea for breakfast.  About nine o clock, the clergymen entered his cell and remained with him until his body was demanded by the Sherriff, spending time in religious exercises.

The prisoner when transferred from Castlemaine Goal weighed 11st 13lbs and today weighed 11st 12lbs. He walked very firmly to the scaffold and looked calmly at the hangman Smith as the latter fixed the fatal noose around his neck.  When asked by the Sherriff if he had anything to say he replied in a low but firm tone “I commit my soul to God”.  He had a drop of seven feet and death was instantaneous.

At the customary inquest a verdict of judicially hanged was returned.

A large crowd of people assembled outside the gaol, the greater portion being women and children. Much feeling was shown against the murderer and great sympathy was expressed for the parents.

EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 20, 1891

The execution of Cornelius Bourke, convicted of the murder of Peter Stewart at the Hamilton lock-up, took place in the Ballarat Gaol at 10 o’clock on Monday morning. It will be remembered that after sentence was pronounced, some doubts arose as to the sanity of the prisoner, and he was examined by medical men who failed to find any evidence of mental aberration beyond imbecility consequent on old age. The law was therefore allowed to take its course, and on being informed of the determination of the Executive, Bourke listened without emotion, and has since looked calmly upon his fate, his only solace being his pipe and tobacco. He has been most diligently attended by the Rev. Father Rogers, who at first appeared to make little impression upon the condemned man, but within the last few days he was more attentive to his ministrations. However, Bourke was quite resigned to his fate, and when spoken to on the subject on Saturday last said he might as well die now as at any future time, as life was only a few minutes strung out, and that he was now an old man and had nothing to live for. On Sunday he was visited by Bishop Moore, and he slept soundly on Sunday night. On Monday morning he was engaged in religious devotion with Father Rogers in the condemned cell, and punctually at 10 o’clock the Sherriff (Mr Anderson) demanded the body from the Governor of the Gaol (Mr Gardiner) in the usual manner. Shortly afterwards Bourke emerged from his cell with his hands securely bound behind him. He was given over to the custody of Jones, the hangman. The melancholy procession proceeded towards the scaffold, the clergyman, at the same time, pronouncing the service for the dead. There were very few spectators besides the officials and the representatives of the Press. On taking his place on the drop of the scaffold, and his legs being bound together, the Governor asked Bourke if he had anything to say, to which he replied, “No, I have nothing to say. What should I say ?” The white cap was then drawn over his face, and the rope adjusted by the hangman. This being done, Jones, the executioner, was proceeding to draw the fatal bar, when Bourke ejaculated, ” I am choking, I am choking” at the same time moving off the drop as well as he could with his legs pinioned together. A little excitement was caused by this incident, but Jones and some of the officials managed to place Bourke on the drop again, when the bar was drawn and he fell a distance of about 5ft. Death appeared to have been instantaneous, as there was not the slightest contraction of the body or other movement. Thus ended the career of Bourke, and at the formal inquest held it was decided that he had been hanged in a judicial manner. The body was buried within the precincts of the gaol, and destroyed as usual by quicklime.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – September 13, 1897 

Charles John Hall who murdered his wife Minnie at Eaglehawk on February 11th was executed at the Bendigo Gaol this morning.  Hall’s parents spoke to him for the last time on Saturday evening, and the parting was a most painful sight, moving the warders to tears.

One warder told me today that he does not want to see such a scene again, and pronounced the sight as worse than witnessing the actual execution.  The mother and father were in a prostrated condition, the mother shrieking in tones that could be heard all over the gaol, “My poor boy, my Charlie”.  She was assisted to a cab and driven home and was at once put to bed.  Both the parents were in a state of collapse with grief, received kind attentions from their neighbours.  Hall broke down himself and the clergymen, Revs Kelly and Crawford, Anglican ministers who attended him, said he very pentinent towards the very end.

Hall passed a bad night and rose at half past seven, when he ate sparingly of bread and butter and drank tea for breakfast.  About nine o clock, the clergymen entered his cell and remained with him until his body was demanded by the Sherriff, spending time in religious exercises.

The prisoner when transferred from Castlemaine Goal weighed 11st 13lbs and today weighed 11st 12lbs. He walked very firmly to the scaffold and looked calmly at the hangman Smith as the latter fixed the fatal noose around his neck.  When asked by the Sherriff if he had anything to say he replied in a low but firm tone “I commit my soul to God”.  He had a drop of seven feet and death was instantaneous.

At the customary inquest a verdict of judicially hanged was returned.

A large crowd of people assembled outside the gaol, the greater portion being women and children. Much feeling was shown against the murderer and great sympathy was expressed for the parents.

EXECUTED THIS DAY – April 20, 1891

The execution of Cornelius Bourke, convicted of the murder of Peter Stewart at the Hamilton lock-up, took place in the Ballarat Gaol at 10 o’clock on Monday morning. It will be remembered that after sentence was pronounced, some doubts arose as to the sanity of the prisoner, and he was examined by medical men who failed to find any evidence of mental aberration beyond imbecility consequent on old age. The law was therefore allowed to take its course, and on being informed of the determination of the Executive, Bourke listened without emotion, and has since looked calmly upon his fate, his only solace being his pipe and tobacco. He has been most diligently attended by the Rev. Father Rogers, who at first appeared to make little impression upon the condemned man, but within the last few days he was more attentive to his ministrations. However, Bourke was quite resigned to his fate, and when spoken to on the subject on Saturday last said he might as well die now as at any future time, as life was only a few minutes strung out, and that he was now an old man and had nothing to live for. On Sunday he was visited by Bishop Moore, and he slept soundly on Sunday night. On Monday morning he was engaged in religious devotion with Father Rogers in the condemned cell, and punctually at 10 o’clock the Sherriff (Mr Anderson) demanded the body from the Governor of the Gaol (Mr Gardiner) in the usual manner. Shortly afterwards Bourke emerged from his cell with his hands securely bound behind him. He was given over to the custody of Jones, the hangman. The melancholy procession proceeded towards the scaffold, the clergyman, at the same time, pronouncing the service for the dead. There were very few spectators besides the officials and the representatives of the Press. On taking his place on the drop of the scaffold, and his legs being bound together, the Governor asked Bourke if he had anything to say, to which he replied, “No, I have nothing to say. What should I say ?” The white cap was then drawn over his face, and the rope adjusted by the hangman. This being done, Jones, the executioner, was proceeding to draw the fatal bar, when Bourke ejaculated, ” I am choking, I am choking” at the same time moving off the drop as well as he could with his legs pinioned together. A little excitement was caused by this incident, but Jones and some of the officials managed to place Bourke on the drop again, when the bar was drawn and he fell a distance of about 5ft. Death appeared to have been instantaneous, as there was not the slightest contraction of the body or other movement. Thus ended the career of Bourke, and at the formal inquest held it was decided that he had been hanged in a judicial manner. The body was buried within the precincts of the gaol, and destroyed as usual by quicklime.