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EXECUTED THIS DAY – July 26, 1859

 

Richard Rowley, who was sentenced to death at the Supreme Court on the 18th instant, for a violent and premeditated assault, with intent to murder, committed by him on Denis Kilmartin, one of the overseers at the Pentridge Stockade, on the 25th of June, suffered the extreme penalty of the law at 10 o’clock yesterday morning at the Melbourne Gaol.  The unhappy man, since his conviction has been attended by the Rev. Mr. Studdert, the Gaol Chaplain, and the Rev. Mr. Bryan, the Chaplain at Pentridge. He expressed a deep contrition for the offence of which he was found guilty, and at the last moment died penitent. On being summoned by the Sheriff from his cell, precisely at 10 o’clock, he walked out, pale, but with a firm step. His arms having been pinioned by the executioner, the mournful procession walked slowly down the passage towards the scaffold, the Burial Service being read by Mr. Bryan. Rowley mounted the steps leading to the drop without hesitation or apparent fear; he had evidently braced his nerves and summoned all his resolution to meet his impending fate with firmness. On reaching the drop he knelt and prayed. When he rose his countenance was blanched, but apparently not from terror at the dreadful apparatus of death on which he stood. He turned round to his minister, and bade him good-by, and then, noticing the Governor of the Gaol, said, “Goodby, Mr. Wintle.” These were the last words he uttered. A white cap was then drawn down tightly over his face, and a few moments later — the only sound now heard being the solemn voice of the clergyman repeating the service for the dead—the bolt was drawn, and the wretched man was launched into eternity. A slight convulsive shudder ran through his frame, and in a few moments he ceased to live, death taking place in 42 seconds from the time of his fall. He was cut down at 11 o’clock. Shortly afterwards, an inquest was held on the body by the City

The deceased was a native of Greenwich, and was born in 1824. At 13 years of age, having been tried and convicted of a robbery, committed by him in London, he was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for a period of seven years. He has since repeatedly been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in this colony for numerous thefts. At the time of his committing the offence which has led to his execution he was confined in the Pentridge Stockade under cumulative sentences, altogether making a term of 32 years’ imprisonment. It would seem to be the knowledge of this fact, and despair of ever regaining his liberty, which led him to the commission of the deed for which he suffered. The unhappy man stated that he had been brutally ill-treated by his overseer Kilmartin, at the Stockade. There do not, however, appear to be any grounds for supposing such a statement to be correct, and it will also be remembered that Rowley made this statement in a moment of great excitement at his trial, but he never subsequently alluded to it in calmer moments. Kilmartin was frightfully injured in the desperate affray, in which also Mr. Mitchell, another overseer, was severely wounded by the wretched criminal.

ON THIS DAY…… 26th November 1855

The colony of Van Diemen’s Land becomes known as Tasmania

Fears that the French would colonise Van Diemen’s Land caused the British to establish a small settlement on the Derwent River in 1803. 33 of the 49 people in the group were convicts, and the settlement continued to receive convicts re-shipped from New South Wales or Norfolk Island up until 1812. Regular shipments of convicts directly from Britain began in 1818. A second penal colony was established at Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Van Diemen’s Land in 1822, and three years later, the British Government separated Van Dieman’s Land from New South Wales. Macquarie Harbour was eventually closed down, to be replaced by Port Arthur. Transportation of convicts to Van Diemen’s Land ended in 1853. On 26 November 1855, the colony officially became known as Tasmania and elections for parliament were held the following year.

ON THIS DAY…… 24th November 1642

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman

On the 24th of November 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovered a previously unknown island on his voyage past the “Great South Land”, or “New Holland”, as the Dutch called Australia. He named it Van Diemen’s Land after the governor of Batavia. The Dutch, however, did not settle New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land. The First Fleet, which arrived in Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788 comprised eleven British ships carrying officers and convicts from England.

ON THIS DAY…… 19th November 1834

Edward Henty establishes an illegal settlement at Portland Bay, Victoria.

Edward Henty is considered to be the founder of Victorian settlement. Born at West Tarring, Sussex, England, in 1809, he came to Van Diemen’s Land with his father Thomas in 1832. On 19 November 1834, he landed at Portland Bay on the southwest coast of Victoria, to found a new settlement without official permission. Very few people knew about the settlement, as it was remote from major centres. The first recognition Henty received was when Major Thomas Mitchell, seeking a possible harbour, wandered into the area in 1836 after discovering the rich, fertile farming land of western Victoria. By this time, Henty and his brothers had been established for two years, and were importing sheep and cattle from Launceston.

On this day …….. 24th of August 1846

A young man, named M’Donald, found, on this day in 1846, a bottle on the beach, at Western Port, Victoria, in which was enclosed a slip of paper containing the latitude and longitude of the convict ship, George the Third, on her voyage to Van Diemen’s Land. This vessel was wrecked on the coast of Van Diemen’s Land shortly after the paper, dated the 1st of March, 1835, announcing that “all was well on board,” was written. The bottle must consequently have been floating on the ocean for nearly eleven years.

 

On this day …….. 21st of August 1842

Hobart Town, the main settlement in Van Diemen’s Land, is proclaimed a city.

Hobart is the capital city of Tasmania, Australia, and is the second oldest city in Australia, with Sydney being the oldest. It is Australia’s twelfth largest city. Hobart also serves as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations.
The city began as a penal colony at Risdon Cove on the Derwent River in 1803 to offset British concerns over the presence of French explorers. A year later it was moved to its current location at Sullivan’s Cove. The name Hobart Town was adopted by the settlement in June 1804, after Lord Hobart the Colonial Secretary. The colony of Van Diemen’s Land was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales, with its own judicial establishment and Legislative Council, in December 1825. Hobart Town was proclaimed a city on 21 August 1842, and was renamed as Hobart in 1875.

Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land, proclaimed a city, Hobart, capital city of Tasmania, Australia, second oldest city in Australia, Sydney, Australian, French Antarctic operations, penal colony, Risdon Cove, Derwent River, French explorers, Sullivan’s Cove, Lord Hobart the Colonial Secretary

EXECUTED THIS DAY – July 26, 1859

 

Richard Rowley, who was sentenced to death at the Supreme Court on the 18th instant, for a violent and premeditated assault, with intent to murder, committed by him on Denis Kilmartin, one of the overseers at the Pentridge Stockade, on the 25th of June, suffered the extreme penalty of the law at 10 o’clock yesterday morning at the Melbourne Gaol.  The unhappy man, since his conviction has been attended by the Rev. Mr. Studdert, the Gaol Chaplain, and the Rev. Mr. Bryan, the Chaplain at Pentridge. He expressed a deep contrition for the offence of which he was found guilty, and at the last moment died penitent. On being summoned by the Sheriff from his cell, precisely at 10 o’clock, he walked out, pale, but with a firm step. His arms having been pinioned by the executioner, the mournful procession walked slowly down the passage towards the scaffold, the Burial Service being read by Mr. Bryan. Rowley mounted the steps leading to the drop without hesitation or apparent fear; he had evidently braced his nerves and summoned all his resolution to meet his impending fate with firmness. On reaching the drop he knelt and prayed. When he rose his countenance was blanched, but apparently not from terror at the dreadful apparatus of death on which he stood. He turned round to his minister, and bade him good-by, and then, noticing the Governor of the Gaol, said, “Goodby, Mr. Wintle.” These were the last words he uttered. A white cap was then drawn down tightly over his face, and a few moments later — the only sound now heard being the solemn voice of the clergyman repeating the service for the dead—the bolt was drawn, and the wretched man was launched into eternity. A slight convulsive shudder ran through his frame, and in a few moments he ceased to live, death taking place in 42 seconds from the time of his fall. He was cut down at 11 o’clock. Shortly afterwards, an inquest was held on the body by the City

The deceased was a native of Greenwich, and was born in 1824. At 13 years of age, having been tried and convicted of a robbery, committed by him in London, he was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for a period of seven years. He has since repeatedly been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in this colony for numerous thefts. At the time of his committing the offence which has led to his execution he was confined in the Pentridge Stockade under cumulative sentences, altogether making a term of 32 years’ imprisonment. It would seem to be the knowledge of this fact, and despair of ever regaining his liberty, which led him to the commission of the deed for which he suffered. The unhappy man stated that he had been brutally ill-treated by his overseer Kilmartin, at the Stockade. There do not, however, appear to be any grounds for supposing such a statement to be correct, and it will also be remembered that Rowley made this statement in a moment of great excitement at his trial, but he never subsequently alluded to it in calmer moments. Kilmartin was frightfully injured in the desperate affray, in which also Mr. Mitchell, another overseer, was severely wounded by the wretched criminal.

On this day …….. 29th May 1917

Tasmania is a small island state located off the southeast coast of Australia. Originally named Van Diemen’s Land by Abel Tasman in 1642, Tasmania is the second oldest state in Australia to have been settled. Unlike the other states and territories of Australia, Tasmania does not have an official animal emblem, although the Tasmanian devil is the “unofficial” emblem of the state. The extinct Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine, also symbolises the state on the Tasmanian coat of arms. The coat of arms features a shield supported by two thylacines. On the shield are wheat, apples, hops and sheep, all symbols of Tasmania’s main rural industries. Above the shield is a red lion holding a pick and shovel, which symbolises the rich mining history of the state. The Latin motto underneath is Ubertas et fidelitas, meaning ‘Fertility and Faithfulness’. Tasmania’s coat of arms was approved by Royal Warrant from King George V on 29 May 1917, and proclaimed in 1919.

On this day …….. 28th May 1814

Unlike in the penal colony of New South Wales, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) remained largely a convict settlement for its first fifty years. Little was done to encourage free settlers to take up land on the island. The colony faced starvation in the first few years of its existence, so Governor of Tasmania, Colonel Collins, was forced to send out the convicts to hunt. Lured by their unexpected freedom and undaunted by their isolation from the mainland, many convicts chose not to return, but undertook a life of bushranging. Bushranging soon reached epidemic proportions, and in May 1813, Lieutenant Governor Davey demanded all absconded convicts and bushrangers return by December, or face being shot on sight after that date. Concerned by the ramifications of the subsequent outrage, on 28 May 1814 the Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, offered a pardon to all convicts except for those who had been convicted of murder, if they surrendered within six months. Taking the proclamation as a licence to bushrange, many convicts continued their crimes until the last moment. True to his word, Macquarie pardoned them of all previous crimes, whereupon many of them promptly returned to bushranging.

On this day …….. 3rd May 1804

For many years, Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) was thought to be part of the mainland of Australia. In January 1799 Bass and Flinders completed their circumnavigation of Tasmania, proving it to be an island. As an island, Tasmania enjoyed the uniqueness of its own fauna and flora, and its own indigenous peoples, but all of these were severely disrupted by the arrival of Europeans. Van Diemen’s Land was settled as a separate colony in 1803. 3 May 1804 marks the first of the major hostilities between whites and Aborigines which ultimately led to the decimation of pure-blooded Tasmanian Aborigines. What became known as The Battle of Risdon began when a large group of about 300 aboriginal men on a kangaroo hunt inadvertently wandered into the British settlement. Thinking they were being attacked, the soldiers fired upon the party, killing three of the hunters. Debate has continued over the number of hunters actually killed. While early accounts said that two or three were killed, later the figure was expanded to fifty, and then upwards to 100.

 

On this day …….. 24th April 1804

The first cemetery in Tasmania

Hobart in Tasmania is the second oldest city in Australia, with Sydney being the oldest. The city began as a penal colony at Risdon Cove on the Derwent River in Van Diemen’s Land in 1803 to offset British concerns over the presence of French explorers. On the 24th of April 1804, the first cemetery was established on Van Diemen’s Land. Named St David’s Cemetery, it has since been transformed into St David’s Park.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – March 1, 1858

On the 1st of March 1858, at 8am the convicts Edward Brown and William Jones, who were found guilty at the Ballarat Sessions of the crime of robbery with violence, were executed at Melbourne Gaol. Edward Brown, who belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, was attended in his last moments by the Rev. Mr. Stack, and had, on the previous day, received the Sacrament of confirmation from the Right Rev. Dr. Goold. He was the elder man of the two prisoners, having been born in London in the year 1831. He arrived in this colony free by the ship Othello, in 1852, but had been sent bond to Van Diemen’s Land previously. He was a labouring man. The younger convict, William Jones, arrived in the colony free, in the Andromache, in the year 1849, and was but 23 years of age, having been born in 1835, at Towersley, in Buckinghamshire. He was a member of the Baptist persuasion, and was attended by the Rev. Mr. Taylor, Baptist minister, and at the scaffold by the Bev. Mr. Stoddart, chaplain of the gaol. The prisoner Brown had been twice convicted prior to the commission of the crime for which he suffered, namely, of vagrancy, in 1853, for which he received a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, and again of the same offence in 1857. Jones was once convicted of horse-stealing and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Very few persons besides the proper authorities were present at the execution. Neither of the unhappy men spoke a word, but seemed much downcast. They appeared to suffer when the drop fell for some moments. The bodies, after hanging the usual time, were cut down, and the formal inquest having been held upon them, were interred at the Melbourne cemetery at a late hour in the afternoon.