Part 2 - Australia (Collingwood, Melbourne & Ballarat, Victoria)
It does looks like this needs to be in two parts so
Part 3 - Beyond the Grave
Around the 12th July 1852 from London or Plymouth, Edward, Hannah and 'their' three children Elizabeth (12), Louisa (7) and Thomas (6) board the 529 ton Prince Regent barque and sailed to Australia under Captain W. Jago.
Months later in October 1852, according to the South Australian Register they arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia. They arrived through Port Phillip.
It's four years before we find them in the records again and only thanks to that amazingly wonderful treasure Trove. And it's more trouble for Edward and his family.
The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) dated Tuesday 16 September 1856 carries the following news report.
CHARGE OF COINING.
At the District Court yesterday Edward
Mitchell and John Brown were charged with
making and uttering counterfeit coin. The
prisoners were defended by Messrs. Benson
and Tufton Smith.
Detective Black stated that he arrest-
ed the prisoners in Smith-street, Col-
lingwood, on the previous Saturday. He
took them on suspicion of manufacturing
spurious coin. He, with Randall, another
detective officer, went to Mitchell's house, in
Oxford-street, Collingwood, and remained
watching outside it for two or three hours.
Brown came to the house while they were
there waiting. He entered and remained
about a quarter of an hour, when he left with
Mitchell, and went to the Oxford Arms pub-
lic-house. They remained there for a short
time, and then had some conversation out-
side the place. They afterwards
walked down Smith-street, and
went into the Stirling Castle public-house.
Witness, with Randall, entered the place, and
arrested them. Mitchell, when taken, en-
deavored to conceal something he had in his
hand, and on his being searched seven base
half-sovereigns were found on him. Witness
also found on him a paper, on which was
the following: —
Electric metalling and splitting paper, taking print
out of paper, and substantiating other print : take a
piece of gold the weight of a sovereign, and in 10
seconds reduce it ½ dwt. Take 10 dwts. of fine gold —
add 3 dwts. to same of silver and copper, and pro-
duce a nugget mixed with quartz or otherwise, and
defy detection unless by assaying.
On this paper were several figures in pencil,
unintelligible to all, except the author. A
spurious half-sovereign was found on
the floor near him. On searching Mitchell's
house a quantity of metal was discovered.
Upon Brown were found two chains and a
nugget ring, all of base metal. In Mitchell's
house they also discovered a number of skele-
ton keys, a galvanic battery, a flask of some
metallic solution used in plating. These
things seemed to have been recently used.
He (witness) know Brown, and had heard that
he had been before in trouble for uttering base
Cross-examined : They were obliged to
throw Mitchell down to get the base coin out
of his possession.
Edward Davis stated that the pri-
soner Brown passed a base half-sovereign
to him at the Sarsfield Inn, Little
Bourke-street, on the previous Wednesday.
He called for nobblers for himself and an-
other man, and witness gave him 9s. in
change. When the men went out, he (wit-
ness) examined the half-sovereign, but did
not think it was a bad one until he cut it,
and found it white metal inside. He was
sure as to the identity of the coin. He had
since returned the coin to Brown, and re-
ceived back his change.
The prisoners were then remanded to to-
morrow, the magistrates declining to accept
bail in the present stage of the proceedings.
Another report appeared the following day in the same newspaper - The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) Wednesday 17 September 1856. Note the change of name from John Brown to Samuel Brown.
CHARGE OF COINING.
At the District Court yesterday Samuel
Brown and Edward Mitchell were again
brought up on a charge of coining and utter-
ing spurious half- sovereigns. Mr. Tufton
Smith and Mr. Benson defended the pri-
Superintendent Nicolson, before the com-
mencement of the proceedings, applied for the
discharge of Brown, who was discharged ac-
cordingly, and placed in the witness-box.
Samuel Brown stated that he was a tailor,
residing in Collingwood. He knew Mitchell,
the man at the bar, and had known him for
about six weeks. He was introduced to him
by a man whose name he did not know. He
resided with Mitchell for six weeks, and
during that time Mitchell was occupied in
making spurious rings and nuggets and elec-
tro plating sixpences to "make them into
half-sovereigns." He had seen him make
spurious sovereigns of " speltor," or brass and
copper. He never gave the witness any of
these, but he gave him about forty half-sove
reigns, at different times, to pass them. Ho
passed about eighteen or twenty of these in
company with the prisoner. The spurious
ring produced was manufactured by Mitchell.
He never saw Mitchell pass any of the base
money himself. When any of the base mo
ney was passed they divided the change be-
tween them. The bottle produced contained
a solution of gold. He had seen Mitchell use
both that and the battery produced. They
were last in use on Saturday morning.
Mr. T. Smith objected to this evidence. as
the prison was only charged with having
counterfeit coin in his possession.
The Bench said that the prisoner was
placed at the bar on both charges-that of
counterfeiting and uttering.
Witness continued : The purpose of the
battery and the solution was to plate six-
pences, and Mitchell used them in that pro-
Cross-examined : Was a tailor, and had re-
sided at the Chalk Hill, Ballarat, previously
to his living with Mitchell. He had sold watches
previously to that-silver ones, which he pur-
chased himself. He "carried on that game"
for two years in Melbourne. He then lived
at the "El Dorado," Market-square. He
had sold gilt watches, but did not gild them
himself. He came from, New York to this
colony about four years ago. Had forty dol-
lars with him then, and went as waiter at the
Saracen's Head. He remained there about
six weeks, and then went to Bendigo, where
he was rather fortunate. On the 24th of last
March he went to Mitchell to get some sove-
reigns and half-sovereigns. He was intro-
duced by a man named "Bob," who intro-
duced him on the last occasion. On that day he
got twenty-six sovereigns and half-sovereigns
from Mitchell. He never saw spurious-made
coin before he saw Mitchell. Had been in
Melbourne Gaol eighteen months ago for
passing off two medals for sovereigns. He
was confined twelve months for that offence.
He served the full time. When he was sen-
tenced it was for the offence of passing two
medals only. He could not say whether he
knew the medals were counterfeit when he
passed them. He would decline to answer
that question. When he came out of gaol
he commenced the watch business again, and
on the 18th September he was again sen-
tenced to six months' imprisonment for sell-
ing a gilt watch as gold. He came out on the
22nd of March last, and fell in with " Bob "
on the 24th. Had been to Geelong, and was
in gaol there for "uttering medals for six-
pences." In March last that occurred. It
was, in fact, for passing bad half-sovereigns.
By Superintendent Nicolson : He got
these half sovereigns from Mitchell.
Mr. Smith objected to the question and
Witness continued : He got three months
at Geelong, and came out of gaol on the 18th
of June. Since that he was not in gaol at
all. He was taken to the watch-house last
week from Bourke-street on suspicion of
uttering base coin, but he had none about
him. He was brought up on the charge on
the Friday morning and remanded. He
was enlarged " on his own personal security.'
He was not watched. He went into the Turf
-Hotel on Friday night, but did not see any
detective behind him or in the room. No
one told him to go to Mitchell's house on
Saturday. He changed a pound at the
Stirling Castle on Saturday. It was a
genuine coin : he had it from a man whom
he met on the previous evening, and who
owed him £3 10s., and who paid him £1 6s. on
account. He went to Mitchell's at half-past
eight on Saturday morning, and asked him to
have a glass of ale. They went, and witness
asked him to let him "have a few of the
sixpences." He did not ask him for goods to
take up the country to sell, or for the use of
the electro-plating machine. He did not
now how to use that. When he got the
coins it was understood what he was to do
with them. Mitchell knew well enough how
they were to be used. He did not know how
to make these half-sovereigns himself. Re-
membered attempting to use the machine,
but did not succeed in making any half
sovereigns. His object in using the machine
was most particularly to " plate a nugget."
The Bench said that the solution produced
should be examined.
Mr. Benson said that the recipe for the So-
lotion was to be found in Napier's Electro
Michael Turner said that he was a fruit-
eier. He had seen the prisoner before. About
a fortnight since Mitchell entered his shop
It was on a Saturday night. He asked wit-
ness how he sold his eggs. Witness told him
2s 6, a dozen, and prisoner purchased two
eggs, and tendered 1s. in payment. Witness
gave him 7d. change. He then left. He re-
turned to the shop in five or ten minutes, and
asked him if he would guarantee the eggs to
be fresh. On receiving a reply in the affirma-
tive he purchased two more, and Brown
stepped in and said that he would pay for
these two eggs. Mitchell said, "No, get two
for yourself." He then purchased two more,
and tendered half-a-sovereign, which witness
believed to be a genuine one. Witness was about
to give him the change, when he said, "Never
mind, I have change enough in my pocket."
He then held out a three-penny piece and a
penny. Witness said that would not do, and
then gave him change for a half-sovereign,
which he counted and left the shop. On
taking up the coin he found it was a counter-
feit, and went out immediately after them.
He could not see anything of them, although
he went into every public-house, in company
with a policeman.
The prisoner was remanded to Thursday ;
and Brown, in order to his detention, was
apprehended on a fresh charge.
The sixpences which had been gilt to pass
as half-sovereigns were most clumsy counter-
feits, and it is very srong evidence of the
carelessness of traders that such things should
pass without instant detection. Not only is
the size and weight different from that of
the genuine coin, but the manufacturers
had not even taken the trouble to obli-
terate the words " sixpence" on the reverse
of the coins. The nuggets and rings wore
more difficult of detection, but would not
for a moment deceive a dealer in such arti-
cles. The things in fact were made to sell to
unwary private purchasers-and it may be as
well to point out to those who make those
indiscriminate purchases that they have
almost a certainty of being swindled.
The events in court on Monday, 15 September was also reported in another newspaper (The Age - Melbourne, Victoria) - on Wednesday 17 September1856.
Monday, 15 th September.
(Before C. P. Hackett, Esq., S.M., and S. E. Freeman,
The business of this Court was to-day very voluminous, and
detained the Court till a very late hour. Some of the cases
werw of a very serious nature, both on the Watch-house
sheet and the cause list. They are reported below.
THE COLLINGWOOD COINERS.— Edward Mitchell and John
Brown were placed in the dock charged with the offence of
manufacturing base coin. Mr Benson and Mr Tufton Smith
both appeared for prisoner Mitchell. They slightly disputed
the right. Mr Benson was understood to produce the oldest
and most precise code of instructions. The Bench suggested
that both gentlemen should jointly appear and divide the pro-
ceeds. The gentlemen bowed, and Mr Benson took the most
active part in the defence. Detective Charles Black stated that
on Saturday last he arrested the prisoners in Smith street,
Collingwood, on suspicion of manufacturing base coin and ut-
tering the same. From information received he, with Detective
Randall, proceeded to Oxford street, Collingwood, to the resi-
dence of Mitchell ; they remained near the house for three hours,
during that time Brown knooked at the door; He was admitted
and the door closed. He remained there at least fifteen
minutes, when witness saw him and Mitchell leave the house,
and go to the Oxford Arms, public house. They remained
there a short time, and then left. They conversed together
privately outside the door of the public house for a few
minutes, and then returned to Mitchell's house. In about
half an hour after witness saw Mr Benson leave the house,
and then in an hour both prisoners left the house together.
They went along Smith street, and entered the Stirling Castle,
public house. Witness, with Detective Randall, followed
them, and there arrested Mitchell. On the arrest Mitchell
endeavored to conceal something that had been in his left hand
trousers pocket. Witness tried to get it. Resistance was
made, but the officers succeeded, and found that the objects of
concealment were seven spurious coins, half sovereigns. Wit-
ness marked them. They are those produced. He also found
on Mitchell's person the paper produced, which runs as fol-
lows Electric Metallurgy. Splitting paper. Taking print
out of paper, and substituting other print. Take a piece of
gold, the weight of a sovereign, and in two seconds render it
half a dwt. Take ten dwts. of fine gold, add three dwts. to
same of silver and copper, and produce a nugget mixed with
quartz or otherwise, and defy detection, unless by assaying.'
He produced another spurious half sovereign, lifted from the
floor, and which had fallen from the prisoner. On
searching prisoner Mitchell's house, witness found there
a quantity of spurious metal now produced. He also
found on the person of Brown two chains and a nug-
get ring, also spurious. He found In Mitchell's house a quan-
tity of skeleton keys, produced. Mr Benson claimed them as
his property. The Bench was not of opinion that the keys were
skeleton, On further searching Mitchell's house, he found the
electric battery and bottle of solution now produced, they are
used in plating. They were both quite warm when found,
They appeared to have been recently used. Cross-examined
by Mr Benson: Witness knows prisoner Brown, and had
heard that that he (Brown) had been brought up at the City
Court for uttering base coin. Witness declined to answer as
to the person that had furnished him with the information which
led to the arrest of Mitchell. Witness watched Mitchell's
house from the opposite side of the street. He was obliged to
bring prisoner Mitchell to the ground, in order to secure the
coins he had attempted to conceal at the time of his arrest
The coin picked up from the floor, witness heard fall from
Mitchell. It was picked up by the landlord of the
public house, and handed to him (witness.) Edward
Davis sworn : Is barman at the Sarsfleld -Inn, Little
Bourke street. On Wednesday prisoner Brown passed on him
a half sovereign. He and another man had a nobbler each, and
prisoner Brown received 9s. in change. When prisoner went
out witness looked at the coin. He did not think it was a bad
one until after he had cut it. He then found the inside metal
was white. He never lost sight of the coin from the time he
had received it until after he had cut it. Prisoner could not
swear that he ever saw prisoner Mitchell. He has since then
returned the half sovereign to Brown, and got his change back
again from him. The prisoners were then remanded for 24
The Age (Melbourne, Victoria) on the same day, 17 September 1856, also ran another report.
THE COLLINGWOOD COINERS. — Edward Mitchell and Samuel
Brown' were again placed in the dock on the double charge of
fabricating spurious half-sovereigns, and of uttering the same
knowing them to be spurious. Before the commencement of
the case, Inspector Nicholson, of the Detective Force, who
conducted the prosecution, applied for the discharge of the
prisoner Brown, against whom it was not intended to proceed.
The prisoner was at once discharged. Mr. Tufton Smith
defended the prisoner Mitchell. Samuel Brown was then,
as an approver, placed in the witness box, and being
sworn stated, that he was a tailor by trade, knew
prisoner, Mitchell, for the last six weeks, was introduced to
him by a man, whom he does not know, but this man's first
name is Robert. Witness has been living with prisoner for
the last six weeks, and during that time he saw him mak-
ing spurious rings and nuggets, plating silver six-penccs,
and making them into half sovereigns, and also
making sovereigns from brass and copper. Prisoner gave
witness about forty of these half sovereigns from time to time,
he passed about eighteen or twenty of them in
company with prisoner. He did not see him pass
any. The half sovereigns were given to witness to
pass, and then the change was divided between the
prisoner and witness. The bottle produced contains gold
solution, and the instrument produced is part of a battery.
The last time witness saw them they were being used by wit-
ness in plating sixpences on Saturday last. Cross-examined
by Mr Tufton Smith. — Was a tailor, and resided at Chalk
Hills, Ballarat. Before residing with Mitchell sold watches,
— silver watches. Sold them as gilt, but did not gild them
himself. He came from New York to this colony about four
years ago. Had then about forty dollars in his possession.
Was employed as waiter in the Saracen's Head public house,
Bendigo. Was introduced to Mitchell on the 24th March last.
Saw Mitchell since then make sovereigns and half-sovereigns.
Was introduced to Mitchell by a man named Bob. Since that
day received twenty-six sovereigns from Mitchell. Never
saw a spurious coin until he had seen Mitchell in Melbourne
eighteen months ago. Got twelve months imprisonment for
passing two medals for sovereigns. Would not say who
counterfeited the sovereign that he then passed. Declined to
answer that question. When he came out of prison he again
returned to the watch trade, and was again imprisoned for
selling gilt watches as gold. On his liberation he went to
Geelong, and there got three months for passing base coin.
Was not imprisoned since till last Thursday, when he was
taken up on suspicion of passing base coin. Was brought be-
fore the Court on Friday and remanded, and then liberated on
his own personal security. Went into the Turf Hotel, and did
not know there was a detective behind him. He once at-
tempted to make a gilded nugget but did not succeed.
Another witness was examined at some length, but he proved
nothing against Mitchell, who was then remanded until
By Saturday, 20 September 1856 the Bendigo Advertiser (Victoria) had picked up the story (and the name was back to John Brown).
The Coiners.—Edward Mitchell and John
Brown, the two men arrested under
circumstances detailed in Monday's Herald, were
brought up for examination at the district Court
and defended by Messrs. Denson and
Smith, solicitors. Detective Black described the
nature of the arrest, which was effected at the house
of Mitchell, near the Stirling' Castle, Smith-street,
Collingwood. The charge against them was manu
facturing spurious coin, and Detective Randall and
witness had been on the look out for them. On
being apprehended, Mitchell tried to conceal some
thing he had in his hand, and on being searched
seven spurious half-sovereigns were found in his
possession, A document, of which the following
is a copy, was also found in one of his pockets
" Electric Metallurgy. Splitting paper. Taking
print out of paper and substituting; other print,
Take a piece of gold the weight of a sovereign, and
in ten seconds reduce it to a dwt, Take 10 dwts.
of fine gold, add 3 dwts. to same of silver and cop
per, and producc a nugget mixed with quartz or
otherwise), and defy detection unless by assaying,"
Another had half-sovereign was found on the floor
close to where Mitchell stood. On Brown being
searched, there were found on him a nugget and
two chains of spurious manufacture, On searching
Mitchell's house, there were found there several
skeleton keys, -a flask of some metallic solution, and
a galvanic battery. The latter seemed to have been
lately in use. A witness named Edward Davis de
posed to the prisoner Brown having uttered a base
half-sovereign at the Sarsficld Hotel, Little Boourke
street, on Wednesday evening last, when the pri
soner called in thore, and with another man had a
nobbier each. The witness, who served the liquor,
gave him 9s, as change. The Bench decided on
remanding the prisoners until the following day,
and refused to admit them to bail.—Herald. g
A month later and the case still appears to be ongoing when the The Age (Melbourne, Victoria) reports the following on Wednesday, 22 October1856.
Tuesday , 21st October, 1856.
OCTOBER CRIMINAL SESSIONS
Edward Mitchell was charged with making and
Mr Ireland and Dr. Mackay defended the prisoners.
Mr Chapman detailed the facts of the case, and
Charles Black, a detective officer, who stated that in
consequence of information he had received he went to
the residence of the prisoner in Oxford street, Colling-
wood, on the 13th September. In about half an hour
he observed a person named Brown knock at the door
of prisoner's house, and enter it. In about three quar-
ters of an hour prisoner, dressed as in the dock, accom-
panied by Brown, came out. They went to the Oxford
Arms, and remained there for a short time, came out
together, and at the door of the public house had a con-
versation. A short time afterwards, Brown left pri-
soner's house with a large glass gin bottle. He entered
the Oxford Arms and came out again. Mitchell came
to the door in his shirt sleeves. Brown returned with
tho bottle, and they came out together, in about two
hours. Mitchell had his coat on. They proceeded to the
Stirling Castle hotal. 'Witness followed them, and
arrested Mitchell in the hotel. Prisoner passed his left
On page 5
hand into his pocket as if feeling for some-
thing and then pulled the hand out closed.
Witness seized his arm by the wrist, and asked
what he had got there. Prisoner said, "nothing."
after a struggle witness opened his hand, and found
there eight coins — those produced. He then proceeded
to the prisoner's house. Took Mitchell to the Station
House, and searched him there. Found on his person
a document, now produced, which Prisoner admitted to
belong to him. The document was read by the
Associate, and proved to be a description of some of the
feats which can be accomplished by electro-metallurgy.
In the house was found a bottle containing
a solution, quite warm, a battery, and a
quantity of spurious metal for the manufac-
ture of rings and nuggets. The different articles were
produced. On Brown he found a small box containing a chain.
Cross-examined by Mr Ireland :— Knows a little
about clectro-plating. Cannot say what the metal he
found is, but knows it is not brass, from his experience,
—from the look and the tinkle. Saw Brown in Colling-
wood, before he went to Oxford street, by accident.
Spoke to him: asked him where he was going. Had
had conversations with Brown about his accomplices, he
being after in charge for having false coin. (The cross-
examination was very lengthened and severe, intended,
apparently, to prove that Brown had proceeded to
Mitchell's house with the express understanding that
he would put him into the power of the police.)
Brown, the approver, examined: - Saw Mitchell
gilding sixpences with the battery on the 13th
August. Eight were made. Saw it used mostly every
week for gilding sixpences. The sixpences shown are
like those produced by the instrument. Mitchell put
the sixpences in his pocket.
Cross-examined: Attempted once or twice to pass
spurious coin : once in July last. In '54 was brought
up for passing two medals as money, and once for sel-
ling a watch. Prisoner is a working jeweller. The
watch was silver gilt, and was sold as gold.
sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Did not then
know the prisoner. Was tried at Geelong for passing
two out of twenty-six half-sovereigns he got from
Mitchell on Good Friday. Did not say when tried,
Mitchell gave them to him, because he was not asked.
Lived with Mitchell to assist him to sell spurious rings.
Has tried the battery himself in Mitchell's absence. Never
succeeded in using it, though he has often done his best.
Did not color the chain produced. Was not seen by
the children of the prisoner trying to make half so-
vereigns out of sixpences on the Thursday before
Mitchell's arrest. Cannot swear that the children did
not see him working with the battery that day and
that they did not complain to their father. Was ar-
rested on suspicion of attempting to pass false coin.
Was liberated on his own recognizances, and slept on
Friday night in the Watch-house, in Little Bourke
Street. Told Mitchell on Saturday morning that he
was going to the country. Asked him for goods to
sell. Did not ask him, holding out the eight spurious
half-sovereigns, if he had any of them - 'to give him.
Mitchell did not take them from him, and say he
would not have anything to do with that work. He
saw Black at the Turf Hotel on Friday night and also
saw Black and Randall next morning in Collingwood
but it was by accident. Spoke to Black, and had
some conversation on private matters with Randall.
Mr Ireland submitted that the indictment was bad,
inasmuch as the charge was ' making and counterfeit
ing,' while the only crime in reference to which any
proof was had was that of coining.
His Honor reserved the point. _
Mr Ireland then addressed- the jury for the defence,
representing the utter untrustworthiness of the evidence
of Brown while uncorroborated, and remarked on the
absence of Detective Randall, who, as it appeared, had
accompanied Black when the prisoner was arrested.
He proposed to call the family of the prisonor to prove
that Brown had repeatedly used the battery in the ab-
sence of the prisoner, and had been forbidden to do so,
but had used it on Friday.
His Honor said that the evidence of the children was
unnecessary, and Mr Ireland called Messrs. James
Dobson, James Bowen, William Mitchell, and James
Benson, a solicitor of thecourt, all of whom had known
the prisonor for years, and gave him a very high
His Honor directed the jury to disregard the evidence
of Brown, save when corroborated. The prisoner had
in his house an instrument of use in his trade which he
might also have used for the manufacture of base coins .
There were, however, no base coins found in the house,
complete or imperfect; and the circumstance which
they would have to weigh was the possession by the
prisoner of the base coins produced, and his conduct
when the officer addressed him. He took them out of
his pocket, refused to give them up, and they were only
obtained after a struggle. He would have the jury to
consider these facts carefully.
The jury without hesitation pronounced a verdict of
Not Guilty, and the prisoner was discharged.
The court then adjourned till ten o'clock on Wed-
I was quite surprised with the not guilty verdict and it would appear that Edward had some very good friends. And was William Mitchell a relative?
The next report appears in 1861 and I suspect that Montagu Mitchell is Edward's alias. Information in this write up later will show why I believe that.
On Thursday 25 April 1861 the Geelong Advertiser (Victoria) tells of a robbery.
THE ROBBERY AT THE BLACK BULL —
Montagu Mitchell, a well-known personage in
Geelong, and John O'Neill, said to be a homoeo-
pathic practitioner here, were placed in the dock
charged on suspicion with committing a robbery
at the Black Bull Hotel on the night of Sunday
last. Guy Bennett, proprietor of the hotel, de-
posed that on Monday evening last he discovered
his bedroom had been feloniously entered and two
diamond pins stolen. A room occupied by Mr
Connor, of Colac, had also been entered and two
brooches and three rings taken away. Saw the
prisoner, Mitchell, in the house, drinking
on Sunday and Monday. Do not know
the prisoner O'Neil. By Mr Frazer : Several
parties were sleeping in rooms on the same floor
on Sunday and Monday evening. Georgina Con-
nor sworn, said she was stopping at the Black
Bull on Monday night. Lost a cameo brooch, a
pearl brooch and two rings—one a gold, the other
a diamond ring, 'they were, taken from a trunk
in the bedroom. To the best of her belief the
stone produced was from the same ring. It
greatly resembled the one lost. William Craven,
detective constable, said that from Information
received he went to the house occupied by the
prisoners, and in the pocket of O'Neil he found
the stones produced. He asked for a remand in
order, if possible, to produce the gold from which
the stones were taken. He stated that the pri-
soner Mitchell, who was a homoeopathic practi-
tioner, had recently come out of gaol. He pro-
duced a bag full of precious stones, a quantity of
battered gold rings and several crucibles, found in
possession of the prisoners. Mr Frazer applied
for bail. His Worship the Mayor said, certainly
he would allow bail; immediately afterwards,
however, he refused it without assigning any rea-
son for so doing.
The robbery is reported in The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) the following day, Friday 26 April 1861
GEELONG POLICE OFFICE.
Present—The Mayor, the Police Magistrate,
W. Burrow and E. C. Dunne, Esqs.
John O'Neil and Montague E. Mitchell, alias
Dr. Mitchell, were charged with robbing, or being
accessary to robbing, the Black Bull Hotel.
G. Bennett, landlord of the Black Bull Hotel,
deposed that on Monday evening last his house
was entered by some one, who went up-stairs and
robbed the different rooms of sundry articles of
jewellery. Saw Mitchell in the house on Sunday
Mrs. Connor, of Colac, deposed that she was
staying at the Black Bull on Monday evening
last. Her room was robbed of a cameo brooch,
another brooch and two rings-one a diamond and
one an opal. Did not discover the robbery till
next morning. The opal stone produced corres-
ponded exactly with that in the ring she lost.
Detective Craven said that on proceeding to the
house of the prisoner Mitchell he found the
prisoner O'Nell there. On searching him he
found the diamond and opal produced in his
waistcoat pocket. He asked that the prisoner be
remanded for seven days, in order to obtain
The prisoners were then remanded.
On Tuesday 30 April 1861, the Geelong Advertiser (Victoria) carries an update on the case.
John 0'Neil and Montagu Mitchell, in charge
on suspicion of being concerned in the late rob-
bery at the Black Bull were again placed in the dock.
Detective Hudson asked for a remand for a
week to produce a witness who could swear
positively to the property stolen from Mr Connor
Mr Fraser asked if the bench would allow bail
in the case of the prisoner Mitchell.
Detective Hudson objected ; he said Mitchell
had been convicted as many times as he had
fingers on his hand.
Prisoner, smiling, to detective Hudson, " You
wouldn't like to take your oath of that."
Bail was refund and both prisoners remanded
till Monday next,
And a week later the case was still ongoing when the Geelong Advertiser (Victoria) reported the following on Tuesday, 7 May 1861.
THE BLACK BULL ROBBERY
Montague Mitchell and .John O'Neill were
again placed in the dock on the above charge.
McCormick appeared for "Dr Mitchell;"
Mr Niscar for O'Neil.
John Connor, storekeeper, Colac, deposed that
he and his wife were stopping at the Black Bull
hotel on the 22nd April, Their room was felo-
niously entered and certain jewellery stolen,
among other things a diamond and opal ring.
Could swear to the opal, it having been in his
possession for 25 years., The stone produced he had
not a show of doubt was the same. The wit-
ness expressed great unwillingness to swear posi-
tively to the opal, but did do so eventually.) He
said it was impossible he could he mistaken.
By Mr Cormiek—Had never seen the opal
out of the setting for 20 years. Never saw any
other ring the same shape or make.
The prisoners were remanded for seven days.
Application made for bail to be allowed was
Finally in June the case was coming to a close. The Geelong Advertiser (Victoria) reported the closure of the case on Wednesday, 5 June 1861
STEALING IN A DWELLING
Montague Mitchell and John O'Niel were
jointly indicted for stealing property in a dwelling
house, above the value of 1.5. Mr and Mrs John
Connor, from C'olac, took up their residence in
the Black Bull Hotel, ou the night of the 22nd
April, ultimo. On the following morning
tliey found their room had been entered
during the night, and an opal ring, a diamond
ring, and a cameo brooch had been stolen. Suspi-
cion having alighted upon the prisoners, the
premises they occupied together was visited by
tho police. On the person of O'Niel was found a
piece of paper containing an opal and a diamond
unset. On Mitchell nothing to criminate him was
found, but his house contained -40 or 50 cruci-
bles, moulds for making rings, a quantity of base
metal, and a quantity of artificial precious stones.
Mrs Connor swore that to the best of her belief
the opal found upon O'Niel was the one she
used to wear in the ring which had been stolen.
Mr Connor,' most emphatically swore that; the
jewel was the same which had been stolen, he
had had it for twenty four years, and there could
be no mistake on the matter. Dr Sewell, who
defended the prisoners, tried all he could to
shake this testimony in cross examination, but
without effect. The matter of the diamond was
not gone into,—the words of the prisoner O'N'eil
when arrested proving true, "you cannot rap to a
spark," said he, meaning that they could not
swear to a diamond. His Honor, in charging the
jury, told them there was no case against Mit-
chell, an to O'Niel, they would arrive at their
own conclusion. The Crown Prosecutor said re-
specting Mitchell, he considered there was com-
plicity. His Honor could not see it, and directed
Verdict—Mitchell, not guilty. O'Niel, guilty.
Sentence – twelve months' imprisonment with hard
It's interesting that yet again Edward comes away with a Not Guilty charge. Although in this case it does look more like John knew that Edward had knowledge of silver-smithing and jewellery and he might have been hoping to pass the stolen goods to Edward. It's a little worrying that the stones were no longer in the rings though knowing that Edward would have so easily have been able to melt down the settings. It's also a little concerning that the report from the 25 April stated, 'that the prisoner Mitchell, who was a homoeopathic practitioner, had recently come out of gaol.' This is something that will need to be investigated.
The closing of the case was also picked up by The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) on Friday 7 June 1861. You can just imagine the gossiping that might have gone on as a result of this and the previous case.
GEELONG GENERAL SESSIONS.
(Continuation of Monday's proceedings;)
John O'Neil and Montague E. Mitchell alias
"The Doctor," pleaded "Not Guilty " to rob-
bing the Black Bull Hotel of sundry jewellery,
the property of Mr. John Connor, of Colac.
The evidence went to show that on informa-
ion of the robbery the detectives, suspecting the
thief, went to the house of the prisoner Mitchell
and there found O'Neil, on searching whom they
found a diamond and opal stone that Mr. Connor
had lost in the stolen jewellery. The opal, a
peculiar stone, he positively identified.
His Honour thought there was no case to go to
the jury as against Mitchell, and the jury con-
victed O'Neil, who was sentenced to twelvemonths' hard labour.
Part 3 Beyond the Grave
Thoughts - With something like this you end up with even more questions and more research leads.
If you have any relatives that went to Australia look at Trove - it is amazing and FREE. Give back by correcting the text where it's needed.