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1869, Henry Redpath - Unfit For Publication
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The documentation of our history has to me always been a very important aspect. Although victories or celebrations are seldom part of this history, it’s important that it is put on record.

The cases recorded verbatim here, cover a very wide spectrum of emotions ranging from sadness, humour, violence, to compassion and even love.

For gay historians, this material gives an interesting insight into the lives of what we might call our ‘tribal ancestors’, for not only is the legal process on full view, but the evidence presented in each case gives us a window into these people’s lives, and how they managed their desires in a hostile society: where they might meet, how they might interact, and how they saw themselves and their ‘condition’.

Foreword by
Gary Wotherspoon

Peter de Waal

In the Central Police Court, George Harrison, alias “Carrie Swain,” an effeminate youth, was charged with vagrancy.

From the evidence of Senior-constable Sawtell and Constable Brown, it appeared that the prisoner was in the habit of frequenting Hyde Park and College-street, painted, powered, and bedecked so as to represent a female.

In this state he perambulated the streets and parks after dark. When arrested, it was found that he was wearing stays. The prisoner was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hard labour.

Gaol Photo - "Said to be a Pouftah"

1889, George Harrison

1889, George Harrison


The position of Darlinghurst Gaol is well known, and the prison forms a conspicuous object to persons travelling along the eastern tramline near where Botany-street branches off from Oxford-street. It covers an area of about 4¾ acres, and is situated on about the highest point of a ridge having between it and Oxford-street the Darlinghurst Courthouse, with the large plot of tree-planted land in front.

Darlinghurst gaol and courthouse, in foreground, complex, c. 1930.

"I looked over the rocks. I saw the two prisoners now before the court committing an unnatural crime. The prisoner Weston was in a stooping position with his head down and trousers down, and the prisoner Blackwell was behind him with his trousers down; and both in the act of copulation."

Blackwell and Weston were both sentenced in 1845 to twelve months hard labour in Darlinghurst Gaol.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 8 Mar 1886

Mr George Newbolt, Assistant Superintendent on Cockatoo Island.

Darlinghurst gaol and courthouse, in foreground, complex, c. 1930.

He took me into his wife’s bedroom.
He brought into the room a bottle of Vaseline.

He said “I can easily do it with a little Vaseline.”

I said I didn’t believe him that kind of thing.
I said “What good will it do me?”

Vaseline Advert

1899, Simeon Alexander Moss

1899, Simeon Moss

Charge of Indecent Assault.

Simeon Alexander Moss was charged with having committed an indecent assault on Stanley Lake at Bowral on 20th July, 1899.

‘We are glad to be able this week to present to our readers an illustration of the new court house at Yass, now in course of erection, the ceremony of laying the foundation-stone of which, on this 20th of July last, by the Honourable the Colonial Secretary, in the presence of the Premier, Minister of Works, Attorney-General, &c, was duly recorded in our columns. The design has been prepared by the Colonial Architect, and is on a scale commensurate with the requirements of the district. The style chosen is classic of the Roman Doric order. Advantage has been taken of the site to give effect to the design by its approach, which is by a very broad and imposing flight of steps.’

The April sitting of the Yass Circuit Court opened before his Honor Mr Justice Faucett on Wednesday last. Mr Plunkett acted as Judge’s Associate and Clerk of Arraigns, Mr Mann, prosecuted on behalf of the Crown, while Mr Ould represented the Crown Solicitor. The other legal gentlemen present were Mr Colonna Close, barrister-at-law, and Mr EA Iceton, solicitor. Mr T Colls JP represented the Sheriff.

1885, Henry Smith was found guilty of having committed bestiality and sentenced to three years’ hard labour in Yass gaol.

Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 31 Aug 1878

The Yass Courier, Fri 17 Apr 1885

IN writing this pamphlet my sole desire is to bring before the public the present injudicious system of treating juvenile delinquents, and those unfortunate children whose only crime is their poverty.

That a lad should be imprisoned simply because he is poor, is both brutal and unwise; but that he should he indiscriminately herded with young criminals is the height of folly and injustice.

That it is so, is undeniable.

On 25 January, 1867 the Colonial Secretary purchased the wooden sailing ship the “Vernon” and at a cost of more than eight and a half thousand pounds it was fitted up as an Industrial School. The ship, moored in Sydney Harbour between the Government Domain and Garden Island was declared a Public Industrial School on 6 May, 1867.

Industrial Schoolship - Vernon


Depositions for Henry Redpath 15 Nov 1869 Sydney trial 1

George Langley, Police Office
Parramatta 30 August 1869

William Edmond Plunkett, Secretary,
Crown Law Department, Sydney

    I do myself the honour to forward you herewith enclosed the depositions taken in the case of the individual named in the margin (Henry Redpath) who stands committed to take his trial at the Central Criminal Court to be holden at Sydney on the 15th of November next for an unnatural offence.

    I have the honour to be Sir, your most obedient servant.
[Signed] George Langley. 


Depositions of Witnesses.

New South Wales, Parramatta,
TO WIT                                   }
The examination of John Sheaves of Pennant Hills, in the Colony of New South Wales, Constable, George Hogarth Pringle, MD, George Maxwell, and George Fairbrother [aka Fairbrough] of Pennant Hills in the said Colony, taken on oath, this 20th day of August in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixty nine, at Parramatta in the Colony aforesaid, before the undersigned one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony, in the presence and hearing of Henry Redpath who is charged this day before me for that he the said Henry Redpath, on the 30th day of August 1869 at Pennant Hills, in the said Colony, feloniously, wickedly, and against the order of nature, did carnally know one George Maxwell and then with him feloniously did commit and perpetrate the abominable crime of buggery against the peace of our lady the Queen.


    This deponent John Sheaves on his oath states as follows:– I am a Constable in the New South Wales Police Force stationed at Pennant Hills in the district of Parramatta. About 3 o’clock this morning the prisoner was given into my custody at Pennant Hills Police Station by a lad named George Maxwell for attempting to commit sodomy with him. I told the prisoner the charge – he said “It is false. I wish the doctor to examine this prosecutor” – he also said it was made up between the men and the prosecutor to get rid of me because I earn too much money. I brought him to the lock up at Parramatta


and locked him up. The prisoner was under the influence of liquor but was sober enough to know what he was doing.

    Cross examined by the prisoner states: The lad Maxwell was sober when he gave you in charge.
[Signed] John Sheaves.

Sworn before me this 30th day of August 1869.
[Signed] George Langley.


    And this deponent George Hogarth Pringle on his oath states as follows:– I am a legally qualified Medical Practitioner residing in Parramatta. I this day at the request of the Senior Sergeant John Kelly examined George Maxwell now before the Court. I found no signs of violence upon him, there was slight congestion and redness around the anus but I could not swear that that had been caused by arose from other than natural causes. I also at the request of the Sergeant examined the prisoner and found that recently there had been a slight discharge of semen from the penis but there was no sign of violence or irritation of any


kind. The prisoner stated to me when I examined him that he suffered from stricture attended with a slight discharge. Such a stricture as he describes might produce such a discharge as he describes.
[Signed] GH Pringle.

Sworn before me this 30th day of August 1869.
[Signed] G Langley.


    And this deponent George Maxwell on his oath states as follows:– I’m 16 years of age. I work as labourer on the telegraph line. I know the prisoner at the Bar he also works with me on the line. We were camped at Pennant Hills yesterday – and about twelve o’clock last night 17 men arrived at the camp, I was in charge of tent. After supper all the men with exception of the prisoner lay down to sleep – another man also remained up George Fairbrother – after the men had been in bed for some time the prisoner said to Fairbrother and myself come George and Fairbrother into the bush and have some rum, we then walked


into the bush with the prisoner, and when we got about 20 yards from the camp and the prisoner gave some rum to Fairbrother and myself out of a bottle. When we had drank the rum the prisoner said to Fairbrother “Go to the camp and keep all quiet.” Fairbrother then went to the camp – the prisoner then caught me by one shoulder with his left hand and placed his right hand over my mouth, he then pulled my trousers down and unbuttoned his own trousers and took his private parts out and pushed me on my hands and knees and then put his private parts into my backside he put his private parts into my body, he committed an unnatural offence with


me against my will. 

    Fairbrother came back and caught the prisoner in the act. Prisoner then stopped and let me go. Fairbrother then said “where is the bottle?” and the prisoner got the bottle and gave him more rum. I also had another drink. Fairbrother went away for a short distance and the prisoner caught hold of me and said “Come on I’ll carry you on my back.” Fairbrother then came back and the prisoner let me go and Fairbrother took me to the tent and from what Fairbrother said in the tent 2 men went for a policeman.

    Cross examined by the prisoner states: You lay down when you came into the tent at 1 o’clock – I lay in my own place in the tent, George Fairbrother came


and spoke to me while I was lying down – Fairbrother said to me “is it true that Redpath tried to commit an unnatural offence with you – you put your hand over my mouth and the other over my shoulder – you took your left hand away and unbuttoned your trousers – I was too stupid with drink to do anything to defend myself – I recollect all the circumstances well enough. It is only about 20 yards from the tent where this offence occurred. There were no men up with the exception of Fairbrother and myself until they were called. You hid the bottle of rum. About an hour elapsed from the time this offence occurred until the police were sent for. I told George as soon as it was done – he asked me what


was up and I told him from what I said to Fairbrother he called up the overseer, Mr John Faie and reported the occurrence to him.
[Signed] George Maxwell.

Sworn before me this 30th day of August 1869.
[Signed] G Langley.


    And this deponent George Fairbrough on his oath states as follows:– I am a labourer employed on the telegraph line at Pennant Hills. I know the prisoner, he works on the same line. About half past 12 o’clock last night I was in the tent at the camp in Pennant Hills. The prisoner and Maxwell – there were other men about – the prisoner said to Maxwell “Sailor, come and have a drink”, we all then there left the tent, and when got about 20 yards from the tent the prisoner handed me a bottle with rum in it. I drank some, and handed the bottle to the prisoner and he said “you go down to the camp and keep them all quiet,” I then went into the tent leaving Maxwell


and the prisoner together. I remained in the tent for about 10 minutes. I then went out to where I had left the prisoner and I saw Maxwell on his hands and his head was on the ground and his trousers down. The prisoner was kneeling behind Maxwell with his hands round his waist – when I came up the prisoner loosed his hands from round the chap’s waist and fell on his side and I then saw him tuck his trousers under his belt. I lifted Maxwell up. His trousers were loose over his hips and I tucked them under his belt. I then took Maxwell to the tent – and from some conversation that


took place between Maxwell, the overseer and myself the Police were sent for. In the tent after this occurrence took place the prisoner was lying on his back and he was explaining the matter to Mr Anderson and I said to the prisoner “Ain’t you ashamed of yourself?” and he said “I would serve you the same.” I said “If you did you would not go alive out of the tent.”

    Cross examined by the prisoner states: About a quarter of an hour after the occurrence took place the police were sent for. I did not ask the boy where he was lying on the ground whether it was the case or not. I saw you tuck your trousers under your belt. I did not see you offer to button it – Maxwell was neither drunk nor sober when he went away


with you he was sober when I brought him back he was drunk but still sensible – he knew what he was saying.
[Signed] George (his X mark) Fairbrother. [sic]

Sworn before me this 30th day of August 1869.
[Signed] G Langley.


Statement of the Accused.

New South Wales, Parramatta
TO WIT                                   }
Henry Redpath stands charged before the undersigned, one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the Colony aforesaid, this 30th day of August in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixty nine for that he, the said Henry Redpath on the 30th day of August AD 1869 at Pennant Hills, in the said Colony, feloniously, wickedly, and against the order of nature, did carnally know one George Maxwell then with him feloniously did commit and perpetrate the abominable crime of buggery against the Peace of our Lady the Queen and the examinations of all the witnesses on the part of the prosecution having been completed, and the depositions taken against the accused having been caused to be read to him by me, the said Justice, having also stated to the accused and given him clearly to understand that he has nothing to hope from any promise of favour, and nothing to fear from any threat which may have been holden out to him to induce him to make any admission or confession of his guilt, but that whatever he shall say may be given in evidence against him upon his trial, notwithstanding such promise or threat; and the said charge being read to the said Henry Redpath and the witnesses for the prosecution John Sheaves, George Hogarth Pringle MD, George Maxwell and George Fairbrother being severally examined in his presence, the said Henry Redpath is now addressed by me as follows:– “Having heard the evidence, do you with to say anything in answer to the charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you desire to do so; but whatever you say will be taken down in writing, and may be given in evidence against you upon your trial;” whereupon the said Henry Redpath saith as follows:– “I will reserve my defence for my Trial.” Taken before me at Parramatta, in the said Colony, the day and the year first above mentioned.
[Signed] George Langley, JP.

    Committed to stand his trial at the Central Criminal Court to be holden at Sydney on Monday 15th November 1869.
[Signed] George Langley.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[On the depositions’ cover sheet is the following]

30th August 1869
No. 685
No. 4
Henry Redpath
Central Criminal Court
Attempt to commit Sodomy
[Initialled] W (?) (?), AG
Sep 6/69
[Committed at:] Parramatta

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Justice JF Hargrave’s Notebook 2  3


Monday November 22nd 1869
CJ Manning for Crown
Q v (Henry Redpath) 

30th August 1869        assault with intent to commit 4
at Pennant Hills      }   upon George Maxwell unnatural crime

    1.  Constable [John] Sheaves at Pennant Hills – know prisoner as Henry Redpath, arrested him at 30th August I charged with &c. He said it was a make up to get him away as he earned too much (money ?) (?) & wished boy to be examined by a doctor. This was about 3 am in (morning ?). Prisoner appeared to have been drinking but knew what he was about. The boy gave him in charge quite sober & (with ?) 3 men –

    Cross-examined, prisoner You were with the 3 men who came together – G Maxwell gave him in charge for the (?) act itself. I said send for a doctor & then he said for the attempt – did not hear (one ?) Farebrother (?) him. It was dark – 3 am. 


    2.  George Maxwell labourer on Telegraph line on Pennant Hills to (Barrenjoey ?) – know prisoner. He was a labourer in same works, hole sinker, about 19 or 20 at work – we slept in a gunyah – prisoner in a tent with other people – remember giving him in charge. I was standing by the camp fire, & he called me & Farebrother between camp & gunyah, one or two (only ?) (there ?). F[arebrother] is a labourer there – to come up bush to give us some rum. We, F & I, went with prisoner 20 yards in bush – open trees – about 1 o’clock am not gone to bed – He gave F some rum out of it & then me & told F to go to camp to all men to keep them quiet – He gave me rum two or 3 times. He stood me against a tree – one arm round shoulder & (?) tried to enter my body – F came back – prisoner rolled me down on top of me. F said where’s that bottle – F took another drink & went to camp & then came back & led me away – his trousers were not fastened, felt they were open. I felt his person at my backside.


Prisoner came back after us to camp. The place not much (farther ?) than (?) from the camp – I was pretty well drunk – F was sober. When F came up prisoner was behind me. Directly he heard F coming up he rolled me down – I laid down & F went away – I laid there. I went to the prisoner’s place with F, Mr (Ferry ? passim) (overseer) & prisoner – prisoner came willingly. F said to him he was a dirty (dog ?) & he said he would (?) prisoner the same – He was sober, I had been drinking, don’t (remember ?) anything more – I charged him with the attempt – prisoner was present when I told the overseer at the camp – I (would ?) give him in charge, can’t recollect what I said to constable. Mr Ferry spoke to constable. Can’t remember what constable said to me – subsequently examined by Dr Pringle –

    F came back twice when in bush. Alone each time. That is all I remember.

    Cross-examined, prisoner. Had an old pair of trousers & stirrup leather. Gave me the bottle – don’t know how much I drank,


drank 2 or 3 times out of bottle, don’t know what you were doing, not sent up to paddock for a horse to ride in – In the morning recollect (the ?). The previous day was riding a horse (without ?) a saddle. Did not hear Paddy say he would fight prisoner – recollect F & you having a row – don’t know who (stole ?) the bottle, you were lying down. Don’t know how long this was on the bottle – can’t recollect how long, might have been half an hour. –

    Did not swear at police office that your privates were inside my backside & committed the offence. –

    Did not see you hide the bottle – saw you put it away – Did you not call for assistance because hand over mouth – don’t recollect whether you went away (on ?) giving bottle, don’t recollect whether you pushed me with your foot while on ground – don’t recollect whether you did not. I had no power to call assistance you held me so tight – with your arm – half stooping you took your hand away – I was too drunk.

    (Re-examined ?) Can’t recollect whether you told me to get up. No quarrel with prisoner. I was sent to the horse paddock for horse on Sunday


about breakfast time – not often ride horses bareback – (?) (?), there were 19 men mostly in bed. Two tents & a gunyah for himself, one on each side of gunyah.

    Men sleeping in one tent except one or two in the other tent – 16 years old.

    3.  George Farebrother labourer recently on T[elegraph] Line Pennant Hills, about 20 men – knows prisoner working there too – knows Maxwell. I slept in overseer’s tent – boy in gunyah between two tents – men in big tent. Mr Farr – remembers (seeing ?) prisoner given in charge. Saw prisoner near fire late at night, good many about fire. He came & said go up bush to a bottle which he had planted &c &c.

    We went about 20 yards – a moonlight light – both went – he had (a ?) drink after I had gone – & said you can go down or the men will find the bottle I have planted here & come up & take this – I did so & light my pipe. I ran out & ran up to where prisoner & Maxwell [were ?]. I stood a couple of minutes, saw prisoner stand beside Maxwell – & took up trousers & then Maxwell’s, he said (he ?) (wanted ?) me.


  I brought Maxwell back with me & put his trousers up – was present when prisoner in charge – don’t remember what said when given in charge. –

    Maxwell seemed to have been drinking, he had his [sic–paragraph ends here]

Saw prisoner tuck his trousers up & Maxwell’s were down – did not notice his trousers – They were a big pair of trousers. –

    The other men were in bed – good many (?). I ran away from one. – I did not go up at first – a few yards away – then saw prisoner fall with Maxwell.

    Cross-examined, prisoner. 5 Maxwell did not go for my mare that day. – They had my mare all day in use – don’t know who fetched her up. –

    You asked me to lift up boy’s head, I did not ask you for bottle, you did. – You (particularly ?) bought a (pick ?) of me – (instead ?) by the proper owner of it. – I might have taken it away – did not (?) (?) (?) too much (?) – from the time you fell down an hour or ¾ till police – did not call you from Farr’s tent to have a nobblers –

    (Recalled ?): This about the pick was a long time ago – (working ?) to prisoner over a (month ?). –


    Don’t know whether Maxwell was sent for my horse –

    By Juror: He was (standing ?) with his head towards the tree – a big hollow tree –

    4.  Dr [George Hogarth] Pringle. (L ?) QMP [Legally Qualified Medical Practitioner] Parramatta examined Maxwell & prisoner on 30th August last – same day as at Police Court – found the boy slight congestion about anus – redness there – might be caused by attempt to commit unnatural offence. – Would not be caused by riding a horse – prisoner a slight discharge from urethra at his request – examined him between 9 & 10 – he requested me – might have been caused by excitement. The discharge was not gonorrhoea. – If attempt made at 1 o’clock the redness might have arisen –

    Cross-examined. The redness might have arisen from straining on a motion – you were suffering from a stricture as you said. –

    Maxwell’s deposition read.


Witness for prisoner

    Mr (?) recollect night of 29th August – you coming to tent, not bringing a bottle to tent – nor find bottle there – I remember waking you & charging with sodomy – you said you would go. I said no where except with you to police. You did not go away –

    Cross-examined. (?) saw Farebrother that night (answered ?) (police ?) prisoner was lying down in bed. –

    By Juror: Can’t recollect whether moonlight. It was dark at the time, 3 am.

Retired at half past 11 am

Verdict at ¼ to 12

(Not Guilty) 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Empire, Tue 23 Nov 1869 6

(Before his Honor Mr Justice Cheeke.)

(Before his Honor Mr Justice Hargrave.)


    Henry Redpath was indicted for having, on the 30th August, committed an unnatural offence on one George Maxwell.

    Prisoner, who pleaded not guilty, was not defended. Mr CJ Manning prosecuted on behalf of the Crown.

    It appears that the prisoner and Maxwell, with others, were at work on the telegraph line, near Pennant Hills, when on the night in question the prisoner and prosecutor went into the bush, where the alleged offence took place. (The particulars of the evidence are unfit for publication.)

    The jury, after a short deliberation, returned into Court with a verdict of not guilty.

    Prisoner was, therefore discharged.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 23 Nov 1869 7


    Before his Honor Mr Justice Hargrave.


    Henry Redpath was charged with having, on the night of the 29th of August last, assaulted George Maxwell, with intent to commit and offence against nature. Prisoner was one of a gang of men employed in the repair of the telegraph lines, and on the night in question he with the rest of the party was encamped at Pennant Hills. Mr CJ Manning prosecuted for the Crown. Prisoner was undefended. The jury returned a verdict of acquittal, and prisoner was discharged.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 25 Nov 1869 8

(Abridged from the Herald.)
(Before his Honor, Mr Justice Cheeke.)

(Before Justice Hargrave.)

    Henry Redpath, charged with an assault with intent to commit and unnatural offence, was acquitted and discharged.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, Sat 27 Nov 1869 9


    Before his Honor Mr Justice Hargrave.


    Henry Redpath was charged with having, on the night of the 29th August last, assaulted George Maxwell, with intent to commit an offence against nature. Prisoner was one of a gang of men employed in the repair of the telegraph lines, and on the night in question he with the rest of the party was encamped at Pennant Hills. Mr CJ Manning prosecuted for the Crown. Prisoner was undefended. The jury returned a verdict of acquittal, and prisoner was discharged.


1  SRNSW: NRS880, [9/6519] , Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, Sydney, 1869, No. 685. Emphasis added.

2  SRNSW: NRS6032, [2/4389] , Judiciary, JF Hargrave, J. Notebooks Criminal Causes (Darlinghurst), 1865-78, pp. 53-60. Emphasis added.

3  The following are mn: 1. Constable Sheaves; 2. George Maxwell; 3. George Farebrother; 4. Dr Pringle; suspicion not enough; 1. more or less stupid with drink; 2. Trousers of both – clear as to prisoner; 3. credibility of both – boy contradicts; manner. G Farebrother – 4. unconfirmed – rape &c dangerous.

4  Mn: Archbold p. 591 9. Geo 4 c 31 see 25 “assault with intent to commit felony”

5  Mn: hesitates

6  Empire, Tue 23 Nov 1863, p. 4.

7  The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 23 Nov 1869, p. 2.

8  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 25 Nov 1869, p. 4.

9  The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, Sat 27 Nov 1869, p. 2.