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1877, John Foster and Charlotte Green - Unfit For Publication
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Wentworth Quarter Sessions: Proceedings 15 May 1871 – 23 Mar 1898 1

Regina v Robert Charlotte Green


Wm Dodd
Jno Dunne
Thos Mitchell
Geo H Birt
And Telford
Jno Rutherton
Jas H Osborne
Phil Wiseman
Jno Ley
Geo Edwards
Chas Lambert
John Wright


  Indecent assault on female child &c.
  Plea not guilty.
  Verdict guilty.
  Sentence 2 years imprisonment with hard labor in 
  Darlinghurst Gaol.

  [signed] W[illiam] L[yle] Richardson
  Deputy Clerk of the Peace
  [Coroner Wentworth]
  [District Registrar of Births, Deaths, &c, Wentworth]
  [Registrar of the District Court, Wentworth]
  [Police Magistrate, &c, Wentworth]
  [Crown Lands Agent, Wentworth] 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Pastoral Times, Sat 10 Mar 1877 2



    John McPherson, stealing from a dwelling.
    John Foster, [and Charlotte Green], indecent assault.
    Edward Herbert, forging and uttering.
    Patrick Ryan, stealing from the person.
    George Ashton, ditto.
    Patrick Norry alias Bally Hooly, ditto.
    George Williams, indecent assault.
    Edward H Butler, unlawfully wounding.
    Eliza Selina Burford, bigamy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Pastoral Times, Sat 31 Mar 1877 3

(Before His Honor Judge Forbes.)

    Crown Prosecutor, Mr Murray. Mr O’Ryan, barrister, was in attendance.

Wentworth courthouse noticeboard. Photo: Peter Bonsall-Boone
Wentworth courthouse noticeboard.
Photo: Peter Bonsall-Boone

    His Honour, on the opening of the Court, directed attention to the prospect of having better accommodation soon for all parties called on to attend at the periodical meetings of this and the civil court. His Honour stated it was scarcely requisite to refer to the necessity of a new building as a Courthouse, as such was patent to all—in fact, it was very disagreeably brought too prominently under the notice of every one having business with the Courts, either as jurymen, witnesses, or suitors. The entire absence of accommodation and the dilapidated state of the building were such as to cause wonder why they were allowed to exist. However, he trusted from the way he had represented the matter to the Government, that action would soon be taken to remedy the present state of matters. From his representations money had been placed on the estimates, and although the present aspect of the political world might to some extent retard and prevent the prompt action that might otherwise have been taken, he had no doubt that we should soon see a change for the better, and that witnesses and jurymen would not be compelled to remain in the open air exposed to the broiling sun or any weather we might have at the time. His Honour was further pleased to observe that it would be his special care to see our wants in this direction attended to. He said he much regretted to see the criminal calendar so large, and the civil list so much the reverse. He thought it was a very significant feature, and indicated, in his opinion, a want of commercial prosperity. It showed that work was not plentiful when so many men were sent to gaol; and further, the absence of civil cases appeared to him as an index of business being limited, as where transactions were large and numerous differences of opinion would arise and speculation exist, and litigation follow as a natural consequence. As regarded our local wants generally, he would always feel a pleasure in assisting us to procure anything that was for the good and welfare of the town and district. He thought a little more agitation on local matters would do good, not only to the town, but to the district generally. For instance, a strong move should be made towards a bridge over the Darling, and Murray too—not one of those expensive structures that would entail a large outlay for tubular piles, &c, but a pontoon bridge, which would fully meet all requirements, and not be very expensive either. In other parts of the world these bridges answer well, and would do so here; such would be a great boon to the travelling public, and would increase prosperity of the district. A bridge over the Murray here would allow stock travelling to market to command both sides of the Murray, whether going to Melbourne or Adelaide—a most important matter.


    John Foster, charged with committing an indecent assault, pleaded not guilty. Prisoner was defended by Mr O’Ryan, instructed by Mr GC Gillott (through Mr Holding).

Wentworth courthouse, completed 1880. Photo: Peter Bonsall-Boone
Wentworth courthouse, completed 1880. Photo: Peter Bonsall-Boone

    This case occupied the court some considerable time, the particulars of which are scarcely fit for publication. It appears a Mrs Green was living at Menindie with her two children, in premises owned by Mr Fairhead, a publican [of the Old Post Office Hotel] at Menindie, and close to the public-house. She had left her husband, bad usage being the cause assigned, and had arranged with Foster to go and live with him. Foster visited her on Friday evening, 17th November last, and stayed all night, sleeping on the floor during the night. Through the night the elder child, [Ellen Maria (or Ellen) Green] a girl then between eleven and twelve years old, was ill, and both the mother and the prisoner endeavoured to soothe and pacify her. A Chinaman was living in part of the same cottage, and being of an inquiring turn of mind, availed himself of an opening over the top of a door, to stand on his bunk, and have a look at what was going on during the evening and night. This, it seems, he reported to Mrs Fairhead. Early in the morning, after Mrs Green had got up, Charley, of the inquiring turn of mind, had another look, and saw the prisoner lying in Mrs Green’s bed, and the elder girl there also, both asleep. He then reported the circumstances to Mr Fairhead, who also had a look over the door, and then went for the police. Whilst the police were at the front door a servant woman of Fairhead’s broke through the back door, and the police then found the prisoner and the girl in the same bed, and the mother preparing breakfast in the same room. The second and younger girl were up. Foster was taken into custody, and committed to take his trial. A pharmaceutical chemist was called in by the police to make an examination of the girl, but his evidence through the cross-examination of the counsel for the defence broke down entirely. His opinions were of no legal value, and his facts were absolutely nil when thoroughly tested. The summing up of his Honour was much against the prisoner, and he told the jury although they might acquit the prisoner on the first, the more serious, count; still, according to the evidence, there was no doubt he was guilty of the second, and the jury confirmed his Honour’s opinion—notwithstanding the previous efforts of the counsel for the defence, in a very long and elaborate address. His Honour was very severe in his comments on the conduct of the mother, and characterized it as something revolting, and in the interests of society, deserving signal punishment.

    The prisoner was then sentenced to twelve months’ hard labour, where subsequently to be determined.

    During the latter part of the day, Mrs [Charlotte] Green was apprehended and tried next day, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, at which she seemed quite overwhelmed, and wept very bitterly, protesting her own and Foster’s innocence of any crime against the child. In her evidence on the trial of Foster the previous day she swore positively that nothing but fatherly kindness had ever passed between him and her children.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Adelaide Observer, Sat 31 Mar 1877 4


    Our correspondent, writing from Wentworth on March 26, says:—“The Darling is rising a inch in 24 hours; it is now 6 feet 11 inches above the summer level. Steamers now under way can easily reach Bourke without impediment, and as supplies are in great request up the river this season will doubtless surpass any of the past in magnitude of imports and consequent profit to our river traders. On Friday last we had a rainfall of over two inches. This will be a great blessing to the country.”

    The Central Australian of March 10 remarks:—“We have during the past week been visited with a splendid downfall of rain, which has had the effect of changing with almost magical rapidity the hitherto barren appearance of the surrounding country. Since the rain the atmosphere has become much cooler, and the barometer [sic–thermometer] has not indicated higher than 80 degrees. All our advices tend to the belief that the rain was general, so that there should not now be any scarcity of feed or water.” The same paper states, regarding the river intelligence, that—“There is little or nothing to report under the above heading. The river [Darling] has fallen very fast, and has fallen 8 feet since our last issue. The steamers Bourke, Maranoa, Goolwa, and Menindie have discharged the Bourke cargoes, and with the exception of the Menindie, which is at Brewarrina, have returned to South Australia. The steamer Bourke took from here 2,837 cakes of copper, being 85 tons 5 cwt 3qrs and 23 lbs, as also 250 bales of wool, from the West Bourke Woolsheds. There is now 20 tons of copper on the banks on the bank of the river awaiting shipment, which will be placed on board the steamer Menindie on her arrival from Brewarrina. There is also 20 tons more copper on the road in from Cobar, which is expected to arrive here in time for shipment on the above named steamer.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Charlotte Green, Gaol photo sheet 5

SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6042], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1877-1879, No. 1941, p. 198, R5099. p.1.
SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6042], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1877-1879, No. 1941, p. 198, R5099. p.2.

Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. 1941
No. on Gaol Register: 2349/77

Date when Portrait was taken: Oct 1878

Prisoner's Name: Charlotte Green

Native place: Murrindu [sic]

Year of birth: 1839

Arrived        Ship: 
in Colony }   Year:

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Married

Religion: C. E [or Presbyterian]

Education, degree of: RW

Colour of hair: Brown grey

Colour of eyes: Hazel

Height: 5'

Weight     On committal: 
in lbs     }  On discharge: 

Marks or Special Features: Mole on left cheek

 (No. of Previous Portrait ... ) 


Where and When Offence. Sentence

Wentworth Q.S

Sentence remitted







Indecent Assault on a female child
under 12 years

2 years HL

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

John Foster, 
Gaol photo sheet 6

SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6041], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1876-1877, No. 1722, p. 276, R5099. (p.1)
SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6041], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1876-1877, No. 1722, p. 276, R5099. (p.2)

Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. 1722

Date when Portrait was taken: 30th May 1877

Name: John Foster

Native place: Ashton, England

Year of birth: 1847

Arrived       Ship: Ida
in Colony }   Year: 1862

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Laborer

Religion: R.C.

Education, degree of: R&W

Height: 5' 5"

Weight     On committal: 138
in lbs     } On discharge:

Colour of hair: Black

Colour of eyes: Brown

Marks or special features:

Where and when tried: Wentworth Q.S. 19 March 1877

Offence: Indecent assault on a female child

Sentence: 12 months Roads


 (No. of Previous Portrait ... ) 


Where and When Offence. Sentence

Wentworth Q.S




Indecent Assault on a female child

12 months Roads 


1     The ‘proceedings’ kindly provided by the Wentworth Historical Society.

2     The Pastoral Times, Sat 10 Mar 1877, p. 2. Emphasis added.

3     The Pastoral Times, Sat 31 Mar 1877, p. 4.

4     The Adelaide Observer, Sat 31 Mar 1877, p. 12.

5     SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6042], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1877-1879, No. 1941, p. 198, R5099.

6     SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6041], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1876-1877, No. 1722, p. 276, R5099.