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1879, John Blundell - Unfit For Publication
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Below also see: John Blundell, 1882

The Yass Courier and General Advertiser, Tue 11 Mar 1879 1

Before Mr Yates, PM.

    AN ABOMINABLE OFFENCE.—John Blundell, a lad of 15, was brought up on a charge of beastiality, [sic] which was preferred by Mr sub-inspector Brennan; also for stealing one cow, which was subsequently recovered. The first-named offence, [bestiality with a mare ], was committed at Gininderra, on the 20th of last month, and the lad was arrested at Yeumburra on Saturday last. A remand was applied for, in order that a warrant issued by the Queanbeyan bench for the prisoner’s arrest should be produced. The prisoner was therefore remanded till to-day. From his own confession it appears that the lad cannot read, has never been to school nor church, and was prompted to commit the offence by two young men at Uriara. His father, mother, and brother live at Uriara, near Brindabella.

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The Yass Courier and General Advertiser, Fri 14 Mar 1879 2

Before Mr L Yates, PM.

    UNNATURAL OFFENCE.—John Blundell, remanded from the previous day on the above charge, was brought up. Sub-inspector Brennan applied for the prisoner to be remanded to Queanbeyan. The warrant issued for prisoner’s arrest by the bench at Queanbeyan was produced, and constable [James Thomas] Campbell made a statement to the effect that he had apprehended prisoner on Saturday at Boambolo, who, when told the charge preferred against him, said nothing.

    The Police Magistrate remanded prisoner to Queanbeyan.

    VAGRANCY.—Susan Hancock was charged with vagrancy. The defendant had been a week previously sentenced at Cootamundra to six days imprisonment on a similar charge, but she had still no place of abode, had no means of support, and required medical attendance, she evidently being mentally demented. She was ordered to be sent to Yass gaol for one month, with a view to receiving medical treatment.

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Queanbeyan Age, Sat 15 Mar 1879 3


BEFORE the Police Magistrate.

    John Blundell was charged with an attempt to commit an abominable offence at Gundaroo on the 20th February last; also with stealing a cow from the same place, which was subsequently recovered.

    Sub-inspector Brennan asked the bench to remand the case till Tuesday, when he would be able to produce the warrant for prisoner’s apprehension.


BEFFORE the Police Magistrate.

  John Blundell, remanded from Monday, charged with attempting to commit an abominable offence, was again  brought up.

    James Thomas Campbell, deposed: I am a mounted constable, stationed at Yass; I know prisoner; I arrested him at Boambolo on Friday night last; I charged him with an attempt to commit an abominable offence at Gininderra in the Queanbeyan district; prisoner made no reply to the charge; I also charged him with stealing a cow the property of Mr Rolfe, of Queanbeyan; prisoner made no reply to the second charge; I brought him to Yass and confined him in the lock-up, I produce a warrant signed by Colonel Russell, of Queanbeyan, wherein he is charged with attempting to commit an abominable offence; I pray that prisoner may be remanded to Queanbeyan, where the witnesses who will prove the offences reside.

    Prisoner was remanded to Queanbeyan to be dealt with.

    The prisoner in this case, a lad, apparently about 15 years of age, presented a pitiable spectacle. His clothes were in rags, and, from ignorance of the enormity of his offence, he was utterly indifferent to the proceedings. Mr Brennan elicited from him that he had never been inside a church, had never been to school, that his parents never went to church, and he also alleged that he had been set on to commission the crime by two other lads moving in a comparatively good position. He did not seem to have the faintest idea that he had been doing any thing very wrong.—Southern Argus.


BEFORE the Police Magistrate.

    FRIDAY—Before the Police Magistrate.

    John Blundell (remanded from Yass) was brought up in custody on two charges, the nature of which may be gathered from the Yass police proceedings reported in another column and remanded into custody till next Tuesday for the production of evidence.

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Queanbeyan Age, Wed 19 Mar 1879 4


BEFORE the Police Magistrate and Mr Burke.

    The lad Blundell, charged with beastiality [sic] was fully committed to take his trial at the Quarter Sessions to be held at Queanbeyan on March 31st.

    The case was heard with closed doors.

Before the Police Magistrate.

    The same prisoner was further charged with larceny.

    The prosecutor, William Rolfe, stated that he missed a coat and pair of gloves from his dwelling and that he suspected the prisoner with taking them. He afterwards got the coat and gloves, which he valued at thirty shillings, from Henry Rolfe, and now produced them. He never sold not authorised the prisoner to take them. Prisoner was not in the habit of stopping at witness’s house, nor had he any authority to go there. The door was fastened with a string.

    Prisoner declined asking any questions.

    Henry Rolfe, a witness for the prosecution, stated—I am a labourer residing at the Tea Gardens. I remember Friday, the 21st of February. I was at Mr Clafferty’s on that day. I saw the prisoner there. Mr Clafferty put prisoner over the river in the boat. I noticed a black coat on his arm. I had occasion to go over the river after he had gone and overtook prisoner on the way to Uriarra. I said to him “that is not a bad sort of a coat you have. It looks a big one.” Prisoner said it was a big one, that his father had got one each for him and brother, but he did not know where he got it. I asked him if he would sell it. He said he did not care about selling it. He then asked  me what I thought it was worth. I asked him to let me have a look at it. I got it from him and I saw a pair of gloves in the pocket. I said to him “these are Bill Rolfe’s gloves you have got.” He said he did not know whether they were or not, that they were knocking about the place. I fitted the coat on and said it was Bill Rolfe’s coat. He said it was not. I then asked him if Bill Rolfe had given it to him and he replied, “No, it is my own.” I then rode off with the coat and gloves. He made no objections to my taking them but hung down his head. The coat and gloves produced are the same ones I took from prisoner. I gave them to William Rolfe.

    John Blundell, father of the prisoner, for the Crown, stated—I am a farmer, residing at Condo, near Uriarra. I have not given prisoner a black coat lately, nor do I know the coat produced. Prisoner has been away from me over four months. He would not stop at home. I have not given him any cause to leave home. I have not ill-used him.

    This closed the case, and prisoner having expressed a wish to have the case settled at once, the Police Magistrate, after a few remarks, sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour, in Queanbeyan jail. Upon hearing the sentence father and son were much affected.

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Queanbeyan Age, Wed 2 Apr 1879 5

MONDAY, MARCH 31st, 1879.

Before Mr District Court Judge McFarland. Mr PJ Healey, crown prosecutor.
    The legal profession were represented by Mr TC O’Hara barrister-at-law, and Messrs Gannon, Parr, and Dawson, solicitors.


    Messrs George Fane DeSalis and George Harcourt took the usual oath as magistrates of the territory.


    John Blundell, a youth under 15, was indicted for an unnatural offence at Gininderra.

    The evidence for the Crown, which is unfit for publication, clearly established a most revolting crime and one which had not the prisoner been of such tender years, would have placed him on his trial for a capital offence.

    The jury having brought in a verdict of guilty,

    His Honour having ascertained that prisoner had been grossly neglected, never having been inside a place of worship, or received any religious instruction what ever, sentenced prisoner to two years’ hard labour in Goulburn jail, to date from the 17th September next, at the expiration of a sentence for larceny which prisoner was now serving.



John Blundell, 1882 

Queanbeyan Age, Tue 13 Jun 1882 6


BEFORE Mr JJ Wright, JP.


  John Blundell, in custody, was brought up for examination on a charge of stealing a grey mare, the property of John Morris Franklin, of Brindabulla [sic].

  Mr HS Gannon watched the case for the prisoner.

  Senior-sergeant Cornett having opened the case, was sworn, and stated—On yesterday morning, 8th June, I charged the prisoner John Blundell, now before the court with stealing a light grey mare branded JF over 3 on near shoulder, the property of John Morris Franklin of Brindabulla. Before I charged the prisoner with this affair I cautioned him that anything he should say in answer to the charge I should give in evidence against him. I took a copy of the Queanbeyan Times from my pocket dated January 8, 1882, which I now produce. I read the advertisement to him, viz., (Witness here read the advertisement.) When I read this advertisement I pointed to the grey mare lying dead in Mr Campbell’s paddock at Duntroon. I said “That is the mare you referred to in this advertisement?” He said “Yes; that’s the one.” I said, “This is a mare, and you have advertised a horse.” He made no reply. I despatched Constable Clifford for Mr JM Franklin of Brindabulla. Upon his arrival at the paddock in the presence of prisoner he identified the grey mare lying dead as his property and stated that she was  stolen from him on the night of the 27th May last from Brindabulla. I asked him did he sell the mare to prisoner or any one else. He said, No. I produced a piece of hide which I had taken from the mare’s neck and shoulder branded JF. Prisoner said, “I bought the mare.” I said “From whom?” Prisoner replied, “From a man named George Rayner.” I said “Where did you get this mare?” He said, “In the bush; at a place called Peppercorn; somewhere up in the mountains.” I asked him if he got a receipt from this man; he said No. I asked him if he knew the man Rayner and he replied, Only by sight. I asked him where Rayner was now. He said he had no home; he was knocking about the bush. I said, Was anybody present when he sold you the mare? Prisoner said, Nobody. I then said, Did you know the brands on the mare when you bought her? Prisoner said, I did not. I then brought prisoner into Queanbeyan on the charge of stealing the mare referred to. I asked prisoner if he was shooting in this paddock where the mare was lying dead. He said he was shooting ’possums there. There was only one mark in the mare’s forehead which seemed to have been made by a bullet. I brought George Blundell, the prisoner’s uncle to where the mare was lying dead, and asked him in the prisoner’s presence if he knew the grey mare; he said, Yes, he (meaning prisoner) brought her to my place last Wednesday week. I asked him if he was riding her. He said Yes. I then brought prisoner to the lockup and confined him.

    John Morris Franklin, sworn stated—I reside at Brindabulla. I know the prisoner in the dock. His name is John Blundell. I lost a grey mare on the 29th of May last. She was in my possession the evening of that day at 5 o’clock. She was a light iron-grey mare, branded JF over 3 near shoulder. I reported the loss of the mare to constable Clifford stationed at Ginninderra. I looked through the paddocks where she had been running for the last three years, and could not find her. I was brought yesterday by the police to a paddock near Duntroon belonging to Mr Campbell. I saw a dead mare lying in the paddock. I identified that mare as the one I had lost on the 29th May last; she bore the same brand as when I lost her. I swear she is the same mare. She had a bullet mark in her forehead. I never gave the prisoner or anyone else authority to take the mare. She was bred on the station at Brindabulla, and was never in the habit of rambling. She was easily caught. The prisoner knew the mare to be mine, and had often seen me riding her. I recognise the piece of hide now produced as the piece I took from the mare’s shoulder as she lay dead. I have been living at Brindabulla about 16 years and have never known anyone about there named George Rayner. Never gave a man of that name, or anyone else, permission to take the mare. I know her, beside by her brand, by the mark of a stake wound she received some time ago. I claim the mare as my property, and never lent her or sold her to anyone.

    To Mr Gannon.—Prisoner does not live near my place—He was working for William Reid about a month ago. I had a suspicion that she was stolen, and my suspicions were confirmed when a dray robbery took place at Brindabulla lately. A man named Rayner may have been about Brindabulla lately without my knowledge.

    George Blundell, sworn, stated—I am a farmer living at Canberra. I know the prisoner John Blundell, now before the court. I am his uncle. Yesterday the police took me to a paddock at Duntroon, where I saw a mare lying dead. The prisoner John Blundell brought her to my place a week ago, last Wednesday. He was riding the mare. I had no conversation with the prisoner about the mare. The prisoner stated that he brought the mare from Brindabulla; did not say whom he got the mare from. About four days afterwards the mare was missing from my paddock. Did not go with prisoner, or anyone else to look for the mare. He said to me in the evening when I came in, that he thought that the mare was stolen, or else that she had jumped out of the paddock. I first saw her lying dead, five days after, in Mr Campbell’s paddock. She had a bullet wound in the head. Prisoner had a gun and a revolver when he was at my place. He was out shooting while he was at my place. I identify the revolver now produced in court as the same. I handed it to the police. Prisoner brought two other horses to my place, but not at the time he brought the gray mare. He did not sleep under the same roof as I, but in a shed near the house.

    To Mr Gannon.—Prisoner was out with me ’possum shooting on Saturday night last. That is the night the mare is supposed to have been shot. He went home with me that night. He did not shoot the mare while he was with me.

    John Allan O’Neill was called and swore that a paper produced, bearing date 8th June, purporting to be a copy of the Queanbeyan Times, was printed by him, and recognised an advertisement in it. Prisoner before the court came to him on last Monday evening about seven o’clock, in his office. He told me to insert the advertisement referred to. The way he described the horse to me is as it appears in the paper, offering £10 reward for the conviction of the person or persons who shot a gray horse his property. He paid for two insertions, he gave me half-a-sovereign and I gave him 2s change.

    To Mr Gannon.—I have not seen the manuscript since he gave me it. I will swear I printed this copy of newspaper.

    Frederick Campbell, sworn, stated—I am a grazier residing ast Duntroon, and a magistrate of the territory. I know the prisoner in the dock. Last Thursday morning about nine o’clock, prisoner came to me and informed me that a horse of his had been shot in a paddock close to Duntroon. He asked me what he should do about it. I recommended him to communicate at once with Sergeant Cornett, and told him that I myself would also do all I could to discover the perpetrator. He also asked me to take in a couple of horses on agistment, which I had to decline on account of the shortness of grass. We then parted. I was so shocked that the horse was shot so close to my station, that I particularly asked the prisoner twice if he was sure the horse was his, and he assured me it was. At the request of the police I went to the paddock, and in the prisoner’s presence viewed the dead mare. Prisoner stated that this was the same animal he told me of as belonging to him. I had a suspicion that all was not right. Mr John [Morris] Franklin was present and claimed the mare as his property. He had previously told me he had lost a grey mare. I saw a bullet-hole in the mare’s forehead.

    At this stage of the proceedings Senior-sergeant Cornett stated that the evidence for the prosecution was closed; but prayed for a remand till Tuesday (today); his reason being that the police had cause to suspect that at least one of two other horses found in prisoner’s possession was a stolen horse; and if prisoner was formally committed he could not be brought out of jail any subsequent change without a writ of habeas corpus.

    Mr Gannon opposed the application, anticipating a committal on prima facie grounds, he intended to instruct his client to reserve his defence; but would apply for bail; and this application of the senior-sergeant’s would simply frustrate his object.

    His Worship considered the application made by the police only reasonable and fair, and should grant it.

    Prisoner was accordingly remanded to custody till Tuesday (to-day).

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Queanbeyan Age, Fri 16 Jun 1882 7


BEFORE JJ Wright, Esq, JP.


    John Blundell, on remand from last Saturday was brought before the bench and formally committed for trial at the next court of quarter sessions at Queanbeyan, on a charge of stealing a grey mare, the property of JM Franklin. Bail refused.

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Queanbeyan Age, Tue 1 Aug 1882 8

    CASES FOR TRIAL AT THE COMING SESSIONS.—There are only four criminal cases to be heard at the Quarter Sessions, which commences on Thursday morning next, at 10 am, before his Honour Judge McFarland, viz: Patrick Marshall, horse-stealing; Ellen Jane Smith, larceny at Bungendore; John Blundell, horse-stealing; and William Burns stabbing at Gundaroo.

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Queanbeyan Age, Fri 4 Aug 1882 9


BEFORE his Honour Mr District Judge McFarland; Mr JJ Wright, Sheriff’s representative; Mr WL Merrywether, [sic] Crown Prosecutor.
    The other legal gentlemen present were Mr Parr and Mr HS Gannon.


    John Blundell jun., stood charged with stealing a mare the property of John M Franklin of Brindabulla; the usual count of receiving was added.

    The prisoner, who was defended by Mr HS Gannon, pleaded not guilty.

    Two jurors were challenged by the prisoner, and one by the Crown.

    The learned crown prosecutor opened the case, which is now well-known to our readers. The “cruel wretch”—to use the words of an advertisement bearing the prisoner’s signature—the crown prosecutor said was doubtless the prisoner himself, and at the end of the case he was sure the jury would be of the same opinion. The case was put to the jury with admirable conciseness and clearness, after which the following evidence was taken.

    Senior-constable Cornett, who stated the circumstances of the arrest, produced a piece of hide cut from the mare prisoner stood charged with stealing. He also gave the particulars of the prisoner’s statement that he had had purchased the mare from a man named Rayner of whom no trace could be found.

    The witness, cross-examined by Mr Gannon, stated that people sometimes took assumed names; George Rayner might have done so. The bullet produced was an ordinary one, and witness would not swear the mare was shot by one of those bullets.

    To the Crown Prosecutor—People did not take assumed names when selling horses honestly.

    J[ohn] M[orris] Franklin was next called, and repeated his evidence as to the losing of a light iron-grey mare in May last. She was branded JF over 3 on near shoulder. The mare which was worth £10 was subsequently found dead, and the piece of hide produced bearing the brand, he cut himself from the dead mare. Witness never lent or sold the mare, or gave any person authority to take her away or shoot her.

    Cross-examined by Mr Gannon—Prisoner had lived with witness a month or two before, and well knew the mare to be witness’s property. He had often ridden her. Did not always get a receipt when buying a horse. There were gold-mining operations at Brindabulla; only one party were working there. Strangers were often about Brindabulla.

    Frederick Campbell, grazier, at Duntroon, repeated the evidence he had previously given at the police court, as to prisoner’s reporting to him the fact of the mare being shot; witness recommended prisoner to report the matter to the police. Mr Franklin, who was present subsequently in the paddock where the mare lay dead, claimed the mare as his property.

    George Blundell, uncle to the prisoner, was called and gave evidence as to the prisoner’s bringing the mare, with another to his paddock, and his reporting her being missing, and subsequently found dead in a paddock at Duntroon, shot.

    John Allan O’Neill was called upon to prove the publication of an advertisement offering £10 reward for the conviction of the person who shot the mare.

    At the suggestion of Mr Gannon the manuscript order for the advertisement was required to be produced. During the absence of witness, the advocate for the prisoner said he would be content with his Honour’s ruling that the MS was the proper thing to produce, and not the newspaper.

    John M Franklin was recalled by the request of Mr Gannon to state that the piece of hide had to be shaven to render the brands legible.

    To the Crown Prosecutor—Witness would have known the mare independently of the brands.

    John Allan O’Neill produced the MS, which was read in the court.

    This was the case for the Crown.

    Mr Gannon addressed the jury on the prisoner’s behalf. He contended that the prisoner’s action, and the evidence adduced by the Crown, were all in his client’s favour, and that the probabilities were that Rayner was the real thief, who for his own safety kept out of the way. There was equal reason to believe in the prisoner’s innocence as in his guilt. At any rate the prisoner was entitled to the benefit of the doubts which surrounded the case.

    The learned Crown Prosecutor replied—the prisoner had been guilty of a clumsy piece of criminal ingenuity. If the jury had any doubt of the stealing; there was the strong proof of receiving.

    His Honour very clearly summed up, tracing the prisoner’s connection with the mare from almost the very day she was missed. This was strong presumption that he stole the animal, notwithstanding his endeavours to show that she came honestly into his possession, by a story which any thief might concoct. He urged the jury not to be carried away by any forensic statements but to weigh carefully the evidence and consider their verdict.

    The jury then retired and the court adjourned till 2 o’clock.

    The court reassembled at 2 pm, when the jury in the case of the Queen v. Blundell returned into court with a verdict of guilty against the prisoner.

    Two previous convictions were recorded against the prisoner; the first for larceny in march 1879 for which he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment; and again in the same year, for beastiality [sic], for which he served a sentence of two years in Goulburn jail.

    His Honour sentenced the prisoner to imprisonment for three years with hard labour in Goulburn jail.

    A gun, revolver, and tomahawk in prisoner’s possession were ordered to be given to prisoner’s uncle.

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John Blundell, Gaol photo sheet 10 

SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6045], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1883-1884, No. 2921, p. 141, R5101.


Gaol Photo Sheet - Transcribed Details

No. 2921

Date when Portrait was taken: 23rd November 1883

Prisoner's Name: John Blundell

Native place: BC New S. Wales

Year of birth: 1865

Arrived        Ship: 
in Colony }   Year: 

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Laborer

Religion: C of England

Education, degree of: R & Write

Colour of hair: Brown

Colour of eyes: Blue

Height: 5' 9"

Weight     On committal: 140
in lbs     }  On discharge: 

Marks or Special Features: 

Where and when tried: Queanbeyan Q.S
3rd August 1882

Offence: Horse stealing & Receiving

Sentence: 3 years HL

Remarks: To Maitland Gaol 19th November 1883

 (No. of Previous Portrait ...  ) 


Where and When Offence. Sentence








1   The Yass Courier and General Advertiser, Tue 11 Mar 1879, p. 2.

2    The Yass Courier and General Advertiser, Fri 14 Mar 1879, p. 2. Emphasis added.

3    Queanbeyan Age, Sat 15 Mar 1879, p. 2. Emphasis added.

4    Queanbeyan Age, Wed 19 Mar 1879, p. 2. Emphasis added.

5    Queanbeyan Age, Wed 2 Apr 1879, p. 2.

6    Queanbeyan Age, Tue 13 Jun 1882, p. 2. Emphasis added.

7    Queanbeyan Age, Fri 16 Jun 1882, p. 2.

8    Queanbeyan Age, Tue 1 Aug 1882, p. 2. Emphasis added.

9    Queanbeyan Age, Fri 4 Aug 1882, p. 2. Emphasis added.

10  SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6045], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1883-1884, No. 2921, p. 141, R5101.