Goldfields Involvement, 1854
Post 1854 Experiences
- EUREKA VETERAN’S TRAGIC END
- BURNT TO DEATH. THE CORONIAL INQUIRY,
- The coroner (Mr Goldsmith) yesterday held an enquiry into the death of George Bentley, an old age pensioner, who was fatally burnt in his hut at Glenpark on Monday. Detective-sergeant Rogerson conducted the proceedings. Alex Shuttleworth, miner, of Glenpark, said he had known the deceased for forty years, and had been in the habit of visiting him. The deceased was an old age pensioner. He had not been in good health for some time. Witness last saw him on Sunday, sitting by the fire in his hut, when he put a log of wood on the fire at the old man's request. He then left the hut and returned on Monday morning when he found that the place had been burned down. Witness informed the police, and accompanied Detective-sergeant Rogerson and Constable Morey to the scene of the fire. He saw the police unearth the remains of the deceased, and was satisfied that they were Geo. Bentley’s. He believed that the deceased had fallen into the fire, and the rubbish in the hut had been ignited by his burning clothes. The deceased was liked by the people of the locality, and witness knew of none likely to do him an injury. The deceased told witness to call every morning to see how he was getting on. The spot where the remains were found was where the deceased usually sat. Thomas Barnett, retired butcher of Bond Street, Ballarat, deposed that he had known Bentley, who was at the Eureka riots and he had in his possession, a sword used by the deceased in the riots. The old man came from York shire. Witness had been in the habit of visiting him, and knew that he had been in ill-health recently. On Wed-nesday last witness saw him sitting on his stool by the fire. Witness had an order to draw deceased's next pension for him. He had no doubt that the deceased fell into the fire. The deceased was 80 years of age. Witness had been afraid of deceased falling into the fire and wanted to nail a piece of timber across the fireplace as a precaution, but Bentley would not let him do it. He did not suspect foul play. Constable Morey gave evidence that he went on Monday to Glenpark in com-pany with Detective-Sergeant Rogerson and the witness Shuttleworth, and ex-amined the spot where the hut had been burned down. On clearing some of the debris away they found some charred remains resting on a log in the fire place. On the 23rd inst. witness visited the deceased, and asked him if he would go to the Ballarat Hospital, as he was in a very weak state, and his hands and knees were very much swollen. He said he was suffering from dropsy. On that occasion the deceased nearly fell into the fire while using the tongs, and witness cautioned him to be careful, as he would never, be able to get out of the hut if it caught fire. He promised to go to the hospital if he was not better, within a week. He told witness he had lived in the hut for 50 years. The pensioners in the locality were well look-ed after by Shuttleworth and a Miss Ritchie. ... Dr Chaplin gave evidence concerning a post-mortem examination. There was nothing by which the exact cause of death could be determined, but the de-ceased probably fell into the fire in a fit of giddiness. The coroner returned a verdict that death was due to burns accidentally received.
Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
- Ballarat Star, 01 November 1911.