William Hardie

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Samuel Thomas Gill, The newly arrived inquiring, c1852, watercolour and gum arabic on paper.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, gift of Mr. Tony Hamilton and Miss. S.E. Hamilton, 1967.


William Simpson Hardie was born in Scotland arriving in Australia in 1852, and first dug for gold at Winters Flat. He was residing in Ballarat in the 1880s. He died on 9 January 1855.[1]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

On the night of 04 December 1854 William Hardie was walking along Main Road, Ballarat, with his mate James Beveridge, towards the Camp. He was visiting Ballarat from Bacchus Marsh where he was a livestock dealer. A fusillade of shots had been fired from the Camp, and a bullet struck the road in front of him and he was hit in his thigh, fracturing the bone. The wound bled profusely. He was taken to the Camp Hospital, but there was no room, so Hardie was taken to the tent of his mate James Beveridge. Dr Carr amputated his leg at Beveridge’s store, assisted by doctors Campbell, Mount and Leman. Hardie was later transferred to the Clarendon Hotel. He died from typhoid. An inquest was held into his death.

11 Jan 1855 – William Simpson Hardie – Death from typhus Fever – deceased having been previously debilitated by ….. the result of a gunshot wound
“The deceased died of Tyhpoid Fever, and that the fatal results was accelerated and indirectly caused by the effects of a wound received from a ball fired by the military from the Ballarat on the evening of the 4th Dec 1855.
The jury beg to express their strong disapprobation of the reckless and in discriminate firing of the military on a densely populated neighbourhood on the above evening.
Jury - Andrew Davies; Thomas Drummond Wanliss; Charles Dawkins; George Roberts; James Taylor; John Fox; John Sinclair Robertson; Robert Osborn; George Melville Milne; William Newton; William Nicol; John Peet good and lawful men of Ballarat
Witness – James Beveridge of Ballarat taken on oath this 11th day of Jan 1855 at Ballarat .
“I was with deceased on the night of Dec 4 when the accident occurred we were coming over the flat and had just crossed the bridge when the firing commenced. I think the firing came from the direction of the mess room or the camp. One ball struck the round near our feet, we then tried to get out into the drain out of the way but a ball struck deceased before he could get under cover, he was struck in the right thigh, and fell down. I went and fetched some assistance and deceased was taken and put under the verandah of the mess room and then taken to the hospital and from there to our tent. Several medical men met there and amputation was performed. Deceased was removed to this house the following day.
He were coming home when the accident occurred – deceased had only arrived the same afternoon from Bacchus Marsh.
I had known deceased for twelve months.
Neither deceased nor myself were armed. I saw only one person besides ourselves in this side of the bridge. I heard no shots fired from the flat.
The firing commenced from the direction of the resident commissioner house and went towards the Black Hill.
By a juryman. The firing lasted about 10 minutes and was continuous. There were some people one the other side of the bridge. Assistance from the camp was rendered in the few minutes. The night was rather dark.
James Beveridge.”
Witness – Alfred John Carr of Ballarat
“I am a qualified medical practitioner. I was on the Gov’t Camp when deceased was brought in on Monday evening Dec 4th he had received a gun shot wound thro’ the thigh fracturing the bone and upturning the (profunder arteries?) He was seen by medical men and immediate amputation was considered necessary. This was performed in Mr Beveridge’s tent where he had been removed to. The following morning he was brought to this hotel for greater convenience of attendance he progressed favourable for nearly 5 weeks, the stump had nearly healed, about Saturday last symptoms of typhus fever set in, he had a slight attack of diarrhea two days previously, nearly all medical men on Ballarat had seen deceased during his illness and after fever set u he was attended by these medical men beside myself, but he sank in spite of our exertions and died yesterday about one o’clock. By the Coroner I attribute death by typhus fever in addition to the weak state he was previously reduced by the loss of his limb.
The deceased had a predisposition to typhus from having suffered it some years ago. It is not customary for typhus fever to arise from an accident but it would be likely to me more fatal from the weakened state in which his accident would have the patient.
He had so nearly recovered on Friday that we intended to have removed him out of bed it fever had no have come on.
Alfred Carr
Witness – Alfred Sickler of Ballarat
I am a qualified medical practitioner, I saw deceased previously to being called in specifically. When called in consultation I found deceased suffering from typhus fever for which I prescribed in conjunction with Dr Carr. I attended him until he died, the fever became aggravated until the last. Every means were acted to recover him but were of no avail. The stump of his thigh was very near healed up.
By the coroner – The stump would not have presented that appearance if the patient had not been in a good state of health. I was present when the operation was performed and I always thought he was going on favourably. I attributed death to typhoid fever. I do not think that fever was caused by the amputation but that it was more dangerous in consequence of the weak state deceased was left in by the amputation .
Witness – Henry Foster of Ballarat
I am Inspector of Police. On Monday evening Dec 4th somewhere about 8 o’clock. I was in the mess room on the camp. We had just finished dinner when I heard 2 shots fired. I got up directly and went out and went towards my post which is in the ravine between the camp and the comp of the 12th whilst going there a sharp running fire was going on, by the time I got to my post the firing had ceased. I heard an officer cry out cease firing. I got in my house and visited the vidittes which were 4 or 500 yards among the tents they pointed out 2 tents in particular from which they had seen shots fired one under the Black Hill and the other over the bridge 3 or 400 yards down the road. I heard no shots fired after the order to cease firing was given – no shot was fired in the rear of the camp.
A shot was fired from the flat and struck a candle stick in a tent belonging to the 12th Regt.
I have seen marks of bullets on different houses on the camp. The first firing emanated from the camp of the 12th Regiment on the other side the ravine and was occasioned by the shot being fired into one of their tents.
Some of the sentries told me that bullets had come very near them. I searched the tent from which the firing proceeded. There was no one in it.
Henry Foster[2]

Post 1854 Experiences

See also

George Milne

John Robertson

Thomas Wanliss

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


  1. VPRS 24 Unit 24 Hardie
  2. PROV, VPRS24/p, Box 24, Unit 23.

External links

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Caption, Reference.