Official Documents

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Background

On 07 October 1854 two recently reunited Scotsmen, James Scobie and Peter Martin, were out celebrating. Wanting another drink, they knocked on the door of the Eureka Hotel at night after closing hours. Their request for another drink was refused, and after a scuffle James Scobie was struck on the head with a shovel, and Peter Martin was kicked to the ground. James Scobie died as the result of injuries he received. Dr James Stewart performed an inquest into Scobie's death with an open verdict returned, even though most believed James Bentley had killed Scobie.

James Scobie's tent was next to Peter Lalor's tent.

The Inquest

...An inquest was held by a magistrate named Dewes, who was suspected of being under an obligation to Bentley, and believed to be what subsequent official investigation proved, a corrupt and unreliable officer. Instead of committing Bentley for trial, Dewes acquitted him. One of the commissioners (Johnston) was not satisfied with the inquiry, and forwarded his notes to headquarters. The diggers were enraged at so flagrant a miscarriage of justice. Bentley had a bad record, and his house a bad reputation. The incident served to increase the tension between the diggers and the authorities.[1]

The Jury were:

Arthur Anderson

John Gillott

Henry Green

John Fletcher

John Phelan

Walter Davis

David Richards

Duncan Henderson

John Campbell

John Haig

Hugh Meikle

James Hasseltop


Forms, Evidence and Depositions in relation to the James Scobie trial - Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 5527 Official Forms, Evidence and Depositions, October 1854

"Official form on blue paper - evidence - Henry Wright, trooper, 27 October 1854, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 70

Recognizance to give evidence.
Be it remembered, that on 27th day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty four Henry Wright of Ballarat in the Colony of Victoria Trooper personally came before me one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said Colony, and acknowledged himself to owe to our Sovereign Lady the Queen the sum of one hundred pounds, of good lawful money of Great Britain, to be made and levied of the goods and chattels, lands and tenements, in the use of our said Lady the Queen, her Heirs and Successors, if the said Henry Wright shall fail in the condition indorsed.
Taken and acknowledged the day and year of your first above mentioned at Ballarat in the said Colony before me
EPS Sturt JP

For Forms, Evidence and Depositions in relation to the James Scobie trial click the following link Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 5527 Official Forms, Evidence and Depositions, October 1854

"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of James Francis Bentley, 4 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of James Bentley, 4 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Archibald Carmichael, 7 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Archibald Carmichael, 7 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of William Duncan, 7 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of William Duncan, 7 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Barnard Welch, 7 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Barnard Welch, 7 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Thomas Mooney, 7 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Thomas Mooney, 7 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Peter Martin, 7 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Peter Martin, 7 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Peter Martin, 7 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Peter Martin, 7 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Mary Ann Welch, 7 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Mary Ann Welch, 7 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Peter Martin, 7 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Peter Martin, 7 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Mary Ann Welch, 7 October 1854, p.3, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
"Coroner's Inquest - Deposition of Mary Ann Welch, 7 October 1854, p.4, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 10
  1. The Charleville Times, 24 December 1904.