The Execution of Georgey 1861

Who Georgie was has been lost with time, we don’t know his family name, age, where he was from, anything of that nature. The press even spells his name differently within their reportage of the case. We  do know he is of Australian indigenous descent.

This is an era when Rape is a Capital Offence, whereas Attempted rape is not. Georgie has been accused of Raping Mrs.Bridget Ryan. It is also an era where even the attempted rape of a white woman by an indigenous man meant you would be condemned by a all male white jury.

(Spelling as per the era it was written.)

courier mast head


The Courier Mail (Brisbane)

19 /11 /1961





Georgie, an aboriginal, was charged with ravishing one Bridget Ryan, on 11th October last, at Little Ipswich.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL prosecuted, and Mr. BLAKENEY was assigned for the defence.

Bridget Ryan, on being sworn, stated that she lived at Little Ipswich, and that on the evening of the 11th of October last she went out to look for some calves. She crossed over the One Mile bridge, and turning off the road to the left, she saw the calves in a hollow. She went towards them, and on her way found that a black-fellow was running after her, with his hands open, as if to catch her. She was frightened, and screamed, and when the black fellow attempted to seize her, she gave him a push, which caused him to fall down.

He got up again, and after a violent struggle, succeeded in committing the offence with which he stood charged. (The witness here entered into the details of prisoner’s con-duct, which displayed the most disgusting barbarity.) He beat her about the head and face with a boot and a spur. The prisoner in the dock was the man who committed the offence.

The black fellow had a lump upon his body by which, amongst other causes, she could identify the prisoner as being the man. The man was with her about two hours. When he left her, she crawled on her hands and knees until she came to the One Mile Bridge; it was then moonlight. She was almost blinded by the blood which streamed from the wounds on her head and face.

When she reached the bridge she called to two men who were passing, and subsequently her husband and some neighbours came and bore her home. Dr.Challinor then saw her. She was unable to stir without assistance for three weeks after.-In answer to the cross-examination of Mr. BLAKENEY, witness said that there was a considerable amount of traffic on the road near the scene of the offence.

When she attempted to scream the man choked her, and beat her with the boot and spur. She could not tell whether he was in liquor, for he had not been with her long before he gave her blood to drink instead of liquor. She threw up nearly two quarts of blood when she got home.

Dr. Challinor was examined, and described the nature of the bruises and cuts on the head, face, and breast of the woman when he went to visit her on the evening of October the eleventh. He believed the wounds might have been inflicted with a heavy boot.

The woman was in a state of extreme collapse, almost pulse less. He did not examine her person to ascertain whether the offence with which the prisoner stood charged had been committed.

His HONOR remarked that in future in such cases Dr. Challinor should, as soon as practicable, institute such an examination.

Dr. Challinor explained that he did not examine the woman on the evening in question, because she was in such a state of exhaustion that he thought she might die before morning, and being a magistrate he felt that he would be liable to blame if he did not ascertain from her a full statement of what had occurred.

He accordingly asked her if the man who assaulted her had told her what his design was. She said” yes.” He (Dr. C.) then asked her if the man had succeeded in accomplishing his purpose. She said ” no;” that she had pre-vented it, and that she had been struggling with the man for two hours. There were several persons in the room when she made this statement, and witness believed that the woman’s husband was present. This occurred a few hours after the assault.

Bridget Ryan was again put into the box, and examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL :-I saw Dr. Challinor on the night of the occurrence. I recollect him speaking to me on that evening. I understood what he said. I told him something. What I told him was not true. I was ashamed to say the truth in my husband’s presence. To-day, I have been sworn to tell the truth, and I have told it.

Thos. Ryan deposed to going to the assistance of the previous witness, and helping to carry her home on the evening in question. He went next day to a place in the bush near the One Mile Bridge, and found a bag, a spur, and big boots there. The bag was the one produced. There was plenty of blood on the ground.

This witness was examined closely by his Honour as to any conversation which took place between his wife and Dr. Challinor on the evening of the occurrence, but could recollect hearing no such conversation as that deposed to by Dr. Challinor. He recollected, however, that his wife told the doctor, in answer to a question, what it was the black fellow tried to do to her.

Colin Peacock stated that he resided at Warrell Creek, about five miles from Ipswich, towards Normanby. Knew the prisoner. He was in the service of witness on the 11th of last month. Sent him on that day to the Three Mile Creek on a message.

 He was dressed in a pair of trousers. Those were the trousers produced. He had ankle boots on when he left the house ; took a bag with him, and the bag produced waste one. The bag belonged to witness. He had on one spur. That is the one produced.

Mr. BLAKENEY addressed the jury for the defence, and contended that although they would be justified in finding prisoner guilty of the attempt, yet after the statement of the woman to Dr. Challinor, they would scarcely be justified in finding him guilty of the more serious charge.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL replied, and His HONOR, in summing up, commented upon the statement made by the woman in the first instance to Dr. Challinor. It would be for the jury to decide, after seeing and hearing the woman give her evidence, and after viewing all the circumstances of the case, whether, in making that statement, she told an untruth, prompted, as she had alleged, by delicacy of feeling. If the jury were of opinion that such were the case, they would of course find prisoner guilty of the capital offence. If, on the other hand, they believed that statement to have been a truthful one, then they could find the prisoner guilty of the attempt only.

The jury, after retiring for a few minutes, returned a verdict of guilty, and his HONOR passed sentence of death upon the prisoner in the usual form.

ipswich street scape 


Sydney Morning Herald

12/12 1863


BY the Telegraph we have Brisbane papers to the 9th Instant. We quote the following from the Guardian of Saturday: –


On Thursday morning tho extreme penalty of the la if was carried out within the precincts of the gaol on the aboriginal Georgey, convicted of having committed a rape at Little Ipswich, on the person of Mrs. Ryan, on the 11th of last October.

 For some days previous to the execution Georgey had manifested great uneasiness, and complained of the long delay which occurred in carrying out the sentence, several times expressing his wish to ” see it over.”

On Wednesday night he slept soundly, and ate well on Thursday morning. On being asked by the gaoler, Mr. Sneyd, how he felt, he replied that “he was sure to go to heaven after what the Bishop said to him.” Considerable impression had evidently been made on his mind, and he was frequently found in the attitude of prayer. He several times expressed anxiety to know what difference there was between the punishment of a white and of a block man here-after.

 He freely confessed his guilt, and attributed his crime to the influence of liquor. On arrival in the gaol yard, at a quarter to nine, the process of pinioning was being performed by the hangman in the prisoner’s cell. Until nine o’clock he paced up and down his narrow chamber, weeping bitterly, his loud moaning being heard on the opposite side of the gaolyard.

On approaching the foot of the steps, the chaplain read prayers, kneeling for some moments with the prisoner, who still continued crying. He mounted the gallows with a steady step, without speaking, As the noose was being adjusted, he turned round suddenly and looked at the hangman, who immediately pulled the cap over his eyes, and at a signal given by the sheriff’ tho bolt was drawn and the wretched man was launched into eternity. He died without a struggle.

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