The Execution of Dundalli 1854

The Execution of Dundalli 1854

The murder in Caboolture, Queensland of Andrew Macgregor and William Boiler caused a sensation and struck fear amongst the white settlers in the region. It was generally known who the murderer was but it took some time to apprehend the culprit. The hangman was Alexander Green, from Sydney, this was of a time when Queensland formed a part of New South Wales and so shared the same executioner. Green’s bungling of this execution may well have been the thing that got Governor Dennison over the line banning Public Executions. This form of bungling had happened before by Green, in 1848, but that time he had a shovel to dig a hole, this time he was interstate and out of his comfort zone and used some lateral thinking with a piece of rope to solve the problem. The Press were appauled.


(Spelling as per the era in which it was written)


Maitland Mercury


Dundalli, an aboriginal, was indicted for the murder of William Boiler, at the Pine River, on the 16th September, 1847. Boiler and James Smith were working together that day in a sawpit, Boiler being the top sawyer, when a number of blacks threw several spears at them, several of which struck Boiler Smith was getting out of the pit, when Dundalli, one of the blacks, threw a waddy at him, which struck and stunned him; subsequently the blacks plundered the sawyers.

Smith took Boiler into Brisbane, where, four days afterwards, Boiler died, in the hospital, from the spear wounds. Smith, the principal witness, was positive as Dundalli’s identity, and another witness also saw him at the Pine River about the time.

Mr. Faucett addressed the jury for the prisoner. They returned a verdict of guilty, and Dundalli was sentenced to death.

Dundalli, the same aboriginal, was indicted for the murder of Andrew Gregor, at Cobulture Creek, on the 1st September, 1846.Dundalli was working for Mr. Gregor, at Cobuiture Creek, 30 miles from the Pine River ; Dundalli had brought some bark in, and Mr. Gregor was stooping down, examining it, when Dundalli struck him to the ground with the blow of a waddy, killing him on the spot; Dundalli and other blacks then rushed into Mr. Gregor’s hut, and killed Mary Shannon.

Mr. Gregor’s servant, and plundered the hut. These facts were deposed to by Ralph William Borrow, who was in Mr. Gregor’s employ, and saw the first at-tack. His correctness was disputed by Mr Faucett. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and Dundalli was sentenced to death.

One or two prisoners were discharged, and the criminal business of the court was then finished.



Sydney Morning Herald


THE LAST WORDS OF DUNDALLI.-In our report of the execution of the aboriginal Dundalli, it was mentioned, that just before the cap was drawn over the wretched criminal’s face, he cried out with a loud voice to some native blacks assembled on a lull opposite the gaol, and addressed them with much earnestness and rapidity. The Brisbane blacks generally agree that this appeal was made to his wife and other members of his own tribe, whom he called upon to take revenge of those Brisbane aboriginals and others who had been instrumental in capturing him and lodging him in the watch house. There can be little doubt from the agreement of several statements, that this was the subject of the dying man’s address ; and he thus retained to the last moment that cruel ferocity of character which had so prominently marked his life.

 Notwithstanding the expression of many contrary opinions, we hold to the belief that this public and terrible punishment of a notorious criminal, in the presence of some of his own people, must act os a salutary warning upon them, as, from the years of impunity which he had enjoyed, they must have believed that he could forever defy the terrors of our laws. Nevertheless, no prudent     means should be neglected for the preservation of life, and we would again urge the propriety of immediately stationing a body of native police between Brisbane and the northern shores of the bay, to which the defunct outlaw belonged.


The Moreton Bay Courier


EXECUTION OF DUNDALLI.- This aboriginal native, convicted, at the last Brisbane Circuit  Court of the murder of Andrew Gregor and William Boller, paid the just penalty of his crimes by the forfeiture of his life, in front of the gaol, yesterday. Up to Thursday last the guilty man did not express much fear, but when preparation was made for erecting the gallows, he seemed to be aware that his case was almost hopeless ; and when the executioner went into his room to pinion him, he cried and wailed piteously, appealing to all near for their help to save him. As, owing to the desperate character of this criminal, some resistance was expected, more than the usual pre-cautions were taken to prevent an escape. A few Native Policemen, under Lieutenant Irvine, were on the ground with the town police, under arms, and a rope was passed through the cord that pinioned the culprit’s arms ; but he went up the ladder without the aid of force, continuing, however, to call upon the names of those who know him, and crying out loudly in his own tongue when on the scaffold, to some blacks who were witnessing the execution from the ridge at the Windmill Hill, opposite the gaol. The preparations having been completed, at a signal from Mr Pront the Under Sheriff, the bolt was withdrawn and the murderer fell ; but in consequence of some wretched bung-ling on the part of Green, the hangman, the feet of Dundalli fell firmly on the top of his coffin, beneath the gallows.

A turnkey quickly drew away the coffin, but still the feet of the hanging man touched the ground, and the spectators were shocked by the sight of Green lifting up the legs of the malefactor, and tying them backwards to-wards his pinioned arms, by the rope that passed through the pinioning.

Death seemed to be al-most instantaneous after the fall ; but, richly as the blood-stained convict deserved the death he suffered, it was still a most sickening sight to behold the cool and butcher-like conduct of the hangman, made necessary by nothing but the grossest neglect. If anything could be more disgusting than this, it was the presence of large numbers of women, many of whom had brought their children with them! After hanging the usual time, the body was lowered down for interment. Thus died one of the guiltiest and most incorrigible of the aboriginal natives of this quarter.

His many crimes had long made him the abhorrence of the whites, and it is to be hoped that his death will teach the blacks who had been in the habit of looking up to him, that our laws may overtake the guilty, however long the time since he first eluded his punishment.


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