DEATHS BY DROWNING


The record of the Inquest for Mathew Hogan was found at the Victorian Public Records Office (VPRS 24, Unit 8, File 43/1851). It was conducted by the Coroner J. H. S. Wilmot and held at the Prince Albert Hotel. This Hotel, run by proprietors Jeremiah Slattery and John Ryan (Slattery being Ryan's brother-in-law), was on the south-east corner of Collins and Swanston Streets. Jeremiah Slattery, Michael Ryan, Thomas Lazarus, Samuel Goode, Frederick Slater, Alexander Georgison, Charles Robinson, John Howard, Joseph Downing, Benjamin Boniface, Charles Morgan and Theodore Hintschell were the twelve good and lawful men of the Colony charged with the job of finding a verdict.

Angus Kennedy, carpenter, swore in his affidavit: "Whilst looking for my son about Princes Bridge I saw two little girls near the bridge who told me there were some clothes lying on a bank near and they feared that someone was drowned - I went to the river side where I saw some boys swimming and told then of the fact, when they came to the spot and on examining the clothes with a bag containing some school books found that they belonged to Mathew Hogan. I then sent them with said clothes to the watch house to make the case known to the Police."

Henry Bassett, carpenter and joiner swore in his affidavit: "That between the hours of eight and nine o'clock on the evening of the fifth of December inst. hearing that a boy had been drowned in the swamps by the side of the River Yarra, I went into the said swamp and after making search for about half an hour succeeded in raising the body of deceased. I then brought it out and laid the body upon the bank. It was afterwards brought to the Prince Albert Hotel. The body is that of Mathew Hogan. I saw him in good health at about nine o'clock the same morning. Deceased was at school yesterday and left at the same time with the other boys between four and five o'clock in the evening."

John Elzary (or Elyrey or similar), Constable swore in his affidavit: "About nine o'clock last night the 5th December inst. I was sent down to the river by the Sergeant of Police to ascertain whether any boy had been drowned, as some children had brought some clothes to the Police Office. I went accordingly and took a long pole to search for the body. Whilst searching, another who was present went into a water hole near the Princes Bridge and brought out the body of deceased. I then brought the body in my arms to the Prince Albert Hotel."

Domestic Intelligence.
Deaths by Drowning - An inquest was held on Saturday, on the body of a child named Mathew Hogan, who was drowned the previous day while bathing in the Yarra. A verdict of Accidental Death was returned. Another unfortunate occurrence of a similar nature took place on Saturday afternoon; a fine lad named Clancey, whose parents reside in Little Lonsdale Street, having been accidentally drowned in a water-hole near the flagstaff. An inquest on the body will be held this day."("The Argus", Monday 8th December 1851)

Contributed by Anne Mavric (PPPG Member No. 1171)


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