Hangings

 

Patrick Sheehan – 8.30am 6th November 1865

Age: 31

Birthplace: Kilkenny, Ireland

Religion: Catholic

Hangman: William Bamford

Patrick Sheehan for the stabbing of James Kennedy at Rowdy Flat Yackandandah. Sheehan claimed not to remember the incident due to drunkenness but seemed resigned to his fate.

Just past 8am the Governor of the Gaol, Castieau asked Sheehan, in the presence of the sheriff, if he wished to say anything. “Only to give my best thanks”

In a low and but unfaltering voice, Sheehan’s last words “God bless you all, and God forgive me; that will do”

 

John Kelly – 9am 4th May 1867

Age: 35

Birthplace: Ireland

Religion: Catholic

Hangman: James Gould

John Kelly was convicted for an Unnatural Offence against a 2-year-old boy in Wangaratta and found guilty on strong evidence.

Fifty to sixty persons were present and not the slightest levity amongst them, there was no doubt of the horrible nature of the offence, and not a shadow of sympathy towards Kelly in anyway.

“Lord have mercy on my soul” were Kelly’s final words.

 

Peter Higgins (James Smith) – 9am 11th November 1869

Age: 40

Birthplace: Belfast, Ireland

Religion: Catholic

Hangman: James Gould

Peter Higgins was convicted for murdering his wife after an argument, at Ovens.

In the morning when requested to wash his face he said he could not, and one of the turnkeys kindly performed that office for him. At all event’s it touched him, and he said in a faint voice, "May God wipe out my sins in this way.'' Those were the last words, we believe, except to his confessor, he spoke.

Higgins stared vacantly, knees bent, shoulders stooping and lips moving as if in prayer.

Observers doubted that he was even aware of the actions of the hangman.

 

James Quinn – 9 am 10th November 1871

Age: 30

Birthplace: Ireland

Religion: Catholic

Hangman: William Bamford

James was convicted of the Murder of Ah Woo after robbing him of £20 and striking him in the head with a tomahawk.

Quinn protested his innocence at trial, but was found guilty by the jury delivering the verdict to a packed court room at 2am.

Quinn spoke in a low voice “God help me, l am an innocent man” blaming his wife and protesting his innocence over and over

 

Thomas Brady – 7am 12th May 1873

Age: 32

Birthplace: New South Wales (Australia)

Religion: Catholic

Hangman: William Bamford

Thomas Brady along with James Smith were hanged side-by-side on the Gallows for the Murder of John Watt in a Wooragee Hotel. Watt turned to flee but was shot in the chest and died 10 days later.

 

James Smith – 7am 12th May 1873

Age: 30

Birthplace: New South Wales (Australia)

Religion: Unknown

Hangman: William Bamford

James Smith along with Thomas Brady were hanged side-by-side on the Gallows for the Murder of John Watt in a Wooragee Hotel. Watt turned to flee but was shot in the chest and died 10 days later.

“When may l speak?” Bamford waited “All that l have to say is, that l have given a document to the governor of the gaol of what we have to say in our defence, and of ourselves” Smith’s final words. Smith and Brady’s final statement was viewed by authorities but refused its release to the newspapers.

 

Thomas Hogan – 9am 9th June 1879

Age: 34

Birthplace: Ireland

Religion: Catholic

Hangman: John Andrews (alias Michael Gately)

Thomas Hogan and his brother James were overseeing a raffle, the two brothers began quarrelling. The next morning, they met in Yarrawonga where Thomas shot and killed his brother James. Thomas was said to be that close to James that the fatal shot caused his clothes to catch alight, James’s body was badly charred.

Thomas Hogan was attended on his final day by Father O’Connor. Hogan walked firmly onto the gallows. Whilst standing on the gallows Hogan was asked if he had anything to say. He replied in a gruff voice “No”.

 

Robert Rohan (alias George Smith) – 10am 6th June 1881

Age: 25

Birthplace: England

Religion: Church of England

Hangman: Elijah Upjohn

Robert Rohan alias George Smith was named the so called Yalca murderer, which began after the body of John Shea was discovered at the bottom of a 100ft well. Rohan was seen in the company of his mate, headed off to buy alcohol, but Rohan returned without him. John Shea was found a week later.

In the company of the gaol governor and two Wesleyan clergyman Rohan claimed “I have committed several crimes that l ought to have been hanged for, but l never committed this.”

Rohan walked to the gallows in a calm and deliberate manner chewing a piece of tobacco, when asked by the sheriff if he had anything to say Rohan replied “I have been convicted of the murder, and l am prepared to hang for it.”