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Friday, January 29, 2010


Friday, 10 July 1900, between 11pm and midnight, mid-winter
When Mr John Mawbey, 51, arrived at the scene, he found his eldest daughter, Grace, 16, dying.
He then found the school teacher, Ellen Kerz, 20, dead.
Already shocked and heartbroken, he then went looking for the youngest of his two girls, Hilda, 11.
He found her dead in the creek.
All three young women had their heads smashed in.
The weapons used to kill them had been a stick called a 'boondee' weighing around 3 lb and a club called a 'nulla nulla'.
Inside the house, John Mawbey, found his son Percy, 14, dead, his head smashed in and his spine almost severed.
His wife, Sarah Mawbey, 44, was still alive but with her brain protruding from her shattered skull.
So too was Elsie Clarke, 15, Sarah's younger sister whom she had adopted after their mother died.
She had been hit on the side of the head.
The weapon used on these three victims was a tomahawk.
John Mawbey's two youngest boys, who had been asleep in the kitchen, a separate building at the back of the house, Cecil, 7 and Garnet, 4, were unharmed.
So too was George Mawbey, 13, their cousin, who had hidden under a bed.
Two of John Mawbey's other three sons, Reginald, 18, and Sydney, 13, had been with with him at the old inn where the family had lived until moving into their new house in January 1900.
John Thomas Jnr, 20, had been in Sydney staying with his father's younger brother, George Mawbey, father of the boy George who hid under the bed.
The house was in Ann Street, Surry Hills, not far away from Darlinghurst Gaol where Jimmy Governor ended up.
Grace died on the Sunday night and her mother, Sarah, on the Wednesday night.
Elsie survived but was permanently deaf as a result of her head injuries.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 23 July 1900
Victims Horribly Mutilated. Terrible wounds were inflicted on the victims.
Hilda Mawbey, who was killed, has a bruise on the corner of the left eye, a bruise on the forehead and over the left eye, and her skull is broken in behind the left ear.

Percy Mawbey, also killed, had a cut through the right ear and a cut 3 inches wide across the right side of the neck, penetrating the vertebrae column to the neck.
His skull was also fractured to the right ear; he has a wound on the back part of his head, a fracture on the crown of the skull, a cut across the back part of his head and a bruise on the forehead.
Miss Kerz, also found dead, had two bruises extending from the left ear to within an inch of the mouth, and both jawbones were broken.
There was a bruise across the right eye extending back to the ear, a wound on the left temple, and the skull was broken in about 5 inches over the left ear.
The other victims who are still alive are Mrs Mawbey who had the back of the skull fractured and head and arms hacked about with a tomahawk, a large gash across the back of the neck and several other wounds.
Grace Mawbey is unconscious, and has her forehead broken in over the eye, and other wounds.
Elsie Clarke has several wounds about the head, and is also unconscious.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 23 July 1900
Tragedy Near Gilgandra.
Family Attacked by Aboriginals.
Four persons brutally murdered.
Horrible injuries to others.
Recovery regarded as hopeless.
Lucky escape of a child.
Scene of the murder.
Fiendish cruelty.
Gilgandra Saturday ... Later.
The scene of the murder baffles description.
Percy Mawbey's head is nearly severed from his body by a blow on the neck, apparently from a tomahawk.
Miss Kerz was wearing a flanelette nightdress, and the stick that she was killed with, which is an aboriginal weapon not unlike a nulla-nulla, is covered with blood and the fluff from the night dress.
The door of the room where the females slept was smashed in with a tomahawk.
As soon as the inmates woke and saw the blacks, Miss Kerz and Grace Mawbey rushed outside towards where the men were sleeping, about three-quarters of a mile away.
The two girls were probably running hand in hand when they were overtaken and knocked down with sticks and a tomahawk.
The little boy, aged about 8, who was concealed under the bed, heard some of the blacks say, "There is one more boy yet: we must get him."
A black who was posted outside the door then sang out with an oath,"Sail into them, Jack: don't give any of them a chance: bash all their brains out."

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, 23 July 1900
Telegram to the Premier.
Action of the Police.
The Premier [Sir William John Lyne, KCMG] received a telegram on Saturday morning informing him that a brutal murder had been committed at Gilgandra, about 30 miles from Dubbo.
The crime was committed by two aboriginals known as "Tommy" and "Jimmy", accompanied by two others.
It was stated that the premises of Mr Mawbey at Gilgandra were entered by the men late on Friday night.
Miss Kerz, a school teacher, was killed as were also a boy named Percival Mawbey, and a girl, Hilda Mawbey, and three were likewise dangerously wounded, Mrs Mawbey, Grace Mawbey and Elsie Clarke.
It is said the police were on the scene at 3 o'clock in the morning.
The men "Tommy" and "Jimmy" are well known in the district as being violent characters, and have been watched by the police for some time past.
The Premier states that he has suggested to Mr See (Colonial Secretary) that the police should search along the western side of the railway, and that special attention should be given to the mountains in the neighbourhood.