Mounted Policeman William Lane

Newspaper search for William Lane

Extracts from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser found as a result of searching the National Library of Australia “Australian Newspapers beta” web site, see link below.

The advance search facility was used in July 2009 by using the words “Corporal Lane” and “Sergeant Lane”, and selecting the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803-1842). More may be found when the National Library adds newspapers after 1842.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thursday 26 January 1832, page 2

Capture of the notorious bushranger, Patrick Burke

On Tuesday the 17th instant this notorious fellow was apprehended by Corporal Lane, of the 39th Regiment, at the upper part of Illawarra, called “Little Bullie”.

It would appear that Lane, having been previously apprised of his temporary haunt, repaired thither without delay. On his arrival at the house, Burke immediately started from his seat to the door of the hut, cocked his piece, and snapped it. Corporal Lane, undaunted at this, attempted to deprive him of life, bravely and manfully seized Burke’s fire-arm, and after a short scuffle, in which Lane received two stabs in the hand, from a small bayonet that Burke had fixed a-la-militaire on the end of his musket, Lane became possessed of the gun, and ultimately succeeded in securing this “terror to travellers”, and marched him forthwith to the military barrack at Wollongong.

It is in the remembrance of many individuals probably, that Burke was apprehended by Mr Hume, of Appin, 21 months since. In the affray to secure him, however, he was so severely wounded, that it was deemed absolutely necessary to forward him to Liverpool hospital for medical treatment, and Lieutenant-General Darling gave Mr Hume a section of land for his exertions and services on that occasion. Burke, unfortunately for this isolated part of the world, by some means or other managed to effect his escape, after the lapse of eight months, and from that period he frequented the lonely road between Appin and Illawarra.

Too much cannot be said in favour of Corporal Lane, for his bravery on this occasion, and which was fortunately crowned with success; neither can too much praise be bestowed upon him for the mercy be extended to the man who sought to deprive him of his existence, for Lane courageously walked to the very mouth of his antagonist’s gun, but generously without recourse to the same means of defence, he threw aside his musket, and wrenched from Burke the instrument of destruction, which was subsequently found to contain a musket-ball and two buck-shot – thereby saving himself, and also delivering his prize alive to the Resident Magistrate, to answer the charge of violating the laws of his country for the last three years and a half.

It is sincerely hoped that His Excellency the Governor will be pleased to reward Corporal Lane, who has a wife and large young family, for the service he has rendered this district, in ridding it of such a pest. No person could travel the road with safety; for those individuals to whom he was pleased to exhibit :His Highness”; he generally was also pleased to deprive them of all they possessed about them.

To reward Corporal Lane, by promotion or otherwise, will stimulate others to follow his example; and although some may assert that it was his duty, which cannot be denied, I am perfectly satisfied that General Bourke will not pass unnoticed the exemplary conduct of Corporal Lane – From a Correspondent.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tuesday, 21 February 1832, page 3

Patrick Burke was indicted for a highway robbery on the person of George Figly and Ann Widgett, putting them in bodily fear, and taking from them several articles of property, to the value of £5 10s., on the 25th of March last.

George Figly – I am a farmer, residing at Illawarra; I was travelling with Mrs Widgett to Sydney; when near Appin, while passing a thick scrub, a man came out and stopped us; the prisoner at the bar is the man; I know him well, having known him before at Liverpool; he levelled his piece at me, and said, drop that bundle, or i’ll knock your b-d-y brains out;” I did drop it, and attempted to walk on; he sung out again, “drop that jacket too, or I’ll fire;” I gave it to him, and proceeded on my journey with Mrs Widgett; he halloed again that if we looked back he would settle us.

Cross examined by the prisoner – I had seen you before in Liverpool, but don’t know how many years since; I am sure you are the same man.

Ann Widgett corroborated the evidence of the last witness.

Cross examined by the prisoner – I did tell Corporal Lane, when I saw you in custody, that I knew nothing about you; I did so because I did not wish to explain myself then.

William Lane – I apprehended the prisoner on the 18th last month; I went, in the company with two others, into the bush about eighteen miles from Mittagong. When we arrived at the spot, I crept up to the hut, and heard two persons talking; I then went to the door; he instantly presented this gun at me, and I sung out, “Burke, if you dont surrender, I’ll shoot you!” He presented the piece again close to my cheek; I knocked it aside and, after a struggle disarmed and secured him.

Cross examined by the prisoner – Mrs Widgett said, in my hearing, that she knew nothing about you, and did not remember your person as the man who robbed her.

The learned Judge recapitulated the evidence to the Jury at some length, and they, without hesitation, found the prisoner guilty.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thursday 8 March 1832, page 2, Legislative Council, Tuesday 6th March 1832

The law is left to take its course on Patrick Burke, the bushranger, who is ordered to suffer (execution) at Appin (the scene of his depredations) next Wednesday.


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday, 13 February 1836, page 3

Supreme Court – Criminal Side – Thursday 11th Instant

Thomas Sumpter alias Shannon, was indicted for stealing two horses, the joint property of Thomas and John Tibbutt (sic), at Windsor, on the 22nd of December last.

It appeared in evidence that the prosecutors were possessed of two horses, the one a bright bay, the other a dark brown horse, with a long tail. They were put into a paddock belonging to the prosecutor, near the town of Windsor, on the night of the 22nd of December last. On the morning of the 23rd they were found missing, and when prosecutor saw them again on the 24th December, they were at Longbottom, in the custody of Corporal Lane, of the Mounted Police. Corporal Lane having formerly lived at Windsor, knew the bright bay horse, and from information from Thomas Tibbutt, proceeded to Ireland’s half way house, at the junction of the Liverpool and Parramatta roads, to look out for the stolen quadrupeds. On Christmas morning, at a very early hour, hearing a horse and cart passing along the road, on account of the unusual hour, he examined the animal, and whilst doing so, some person called from the house, “Lane, that’s the horse;” on which he took the horse and cart into custody. He received other information that the second horse had been taken to Liverpool, and he accordingly went there and found the second horse had been sold for £31 to Colonel Mackenzie, who, on being informed of the above circumstances, gave him up. The horse found in the cart appeared to have been sold by the prisoner to Mr Blackett for £20. The two horses sworn to have been sold by the prisoner to Colonel Mackenzie and Mr Blackett, were sworn to distinctly, as being the property of the prosecutors, and as having been in their paddock near Windsor on the night of the 22nd December. A witness named Dorsett, who lives close to the prosecutor’s paddock, near Windsor, disposed to the prisoner having gone to his hut on the night of the 22nd of December, and asked for the loan of a halter, stating that he had two fillies running on the common, which he must catch. Witness lent him a halter, and being reproved by his wife for doing so, followed the prisoner, and saw him in a paddock with eight horses, who appeared to be frightened at him, and galloped away. Prisoner afterwards requested witness to lend him a saddle and bridle, to go to Sydney to get a £10 note changed, and the Magistrates had a down on him. Mr Jilks apprehended the prisoner, who was seen on the morning of the 23rd of December by Mr Watkins riding one, and leading a second horse, at Mr Moses’ shop in George street, where he was purchasing some things, and had £47 3s 8d in notes and silver in his pocket; also a pass signed by Samuel North, Esq. JP dated Windsor, 14th December, allowing the prisoner to proceed to Mudgee for two horses. The prisoner had called at Mr John Solomon’s public house, and received change for the notes.

The learned Judge summed up at considerable length, and the Jury retired for about five minutes, found the prisoner Guilty. When called on to state why sentence should not be passed on him, the prisoner pleaded that he had been indicted under a wrong name. This objection, as he had pleaded to the indictment, was overruled by the Court, who sentenced the prisoner to be transported to a penal settlement for life.


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thursday, 14 September 1837, page 2

On Monday night between 11 and 12 o’clock, Corporal Lane of the Mounted Police, stationed at Long Bottom, received information that a man near Ireland’s had been stabbed and was upon the point of death, and accompanied by a trooper the Corporal proceeded to the spot pointed out, and found a man lying upon a bed in a hut on the road side to which he had been removed; he had received a severe wound upon the right side, evidently from a knife, through which the bowels protruded. He stated that the party who wounded him was named George Grovenor. They had been drinking together and some dispute arose respecting a woman when the wound was inflicted. Corporal Lane went in pursuit of the prisoner and came upon him in the vicinity of the Cherry Gardens. Upon the appearance of Lane he was rather restive, but when a pistol was put to his head he very quietly surrendered. Upon being taken to the wounded man he was recognised as the offending party and was marched into Sydney. The wounded man is in a very precarious state. Upon the person of Grovenor a clasp knife was found, the blade of which tallied in width with an incision in the waistband of the trowsers of the person stabbed. Grovenor is a notorious and desperate character and was formerly Chief Constable at Norfolk Island.


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thursday, 15 February 1838, page 2

Before Mr Justice Willis, and a Civil Jury on 10 February 1838

Benjamin Frazer, was indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Joseph Williamson, at Cook’s River, on the 21st January, and stealing therefrom sundry articles.

Mr Joseph Williamson – I reside at York Cottage, between Cook’s Rover and George’s River; about three weeks ago I went out leaving the house locked; I returned about six o’clock in the evening and found the door locked as I left it; when I opened the door I found some things strewed about; three or four weatherboards had been torn off apparently with a grubbing hoe which was lying near; I missed some shirts, gold pins, four or five razor blades, watch-guard and other things; I saw the things again at Parramatta.

Corporal Lane, Mounted Police – I apprehended the prisoner on the 22nd January, between five and six o’clock; Mr Williamson had informed me that his house had been entered; I went into the Liverpool Road with a trooper and apprehended him on the Bong Bong Road the following morning, with Mr Williamson’s jacket and trousers and shirt on; I took him to Parramatta where Mr Williamson claimed the property.

Mr Williamson – The articles showed me by the corporal were those that were stolen from me.

Defence – Picked the bundles up in the bush.

Guilty – Remanded.

Thursday 22 February 1838, page 2 – Supreme Criminal Court, 14 February, Benjamin Frazer was sentenced to be transported to a penal settlement for seven years.


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thursday 29 March 1838, page 2

Supreme Court – Civil Side – Friday 23 March 1838

Brownlow v Foster. This was an action brought to recover from the defendant as executor the sum of £54 14s. 0d. for goods supplied to one Atkinson. At the trial, before Mr Justice Willis, His Honor directed the jury to find a verdict for the defendant, as he did not think a sufficient proof of interference with the goods of Atkinson had been proved on the part of the defendant to constitute him as executor. A new trial was now moved for by Mr a’Beckett on the ground of misdirection in the learned Judge. Before reading his notes His Honor observed, that when the trial commenced Mr Nichols, the plaintiff’s attorney, stated that the defendant’s wife had that morning offered to pay the debt, which he refused without the costs, but at his (the Judge’s) suggestion Mr Nichols very handsomely offered to forego his costs but Mrs Foster could not then be found and the case was proceeded with. The debt was admitted to be due from Atkinson to the plaintiff, and the defendant had married Atkinson’s widow. Atkinson kept a public-house which is now kept by Foster, and according to Corporal Lane the house was full of furniture, with wines and spirits, at the time of Atkinson’s death, but the Corporal said that when he saw the defendant acting as master of the house all that belonged to Atkinson was gone.

Mr a’Beckett contended that the defendant having been seen serving behind the bar was sufficient evidence to fix him as an executor. The learned gentleman quoted a variety of cases to shew that the slightest intermeddling, even the milking of a cow or the taking away a dog is sufficient proof of intermeddling to fix a party.

Mr Kerr said, that the evidence of Lane – that all belonged to Atkinson was gone when he saw Foster behind the bar, completely put the plaintiff out of Court.

The Chief Justice said, that the law laid down by the Judge was perfectly correct but still he thought there was sufficient evidence to satisfy a jury of an intermeddling on the part of the defendant; he had adopted the wife and business and was doubtless in possession of the property.

Mr Justice Burton said that he had no doubt that when Corporal Lane said that all belonging to Atkinson was gone he meant the current stock in trade not the furniture: for it was hardly probable that if Atkinson died only in November last having a house full of furniture it could be all gone – New trial granted.


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tuesday 15 May 1838, page 2

Before the Chief Justice and a Military Jury on 8 May 1838

Dennis Haberton (Haberlin) and Joseph Perry were indicted for assaulting John Rolles at Murdering Bay, Lane Cove, on the 15th of April, and robbing him of half a crown. Both prisoners absconded from the Parramatta ironed gang on Saturday, 14th April, and on the following morning went to the hut of the prosecutor, who is an old woodcutter, residing on the North Shore, and enquired the road to Billy Blue’s Point. Rolles said he would shew them, and left the hut to accompany them, but had not proceeded far when they laid hold of him, tied him hands and feet, laid him on the ground, and robbed him of five shillings and sixpence. Haberton then went to the hut, and in attempting to violate Rolle’s wife, a woman fifty years of age, ill-used and beat her dreadfully. They then decamped, taking with them Rolle’s boat. The following day they were apprehended by Corporal Lane. The Jury without retiring from the box, returned a verdict of guilty. Remanded.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 26 May 1838, page 2

Supreme Court – The Chief Justice pronounced judgement – sentence of death in the usual form


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 11 May 1839, page 2

Fatal Accident

On yesterday week as Corporal Lane of the Mounted Police was on his way to Parramatta with despatches he came up to a working party on the road near the Cottage of Content, just at the moment when two of the prisoners were running away from the party. Lane dismounted and pursued them, leaving his horse to the care of an old pensioner who resides in the neighbourhood. On remounting, in haste, to pursue his journey, his knee touched the trigger of the carbine, which went off, and shot the man who held his horse in the groin, who expired in a few hours afterwards of tetanus. – Monitor.


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 10 November 1839, page 2

Murder of Aborigines

In July last the Government Gazette contained a notice offering a reward of £25 for the apprehension of Charles Eyles, formerly an overseer in the employment of Mr Crawford in the neighbourhood of the Big River, and charged with the murder of some aboriginal natives. A search was made for some time after this person but ineffectually. On Thursday evening Sergeant Lane, of the Mounted Police, received such information as led him to the residence of Eyles, where he apprehended him. Yesterday he was taken before the Police Bench, and remanded for several days.

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