Thursday, 30 August 2018

Betty Barling of Glenfalloch and the Savoy, 7/6/1918-3/4/1938.

A particularly sad accident, involving the death last evening of Miss Betty Barling, aged 19, the daughter of Mr and Mrs Philip Barling, occurred in Cumberland street on Saturday afternoon, Miss Barling, being thrown from her horse and fracturing her skull. She died yesterday in Prospect House without regaining consciousness. 
After attending the Otago Hunt Club’s meeting at Seaview, where she gained second place in the ladies’ event, Miss Barling returned to the city on her mount, a two-year-old horse belonging to Mr W. Hastie, of Pine Hill. When passing along Cumberland street, near Albany street, she waved to a friend in a car. Taking fright, the horse reared up and Miss Barling fell heavily to the ground, striking her head on the bitumen surface of the road. She was immediately taken to Prospect House, but she did not regain consciousness and died last evening. 
Miss Barling, who was an old girl of St. Hilda’s Collegiate School, was an accomplished rider, and was a regular follower of the hunt. She was particularly fond of animals, particularly horses, and had been mainly responsible for breaking in the mount she was riding at the time of the tragic accident. 
The inquest was opened this morning at Prospect House, Mr J. R. Bartholomew. S.M. sitting as coroner and Sergeant Boulton representing the police. Evidence of identification was given by the Rev. Bryan King. 
Dr Frank Fitchett said he was called to the hospital at 7 o’clock on Saturday evening, and he found that Miss Barling was suffering from a fracture at the base of the skull. She did not regain consciousness, dying at six o clock last evening.  The cause of death was laceration of the brain due to the fracture. 
The Inquest was adjourned sine die. -The Evening Star, 4/4/1938.

Betty Barling was the daughter of Philip and Pearl Barling, who opened the Savoy tearooms which becam the place to be seen for Dunedin society and took a run-down farm named "Glenfalloch" and made it the showpiece garden that it is today.  More on them at a later date.

Betty featured in amateur dramatics and singing and dancing competitions and displays.  Her skill with horses was also prominent in the newspapers of the day, winning her prizes at annual Agricultural and Pastoral Society shows.

Betty made her Society debut in 1936, wearing "a graceful frock of white delustred satin made with a slim skirt, a softly gathered bodice, and upstanding sleeves of white net and finished with a silver-clasped belt" according to the Evening Star, at the St Hilda's Old Girls' Association Dance.  She assisted her father later that year in hosting an "informal tea party" at the Savoy in honour of the famous New Zealand aviatrix, Miss Jean Batten. As a member of local Society, Betty's comings and goings, appearances and clothing at parties and other functions were reported on.

After her death, associations to which she had belonged stood in silence for her at their meetings - the A & P Society and Otago Women's Club.  St Hilda's College instituted the Betty Barling Cup for the best school games captain.  And, of course, for those who appreciate such things, the grave where Betty was laid to rest is one of the most striking ones at Dunedin's Andersons Bay Cemetery.

“This tragic fatality was a case of pure misadventure which might have happened to anyone. The deciding factor seemed to be the slipping of the horse on the bitumen surface,” said the coroner (Mr J. 11. Bartholomew, S.M.) at the inquest yesterday afternoon into the death of Miss Betty Barling, aged 19, who was fatally injured when she was thrown from her horse in Cumberland street on April 2. The verdict was that death was due to laceration of the brain following a fracture of the skull, caused by a fall from a horse. 
Sergeant Boulton conducted proceedings for the police. 
William Hastie, a farmer, of Pine Hill, told the court that since last Easter Miss Barling had been riding horses of his at shows and hunt meetings. On the day of the accident she was riding a two-year-old mare belonging to him at the hunt held at Seaview. This mare was very quiet and had never given the slightest trouble. Miss Barling had ridden the mare on many occasions and was a very competent rider. 
Leslie Raymond James, a clerk, said that he attended the hunt meeting, and rode home with Miss Barling and other members. While they were riding along Cumberland street, between Union street and St. David street, he and Miss Barling were riding together. Witness saw a car parked on the side of the street, in which Miss Zoe Hudson was seated, and both he and Miss Barling spoke to her, but did not stop. When they were about 20yds past the car and travelling at about a walking pace Miss Barling’s mare suddenly reared, for no apparent reason. Mr James particularly noticed the deceased’s handling of the horse, and saw that, instead of easing her pull on the reins, she pulled on them to try to balance herself. This, in his opinion, caused the mare to overbalance and fall on top of her, Miss Barling having kept her seat in the saddle. She was an experienced horsewoman, and the mare was quiet and well-behaved. It had given no indication that it might rear. Witness considered that the accident was caused by Miss Barling being taken by surprise when the horse reared and when she so tightened her pull on the reins, which caused it to overbalance and fall backwards. 
Zoe Hudson, who was in the stationary car in Cumberland street, said that the horse suddenly reared up and seemed to slip on the tar-sealed road. It then fell backwards on top of Miss Barling, who had retained her seat in the saddle. The mare got up quietly and did not roll or step on Miss Barling. Witness considered that Miss Barling had been handling the mare well prior to the accident. 
Leslie Stewart, a railway employee and member of the St. John Ambulance Society, who was in the vicinity, said that just before the accident Miss Barling turned half-right in the saddle as though to wave to someone, and at that moment the horse reared and fell back on her.  -Evening Star, 14/3/1938.

13/155 2nd Lieutenant Preston Logan, 25/5/1892-20/5/1915.

In Dunedin's Northern Cemetery there is a gravestone with as complete an epitaph for a fighting man as you could ever want to see.


June 7. — After a prolonged period of dry weather a change set in during the last week of May, heavy rain falling for the greater part of two days — a storm which seems to have been pretty general throughout Now Zealand. A good deal of snow fell on the high country, and the Kakanui Range is clothed from crown to base in her winter garment of purest white. Since the rain ceased we have had severe frosts almost every night, and winter — grim. Central Otago winter has arrived in stern reality. 

The Farm: — Very little farm work is being done at present, but ploughing will soon be general provided the frost does not become too severe. Rabbit-trapping is still going on, but the “catches” are rapidly decreasing, owing more, I thnik, to the frosty weather than to any scarcity of rabbits. Prospects for winter feed for sheep are none too good, and owners will be obliged to stock lightly, although loth to sell while prices, comparatively speaking, are so low. 

The War. — Here, as elsewhere, the war and its attendant consequences are the chief subjects of conversation. Several young men from in and around this district have joined the reinforcements, one lady having no fewer than four stalwart sons with the colours. I hear of three or four more boys who are likely to go into camp soon. During the past week several ladies, aided by financial help from some members of the sterner sex. have been working energetically in the interests of the hospital ship equipment, with the gratifying result that a substantial parcel of sheets, pillowslips, etc., is now ready to be sent away. Our wounded boys deserve all the comfort and help we can give them, and our best is little enough in return for the sacrifices they have made in order that we may continue to enjoy the freedom and peace which the shelter of the British flag affords. Many residents of Kokonga feel that they have sustained a personal loss in the death of Lieutenant Preston Logan, who died at sea from wounds received at the Dardanelles. Lieutenant Logan spent his early boyhood among us, and after a few years' absence at the Dunedin Boys’ High School returned to his parents’ home in Kokonga, where he remained until the prosecution of his military training made it desirable that he should spend some time at Aldershot. He was a member of the Maniototo Mounted Rifles, of which his father, now Colonel Logan, Samoa, was for some years captain. He was also a member of the Kokonga Football club. He was a lad of much promise, liked and respected by all who knew him for his chivalrous and manly spirit, and very sincere sympathy is felt for his relatives in their sad bereavement.  -Otago Witness, 9/6/1915.

Messrs Frapwell and Holgate have a headstone on view at their yard which Colonel Logan has instructed them to erect in the Northern Cemetery to the memory of his son, Lieutenant Logan. The public are invited to call and see this beautiful memorial, which bears the following inscription: "l9th May, 1915. Lieutenant P. Logan (age 22), 11th Squadron, O.M.R., N.Z. Forces. Mortally wounded and buried at sea (from hospital ship ‘Soudan'). When hit by a bullet in the head while leading his troops during the big assault on our stronghold, he immediately called on his troop Sergeant (Sgt. Allsop), handed over tho troop to him, and then having completed his duties, fell back unconscious, and never spoke again. He died respected by all; a brave soldier and gentleman. Preston Logan, born 25th May, 1892. Buried at sea, lat. 40.15 N., lon. 26.16 W.”  -Evening Star, 1/4/1916.

The "big assault on our stronghold" would appear to be the major Turkish counter-attack of May 19.  The Turkish army sent 42,000 troops against the 17,000 Anzacs on Gallipoli.  A British aircraft spotted the approaching Turks the day before the attack and Turkish casualties were heavy - roughly 13,000 in all.  Anzac forces lost 628 men.  The Official History of the Auckland Mounted Rifles tells the tale of the attack:


CHAPTER VI. Defence of Walker's Ridge.

It was in the early hours of May 19 that the Regiment fought its first fight, and was able to justify the confidence that had been placed in it. It had been known that the Turks had been heavily reinforced at Anzac, and that an attempt was to be made to "push the British into the sea." Accordingly every precaution was taken by the mounted rifles, but it was a most inopportune time to meet an attack owing to the fact that the "dead ground" in the centre of the line was in the process of being "brought in." A sap, about two chains long, had been driven out from the left of the centre at right angles to the fire trench, and another had been started at the right of the centre to junction with the other and form a new line. Between the heads of these two works there was a gap through which the enemy might pour down on the original front line.
On the night of May 18, the 3rd squadron occupied the left, including the new sap which ran out inconclusively at right angles into No Man, s Land. Major Schofield was in command of this section. On their right and in the other new sap, was the 4th squadron, the 11th squadron being in support behind the two squadrons in the maze of communication trenches that gave no observation and no field of fire. Further to the right was the W.M.R. About midnight a tremendous fusillade broke out from the Turkish line opposite. It was mainly machine-gun and rifle fire, but it was so intense that it killed any observation that might have been made. The night was pitch black, however, and in any case little could have been seen. Everyone was called to arms when the enemy tuned up, and the troops which had been lying in immediate support, filed into the front saps, filling them to their fullest capacity. There was probably a bayonet to every yard. For three long hours they crouched in the narrow saps, which were still without fire steps in many places. The strain of waiting for action is always trying, even to seasoned troops, and it was something of an ordeal for men who were about to fight their first action. But confidence and good humour saw them through.

Finally, at 3.30 a.m., the Turkish fire slackened, and then, after an ominous silence, the enemy sprang to the attack. Cries of "Allah, Allah, Allah," from thousands of throats rent the air — a really fearsome battle-cry, until one gets used to it. Closer and closer came the charge, but still fire was withheld. The squadron officers being scattered among the men made this possible. It was a supreme test of discipline. Not until the first line of Turks was 20 yards away was the order for rapid fire given. The troopers sprang to the parapet like greyhounds, and in a second they were pouring a devastating fire into the approaching ranks. In many cases men were able to remain in position only by bracing one foot against the back wall of the trench. It was not a modern fight. There were no flares to throw out in front and not even any jam tin bombs. It was a battle of bullet and steel.
With the first blaze of fire that pierced the darkness of the mounted rifles line, the first line of Turks seemed to disappear, but other lines came on to meet the same fate. Before long numbers of the enemy were throwing themselves flat to escape from the flying sheet of metal, but at the very place where they should have made the last rush.

Our men began to drop, but even their immediate neighbours were hardly conscious of the fact. The thrill of battle possessed them. Rifle barrels grew too hot to touch and bolts began to get stiff. The imprecations that penetrated the din when bolts jammed, through the heat and grit, were ferocious. The men in trouble were possessed of the healthy belief that if their particular rifles were out of action everything was lost. The end of the left sap became a very warm corner. Here Lieutenant Weir and some of his troop put up a desperate struggle, in which bayonets were used, and drove off three rushes.
On the left, where the old line ran to within a few yards of the gully, matters were in doubt for a time, but Sergeant Thompson, who was killed in August, displayed fine leadership, and the Turks were driven off. It was a small section of the fight, but had it not been for this small body of the 3rd squadron the Turks might have been able to work round the end of the line and penetrate the rear.
The Turks did not appear to have a knowledge of our position and its weaknesses. This became palpably apparent when they failed to concentrate upon the gap between the head of the left sap and the position held by the 4th squadron, to the right. They seemed to lose direction, confused, perhaps, by the angles of the line. The greatest stand of the night was made by a part of the 4th squadron, and it should be described in detail.
Lieutenant J. M. Roberts was in command of the squadron. Captain Bluck, who had been in command of the Waikatos after Major Tattersall had taken the place of Major Chapman as second in command of the Regiment when it left Zeitoun, had been killed by a sniper that morning. Lieutenant Roberts had had only two hours of daylight in which to familiarise himself with the position and make his dispositions. He decided to put Lieutenant C. James, with his troop (the Whakatane Troop), into the new front line, on the right, which, it was obvious, would have to bear the force of the attack. The rest of the 4th squadron occupied the old line, to the right, overlooking Monash Gully, with the exception of Lieutenant Milliken's troop, which was held in reserve. The Whakatane Troop was practically isolated owing to the presence of a small gap between their right and the old line, but this gap was not the menace of the gap on their left, although it made reinforcement and communication difficult. Lieutenant James' orders were to hold the little line for 20 minutes at all costs—and he and his men well knew what the cost would be. They knew that they would have to leave their sap and fight in the open, owing to the fact that in its present state it was merely a deep, narrow ditch, from which they could not fight. It had no fire steps, and it was so narrow that two men could not pass in it. As soon as the attack was launched, Lieutenant James and his men sprang over the parapet, and, lying down in the open, poured their fire into the Turks. Soon they were at point-blank range, and dozens of Turks were shot down at a distance of 10 feet. The miracle was how the little band of heroes was not overwhelmed. The Turks had men enough to sweep through them like a hurricane, but their fire was so well directed, and their demeanour so stubborn, that every rush was crushed, the Turks doing the fatal thing of lying down at the very time their final resolute rush should have been made. It was probably their fear of resolute steel that stopped them. Within a few minutes two-thirds of the troop had become casualties, Lieutenant James being among the killed, but the line held. Then Lieutenant Milliken was ordered to reinforce with the reserve troop, and after him were sent two troops of the 11th squadron, commanded by Lieutenant Finlayson and Lieutenant Logan, Captain Mackesy, of the 11th, accompanying them.

On the whole ridge were only two machineguns, one of the W.M.R. being at the angle of the left sap and the old line, where it had a wide field of fire, and it did tremendous execution. The other, belonging to the Regiment, was on the right of the Waikatos, but owing to the angles of the new sap and the presence of the steep face of Monash Gully, on its right front, its field of fire was very restricted, and the support it gave was more moral than actual.
As the first streaks of dawn rose above the hills which overlook the field of Troy, the Turks retired at the run. Some, who had been feigning dead, darted back through the scrub, amid showers of bullets. Among the snipers was the colonel, who had been watching the movement from the highest point of the parados. It was the most exposed position of the line, and why he was not shot down is a mystery.
Flushed as they were with success, the mounted rifles did not relax their vigilance. Wearing smiles, and heaven-sent cigarettes in their countenances, they waited for the next attack which was fully expected, knowing that this time the Turk would get it worse than before. But the attack never came. A C.M.R. machine-gun that had been posted on a clay peak in the gorge, on the left, was able to get on to a group of German officers who were conferring in what they had believed to be a safe hollow, and this seemed to end the hopes of the Turks for the time being.

The area of the action was on back yard scale and on our side it was manned accordingly, but the little line had to face a concentration of the enemy that might have been used over a front double the length of the ridge position. Further, the nature of the position had the effect of throwing the whole weight of the attack upon about half our front, in which there was room for less than half the number of bayonets necessary. Yet the attack was utterly crushed, and in about four acres the Turks left nearly 500 dead. The position was held against the principles of war. The whole attack did not extend beyond Quinn's Post, where a very desperate onslaught was beaten off by the 4th Australian Brigade, but nowhere did a Turk enter the colonial line and live two seconds. The total Turkish casualties for the night were estimated at 7,000. The losses of the Regiment were 23 killed, and about the same amount wounded.
A splendid example was set to the men by Colonel Mackesy during the fight. He first appeared, with rifle and bayonet, in the advanced sap on the right. After firing for a time he made his way to the left sap, and finding no room on the parapet, climbed to the parados, which was the highest and most exposed point in the vicinity, and from there emptied several magazines. When the attack was at its height, an "order" — "Cease fire, Australians advancing on your right" was passed down the advanced sap held by the 3rd squadron. In Egypt the men had been thoroughly trained in the passing of orders down a line by word of mouth. On one occasion, General Godley had questioned the Regiment's ability in this direction, and he accepted the colonel's permission to test them. A galloper was started down the line as the verbal order was given to the first man, and the verbal order reached the end before the galloper. Almost automatically, therefore, the order to cease fire was shouted from man to man, and automatically some men took the pressure off their triggers, but the colonel instantly passed back, "Australians be damned! Ask where the order came from?" Back went this order, and no reply was returned.

It was probably the first time in history that a Maori war cry mingled with that of the Mohammedan. The mounted men fought in comparative silence as far as vocal sounds were concerned, but once the Maori haka, "Komate, komate," resounded down the mounted rifle line.
The following morning the regiment received a tribute which made them very proud. It was not from a general but from a squadron sergeant-major who belonged to the old school of the Imperial Cavalry. He was a perfect soldier, but all through the training days he had expressed grave doubts about a regiment that did not worry about its buttons and the brilliancy of its spurs, and which could not see the importance of saluting, and so on. Coming to a group of men with battle stains all over them, he said, "I take it all back. First time in action and steady as rocks. You'll do me." Praise from Sir Ian Hamilton himself could not have pleased the men more.

A staff officer of the brigade related how he had met a party of unofficial reinforcements coming up the track from the beach during the fight. He said he had never seen such a mixture. There were a few A.S.C. men, a couple of Indians, three or four Medical Corps men, and a doctor, all carrying rifles, a sailor, who like many others on the beach proudly sported a pair of riding pants and a wide-awake hat, and finally a midshipman carrying a rifle almost as long as himself. They all wanted to "see the fun," as the middy expressed it. Such was the spirit of Anzac.
The aftermath of this attack was a short truce arranged between enemies to allow for the burying of both sides' dead.

A church parade in memory of the late Lieutenant Preston Logan and other exresidents of Devonport who, as members of the Expeditionary Force, have fallen at the Dardanelles, was held at Holy Trinity Church, Devonport, yesterday morning. The territorials in camp at the North Head and Takapuna forts, the senior cadets, Devonport branch of the National Reserve, Devonport Defence Rifle Club, boy scouts, and North Shore Rowing Club were on parade, and made up an imposing procession. The church was crowded to the doors. The service, which was conducted by the vicar, the Rev. F. W. Young, was opened by the playing of the "Dead March," and was closed by the sounding of "The Last Post."  -NZ Herald, 7/6/1915.

Troop-Sergeant Allsopp went on to have an interesting military career.  He was made an Officer after the end of the Gallipoli Campaign and captured by the Turkish army the next year in Egypt.  He was held in a POW camp near Constantinople and repatriated just before the end of the war.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

39721 Lieutenant Thomas Gilbert Robertson, 13/8/1888-22/8/1918

LIEUTENANT Robertson. Lieutenant Thomas Gilbert Robertson, whose mother and wife reside at St. Clair, Dunedin, was killed in action in France on August 22. He left with the 25th reinforcements about 14 months ago. As a teacher, as a Cadet officer, and as a first-class swimmer — one of the best in the St. Clair Surf Club, — as a keen cricketer, he was widely known and very much liked, he was married two years ago to Miss Gurr, who has lost two brothers at the war. He was born in l888, received most of his primary and secondary education at Milton D.H. School, put in his year at the Training College in 1906, was appointed secondary assistant at Naseby in 1907, became assistant in the secondary department at Balclutha D.H, School in November of 1909, and resigned that position in September, 1911, to join the Otago Boys' High School staff. He was a fine big, manly man. While at Balclutha the deceased became widely popular among all those connected with the school and the various sports bodies in the town. He was an active member of the Balclutha football, cricket and tennis clubs, and a keen swimmer.  -Clutha Leader, 3/9/1918.

Thomas left New Zealand for England in July of 1917 and arrived with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade in France in time for the BattlE of 3rd Ypres, otherwise known as Paesschendaele.   At the end of that year he was wounded in action, taking a bullet to the left hip just before the Brigade was releived and spent time in support behind the line.

Four months of hospital and convalescence later, Thomas was back with the Rifles at the end of July, 1918, just in time for the part of the Great War known as "The advance to Victory."




(Special from the New Zealand War Correspondent.) HEADQUARTERS IN FRANCE, August 24. This morning at half-past one (ordinary time) the attack launched on tbe 21st by General Byng, after a comparative lull for one day, broke out with renewed intensity. It was a brilliant moonlight night, and 'planes hummed above while artillery thundered below. Following a splendid barrage, forward went infantry from several divisions. A rifle brigade still represented New Zealand, though another battalion had relieved one that had already taken a successful part in the advance. We continued to hold our narrow front on the Ancre and defensive flank on the right to join up with a British division that had trouble with a strong point known as Beauregard-Dovecote. It was decided that the Dovecote must fall this morning, and, while the English were attacking it. our men advanced due east between the Dovecote and the village of Irles. from across the Ancre came a lot of machine-gun fire, and our men suffered some casualties, but these were really light. Only two companies were concerned in this. Fighting at night always makes it difficult to stop ( exactly on an objective, and our men in their keenness went at least four hundred yards further than they need have gone. However, having gone so far, they decided to hold on to the ground gained. 


A difficult situation arose in consequence. At daylight they found themselves sitting in a valley, with the enemy commanding their position from a ridge very much like Gheluvelt, as was the case during the fight for Polderhoek Chateau last year. Then it was ascertained that there was another attack to be made at eleven o'clock in this immediate vicinity, and that their position was 200 yards inside the area on which the barrage was due to come down, it became a case of crawling out under German machine-gun fire or remaining to be shelled by friendly artillery. As soon as the position was known a messenger crept back and succeeded in getting word to advanced brigade headquarters, so that the barrage, which was now unnecessary for this bit of ground, was stopped in time. Thus all ended well, and the New Zealanders at small cost had gained a depth of 700 yards on a frontage of 800.  -Auckland Star, 27/8/1918.

It can be reasonably assumed that part of that "small cost" was Lieutenant Thomas Gilbert Robertson.

Anderson Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.  Allan steel photo.

Denizens of "The Devil's Half Acre."

The Devil's Half Acre - an introduction.
Walker (now Stafford) St, Hocken photo.

Walker street has long been known as one of the most unsavoury localities in Dunedin, but recently things have reached such a pitch that the police have been compelled to resort to extreme measures to clear out the low characters who infest the neighbourhood. Yesterday, at the Police Court, six women, living in what is known as Bird's right-of-way, were placed in the dock on charges of vagrancy, and Inspector Mallard said if they were not punished they would doubtless go back and give rise to a recurrence of the scenes of dissipation that have taken place there during the last week or two. His Worship ensured a certain spell of decency and quietness by sentencing them each to one month's imprisonment. The evidence of the police disclosed a state of affairs certainly the reverse of creditable. One constable stated that on Sunday last, just as people were returning from morning divine service, he had been attracted to the right-of way by hearing screams. He found in one of the hovels that one woman had got upon the floor "pommelling" her: a half drunkcn man, only half dressed, was lying on an old sofa; and round the door a knot of women, most of them nearly naked, were doing their best to apprise the neighbourhood within a mile or so of what was going on by screaming "murder," and so forth, at their voices' highest pitch. The calm stillness of the Sabbath morning appears to have been liable to rude invasions in this neighbourhood. Nor was the evening treated with any more becoming sanctity. About 7 o'clock Sergeant-major Bevan visited the neighbourhood, and as a result of what he saw, hunted a number of young lads away from the place. Sergeant Andersen said the place was a regular resort of lads of about fifteen and sixteen, and Chinamen, and among the ennobling sights he had seen was a woman stalking about in a perfect state of nudity. What the police have seen and heard, it will be allowed, is bad enough but when their backs were turned, there can be little doubt things assumed even a more forbidding aspect. Frequently from Saturday night till Monday morning, when larrikins, often to the number of twenty or thirty at a time, were distributed through the various houses — or "hovels," as they were more correctly described in court — this right-of-way was the haunt and abiding place of vice and degradation in their lowest, most debasing, and brutal forms. 
The landlord of this den of debauchery came in for some rather severe rubs. He is a Mr Bird, and he lives in a house closely adjacent, but which of course rears a decent front to the main thoroughfare. He was put in the witness box by Inspector Mallard, who explained that the present prosecutions were as much for the purpose of bringing him under the notice of the Court as anything else. He admitted sometimes supplying the denizens of the houses in his tenancy with "dinners," which be got payment for if he could. For a two-roomed "hovel" he said he asked the moderate rental of LI a week, but his actual receipts on account of it were only 10s a week. On an average he got 5s a week for the rest. This statement was not further proved. If it had been, it might have been found to mean that, taking a three months' average, and deducting those unfortunate slack periods during which his tenants are in gaol, and when, of course, he can hardly expect to get rent, the five shillings a week represented his income from each of these delectable two-roomed dens. "As Mr Bird is in Court," suavely, almost sweetly, queried Mr Inspector Mallard, "perhaps he would kindly promise to raze these places to the ground." But Mr Bird was a bird not to be caught with chaff, and he turned a deaf ear to the blandishments of the charmer. "Then," said the Magistrate, "Mr Mallard's only plan will be so to harrass the tenants that Mr Bird's property will become useless." But the property of a landlord who charges LI a week for houses of such a description, and who rests under the suspicion of making further profit out or his tenants by supplying them with — well, "dinners," is not so easily rendered valueless. The unfortunate thing is that the law has no power over such men. The whole neighbourhood to which we have been referring is peopled by a very poor, if not low class of people. From Mr Bird's peaceful right-of-way nearly one hundred yards down the street, arid half way back to Stafford street, the dwellings are mere dog-kennels. Many of them are even greater hovels than those so described by the police. They arc almost destitute of conveniences of every description, and their inhabitants must live in utter disregard and violation of all habits of decency. There are children amongst them, although, thank goodness, they don't abound there — the soil is not congenial to their growth; and what notions of propriety and decency they must contract! Of course there are other landlords, of these places. Some of them are, as the world goes, most respectable and good living men. They parade the street an a Sunday morning, models of respectability, with a gilt-bound Bible and a suit of orthodox black, and they occupy the front seats in the synagogue. But on Monday morning they are again the heartless landlord. Defaulters who have nothing are turned out, and those who have the wherewithal for security are bound over to pay interest on rent in arrear. This is strong writing, but we have reason for believing the above is not a supposititious case. Legislation, however, may not be able to work any reform here; it may not be able to prevent the grasping landlord going to church with the best of men. But it can and should prevent him trading on the necessities of the vicious and degraded by keeping houses for them that a true Christian would not ask his horse to pass the night in. It surely can cause landlords to provide such a class of houses that it would be to his interest to see they were not inhabited by dirty, degraded creatures, and that they were not injured and depreciated in value by rowdy, fighting tenants. As it is, the landlords of the hovels we have referred to are careless of such matters, and can afford to be so, for if the tenements were utterly destroyed the real monetary loss — as represented by the value of the building — would be less than "an old song." 
In the meantime, however, the public have to thank the police for their action so far. They have not only done something to root out a den of infamy — for throughout yesterday Bird's right-of-way was as quiet and deserted as if there was no such thing as vice in the world — but they have earned thanks for exposing to some extent the character of the landlords of these places.  -Otago Daily Times, 15/8/1878.
"Assyrian (Lebanese) houses off Walker Street."  Hocken Library photo. 

Matilda Hancock, an introduction.
In the Mayor's Court yesterday, before W. D., Murison, Esq.; J.P., James Ward was charged with drunkenness, but having been in the lock-up since Saturday evening, no penalty was inflicted; James Wilkin, for drunkenness, was fined 10s, and Angus McDonald and Edward O'Connel, for drunken and disorderly conduct, were each fined 20s or 48 hours' imprisonment in default of payment. Matilda Hancock, for using obscene language, was fined 20s, with the alternative of 7 days' imprisonment in default.  -Otago Daily Times, 6/11/1866.
The above is merrely the fist of many reports, courtesy of "Papers Past" of one Matilda Hancock, charged numerous times with public drunkenness, obscene language and prostitution.  She was also sometimes the victim of assaults, described as "a loose character" in 1869.

Matilda Hancock was charged with frequenting a disorderly house occupied by the prisoner Still. 
There were 17 or 18 previous convictions against her for disorderly conduct. She was fined L5, or in default to go to gaol for 21 days. William Jefferson was charged with a similar offence. It appeared that when Still and Hancock were arrested, the prisoner, who had been in Still's house, came out, and at their suggestion collected a mob, whom he incited to rush the constables, and rescue the prisoners. He was fined 40s, with the alternative of a week's imprisonment.  -Otago Daily Times, 28/12/1869.

This Day. (Before his Worship the Mayor, and J. Thomson, Esq., J. P.) 
DRUNKENNESS. Chas. Griffiths, was fined 5s, and Samuel Farra L5 or 14 days’ imprisonment. Matilda Hancock was fined L5 for drunkenness, LlO or three months’ imprisonment for using obscene language, and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for being a habitual drunkard, the sentences to be cumulative.  -Evening Star, 13/9/1870.

This Day. (Before his Worship the Mayor.) DRUNKENNESS. William West was fined 5s, and Matilda Hancock 40s, or a fortnight’s imprisonment, for drunkenness. 
ASSAULTING A CONSTABLE, Matilda Hancock and John Howard were charged with assaulting constable Haldane, while in the execution of his duty. It appeared from the evidence that at a quarter past four o’clock this morning, the constable hearing screams, proceeded to the house of Hancock, in Walker street, where he found her and the male prisoner fighting. He interfered, and seeing that the woman was drunk, arrested her, and she escaped from him into the house. He followed her, when Howard sprang upon him, seized him by the beard, and desperately biting his thumb, which he had managed to get into his mouth. The constable then drew his baton and used it, at the same time spinning his rattle, but before assistance could be got the prisoners had succeeded in ejecting him from the house. On the arrival of Sergeant Coneys an entrance was forced into the house, and the prisoner Hancock arrested. The other prisoner made his escape by the hack window, but was captured shortly afterwards, Hancock was fined L5, with the alternative of a month’s imprisonment; and Howard, whose face bore marks of its having come foul of the constable’s baton, L5,or a month’s imprisonment. He was also fined 10s for tearing the constable’s uniform.  -Evening Star, 24/10/1871.

At the Mayor’s Court, this morning, Isiah Potitika, a Native, and Lewis Reid, were each lined 5s, with the alternative of twenty, four hours’ imprisonment, for drunkenness. Brown, for using obscene language in a public place, was fined 20s, or three days’ imprisonment. An information by one Matilda Hancock against John Howard, for assault and unlawfully beating, was dismissed, there being no appearance of either party. His Worship the Mayor occupied the Bench.  -Evening Star, 22/1/1873.

Vagrancy. —Matilda Hancock pleaded guilty to a charge of making use of indecent language, within the hearing of persons passing, in a right-of-way off Walker street. His Worship said the language was of a most disgraceful character, and fined the prisoner in the full penalty of the law, L10, with the alternative of three months’ imprisonment.  -Evening Star, 14/2/1873.

William Pearce, an introduction.
Disorderly Conduct.— William Pearce and Matilda Hancock, for conducting themselves at Kensington in a manner calculated to provoke a breach of the peace, were each fined 20s, in default three days’ imprisonment. -Evening Star, 6/3/1877.

Larceny. —A charge, against Matilda Hancock, of stealing a silver watch and chain, of the value of L5, the property of John Sharp, was dismissed. When the alleged theft took place, the prosecutor was in a brothel, and the Bench did not consider the evidence sufficiently strong to warrant a conviction. -Otago Daily Times, 16/6/1876.

Messrs Eliott and De Lacy, J.P's, occupied the Bench at the Police Court yesterday. A little girl named Anna Maria Hutchins, three and a half years old, was committed to the Industrial School for seven years. The mother of the child, Matilda Hancock, a woman who is continually before the Court, and was yesterday before it for drunkenness, pleaded hard to be allowed to keep the child, and cried bitterly on hearing that it had to go to the institution. She professed to be quite willing to pay for the child's maintenance, and handed over the first week's fee (5s 6d) then and there. The Bench took some pity on the wretched woman, and let her off without punishment on the charge of drunkenness.-Evening Star, 14/10/1879.

William Pearce, a stabbing.

Stabbing —William Pearce was charged with having stabbed Joseph Mitchell on the 4th inst. Prosecutor deposed: I am a laborer, living at Pine Hill. About two o’clock on Saturday afternoon last I went to the prisoner’s house in Stafford street, and asked if Mrs Hancock lived there. Prisoner, who was getting out of bed, said "yes,” so I went in. After I had been in the house for about an hour, prisoner said, “You b— you have been cohabiting with my wife.” I denied this, and the next thing that I was aware of was that a sheath-knife bed been stuck in my head. I looked round, and he stuck the knife into my upper lip. He next struck at my breast, but I closed with him, wrested the knife from him, and threw it away. I then became insensible. As soon as I recovered I left the house. I met a constable and he took me to tho hospital, where my wounds were dressed

—Matilda Hancock stated that she was living with the accused. She knew the prosecutor, who was at her house on Saturday. She heard a quarrel going on, but did not witness it. She afterwards saw blood on the floor. The knife produced was prisoner’s, Sergeant Gearin arrested the prisoner in a house off Stafford street. The knife produced witness found on the table. The floor was covered with blood, and the walls and furniture were bespattered.

—Dr Roberts, house-surgeon to the Dunedin Hospital, said that he saw the prosecutor in the Hospital on Saturday afternoon. He was bleeding profusely from a wound in his head. He had two other wounds — one on the cheek and the other on the lip. The knife produced would inflict similar wounds to those on the prosecutor.

—After receiving the usual caution prisoner said that all he had to say was that they were quarrelling.—His Worship then committed the prisoner to take his trial at the next sittings of the Supreme Court.
-Evening Star, 6/12/1880.

William Pearce, 40 years of age, wounding with intent. Dr Roberts was called, and gave evidence that the wounds must have been inflicted upon the prosecutor with considerable force; that the prosecutor was weak with loss of blood, and that it must have been a week or ten days before he regained his strength. Mr Haggitt said that there were 11 previous convictions against the accused. Mr Caldwell identified the prisoner as the person against whom the convictions referred to had been recorded. 
His Honor: You appear, prisoner, to have been convicted a number of times for trifling offences —disorderly conduct, drunkenness, abusive language assault - on one occasion, a breach of the peace, and a breach of the Distillation Act; in all you have been convicted 11 times. The sentence of the Court is that you be kept in penal servitude in the Colony of New Zealand for a period of three years. -Otago Witness, 15/1/1881.

Thursday, Ist December. (Before G. E, Eliot and K. Paterson, Esq., J.P.s.) Larceny. — Matilda Hancock was charged with stealing, on the 30th ult., a one-pound Bank of England note from the person of Thomas Montague.—The accused pleaded not guilty.
Thomas Montague stated that he was a labourer, residing in Mosgiel. He came into town on Tuesday, and was accosted by the accused, shortly after 9 o'clock, near Wain's Hotel. He went up to the house of the accused, and after being there some time she snatched his pocket-book from him, opened it, and took a pound-note out of it, after which she threw this pocket-book at him. — Sergeant Gearin also gave evidence. 
Vagrancy— The same accused was further charged with having no visible lawful moans of support at Dunedin on the 30th of November.—After hearing the evidonce of' Sergeant Gearin, the Bench said that looking at the circumstances connected with the first charge, it was quite apparent that the informant had brought the affair upon himself. The accused would accordingly be discharged on that information, but for the second offence she would be sentenced to three months' imprisonment, with hard labour.  -Otago Daily Times, 2/12/1881.

Sunday Trading. —Henry M. Hills, of the Australasian Hotel, was charged with selling beer to Matilda Hancock on Sunday last. Mr Denniston defended. The evidence stated that the boots had been left in charge of the hotel, with instructions not to supply drink except to boarders. The defendant had since left the hotel —His Worship said that the sale having been made against the will of the defendant, the case must be dismissed.  -Evening Star, 22/3/1883.

William Pearce and Matilda Hancock, another stabbing.
A very disagreeable sensation was created in the neighbourhood of Hanover and Cumberland streets yesterday morning by the presence of an unusual number of detectives and police constables, and the report that a woman of ill-fame bad been murdered in one of the right-of-ways off the first-named street. The report proved to be only too well founded, and the police investigation elicited the fact that a woman named Matilda Hancock had been stabbed on Saturday evening, and bad died from the result of the injury shortly after midnight. The woman Hancock had been divorced from her husband for a number of years, and for the last four months she had been cohabiting with a man named William Pearce, a fish-hawker, who has been arrested since on suspicion of the murder. Recently they shifted from the south end of the town to a small house at the back of the National Hotel, situated in a right-of-way off Cumberland street. Both Pearce and his paramour, it is stated, were of drunken habits, and it appears that on Saturday evening last they commenced one of their usual drinking bouts. The statements current vary as to whether they were alone, or whether there was company in the house; but there seems little doubt that at the time a number of the neighbours were present, and that drinking was carried .on to a considerable extent. The difficulty which the police have so far had to contend with is the reticence of the neighbours, and their apparent desire to screen the prisoner Pearce. 
What particulars have so far been gathered point to the conclusion that a quarrel took place in the house on Saturday evening, and it is suspected that Pearce, becoming enraged at the woman Hancock, seized knife and stabbed her in the side of the abdomen. The woman lingered all through the next day, and, according to Pearce's statement, she became very sick towards evening, and was continually vomiting. Notwithstanding this, medical aid was not procured, and the woman died shortly after midnight on Sunday. At half-past 8 yesterday morning Pearce reported to the police that his wife had died suddenly the night previous. The police at once proceeded to the house, and found the body of a woman, lying on a mattress on the floor. The body was bruised and cut, and there was a gaping wound about an inch lung in the abdomen, a little above the hip, on the left side.
Dr Copland was called in early on Monday morning and examined the body, but what remarks he may have made about the matter have not transpired. Subsequently Dr Coughtrey met him, and the two medical gentlemen made a post mortem examination of the body, the result of which will be disclosed at the adjourned inquest. Meanwhile the result of the investigation led to the arrest of the man Pearce by Detective Bain yesterday morning, on a charge of wilful murder. Pearce is by occupation, a fish-hawker. He is of a reddish complexion, and about 5ft 2in in height. He has previously been imprisoned in Dunedin Gaol, and it is only six months since he was liberated, after serving a term of 12 months on a charge of stabbing. The deceased was well known in Dunedin a few years back as the wife of a hotelkeeper who held the license of a house in Princes street south.
The city coroner (Dr Hocken) was of course communicated with yesterday, and an inquest was formally opened in the afternoon, at the National Hotel, Great King street. 
The Coroner, in addressing the jury, said he regretted very much that it had been his duty to summon a jury together for such a case on the eve of the holiday. He would not, however, detain them long, as he purposed adjourning the inquest till the Friday following. They had met to consider the death of a woman of ill fame named Matilda Hancock, who had expired that morning in a house in Cumberland street near the Baptist Church. Evidence to the effect that the woman had been stabbed during a drunken quarrel would be forthcoming. He regretted that there were such a great many of these drunken rows occurring in Dunedin, and that cases now and then came under his notice where women had died after a long period of debauch. If it had been merely one of those cases which, unfortunately, too frequently occurred in their midst, he would not have summoned a jury together, but the case under notice was of a totally different nature. In the present instance it had been discovered that the woman had received a severe wound, and the probabilities were that this wound had been tha cause of death. That afternoon, however, he only purposed calling evidence regarding the identification of the body, and then the inquest would be formally adjourned till another date. William Pearce, the only witness called, deposed that the deceased Matilda Hancock was 42 years old, and a native of Adelaide. She had a daughter seven years of age. Witness had known her for a number of years, and had lived with her during the last four months. She was a woman of very drunken habits. The inquest was at this stage adjourned till Friday at 3 o'clock. It is stated that the prisoner was living with the deceased previous to serving his last term of imprisonment, and that it was in her house that he committed the offence for which he was sentenced.  -Otago Daily Times, 1/1/1884.

Dunedin, Friday. The inquest on Matilda Hancock was resumed to-day, and the first witness was Annie Fiedel, the neighbour who had gone to see the woman after she received the wound. The woman told her Pearce had stabbed her. Witness bathed and dressed the wound, and told Pearce he ought to go for a doctor, but he did not. Witness asked Pearce about the stabbing, and he said they had a few words and he did it in a passion. Sarah Boyd, also a neighbour, gave evidence. In her examination she said Mrs Pearce told her she got the wound by falling in the yard on a piece of glass. To Inspector Welden: Witness said that after the police sergeant had taken deceased's clothes away several women were in Pearce's house, and one of them, pointing to a knife on the mantelpiece said, "I wonder if that is the knife." Another said if it was it should be put away. Pearce then went to the mantelpiece, and put something in his pocket, and coming over to witness, whispered, "Can I put this in your house?" Witness answered, "Oh, nothing in my house." Pearce went out, and did not return for fully half an hour. The further evidence given was corroborative of that previously taken, and Doctors Coughtrey and Copeland also gave evidence. Dr. Copeland stated that he had been called in within an hour after death, which occurred about midnight, and told Pearce he could not give a certificate, but recommended him to communicate with the police. Pearce did so about five or six o'clock. The jury returned a verdict equivalent to wilful murder, and the Coroner committed Pearce for trial.  -Auckland Star, 5/1/1884.

Tuesday, January 8. the charge of murder. William Pearce on being arraigned on a charge of murdering Matilda Hancock pleaded not guilty. 
Prisoner : Can I speak, your Honor? 
His Honor: Yes. 
Prisoner : Will you give me a lawyer ? I have not a shilling to defend myself. I want a good lawyer. 
His Honor: I think that should be allowed. Is it not usual, Mr Haggitt, in charges of murder, for the Government to provide funds for counsel? 
Mr Haggitt: I have never known it to be done, your Honor. 
His Honor: I think there is one case where the Government paid a lawyer for the defence of a prisoner. 
Mr Haggitt: I think not, your Honor. I don't recollect any such case. 
His Honor: I think I certainly recollect. When a man accused of murder is not in a position to pay for counsel some provision should be made for his defence by the public authority. The Registrar will make some communication to the Government and see what can be done. If nothing can be done — if Government refuse to find the necessary funds to enable the prisoner to be defended — then all I can do is to suggest that some member of the Bar might volunteer his services.
Mr Haggitt: That is all that can ever be done. There being no funds, your Honor is not in a postion to assign counsel.
 His Honor: No; I am not in a position to assign counsel unless there is some fund to pay counsel out of. The Registrar mentioned that in the case of a Maori charged with murder Government had retained counsol for him. His Honor: That was done. I don't see, if a Maori was provided with counsel by Government, why a white man charged with murder should not also be provided with counsel. I will communicate with the authorities, prisoner, and see if they are willing to provide counsel for you. If they will not, I have no power to assign you counsel, but then it may be that some member of the Bar will volunteer to defend you gratuitously. I hope that that will be done.
Prisoner: Thank you, your Honor.
The case was then adjourned.  -Evening Star, 8/1/1884.

By Telgraph.) The charge of murder against Wm. Pearce for having stabbed Matilda Hancock has occupied the Supreme Court all day. The evidence was much the same as given at the inquest, but was stronger against the prisoner, as a witness named Freeman deposed that the prisoner had  admitted to him having committed this deed, saying that he had struck the woman when she had provoked him, but did not intend to kill her. To a detective Pearce had also admitted having thrown the knife with which he did the deed into the bay. His Honor summed up strongly against the prisoner, telling the jury he could see no evidence of the provocation which would reduce the crime to manslaughter. He added that a recommendation to mercy would no doubt have some weight. At seven o'clock the jury returned to ask whether a verdict of manslaughter would be accepted, stating their were of the opinion the prisoner had done the deed without premeditation. His Honor directed them that the absence of premeditation alone would reduce the crime to manslaughter. They are now condsidering a verdict.
LATER. The jury in the murder case were locked up all night. The foreman said there seemed not the slightest possibility of the jury agreeing.  -Timaru Herald, 15/1/1884.

A man named William Pearce has been found guilty of murdering a woman named Matilda Hancock. The two were cohabiting together, and both were abandoned characters. The woman has been frequently convicted of drunkenness and prostitution, whilst Pearce, only a few months ago, came out of gaol after serving eighteen months on a serious charge. The woman was stabbed on Dec. 29 and died next day at noon. The two had been drinking together and had a quarrel. The wound was a gaping one on the left side of the body above the hip. The woman lingered in her own house til about one o'clock next morning, when she died, and about eight o'clock Pearce reported to the police that the woman had died suddenly during the night. The police found the body with the wound on it, and also several bruises. The woman was lying on a mattress. An inquest was held in the afternoon, at which the only evidence taken was that of Pearce, who deposed to the identity of the deceased. He had known her for eleven years and had lived with her for four months. She had a daughter 7 years old, and she herself was 42. A post-mortem examination showed that death resulted from the wound. The woman was the divorced wife of a man who was well known to the police in Dunedin some years ago.
The inquest was resumed the following day. The first witness was Annie Feidel, a neighbour who had gone to see the woman after she had received the wound. Hancock told her Pearce had stabbed her. Witness bathed and dressed the wound, and told Pearce he ought to go for a doctor; but he did not. Witness asked Pearce about the stabbing, and he said they had a few words, and he did it in a passion.
Sarah Boyd, also a neighbour, next gave evidence. In her examination-in-chief said Mrs Pearce told her she got the wound by falling in the yard on a piece of glass. To Inspector Weldon: Witness said that after the police sergeant had taken deceased's clothes away several women were in Pearce's house, and one of them, pointing to a knife on the mantelpiece, said: "I wonder if that is the knife." Another said if it was it should be put away. Pearce then went to the mantelpiece and put something in his pocket, and coming over to witness whispered: "Can I put this in your house?" Witness answered: " Oh, no; nothing in my place." Pearce went out and did not return for fully half-an-hour.
Thomas Lawson deposed that on the Saturday night previous to deceased's death Pearce and she were quarrelling about the back of the house. Both were very drunk. Pearce was speaking to someone else, and said: "I know her better than you. I have lived with her for three years, and I ought to know better than you what to do with her." On Sunday afternoon he heard the woman had been stabbed, and on Monday he was told she was dead. Witness' wife took a shilling's worth of beer into the house, and witness went in to get a share of it. He was then pretty "tight." There were several knives on the mantlepiece, and some one said the knife should be done away with. There was a general knowledge that the woman had been stabbed, and a feeling that as she was dead it would be a pity to see Pearce get into trouble. One of the knives which was on the mantelpiece when he went in was not there when he went out. The knife was lying there after the police took away the deceased's clothes. Another neighbour, Ann Proven, deposed that deceased had told her she was stabbed by Billy (Pearce). After the death Pearce said to witness, "I may be taken up for this case; will you take charge of my fish knife?" but witness replied "No." The further evidence given was corroborative of that previously taken, and Drs Coughtrey and Copeland also gave evidence. Dr Copeland stated that he had been called in within an hour after death, which occurred about midnight, and told Pearce he could not give a certificate, but recommended him to communicate with the police. Pearce did so about 5 or 6 o'clock.
The jury returned a verdict equivalent to wilful murder, and the Coroner committed Pearce for trial.
Subsequently prisoner was tried on the charge of murder at the Supreme Court, and the jury found him "Guilty," with a recommendation to mercy.  -Lyttelton Times, 30/1/1884.

The sentence of death passed on William Pearce at the last criminal sessions for the murder by stabbing of Matilda Hancock has been commuted to imprisonment for life.  -Otago Witness, 16/2/1884.

DUNEDIN, Oct. 6. The man Pearce, convicted, at the January sittings, of the manslaughter of Matilda Hancock, was guilty of gross insubordination on board the prison hulk, on Saturday afternoon. In the evening he was brought before the Mayor as one of the Visiting Justices, who, having heard the charge, ordered him to a week's solitary confinement. In accordance with the Prison Regulations, Pearce will be brought before the City Police Court in the course of the week. -Star, 7/10/1884.

Breaches of the Prison Regulations.— William Pearce pleaded guilty to pretending Illness, using insolent and threatening language to a warder, and otherwise behaving In a refractory manner.— He was remanded until Wednesday.   -Evening Star, 13/10/1884.

And here Mr William Pearce fades from the public record.