CORONER’S INQUEST KEPT PRIVATE.
To the Editor, of The Australian, Parramatta. Nov..17, 1829.
Sir,— Knowing that your independent columns are ever open for redress, I beg leave to submit to you the following FACTS.
On Monday the 26th inst. about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I was informed that a woman lay dead at the Female Factory, which called for public enquiry as to how she came by her death. A Coroner’s Inquest was at that time sitting at the Factory. I hastened to the spot to endeavour to get admission to collect such information as I thought necessary, agreeable to the nature of my employment.
On my arrival at the Factory I knocked at the gate, which was opened by the gatekeeper. I requested to be allowed to go into the room where the jurors were sitting, and stated myself to be your REPORTER. The gatekeeper said he could not allow me to go, but would enquire of Mrs. GORDON, the matron. Mrs GORDON then came to the gate, told me that no person should be admitted, and ordered the gates, to be shut. I then told her my business, and observed that inquests of that nature ought to be conducted in public and not with closed doors. I remained at the gate a considerable time and knocked again, and begged to be allowed to see the Coroner, or one of the jury whom I named, but was informed by Mrs. GORDON that no person should see either of them.
I remained at the gate till the jury came out, and requested to be informed if any orders had been given that the inquest should be private, and, if it were their orders that I should not be admitted. They said they did not know I had been there, and wished I had been admitted to view the body, as it was a shocking sight, the face and other parts of the corpse being as black as ink; and that had they known I was in waiting to report the facts of the matter, they would have insisted on my being admitted, not alone as respected their individual sense of propriety than out of a common regard to public expediency.
Hoping that you will not permit this business to pass over in silence, I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, H — T —
See Original: “CORONER’S INQUEST KEPT PRIVATE To the Editor of The Australian, Parramatta, Nov. 17,1829,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824 – 1848), Friday 20 November 1829, p.3