Report on Female Factory

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
5 August 1836


To the Editor of the Australian.

Sir, — In the Herald of yesterday there is a catalogue, under the imposing heading of “THE IRISH SYSTEM OF EDUCATION,” of all the robberies, outrages, and other rows, which have occurred in the land of shillalahs for the last twelve months; as far as the reader can make out, from the ingenious method of dating adopted by the Editors. Such an admirable expedient for directing the attention of their readers to their stale extracts, is worthy of being followed; and under the heading of this letter I propose to give you a report of the little foibles of this community as recorded at the Police-office and other Courts during the past week.

At the Police-office on Wednesday, Ann Swillcup appeared to answer the charge of drunkenness. In her defence she protested that she never drank Irish whisky in her life; and that, barring her occasional potations of English ale, she could appeal with confidence for a good character to Richard Jones, Esq., the Hon. Alexander M’Leay, and the other stout pillars of the Protestant faith. She was referred “for advice” to the Tory Association.

ARSON. — In the Supremo Court, James Burn was tried for maliciously setting on fire his roaster’s stable. The prisoner was seen carrying in a suspicious manner from the kitchen to the hay-loft, at night, a candle and one or two newspapers. A short time afterwards, the building was enveloped in flames. The prisoner’s motives for this flagrant act were suspected to have arisen from his hostility to his master, who was known to be a friend to the Catholics. The prisoner stated in his defence, that he was a great admirer of the Sydney Herald, and loved to read all its attacks upon the Governor and other liberal-minded persons; he delighted in preusing Mr. James M’Arthur’s speeches, and was pondering over the Bishop’s Petition to the Council against Education, when, his candle set fire to the hay upon which he had made his bed. He concluded by calling upon Messrs. Stephens and Stokes for a character; who gratefully lavished such encomiums upon their warm admirer, that he was acquitted.

ABDUCTION — John Snatcher was, tried for this dreadful crime. It appeared, that one Sunday he had listened very attentively to a sermon, in St. James’s Church, and immediately afterwards seized hold of a young female, and carried her off; when her screams led to his apprehension. Snatcher in his defence declared that his taking her away in his arms was a solemnization of matrimony valid in the law, and appealed to His Honor Judge Burton’s decision upon the Marriage Act. The prisoner also supported his case upon precedents from time immemorial, — from the Rape of the Sabines, down to the marriage ceremonies in vogue among the Australian blacks, where the dragging off the female from her gunyah; and a subsequent waddying upon her cobrah, were the whole of their simple matrimonial rites. He also pleaded that he had not had the advantage of perusing the pages of the virtuous Colonist. He was sentenced to nine months’ confinement in the Female Factory.

(Other cases another time.)

Yours, Mr. Editor,


See Original: “THE PROTESTANT ASSOCIATION,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Friday 5 August 1836, p.3.