Mary Corcoran

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
19 September 1844




GILBERT ELIOTT, Esq., P. M., on the Bench.


In a later number of The Australian we briefly adverted to this case; the remandings being now brought to a close by a committal, we give the evidence, as brought before the Court. For the proper understanding of the charge, it may be as well to premise that, in July last, on the unlawful and gratuitous quarrying of the tribute to Mrs. ANN EDGELEY’s* dust and ashes being discovered, a warrant was issued for the apprehension of THOMAS PATRICK LARKINS (the prisoner now before the Court), who betook himself with the utmost speed towards Bathurst, where he subsequently surrendered himself to the police, conscious, according to this own estimation and account, of being the victim of the part who employed him, and trusting that his own virtuous innocence would be made apparent by his employer being placed in the dock, and his figuring in the witness box. Having thus initiated the case, we proceed to the evidence.

HENRY FOX, Inspector of the Parramatta Police, deposed—On the 12th of July last, I received information that the prisoner had just gone from the Government Quarry, near the Factory, with a head-stone for a grave in a cart, and that he was accompanied by a man named DRINKWATER, who holds a ticket-of-leave for this district; accompanied by the chief constable, I went to the prisoner’s house in Palmer-street, in this town, and found a dressed head-stone in the yard; took charge of it, and brought it to the police office yard, where it now is; the prisoner subsequently absconded, and I have not seen him till this day.

JAMES CALLAGHAN, wheelwright, residing in Palmer-street, deposed—Some time in July, at a very early hour of the morning, a man in the employ of Mrs. CORCORAN‡, late of the Female Factory, came to my house with a horse and cart; I observed a quantity of small stones in the cart, and on their removal, I saw beneath a dressed head-stone, which was afterwards taken possession of and conveyed out of my yard by the last witness; the prisoner at that time was living with me; he, however, immediately after absconded.

THOMAS DRINKWATER, ticket-of-leave holder for this district, deposed—The Thursday evening previous to the removal of the stone from the Quarry, LARKINS hired from me Mrs. CORCORAN’s horse and cart, for the purpose of bringing a head-stone from Broken-back Bridge, for which he was to pay me one shilling, and the next morning, on his coming to my house, I brought the horse and dray for him to the road, and I went part of the way with him; he told me he was going further, and I came back and went to the Government men’s huts at the quarry, lighted my pipe, and sat down waiting his return; he was away about twenty minutes, and came back in the direction of the quarry; when he came up to me I said, suppose we were to meet Mr. READ; “Who is here?” enquired the prisoner; I replied that he was the foreman of Government works; “READ,” says the prisoner, “is not the boy to say anything;” I then went with him to a wheelwright’s shop in Palmer-street, where we took the head-stone (which was covered over with smaller stones) off the dray, and left it.

JOHN RYAN, Chief Constable, deposed—On Saturday last the prisoner admitted to me that he took the stone for it by Mr. CORCORAN, having received other stones, but which charge I have since ascertained to be groundless.

JAMES JAMISON deposed—The prisoner is known to me by sight; some time in July last, at an early hour in the morning, I saw a cart coming along Pennant-street from the direction of the Factory; there were several small stones kept falling off the cart, which the prisoner kept tossing on to a large tombstone which was in the cart, and which was partly covered over by them; I watched the cart into Palmer-street; the last witness was loading the horse, and I saw him take the stone off and put it in CALLAGHAN’s house.

WILLIAM READ, Foreman of Works, deposed—Mr. RYAN in July last drew my attention to the stone in the Police Office Yard, which I examined, and I immediately went to the Quarry at the Factory and found a place where a stone of a similar description had been dressed; small pieces of stone were lying about the place; there is another quarry in the neighbourhood of Parramatta that I know of where stone of the same description can be got; I saw the mark of the wheels of the cart from the place where the stone was dressed; the value of the stone is about 15s. to 20s.

MARY CORCORAN was then called, and informed the Court she knew nothing about the affair, but fearing that what little stock of information she did possess, relative to “the knowing nothing,” might be lost to the world, she, with great volubility, proceeded somewhat as follows, after, by way of a preliminary overture, checking the Clerk of Petty Sessions rather sharply for insinuating that she resided in the Brickfields, instead of Elizabeth Terrace: I know the prisoner; I employed him to do carpenter’s work for me for a house I am building, under an estimate though; I never employed him or gave directions for the head stone; I should have as soon thought of putting a head stone over his “Wurtchip” (casting a very expressive glance at the worthy P.M.), as over the poor dear soul EDGELEY; if I was to pay £3, I preferred it going to the poor; people think I have, and know I have a few shillings; and therefore came to me about the head stone. How long Mrs. C. might have proceeded, it is impossible to affirm, but justice was satisfied, and the lady told to stand down; and the prisoner was committed for trial.

* ANN EDGELEY was the former laundress at the Female Factory.

‡ MARY CORCORAN was formerly “occasional storekeeper” at the Female Factory.


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