The Murder of Corky Jack – Trove Tuesday

Probably the most sensational happening Elmore has ever experienced was the murder of John Duggan………  You will have heard of John Duggan as he was commonly known as “Corky Jack”.  He was murdered during the winter of 1888.  He got his nickname by wearing pieces of string with corks attached on his hat to keep away the flies.

He was known as a quiet, thrifty, inoffensive man who came to the district each summer to obtain work on the harvest.  In 1888 he was camped in Robinson’s shepherds hut…………

Excerpt from Andrew Scott’s memoirs – reprinted in the book Garnie’s Corner by Mr Garnet James Lonsdale, Elmore, Victoria, Australia.

This murder took place in the home town of my 3x great grandparents James and Tamar Heeps.  James was heavily involved in the Elmore community through not only his grain business but also the Elmore Progress Association and as a local Justice of the Peace and magistrate.  I am sure James would have followed the trial very closely from a personal and professional view point.  James’ mention in the newspaper article below is as the employer of William Sylvester a witness.

WilliamSylvester

1888 ‘THE ELMORE TRAGEDY.’, Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), 9 August, p. 3, viewed 18 February, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88552835

This together with a bank draft found in Bendigo for several hundred pounds which had been taken from Corky Jack and traced to Harrison, was the last link in the chain.  William Harrison was found guilty of the murder and was hanged in Bendigo on March 17th 1889……………

Excerpt from Andrew Scott’s memoirs – reprinted in the book Garnie’s Corner by Mr Garnet James Lonsdale, Elmore, Victoria, Australia.

There is much more about the trials on Trove if you’re interested in reading more.  Search for “Corky Jack”.

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