Like most families, our ancestors appeared in the news from time to time. Here is a selection of articles I’ve found on the TROVE website. I’ll add to this post as I find more newspaper articles.

(Updated Oct 20 2014)

THE BOWN CASES – reported in the Horsham Times on Tuesday 12 Jan 1886

[su_quote]The investigation of the charges against the  Bown family and  a young man named Fenton was proceeded with on Saturday morning, last before Mr. Hutchinson, P.M.and Mr. Dagenhardt, J.P. The cases lasted the whole day, and the most intense public interest was manifested in the proceedings,a very large number of farmers and others densely packing the court the whole time. The first and principal charge was that of stealing wheat from the Messrs. Delahunty Bros., of Jung Jung. After  a great deal of evidence (including that of Delahunty Bros., who swore positively to the grain and also the bags) was taken, the four prisoners,mother, son, daughter, and the son-in-law Fenton, were fully committed to take their trial at Horsham on the 15th March next. Three other charges of larceny were then proceeded with, and  a prima facie case having been established, in each instance, the prisoners were committed. I understand that there are other cases to be proceeded with against the prisoners.[/su_quote]

THE BOWN CASES (continued) – reported in The Horsham Times on Tuesday 23 Mar 1886


(Before His Honour Mr. Justice Higin-botham.)Mr. I. Walsh, Crown Prosecutor.


Thomas Bowen ,Robert Bown, Catherine Bown and Annie Bown were presented on the charge of stealing 25 bags of wheat, the property of Messrs R. and J. Delahunty,farmers, residing at Jung Jung, on the 2nd.  Janurary last.–Thos. Bowen pleaded “Guilty’ and the other prisoners “Not Guilty.” The Crown Prosecutor, having opened the case called: —Rodie Delahunty, who deposed he was a farmer, residing at Jung Jung with his brother James. On the 2nd January this year had some wheat; it was in the paddock in bags; they were piled in the paddock; there were 25 bags in one pile and some others piled further in the paddock. The 25 bags were within about six yards of the log fence,  a reserve was on the other side.There was no roadway or beaten track to the point opposite where the 25 bags were. Saw the pile of’25 sacks last at 8 o’clock in the evening on the 2nd January. It was Saturday evening On the Sunday morning went up to the paddock where the wheat was it was about half  a mile from the house.The size of the farm was about 2,000 acres between them; 640 acres in this portion. On Sunday morning missed this stack of 25 bags of wheat. Went to where he saw 8 bags outside  the log fence on the reserve; three of them were burst and the wheat spilt about. Noticed a lot of tracks of horses and of  a wagon. Saw the tracks close up at the fence where the 8 bags were ; they were immediately outside the fence opposite the heap. The tracks were close to the fence, the same as if  a waggon had been backed up to the fence, and the tail board of the waggon appeared to have been let down, for some red and blue paint was on the logs. Covered some of the boot-tracks, and followed the waggon track across the reserve for about 90 yards and got 8 bags more there and some of them burst; they were on the ground. The wagon seemed to have been bogged there. The reserve was not fenced. Went on and followed the track of the waggon in the direction of the Jung Jung swamp, the waggon had been close to the water and took  a circle back again on to the beaten track. Had also found  a whip where the first 8 bags were found: gave it to Senior-constable Mullaney. Witness’ brother James was with him. Went in the direction of Murtoa, following the track, when they got to Murtoa followed the track round the Murtoa water reserve.

The weather was fine at that time, something like at present. Was able to track the wagon the whole of the distance. Followed it as far as Mr. Miller’s in the direction of the Sawpit Swamp, then informed the police. Mallaney came with witness and went to where they had left off at Miller’s where they had knocked off the track, and then followed the track on still round the racecourse, and went back again and followed it back to the reserve, about 7 miles. On going back did not follow the same track as coming from their own place. Returned through the one chain-road along  a second track. At the end of the lane saw  a leaning tree, and saw where the bark had been torn off recently and red paint inside the bark on the tree. The piece produced with the mark on it was it. Followed on that track right up to where he found the first lot of wheat upclose to the fence. Then again followed the same track as in the morning. There was no difference in the tracks, except that one was deeper than the other. There was  difference of three inches. The greater depth was on the track going away. The policeman went over the first track and followed it to the corner of the racecourse,and on getting at McLeod’s, went on then to  Bown‘s place. The track to the farm from prisoner’s place was shorter than the track from it. The track after leaving the corner of the racecourse they passed at McLeod’s house that was about  a mile from the prisoner’s place. Went into the prisoner’s place and saw the elder prisoner,Catherine  Bown, the mother of the other two. Constable Mullaney then said he had a search warrant to look for wheat stolen from Mr. Delahunty. He asked her where was her son and she said she did not know.They then followed the tracks down to where they found two piles of wheat and found no resemblance to their wheat. Then went over to the smaller stack and opened some of them, and the ones they opened were not like their wheat. Then went down to the winnowing machine and there found nine bags exactly corresponding with theirs It was unbleached, and was clean,  a first crop off virgin-land. Also these nine bags were sown by the hem of the bags turned in and top sown, the same as millers sow their bags. That was an unusual way for wheat bags to be stitched. They were not stitched in that way when lost. They were stitched in the usual way. The hem on witness’ was visible, and the hem on these nine that were found was invisible. The wheat was similar to witness’, but the bags were stitched different. On cutting some of these nine bags there were pieces of twine as if they had been sown, cut, and sown up afresh. This was about half-past seven or 8 o’clockin the evening. Up to that time had not seen the prisoners, Robert or Annie  Bown Remained there until 10 o’clock and then Robert and Annie came with two horses and  a waggon–a new waggon painted red and blue. Annie  Bown went to witness’ brother James and took him by the shoulder and told him to go off her land, and Constable Mullaney told her he was going to arrest her for stealing the wheat. She shook witness’ brother and the constable took her away.

Had known the prisoners for about 11 years. There was  man named Bowen or Fenton living there for about 12 months. James Delahunty, brother of the last  witness, corroborated the evidence he had given. Identified the pieces of wood  cut off the log fence with paint upon them,supposed to have been left by the paint on the waggon outside the court; also  a small chip picked up close to the fence where the mark of the waggon was. Found the second 8 bags near  a crab hole. Senior-constable Thomas Mullaney, stationed at Murtoa, deposed that on the 3rd ofJanuary last the two previous witnesses called at the station between 11 and 12 o’clock. Went with them to near the Lake fence and continued the tracks pointed out  by them to the corner of the racecourse ;proceeded towards Keeple’s lane, found tracks of the horses and waggon going up that lane; continued these tracks for 2 miles where the lane ends, and further described the progress of the tracks of the wagon as traced. The paint on the piece of the tree produced corresponded with the mark on the paint on the bearing of the waggon. The elder prisoner, Catherine  Bown, said she did not thing people could know their own wheat,and did not think they could get  a search warrant on  a Sunday. Described the arrest of the prisoners, the elder one replying “I have nothing to do with it, I am only living here with my children ;” the others said nothing. He (the constable) replied “You are the mother of these children and I look upon you as responsible, and I feel it my duty to arrest you.” Fenton or Tom Bowen,lived in the same house, and he was the same man who had pleaded “guilty.

To Robt.  Bown–The marks at the fence were footprints, had compared them and they appeared to be made by the boots produced worn by the man Tom. It was about 10 o’clock when you came home ; did not see the other man then. There were other marks, but none so plain as those covered up; would not swear that there were marks caused by other boots than those produced. Kenneth McLeod,  a farmer residing at Sawpit Swamp, near Murtoa, deposed that he knew the prisoners, who resided about  mile from him ; had known them 2 1/2 years,farming. Witness had been there 11 years and they only 2 1/2 years.’ Had seen them constantly. They had  a new wagon painted blue with  a little red. Had seen Robert Bown, Annie  Bown, and the other man that was with them (meaning the prisoner who pleaded guilty). On 2nd January saw that waggon and two horses pass his house at  a quarter to 10 in the evening, going in the direction of Murtoa from the direction of their place. Know their horses by sight,a grey and  a bay ; those two horses were in the waggon. Could not discern who was driving; there were two in the wagon and could not say there were not three. At about  a quarter to four in the morning they passed in the opposite direction, going towards their own place.Saw one person driving the waggon. Was not dressed at the time, but got out of bed because he heard  a noise and looked out and saw the waggon. In the evening it was not more than fifteen yards from witness’ fence and in the morning about two chains or two chains and  a half. At 10 o’clock on Sunday morning saw Robert  Bown, Annie  Bown and third man going toward Murtoa with the same wagon and the same horses.

To Robert  Bown–Could not say how many were in the wagon on Saturday; could see two heads only saw one when it was coming  back. Could not say whether there were any more in the waggon. Saw the waggon come back on the Sunday night about half past eight or  a little later. Saw three in it that night. Annie  Bown was one of them.The waggon, outside the Court was the waggon referred to. 

To His Honor.–Knew the father o’ the two younger prisoners who used to reside with them ; he was found drowned in water hole about 18 months ago. Jessie McLeod, sister of the last witness, deposed that she resided with him,  and knew the prisoners who lived  about  a mile and  a half from her brother’s place. They had  a waggon and  dra.,  a new waggon painted red and blue. At 10 o’c’ock on the Saturday night heard  a  waggon going by towards Murtoa. Early in the morning was awoke by the noise of waggon going by; lifted the window curtain and saw it was  Bowns‘ waggon going towards their place Could see the color of the horses,  a grey and  a bay; could not say who was with the waggon. The wagon outside the court was the one referred to. George Evans,  a miller residing at Murtoa deposed that he had had  a good deal of experience with wheat and described the various samples of wheat produced, testifying to the effect that the wheat in the 9 bags found at the prisoner’s (Bown‘s) house was similar to those found on the reserve, all of which the prosecutors claimed as theirs, it being clean unbleached wheat; whilst the other samples produced, taken from the    prisoners’ two stacks of their own wheat, was bleached and unclean. His Honor asked the Crown Prosecutor what evidence there was against the elder female prisoner.The Crown Prosecutor replied that the only evidence was that it appeared where the wheat was found was her property, that she was the mother of the two younger prisoners;and suggested that she might be brought in guilty under the second count of “receiving.”‘    His Honor said he would have to tell the jury there was no case against her. In answer to the usual question the prisoner Robert  Bown said that Thomas Bowen, who had pleaded ” guilty,” on the 2nd January, borrowed the waggon to go to Murtoa, which he (prisoner) lent him, and on the Sunday morning found the wagon in the same place where it had been taken from. On that morning about 10 o’clock he and his sister and Bowen went to see some friends,and returning about ten o’clock at night, his younger sister met them about half-a-mile from their place and told them the police were there. Bowcn hearing this ran away He (prisoner) knew nothing about it, until told by the police they were charged with stealing wheat from Delahunty Brothers.His Honor then summed up, directing the jury to acquit the elder female prisoner, and to the effect that the evidence against the younger female prisoner was of  a different character to that against her brother, but leaving it to the jury to say whether either or both were guilty. The jury retired and after an absence of about two hours acquitted the two female prisoners and found the prisoner (Robert Bown) guilty of receiving.


Thomas Bowen, Robert  Bown, Annie Bown, and Catherine  Bown were charged  with larceny of  a saddle and bridle, the property of John Oppie and Charles Summers. on the 24th October; and on  second count with receiving the goods, knowing them to be stolen.-Robert Bown pleaded “guilty,” and the others ” not guilty.” John Oppie,  a butcher, deposed that in October last he was in Mr. Murphy’s employ as drover; knew Chas Summers, on 24th October last he was also in Mr. Murphy’s employ; that night witness and Summers were camped at Murtoa at the Show Yard; left the camp that evening and went to hotel about half-a-mile distant; left two  saddles, two bridles, stockwhip, harness,coat, and Summer’s clothes, overcoat, and  bridle; returned at about half-past 11 o’clock at night; did not miss anything that night ; next morning missed one saddle,stockwhip, 2 bridles, and Summer’s over-coat and reported the matter to the police. Had seen them at the police station at Murtoa on the 4th January. Identified the articles produced as those that were lost.Was certain of the saddle and 2 bridles.Did not know the prisoners, but had seen them

Emile Habel,  a saddler, carrying on business in Murtoa, deposed to selling the saddle produced to Mr. Murphy.  Charles Summers corroborated the evidence of the first witness and identified the overcoat produced, which he had only had about  a fortnight before it was lost; also identified the saddle and bridle. Had seen the prisoners in Murtoa with  a new blue waggon once; saw Thomas Bowen and Annie  Bown in the waggon on the Sunday.On the night of the 22nd of October saw  person pass Wilkes’ hotel half-a-mile from where witness camped. That man was the prisoner Thomas Bowen. He was going towards the show ground. Had seen him before but did not know where he lived. He was going towards  Bown‘s, to get there he would have to pass the Show grounds; they lived 4 or 5 miles from Murtoa. 

To Thos. Bowen–Saw you pass Wilke’s,that was within 3 or 4 chains of the mainroad. You were going in the direction of the Show grounds.Sen.-Constable Thos. Mullaney deposed to searching the  Bowns‘ place and finding the articles produced there. The prisoner Thomas Bowen addressed  the jury, stating that on the 24th October he went into Murtoa to meet Annie  Bown‘s brother Robert (who pleaded guilty to his charge.) He had been away shearing. He got home before them and brought the saddle and the other articles with him, and said he had bought them The saddle was never concealed, and he (prisoner) had ridden on it to Murtoa, thinking it had been bought. He had nothing to do with stealing it, and never knew it was stolen. His Honor summed up, stating that he did not see any evidence against either of the female prisoners, whilst the evidence against Bowen was slight. The jury retired and shortly after returned  a verdict of “not guilty” in respect to the three prisoners.


The same three prisoners were presented on  a further charge of larceny of  a quantity of tools on the 30th of October last, the property of Robert Sheehan.–Robert  Bown pleaded ” guilty.”The Crown Prosecutor stated that as the evidence in this case was similar to that in the last he would enter  a nolle prosequi as regards the female prisoners. The case then proceeded against Joseph Bowen.The Crown Prosecutor having opened the case, called–Robert Sheehan, who deposed that he was a wheelwright, carrying on business in Murtoa. On the last day of October or lst November, had lost  a number of tools-was using them up to 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon-and identified the articles produced. The prisoner and Robert  Bown who had pleaded guilty were at witness’ shop about three weeks before the Saturday, and were talking about some tools. Senior-constable Mullaney deposed to finding the tools at  Bowns‘ house when searching for the wheat, &c.

His Honor having summed up, the prisoner denied all knowledge of the offence, and the jury retired, shortly returning  a verdict of” not guilty.”The Court then adjourned till the following morning.[/su_quote]


Francis Bown Marriage to Gladys Taylor was reported in The Horsham Times on Friday Aug 5 1921.

[su_quote]What is known as one of the prettiest weddings held in Wagga Wagga N.S.W. was celebrated on July 23, by the Rev. Father Ryan, when Miss Gladys Taylor, niece of Mr. and Mrs. G. McCall, of Collingullie, N.S.W. was united in matrimony with Mr. Frank Bown (late of Horsham, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Bown of Warracknabeal.

The bride, who was given away by her brother Mr. Les. Taylor, of Horsham, looked very sweet in a dainty white silk dress, covered with net daintily trimmed and carried a shower bouquet. of jonquils and violets intermingled with asparagus fern. Miss Pearl Gunning of The Rock. N.S.W. looked very becoming in a white silk dress daintily trimmed, and wore u pretty black hat with vieux rose streamers, carrying a bouquet of violets. Mr. Alf. Taylor, of Sydney carried out the duties of best man.

After the ceremony the happy couple motored to Stanford House where about 40 guests sat down to a sumptuous wedding breakfast. Mr Ge0. Simpson. cousin of the bride, occupied the chair, and in proposing the toast of the bride and bridegroom spoke in glowing terms of the good qualities of the happy couple and wished them every happiness and prosperity in their new life. The bridegroom in a lengthy speech, responded on behalf of his wife and himself.

The bride’s gift to the bridegroom was a gold watch guard. The bridegroom’s gift to the bride was a set of fox furs and to the bridesmaid a gold brooch. Mr Les Taylor responded on behalf of the bridesmaid. After the wedding breakfast was partaken of the happy couple left by train for Albury, where the honeymoon was spent. The presents were numerous and costly, including several cheques. The bride travelled in a navy tailor costume with hat to match.[/su_quote]

Christopher Harper charged with indecent language – reported in the Sunbury News on Saturday 20 September 1902

[su_quote]Christopher Harper, a lad 14 years of age, was charged by Constable Crowle with the above offence. Evidence was given to show that on Saturday. 6th inst, there was a cricket match between two schools on the Riddell’s Creek racecourse when the defendant interrupted the game and used bad language.

Evidence in support of the charge was given by Mr. T.Dwyer and Lord Chas.Fitzgerald. The latter said that had he known the case would be brought into court, he would not have complained of the boy’s conduct. Fined 10/-.[/su_quote]

Marriage of Joseph Harper and Mabel Budd – reported in the Horsham Times on Tuesday 26 March 1918

[su_quote]HARPER—BUDD— On the 11th March, 1918, at St. Joseph’s R.C. Church,Elsternwick, by the Rev. Father Gleeson, Joseph Patrick Harper, of the Australian Veterinary Corps, son of Mrs. Anora Harper, of Riddel’s Creek, to Mabel Rose, second eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Budd of Kewell. Sailing shortly abroad.[/su_quote]

Death of Leslie Smith, stepson of William James Harper (incorrectly identified as Mr Smith) – reported in Sunbury News on Saturday 3 January 1903

[su_quote]RIDDELL’S CREEK. – On Christmas evening, Leslie James Smith, a lad of eleven years of age, and a stepson of Mr W. Harper of Riddell’s Creek, went fishing in the creek near the bridge. He had not been gone long when Mr Smith went in search of him, and found the body in the creek in a depth of about 2 feet 6 inches of water. The fishing line was twisted round the hands of the deceased, and there was an eel on the hook.The body was quite warm when found, so that life could not have been long extinct. As the creek was so shallow at that point, it is supposed that death was due to the shock.[/su_quote]

The above report also had an incorrect date as this story had appeared in The Argus on December 20 1902 – so the death did not occur ‘on Christmas evening’.



A sad occurrence took place here this afternoon about 4 o’clock, when the stepson of Mr. W. Harper, a boy of 11 years, named  Leslie James Smith, was drowned in the creek. The little fellow was fishing, and had caught an eel, when he by some means fell into the creek. When found by his stepfather the fish was still attached to the line, and the line twisted around the boy’s wrists. Every effort was made to restore life, but was to no avail.[/su_quote]

Agnes or Annie Bown Thrown From Vehicle – reported in The Horsham Times on Tuesday 22 September 1925 


Mrs. A. Bown, a well-known resident of Warracknabeal, was the victim of a somewhat serious accident on Wednesday morning. When driving his car into Warracknabeal that morning Mr. W. C. Dart found her lying unconscious on the road side. He quickly came into town for assistance, and the injured woman was hurried to the Warracknabeal District Hospital. Although the patient has not fully regained consciousness since her admission it is expected that her condition will be brighter during the next few days. Until consciousness returns details of the accident will not be available, but it is surmised that she was driving in a spring cart with some children when the horse turned suddenly, throwing the occupants out on to the road. When Mr. Dart came along the children were clustered around Mrs Bown’ s inert form, crying bitterly.[/su_quote]

Herbert Trew in court – reported in The Horsham Times on Friday 20 October 1922 


On a charge of having broken into the store of S. Hutchinson & Co. Pty Ltd., Warracknabeal. in the early morning of 29th September, Herbert William George Trew was committed for trial at the Stawell Court on 24th October. Evidence was given by two members of the firm that they had caught the accused on the premises. Trew pleaded guilty, and told the police that he wanted money to go to Stawell to see the grand final of the Wimmera football competition.[/su_quote]