James McManus II: The Wrath of a Madman

By Michaela Ann Cameron

An Unquiet Graveyard

On Saturday 3 October 1829, just under three years after Jane McManus‘s death, Reverend Samuel Marsden was conducting burial ceremonies at St. John’s Cemetery.[1] The first burial that day was for William Watson, an emancipist, and the second was for a convict named John Cunningham.[2] Whilst performing these reverential duties Marsden observed a man he knew ‘pulling at tombstones’ so vigorously as to tear off two of his fingernails.[3] That man was Jane‘s 35-year-old son: James McManus II. What Reverend Marsden could not have known at the time, but realised soon enough, was that this peculiar, morbid spectacle was the prelude to a ‘horrible catastophe’[4] that would, rather literally, ‘come to a head’ the following night.

About five o’clock on Sunday evening, Marsden again encountered McManus. For undisclosed reasons, it was then the Reverend fully grasped that his acquaintance was in ‘a deranged state of intellect, and seemed to be incapable of judging right from wrong.’[5]

Marsden’s coachman, a 28-year-old emancipist named George Savage, likewise bore witness to McManus’s odd behaviour around nine o’clock that night.[6] On retiring to bed, Savage ‘heard [McManus] walk out of a house opposite, and begin counting the stars as far as nine’ before ‘walking up and down for about an hour and a half, talking all the time most incoherently.’[7] Around midnight, ‘a crash of broken glass’ alerted Savage to the fact that McManus was occupying himself ‘smashing the windows of [St. John’s] church,’ which Savage’s abode ‘nearly adjoined.’[8] This prompted Savage to raise the alarm with Parramatta’s Chief Constable John Thorn, ‘who dispatched a sub-constable with him to the church yard,’ whither the perpetrator was bound.[9] Meanwhile, the church bellringer who ‘was employed at the time on a peal’ had ‘stepped outside to discover who was committing the sacrilegious devastation’ and had met ‘James Poole,’ that is, McManus.[10]

IMG_2427

This incarnation of St. John’s Church, Parramatta was not contemporary to the events described here, although the events occurred at this site. Photo by Michaela Ann Cameron (2014)

Upon arriving at the church yard, Savage climbed the gate and ‘glanc[ed] an eye about.’[11] ‘The first thing that arrested his attention’[12] was a light in a small lodge that served as the residence of the St. John’s Church bellman and keeper of the keys, 65-year-old Edward “Neddy” Vallace.[13] Approaching the lodge, Savage ‘spied the maniac,’ McManus, ‘apparently sprinkling water, with both hands, on the floor’ and heard him crying, ‘I’ll wash my hands, and wash them clean!’[14] When Savage ran up to the door, pulled it ajar slightly and peered inside, McManus immediately noticed him, exclaimed, “‘I have washed my hands, I will wash you too!” and commenced flinging water off his hands into Savage’s face, declaring, “Thou art saved!”[15]

Unperturbed by McManus’s odd behaviour, Savage, who seems to have known him personally, felt comfortable enough to try to gently coax him out of the lodge to where the unidentified constable was waiting. As though speaking to a distressed child, Savage kindly but authoritatively said, ‘Jem, come along with me, and I’ll take you to your brother’s.’[16] McManus replied, ‘Ah, do you know me, I have conquered the devil.’[17] Savage had fully entered the lodge by then and in an instant saw McManus’s deranged behaviour in its entire gruesome context.

On a floor ‘deluged with blood,’ was a sight that ‘could not be beheld without shuddering.’[18] A human head was ‘nearly separated’ from a body that only minutes earlier had been a whole, animate being.[19]

‘There were three deep cuts…across the neck; the under jaw was gone, and the tongue lying in the middle of the floor, as was also the right eye,’[20]

for ‘the madman’ had apparently plucked it out of the severed head ‘with demoniacal vengeance.’[21] ‘Bruises and wounds, any of which would have been sufficient to have deprived the sufferer of life’ were all over the head and body. Near these ‘dreadfully mangled’ mortal remains was a bloody axe ‘with which the infuriated wretch had chanced to be provided.’ To the constable outside, Savage exclaimed, “He’s killed old Neddy!”[22]

As Savage and the constable processed this startling development, McManus vacated the murder scene in the lodge. It was around twenty minutes before the constable and his helpful civilian sidekick Savage discovered him again in the church yard.[23] In the meantime, for reasons known only to the madman, he had utterly denuded himself.[24] Even sans clothing and axeless, McManus was ‘raving’ and ‘defended himself furiously,’ so Savage and the constable were ‘obliged to knock him down’ to take him into custody.[25]

On Trial

5770fe3a-a03b-4f0d-8197-bf1906325b5a

Murder by a Maniac,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829, p.3

A coronial inquest was held the next evening, Monday 5 October 1829.[26] As part of the proceedings, ‘a highly intelligent Jury’ was charged with the grim task of viewing what remained of Neddy Vallace at the crime scene and heard Savage’s account of what had transpired.[27] The inquest lasted ‘until a late hour of the night’ and the jury reached a verdict ‘without retiring’[28] of ‘Wilful Murder, committed under derangement, arising from the intemperate use of spirituous liquors.’[29]

McManus was tried in the Criminal Court a week later, on Monday 12 October 1829. Prominent Sydney lawyer Dr. Robert Wardell represented McManus and argued that the prisoner had been ‘of unsound mind’ at the time of committing the ‘horrid murder.’[30] Seven officers were sworn to determine if this was correct; to aid them in their decision, they heard the depositions of not only Marsden’s coachman George Savage but also the Reverend himself, who detailed his encounters with McManus in the lead-up to the crime. Though ‘the prisoner did not exhibit any symptoms of insanity at the bar,’ when Justice Dowling asked the Commission to say, ‘whether from the evidence that had been adduced, they could consider the prisoner as a madman, or one in possession of his intellects,’ McManus was deemed ‘of unsound mind at the time of committing the act described.’[31]

Justice Dowling subsequently directed ‘that the prisoner should be kept in close confinement till his Majesty’s pleasure be made known upon the subject, which in all likelihood will be a period of 10 months.’[32] Accordingly, McManus was admitted to gaol immediately following the trial.[33]

There is no doubt that McManus was suffering from severe mental illness when he committed the crime, but it would be imprudent to uncritically accept the second component of the Court’s findings that his insanity was entirely caused by ‘intemperate use of spirituous liquors.’[34] The Court and newspapers alike had good reason to identify intemperance as the culprit. Judging by the frequency with which journalists reported people being arrested for public drunkenness and associated ‘riotous’ behaviour in newspaper columns devoted to ‘Police Incidents,’ alcohol abuse was rife in this period. Men and women alike were punished, often repeatedly, on a daily basis with fines or a few hours of public humiliation and discomfort in the stocks,[35] while young women who were ‘great admirers of blue ruin and other exhilarating beverages, to the utter disorganisation of [their] intellect[s]’[36] made up a large percentage of inmates in the prison class of Parramatta’s Female Factory at any given time.[37] Here, in the shocking criminal case of James McManus, which ‘created no ordinary sensation’[38] throughout the population, was a powerful example whereby this broader social problem of excessive alcohol consumption could be highlighted. While McManus’s psychological ailment was surely exacerbated by alcohol, arguably his reported alcohol abuse coexisted with rather than caused his ‘derangement.’

The Court’s identification of intemperance as the root cause of McManus’s psychosis was a theory that did not take into account McManus’s own family history of mental illness, which was probably unknown to those outside the family.

Like Father, Like Son

The murderer’s father, James McManus I, had sailed with the First Fleet on the Sirius as a marine in the Royal Marines 59th company. Once in the colony, therefore, as a free man entitled to receive land, he was in a more fortunate position than the convicts who could also claim First Fleeter status. However, James the elder suffered from mental illness and those inner demons caused at least one known suicide attempt in 1790 in which he ‘Attempted to Cut his owne troght in the Guardhouse but Was prevented…’[39] Being charged with stealing property from a fellow marine was the trigger for this mental breakdown during which he was noted to be visibly ‘insane.’ His survival on that occasion and a supposedly speedy recovery credited to a miraculous eleven-day diet of ‘a few Spoons full of Flour and Water,’[40] meant he went on to marry First Fleet convict Jane Poole and fathered three of her children before his premature demise at the age of 28 in April 1798. In establishing his own family, James senior passed on far more than his name to his eldest son James, born in 1794; it seems he also bequeathed to his namesake severe mental illness that culminated in acts of extreme violence. But where James the elder’s violent acts had been inflicted solely upon his own person, (as far as the record shows), in the case of James the younger that propensity for psychosis-fuelled violence was, as we already know, turned outwards.

Like his father the marine, James McManus II superficially appeared to have been relatively functional before the onset of debilitating mental illness in adulthood. Prior to his crime, McManus had been a landholding farmer with convict servants in both Parramatta[41] and Bathurst and a family man. He had wed Lucy Bradley, the daughter of First Fleeter James Bradley, in 1814 at the very church he later targeted during his rampage. The couple had seven children together, with their youngest child being a mere sixteen months old when McManus murdered Vallace.

For at least ten years, the future ‘maniac’ also held a position of authority and immense responsibility as a constable, first in Parramatta[42] and eventually in Bathurst and Melville. In 1825, Bathurst’s Resident Magistrate James Harris stated on record that McManus was,

‘A very reputable character and a good constable. Has never been dismissed or found fault with by me for any neglect of duty.’[43]

In his capacity as Chief Constable and Poundkeeper in the districts of Bathurst and Melville, McManus supported memorialists’ applications for victuals[44] and was entrusted with providing evidence in criminal trials including one involving the theft of Hannibal Macarthur’s horse in March 1826; a crime serious enough for the thief to initially receive the death sentence before it was commuted to transportation to Norfolk Island.[45]  McManus also appeared in the newspaper alongside his brother-in-law George Bradley in 1822 to receive from Governor Goulburn a cow and calf each ‘For meritorious Service’[46] in the apprehension of bushranger Joseph Knowles. Knowles had committed a violent burglary; a crime for which he and his accomplice George Barke were executed on 5 July 1822, thanks to McManus’s good police work.[47] To put McManus’s ‘meritorious’ achievement in perspective, on the same list was constable Benjamin Ratty, whose own dedication to his occupation later saw him pay the ultimate price when he was accidentally shot in the back by a fellow constable during an undercover operation to capture bushrangers.[48]

James McManus and Benjamin Ratty

Government and General Orders,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Friday 2 August 1822, p.1

The timing of Constable Ratty’s death in late 1826 is interesting in terms of its position in the timeline of McManus’s own psychological deterioration. Though it is unknown if Ratty and McManus were personally acquainted, McManus’s ties to Parramatta, their shared occupation, and Ratty’s position specifically as ‘Town Constable at Parramatta’[49] makes it highly probable. Ratty was laid to rest at St. John’s Cemetery amid a great outpouring of grief from the people of Parramatta. It is potentially very significant, then, that Ratty’s death in October 1826 after weeks of slowly succumbing to his mortal wound[50] came just one month before the death of McManus’s own mother, Jane.[51] Ratty’s death and McManus‘s resignation were, likewise, events that occurred close together. On 8 March 1827, only a few months after the deaths of Ratty and JaneMcManus’s name again appeared with Ratty’s in the newspaper stating that the position left empty by Ratty’s untimely death had been filled, as had the position left by James McManus’s recent resignation from the police force.[52]

James McManus - Resignation

Government Notice,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Thursday 8 March 1827, p.1

Following his resignation, McManus was living in Parramatta and working as a ‘harness maker.’[53] Two and a half years after the public announcement of McManus’s resignation, he was ‘pulling at tombstones’ and committing a brutal murder at the Church associated with the cemetery in which Ratty and his mother Jane were both buried. Perhaps their deaths within a month of each other triggered a disturbed state of mind in an individual who had a genetic predisposition for mental illness, initially prompting his resignation from his job and later developing into a fixation with death and, with it, the cemetery.[54] Perhaps one of their tombstones was even the one McManus pulled and scraped at and tore his fingernails on when Marsden observed him the day before this whole ‘horrible affair’[55] unfolded. Little did Reverend Samuel Marsden know then, the very next funeral he presided over at St. John’s Cemetery would be that of McManus ’s hapless victim.[56]

The Aftermath

One of the few to arrive free in the colony rather than as a convict, Edward “Neddy” Vallace arrived on the Britannia (1791) as a private in the NSW Corps and subsequently became a member of the Royal Veteran Company. The Royal Veteran Company disbanded in September 1826, so it was probably then that Vallace took on the role of church bellman and keeper of the keys and began living in the lodge where he spent the final moments of his life.[57] The church’s old bellman was laid to rest on 6 October 1829 in one of the cemetery’s many unmarked graves — location unknown.[58]

On 13 November 1829, McManus was transferred from the gaol to the Lunatic Asylum at Liverpool ‘per Billy the Whisker.’[59] A brief report in The Sydney Monitor dated Wednesday 6 February 1833 provides a small insight into what life for McManus would have been like as an inmate at the Liverpool Lunatic Asylum at the time. According to the report, the Superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum lived in the town ‘at a distance from the premises’ and left the establishment ‘to the care of servants, who…us[ed] the wretched inmates badly.’ It was also noted that the building was ‘altogether insecure,’ which enabled ‘two of the lunatics’ to escape that week.[60]

Liverpool Lunatic Asylum 1833

“Domestic Intelligence,” Sydney Monitor (NSW: 1828-1838) Wednesday 6 February 1833, p.2

In February 1839, McManus and the other male patients from the Liverpool Lunatic Asylum were transferred to Tarban Creek Asylum.[61] It was there, then, at the Tarban Creek Asylum, that McManus ’s violent impulses were at last turned upon himself in an act of suicide. McManus hanged himself on 6 November 1839, a little more than a decade after his heinous crime and, revealingly, six weeks and three days before his wife, Lucy, gave birth to Mary Bolton; a child conceived out of wedlock with a ‘currency lad’ named Isaac Bolton.[62]

McManus the axe-murdering ‘maniac’ was buried, two days after his death at age 46, in an unmarked grave in the same cemetery that had received his colleague the ex-convict turned heroic constable Ratty, his First Fleet convict mother Jane, his half-sister Martha, and his victim, Neddy, before him.[63]

A Cardomaniac

Around three decades after the ‘horrid murder,’ a gentleman entered the Church Street photographic studio of watchmaker, clockmaker and part-time photographer, Henry William Burgin II.[64] Here, Parramatta’s finest residents posed for studio portraits of the carte-de-visite variety; a photographic format that originated in France in 1859 and quickly took the world by storm. The small, mass-produced photographs—printed from a glass negative onto paper and mounted on a slightly larger and thicker card—were popular because they were light enough to be shared easily and inexpensively by post with kith and kin, both near and far.[65]

Among the collection of portraits taken at Burgin’s studio between c.1860-1872 were families and couples in their Sunday best and more than one Madonna nursing a child, a man in military uniform nursing, by contrast, a rifle, a fellow in a Masonic apron, and another gentleman nurturing an intellectual, avid reader persona by adopting a pensive visage while his finger held his position mid-book. For all their differences, there were considerable similarities between the portraits. The Burgin cartes were, without exception, light-filled and featured luxurious curtains and plush tablecloths, ornate Victorian chairs for sitting on or casually leaning against, scenic paintings, glimpses of Greco-Roman pillars, and random pieces of castiron fanciwork, all of which created a variety of backdrops that, nevertheless, unvaryingly emitted an air of genteel domesticity.[66]

However, our gentleman who walked into the  Burgin studio to pose for a carte-de-visite was about to break all of the rules mutely governing the portraits of his fellow Parramattans. In the resulting photograph, a solid black background supplants Burgin’s well-lit, sumptuously furnished interior sets. Centrally positioned in sharp relief against this dark, minimalistic scene stands a man in more casual attire than the men typically captured in the Burgin portraits. His right hand grips a large knife partially covered with a dark residue—clearly meant to be blood—while his left hand grips the hair of a second man’s apparently disembodied head. Written in pencil on the reverse side of the image is ‘McManus, wheelwright, Hunter Street, Parramatta.’ The McManus in question was Arthur Philip McManus; none other than the nephew of ‘the maniac.’[67]

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[A] McManus [trick photo, holding decapitated head],” Henry William Burgin – studio portraits of Parramatta residents, ca. 1860-1872, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

It is hardly surprising that Arthur developed a morbid interest in such a shocking event in his family’s history. The son of John McManus, (the murderer’s younger brother and St. John’s Church churchwarden between 1849-1852),[68] Arthur had been baptised in and would have frequently attended St. John’s Church, where the victim ‘Neddy’ had rung the bells and where his uncle had smashed the windows on that fateful night.[69] Though the murder itself occurred well before Arthur was born and he was a mere three years old at the time of his unfortunate uncle’s suicide at the Tarban Creek Asylum, someone—either in his immediate family or his local community—obviously made sure he was fully informed about all the gory details of the crime. Thus enlightened, Arthur could not have escaped daily reminders of the past. At the far end of Hunter Street, where he worked each day as a wheelwright, is St. John’s Church itself; and intersecting that same street is O’Connell Street, where the cemetery containing the mouldering bodies of all the players in that grisly crime is located.

McManus Map

Google Map indicating the position of Hunter Street, where Arthur Philip McManus worked as a wheelwright c.1860s-70s in relation to St. John’s Cemetery (red marker on bottom left) and St. John’s Anglican Church (red marker on far right)

Perhaps on his way to work each day, this sense of space and place caused Arthur to wonder himself whether he was walking in the footsteps of his Uncle Jem who had made his murderous way to the church, taken Neddy’s life, and thereby sealed his own fate. Though there is some uncertainty as to which of the two men pictured in the photograph is Arthur Philip McManus, the locality of Arthur’s workplace and his evident fascination with the story almost makes it fairly safe to assume outright that he took on the role of his uncle for the photo, rather than that of his victim.

What seems to be just another Victorian ‘trick photo’ produced at the height of worldwide cardomania,[70] therefore, turns out to be a macabre slice of McManus family history involving ‘mania’ of a far more serious kind, which makes the comical appearance of the photo appear to be in rather poor taste. However, when we understand how this story must have continually haunted the murderer’s nephew each day and fostered within him an historical sensibility, it suddenly seems natural and right, even, that ‘Arthur Philip’—not the Captain of the First Fleet and first Governor of New South Wales, but the grandson of two First Fleeters—should be the one to visually tell this piece of his family history, which all began with a convict named Jane Poole and a marine named James McManus I.[71]

CITE THIS

Michaela Ann Cameron, “James McManus II: The Wrath of a Madman,” St. John’s Cemetery Project, (2016), https://stjohnscemeteryparramatta.org/bio/james-mcmanus-ii/, accessed [insert current date]

References

Henry William Burgin II, Studio Portraits of Parramatta Residents, ca. 1860-1872Mitchell Library, SLNSW, a1327004 / PXA 1036, 28

Margot Riley, “Parramatta people: The Burgin Collection,” Nelson Meers Foundation Heritage Collection, (Sydney: State Library of New South Wales, 2006)

Trove

Notes

[1] The title of this piece, “The Wrath of a Madman,” is adapted from lyrics in “Gallows Pole,” Led Zeppelin’s rendition of “Child Ballad number 95: The Maid Freed from the Gallows,” previously referenced in the Jane McManus biography. Led Zeppelin, Track 6: “Gallows Pole,” Led Zeppelin III, (Atlantic Records, 1970); “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[2] Parish Burial Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. The first burial was for 67-year-old emancipated convict, William Watson, who arrived on the Isabella in 1818 with a seven-year-sentence. His burial record also contains the note “Hospital,” perhaps indicating that he worked there, as other burial entries indicate occupation of the deceased. The second burial was for 40-year-old “John Cunningham,” who likewise arrived per the Isabella. In the 1828 census Cunningham was residing at the Carters’ Barracks where Central Station is now located. Note that the name “St. John’s Cemetery” was not applied until 1857. Previously, it had been referred to in the newspapers as “the church-yard” or “churchyard” and known as “The Old Parramatta Burial Ground.” Confusingly, especially in relation to the events covered in this piece, the area immediately surrounding the Church itself was also called the “church yard,” but the Church is a seven-minute walk from the cemetery. See Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p.22. See the following funeral notices for known burials at St. John’s Cemetery in this period in which the location is called the “church-yard;” “The Late D’Arcy Wentworth, Esq.,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 11 July 1827, p.4; Nicholas Bayly Esq. Funeral, Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 22 May 1823, p.2; “Death,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 24 February 1825, p.3.

[3] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[4] “Horrible Catastrophe,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 7 October 1829, p.3.

[5] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[6] George Savage was sentenced in Canterbury and transported on the convict ship Mangles in 1820 with a seven-year-sentence. He worked for John Palmer at Parramatta before becoming “free by servitude” and taking on the position of coachman to Reverend Samuel Marsden in Parramatta by 1828. “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[7] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[8] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3; “Coroner’s Inquest,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2.

[9] Note that in this instance, the “church yard” refers to the area immediately surrounding St. John’s Church. “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3; “Coroner’s Inquest,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2.

[10] This was the only instance in which a newspaper report on this incident used James’s mother’s maiden name instead of his actual surname “McManus.” It is unclear why this was done, but perhaps it was to protect the family name.

[11] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[12] “Coroner’s Inquest,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2.

[13] Surname also spelt Vallas, Vallis, Vales, Valles. “Coroner’s Inquest,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2; New South Wales Government. 1828 Census: Householders’ returns [Population and Statistics, Musters and Census Records, Census, Colonial Secretary] . Series 1273, Reels 2551-2552, 2506-2507. State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia. Vallace’s recorded age varies; in the 1828 Census it is recorded as 64 years of age, which would have made him 65 in October 1829. In newspaper reports and his burial record, however, Vallace is almost ten years older: 74-years-old. The census, taken in November 1828, records that 67-year-old James Wood, a convict who had been given a life sentence but had since received a ticket of leave, was also living in the lodge and was employed as the town crier. But on the night of 4 October 1829, Wood was not part of the grisly scene that unfolded, so perhaps it was not his address at the time.

[14] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[15] “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2; “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[16] James’s younger brother, John McManus. “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[17] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[18] “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2

[19] “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2

[20] “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2

[21] “Horrible Catastrophe,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 7 October 1829, p.3

[22] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3

[23] “Coroner’s Inquest,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2

[24] “Coroner’s Inquest,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2; “Horrible Catastrophe,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 7 October 1829, p.3.

[25] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[26] “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2.

[27] “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2.

[28] “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2; “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829, p.3.

[29] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3; “Coroner’s Inquest,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2.

[30] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3; “Coroner’s Inquest,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2. Note: Dr. Robert Wardell himself ended up being a murder victim only a few years later when he was shot by escaped convicts in 1834. See, “Coroner’s Inquest on the Late Dr. Wardell, L.L.D.,” Sydney Monitor (NSW: 1828-1838), Wednesday 10 September 1834, p.2.

[31] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3; “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2.

[32] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3.

[33] New South Wales Government, Entrance books [Sydney Gaol], Series 2514, State Records Reels 850-853, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[34] “Murder by a Maniac: Criminal Court. Monday,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 16 October 1829 p.3; “Coroner’s Inquest: Horrid Murder,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Thursday 8 October 1829, p.2.

[35] See for example “Police Incidents: Some votaries of the tippling powers,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 5 August 1829, p.3; “Police Incidents: An elderly dame,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 12 August 1829, p.3; “Police Incidents: John Davis and Thomas Smith,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Friday 14 August 1829, p.3; “Police Incidents: J. Joyce,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 28 October 1829, p.4; “Police Reports: Four free men, one free woman, and two prisoners of the crown,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Saturday 2 September 1826, p.3; Anne Smith and Mary Cooper in “The Police,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Wednesday 19 July 1826, p.3.

[36] “Police Incidents: Selina Halloway,” Sydney Herald (NSW: 1831 – 1842), Monday 23 July 1832 p.2.

[37] See for example, “Police Incidents: Mary Cooper,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824 – 1848), Saturday 5 August 1826, p.3; “Police Reports: Maria Blake,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Saturday 30 September 1826, p.3; “Police Reports: Elizabeth McDonnall and Anne Smith,” and “Police Reports: Judith Crowly,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Saturday 2 September 1826, p.3.

[38] “Horrible Catastrophe,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 7 October 1829, p.3.

[39] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989)

[40] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989)

[41] “Supreme Criminal Court. Tuesday, March 7th, 1826,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Saturday 11 March 1826 p 3.

[42] McManus was appointed constable at Parramatta 15 August 1818. New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[43] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[44] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[45] “Government Order,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Wednesday 22 March 1826, p.1.

[46] Governor Goulburn awarded the cow and calf. “Government and General Orders, Colonial Secretary’s Office, Aug. 1, 1822,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Friday 2 August 1822, p.1; New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia); New South Wales Government, Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1 Jan 1814 – 30 Jan 1827, Series 937, Reels 6004-6016, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia); New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia)

[47] “Criminal Court,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Friday 14 June 1822, p.3; “Execution,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Friday 12 July 1822, p.3.

[48] Michaela Ann Cameron, Stop 3: St. John’s Cemetery, ‘God’s Acre,’ “Convict Parramatta,” Dictionary of Sydney Walks app, (Sydney, October, 2015); The Australian, (Sydney, NSW: 1824 – 1848), Wednesday 11 October 1826, p.3; “Government Notice,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Wednesday 18 October 1826, p.3.

[49] “Government and General Orders: Secretary’s Office, Sydney, 12th August, 1820,” Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842), Saturday 12 August 1820, p.1.

[50] Incidentally, the fatal shot was fired not by the bushrangers Ratty was attempting to capture but by one of his fellow constables.

[51] Parish Burial Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia; “Jane McManis,” Section 1 Row N, No.7 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. “Sacred to the memory of JANE McMANIS Who departed this life November 26th 1826, Aged 56 years. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away blefsed be The name of the Lord. First Fleeters’ plaque: Jane McManis, Arrived First Fleeter 26-1-1788, Fellowship of First Fleeters 1984” in Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p.76.

[52] Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Thursday 8 March 1827 p.1.

[53] “Catherine Macmanis,” Parish Baptism Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[54] But this is all mere conjecture; the product of speculating about how historical events—perhaps completely unrelated in reality—may have been connected based purely on their chronological relationship to each other. In any case, retrospective diagnosis is fraught with problems and is not possible considering the limited evidence available in this case.

[55] “Horrible Catastrophe,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 7 October 1829, p.3.

[56] Vallace’s funeral took place on Tuesday 6 October 1829, the day after the inquest. Parish Burial Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[57] “Edward Valles,” New South Wales Government, 1828 Census: Householders’ returns [Population and Statistics, Musters and Census Records, Census, Colonial Secretary], Series 1273, Reels 2551-2552, 2506-2507, (State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia); “Edward Vallas,” 15 Sept 1796, New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia); “Edward Vallas,” New South Wales Government, New South Wales, Various Land Records, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia; “Edward Vallis,” 28 Oct 1823, New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072 (State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia); “Edward Vallis,” 3 Nov 1823, New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312 (State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[58] Parish Burial Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[59] New South Wales Government, Entrance books [Sydney Gaol], Series 2514, State Records Reels 850-853, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[60] “Domestic Intelligence,” Sydney Monitor (NSW: 1828-1838), Wednesday 6 February 1833, p.2

[61] Later known as Gladesville Hospital for the Insane (1869 – 1914), Gladesville Mental Hospital / Gladesville Hospital (1915-93)

[62] Isaac Bolton was a labourer in Parramatta, the son of ex-convict and Parramatta landholder, Robert Bolton who had been sentenced to life and transported on the Perseus before receiving a Ticket of Leave. See “Isaac Boulton,” Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania, HO10, Pieces 5, 19-20, 32-51, (The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England); “Isaac Bolton,” New South Wales Government, 1828 Census: Householders’ returns [Population and Statistics, Musters and Census Records, Census, Colonial Secretary], Series 1273, Reels 2551-2552, 2506-2507 (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).

[63] Reverend H. H. Bobart presided over the funeral, as Reverend Samuel Marsden had passed away in 1838. Parish Burial Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[64] Now 384-394 Church Street, Parramatta, commercial premises constructed as part of the Plazawest development in 2006.

[65] “Cardomania” a.k.a. “cartomania.” Cartes were approximately two inches by four inches in size. William M. Etter, The Good Body: Normalizing Visions in Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture, 1836-1867, (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), p.162; Margot Riley, “Parramatta people: The Burgin Collection,” Nelson Meers Foundation Heritage Collection, (Sydney: State Library of New South Wales, 2006), p.30 accessed 20 January 2016.

[66] Henry William Burgin II, Studio Portraits of Parramatta Residents, ca. 1860-1872, Mitchell Library, SLNSW, a1327004 / PXA 1036, 28, accessed 22 January 2016.

[67] In earlier research conducted by the Dictionary of Sydney, the identity of “A. McManus” had not been determined, as Arthur had a younger brother named Alfred. See The Dictionary of Sydney, “Going on Ahead,” Dictionary of Sydney Blog, 28 September 2011, accessed 22 January 2016 and The Dictionary of Sydney, “Every Picture Tells a Story,” Dictionary of Sydney Blog, 12 September 2013, accessed 22 January 2016. The notes supplied with the Burgin collection stating that the A. McManus in the photograph was a wheelwright on Hunter Street confirms that it was Arthur Philip McManus, as he was a wheelwright, whereas his brother Alfred was a music teacher. Both brothers lived on the Western Rd, Parramatta, although Alfred moved to Waverley in his later years. What the notes with the collection do not make clear, however, is whether Arthur Philip McManus was the person holding the head or the severed head. The only indication that Arthur was the most likely to have taken on the role of his Uncle Jem is the annotation with the image in the collection that says “McManus [trick photo holding decapitated head].” The second man in the carte-de-visite is not identified at all, but the Dictionary of Sydney raised the possibility that it might have been Burgin himself or Arthur’s younger brother Alfred.

[68] Like his son Arthur Philip McManus, John McManus was a wheelwright by trade in Parramatta.

[69] Indeed, the McManus family had even stronger connections to St. John’s Church. When St. John’s Church was being restored in the early 1850s, a “J. McManus” was one of three churchwardens who, along with Reverend H. H. Bobart, were responsible for the plan of the new church. The 1850s churchwarden “J. McManus” was either James’s brother John McManus, a wheelwright in Parramatta, or John’s eldest son, also named John McManus, but most likely the former who had appeared in the “pew records” for the parish for decades. See J. Jervis, A Short History of St. John’s Church, Parramatta, (1963) p.10 and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, “St. John’s Anglican Cathedral,” State Heritage Register, accessed 19 January 2016.

[70] Beaumont Newhall, The History of Photography: from 1839 to the present day, (New York: Museum of Modern Art, Doubleday, 1964), p.64.

[71] It is unconfirmed whether or not Arthur’s parents had enough of a sense of history to name their son “Arthur Philip” as a deliberate nod to the Captain of the First Fleet, which delivered his paternal grandparents James and Jane to Australia, but it seems likely. Not only were the names “Arthur” and “Philip” not associated with members of his father’s family in that era, the names were not associated with his mother’s family either (e.g. his maternal grandfather’s name was John Cobcroft). In any case, Arthur Philip McManus proved to have a strong historical sensibility of his own!

© Copyright 2016 Michaela Ann Cameron