By Melinda Jane
How many heard your mooted screams that Sunday evening
At Mrs. Mitchell’s paddock
between the house and the hay stacks
on Ferrers Street near the corner of Sturt Street.
Just hearing distance from the English Church
on Bay Road, Mount Gambier
It was about eight pm
the bells chime out as the
congregation had left the English Church
Thomas Pether – Dealer – heard you
Joseph Anderson – Ironmonger – heard you
- B. Moules – Bank Manager – heard you
His wife – Mrs. Moules also heard the scream – ‘one scream’.
- B. Moules said at the court house –
On the second day, Friday, August, 1875
“He heard an unusual scream…….
it was unearthly scream.
It was the scream of a human being,
it seemed to come from the hay stacks
in Mrs. Mitchell’s paddock
the end of Ferrers Street near, at Sturt St.
Took no further notice of the scream
until he heard of the disappearance of Mary Buchan.”
Joseph Anderson said at the court house –
on the second day of August
“one very loud pitiful scream, and
one faint scream……
between the hay stacks and the house……
Did nothing, but remarked
when he got home that he had heard cries in
Mrs. Mitchell’s paddock.”
Your last cries – Mary
The blows, three strikes
on your head and face,
by the lead filled handle of a stock whip.
It could have been children playing,
or merely a drunken quarrel.
But in their own hurry for home those four men
did not back track on that bitter, foggy South Eastern winter night.
Blows from your William Page
aka – William Walker, former of Normanville
Fined for wife desertion by the police.
His wife now left alone,
in her own cold bed, wanting for her ‘Will’.
You sit at your sister’s home on Bay Road
Elizabeth and George Brynes for Sunday 4pm tea.
Convinced by your sister words you are resolved
“If he had been telling her another lie,
and if he had, she would try to throw him off her mind.”
Then you left for chapel, wearing your burial clothes
“a tight fitting black bilk jacket,
a dark brown tweed shirt,
a black straw hat, trimmed with black velvet
three small feathers and three poppies”
Wearing your sister’s shawl “black and red plaid shawl”
Fastened tight with a snake like brooch.
Your burial head dress,
tied around your battered bruised head.
Mary your ‘William’
that Sunday evening you walk out with him
his engagement ring on your finger
nine small stones laid in gold
rest on your slender hand.
But you confront,
You break off from your ‘Bow’
Then three blows
Your pitiful cries ring out, they were heard
William places his hands around your neck as you lay on the dirt
His hands on your tiny neck, strangulation to finish you – Mary.
His white handkerchief ties your hands
You, Mary, still wearing your black cashmere boots.
Buried in a field where wheat is grown
you lay bound there for three weeks – unfound
Your dear one – Mother does not let you go
Hound the police disputing the reports you rode to Casterton
the police start to investigate this story told by ‘Will’
False – False – False – Report
Finally your badly decomposed body found
dug up in the wheat field.
Behind Mrs. Mitchell’s House.
O Mary, your heart in love with a fool,
You, young, virginal purity, womanly beauties, symbolizes for us all
All our foolish hearts, wrapped up in the disillusions of loves shawls.
Referencing = The Argus (Melbourne newspaper),
Saturday 7th August 1875, pg. 5,
article titled “The Murder at Mount Gambier”
(contains 2 sections): First day of inquest (NLA Article # 11521663)
Second day of inquest (NLA Article # 11521666).
Image provided by poet