Sunday 11th July 1875 – ‘Just before 8ish!’

Issue ThreePoetry

Written by:

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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

  1. B. Moules – Bank Manager – heard you

His wife – Mrs. Moules also heard the scream – ‘one scream’.


  1. 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).


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