Deposition – Jane Noonan


The Depositions

Deposition of Jane Noonan

The examination of Jane Noonan
wife of William J Noonan Licensed Victualler
taken on oath this 18th
day of March in the year of Our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and 85 at Roebourne
in the Colony aforesaid, before the undersigned, one
of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony in the presence and
hearing of Frederick Bevan, Charles Warburton, William Holmes Gilroy and San Qui who
are charged this day before me for that they the said F. Bevan. C. Warburton
W.H. Gilroy and San Qui at Roebourne on

This deponent Jane Noonan on her oath
saith as follows:- I am wife of William Noonan of the Victoria Arms Hotel. I know all the prisoners. Warburton used to lodge at my house. I think he came in November. He left about the 8 December to go quarrying stone; after that he came occasionally.

I remember Monday the 12 January. He went out in the morning to go to his work. I can’t say how he was dressed. I saw him next on Tuesday about noon. He came in and I asked him if he was for dinner. He said “Yes, am I too late?” I asked him if he had heard of this dreadful affair. He said yes, that was what brought him in, to go to the funeral. He said the teamster told him about it and he thought we was having him and he heard it first from the teamster. I saw Bevan on the afternoon of the same day at my house. Warburton asked Bevan if he had bought the shirts. Bevan said “Yes, and they were cheaper than at the other store”. Someone came in and said a Chinaman had been arrested with a tomahawk. One of them remarked “he’d rather see it brought home to Chinamen than to whites” and Warburton said it would be rough times for Chinamen in the Nor West after this. I saw the funeral going. Warburton did not go. I said “Why, you haven’t gone to the funeral?” He replied “I did not intend to go”. I noticed he sat about very much where we were – my family – that afternoon, which was unusual. He usually mixed with the guests. That evening he sat outside when the people had come back from the funeral and were inside. They were speaking of the murder and how it was committed. I was standing at the door. Warburton was in the verandah. He must have been able to hear.

I remember Wednesday morning 14th January. I heard someone leave Warburton’s room at daylight. I saw Bevan that morning; he remarked that it was the Chinamen had done this, that he had been bathing with Mr McRae who was of the same opinion”. Bevan introduced the conversation. That was before breakfast. I told him Warburton had gone away early. He said he knew that; that he had remained behind to settle some business. He stayed at the house till 11 or 12. Gilroy was in his company part of the time, an hour of perhaps more. They were in the tap-room. They were talking in an undertone on one occasion; they looked towards me as I went in and stopped talking. On the previous day I had seen Bevan and Warburton speaking in an undertone in the bar and they stopped on my approaching.

On Wednesday the 14th I heard a noise in the Chinaman’s room and went to see what was the matter. Bevan said to me “Those are the ones that did it; your cook and the lame one. I’ll have them locked up.” Neither of the other prisoners was there. I also heard Bevan remark to Gilroy “Some people were inclined to suspect the gold diggers”. Gilroy remarked that wasn’t fair to suspect them because they were strangers.

On Thursday the 15th I noticed a scratch on Warburton’s hand at dinner. He looked at it and smoothed it down with his right hand. The scratch was on the left. It was his looking at it that drew my attention to it. His manner seemed quite changed. Sometimes he was much flushed and then pale again. He would sit silent for a long time; would speak when spoken to and then relapse into moodiness. He remarked after dinner that he had lost a knife and tomahawk from their camp that morning; that the tomahawk belonged to Bevan.

On Tuesday the 13th Warburton was wearing a slate coloured shirt and a pair of moleskin trousers. After his telling me about the tomahawk I was talking to Warburton of that I had heard how Mr Anketell’s head was crushed. He turned the conversation by replying “I see they are roofing that new store over there”. On the Tuesday Warburton said he would have gone to the funeral if he had had a black coat. I heard Warburton ask Bevan if he was going, and he said he got walking enough without going there.

On Monday evening the 12th January Gilroy came into the bar and bought 5 bottles of beer. It was after sundown. I said “Are you going to town on a spree?” He said “No this is going away” or “to be sent away”.

Jane Noonan

Before me
E.H. Lawrence J.P.