Newspaper articles – The West Australian – 22nd January 1885

The West Australian



News was received yesterday by telegram, sent by police express to the northern-most operating station on the overland line, of a terrible tragedy which occurred at Roebourne on the night of the 12th inst. Early on the morning of the 13th Mr. Anketell, local manager of the Union Bank, and Mr. Burrup, his clerk, were found murdered in their beds, the one in the front verandah of the bank, the other in a back room, their skulls having been fractured by some sharp instrument.

It is presumed that the terrible deed was committed by miscreants whose intention it was to rob the bank in which project they appear to have completely failed-bat nothing more is known as yet than is contained in the two following telegrams addressed respectively to the head office of the Union Bank at Perth and to the Superintendent of Police. Another telegram received by the Colonial Secretary merely stated the fact of the murders having been committed.

“Roebourne, January 13.-To Manager, Union Bank, Perth

Anketell and Burrup both found this morning brutally murdered. I send express with this to telegraph line. Messenger will wait for reply. Anketell was sleeping in verandah ; Burrup in room. Heads cut open with sharp instrument ; probably instant death. Bank entered through window. Nothing apparently disturbed. Probably murderers could not find second key. Will make best arrangements I can for custody of place, pending your reply. Glad to render you any assistance in this heavy calamity. Great grief and consternation here. Messenger will wait a day or two, if you require it, for your reply.


” To Sergt of Police, Perth.

Bank manager Anketell found murdered in front verandah of Bank at 6.45 a.m., thirteenth inst. Skull knocked in, over right and left eye. Burrup, bank clerk, found murdered in back room of bank. Skull knocked in on right side of head. No money taken and nothing disturbed. I have got keys of bank safe in my possession, and stowed away. No clue to murder or murderers up to 10.45. to-day (13th). Everything that can be done will be done in this matter. The murder committed with tomahawk or axe.

DANIEL O’CONNELL, Sergt. Roebourne.”

Mr. Anketell was not well known in Perth, but is said to have been much liked at Roebourne. Poor young Burrup, on the other hand, who was employed for some time at the head office, made many friends while at the capital, and was a very general favourite. The news of this awful catastrophe has been received with dismay and profound regret.