Newspaper articles – The West Australian – 5th April 1887

The West Australian

I have only reprinted here the part of the article that refers to the murders at Roebourne. In the original article there is a graphic description of the execution and how it went wrong. Some people may find this disturbing.


“The execution of Franz Erdmann alias Frank Hornig, for the murder of his mate Anthony Johnson on the Kimberley diggings, took place in Perth gaol, at eight o’clock yesterday morning.

… As it was supposed that he had been connected with the Roebourne murder, the condemned man was visited by a Roebourne gentleman in order that he might have an opportunity of making a confession if the supposition were correct. When asked if he would like to make any statement with regard to that murder he replied to this effect, ” What is the good: They won’t believe what I say about the affair at Kimberley, and they won’t believe anything I say with regard to the Roebourne murder.” When asked if a certain person had any connection with the Roebourne murder, he replied that he was certain that he had not, but added, somewhat hastily, ” At least, so far as I know.”

The only time that he displayed any feeling was at this interview, and this was only seen by his breaking into a violent perspiration as the gentleman was about to leave. At parting, his visitor told him that if he did wish to make a statement he could send for him; but he never mentioned the Roebourne tragedy again … The jury returned a verdict of death by hanging, and the proceedings came to an end.”