Newspaper Articles


Articles from Various Newspapers

I have collected the major newspaper articles relating to the Roebourne Bank Murders from 1885-1890. The articles are from The West Australian, The Herald, The Argus, The Enquirer and The Eastern Districts Chronicle newspapers.

I preferred to not just rely on the accounts of one newspaper and there are a couple of reasons for this:

  • The prejudices of a newspaper (and/or its owners) can directly affect what is and is not reported. Nowhere is this more evident than the stoush between The West Australian, a conservative paper of the establishment and The Herald, with its more liberal ideas and a readership targeted to the common working class man. Their differing points of view over the motive and class of man/men who perpetrated the murders are polar opposites.
  • Some details may be mentioned in one newspaper and not in another and by reading various different accounts a broader, and perhaps more balanced picture, is painted of the events.

Articles from The West Australian Newspaper date from the 22nd January 1885 to the 10th July 1890. I also have a couple of articles from the Herald Newspaper that so upset The West Australian with their different points of view.

The Melbourne newspaper “The Argus” did repeat articles that had already been printed in the West Australian, so these are not included. However, it is interesting to read their opinons about law and order in Western Australian and its justice system with respect to the murders. The Argus had an interest in reporting the Roebourne murders as Thomas Anketell was from a respected Victorian family in Coburg.

Articles from The Inquirer and The West Australian newspapers reporting on the trial of Frederick Bevan, Charles Warburton and San Qui are featured in a separate section “The Trial“.

Articles from The West Australian reporting on personal stories and accounts of Thomas Anketell, Henry Burrup, Frederick Bevan, and others can be found with their names under the “Biographies” link in the menu.

Newspaper articles from these times often went into great detail and whilst there is always a chance of reporting errors, they nevertheless represent a wonderful resource. The following accounts, starting from over 130 years ago, reflect the ideas and prejudices from that age, whether they be of race or class. We are listening (reading) to voices from the past. Also, I must warn that there are a few graphic accounts of the murder scene.

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