Two Islanders hanged for murdering swagman


Pacific Islanders Miore and Narasemai were hanged at Boggo Road Gaol in 1895 for the murder of swagman Francis Macartney at Avondale.

This is how The Queenslander newspaper reported their execution:

Pacific Islanders hanged

The case of the six Kanakas sentenced to death at Bundaberg for the murder of an old white man, name unknown, on the Baffle Creek Road on or about the 30th December 1894, occupied the attention of Ministers at a special Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and at an Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.

The circumstances of the case, the prisoners' ages, character, and length of service were all carefully considered, with the result that it has been decided that the law shall take its course in the case of Narasemai and Miore.

The sentence of the other four — Many Many, Ohasbiby, Forka and Qui-tong-tong — has been commuted to imprisonment for life.

Pacific Islanders hanged
The Queenslander report from 18 May 1895 regarding the death sentence in Bundaberg for Pacific Islanders Miore and Narasemai.

The date of execution is fixed for Monday, 20th instant, at the Brisbane Gaol.

The particulars of the crime may be stated as follows: During the last days of the dying year an old white swagman arrived at Avondale Railway Station.

While there he got into conversation with some Kanakas who were about, and had a vending transaction with one of them.

He sold him a handkerchief and some matches. The Kanaka paid him a half-sovereign. The old man, to his ruin, as it proved, took out a purse and gave some six or seven shillings change to the Kanaka.

While he was doing so the eyes of the Kanaka lit upon some gold in the old man's purse, and the glitter of it brought one man to a nameless grave and six others to the death sentence.

When the old man left the railway station he was followed by at least seven Kanakas, armed with lethal weapons, who had made up their minds to murder and rob him.

Little suspecting the fate in store for him, the old man, aged between 60 and 70 years, walked along, while the black murderers followed him like a shadow.

He arrived at length at a place where no other white man was in view, though it was quite close to the habitation of a white settler.

Here, at 5pm on the 30th December, the terrible deed was done. Having rifled the pockets of the murdered man of his little cash and other property, they dragged the body into the paddock adjoining, and there left it with the intention of coming back next morning to burn it. The weather defeated their ghastly intentions in this respect.

Our Maryborough correspondent writes to the effect that the police have discovered the identity of the old man who was murdered by the six Kanakas lately sentenced to death at Bundaberg.

He was an old miner, and was proceeding from Western Australia to the Calliope.

Mr E Bland camped one night with him, and now identifies his clothing. He was also employed here two days in gardening by the Police Magistrate, Mr Lukin, who gave him a pass to Bundaberg. His name was Francis Macartney.

Kanakas made to watch hanging

On 21 May 1895 the newspaper reported that death was instantaneous for Miore and Narasemai.

“The execution was marked by the presence of a number of Kanakas, who had been brought from different parts of the colony to see their countrymen hanged,” the report said.

“There were 14 Kanakas altogether … five of the ‘boys' had been brought from the Mackay district and the rest from plantations at Bundaberg, Maryborough and Childers.

“They were arranged in a line two deep in front of the scaffold and watched every movement apparently with deep anxiety and horror.”