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Callaghan, Thomas (1815–1863)

from Queanbeyan Age (NSW)

It is with deep regret we have to record the death of Mr. District Judge Thomas Callaghan, which took place at Braidwood on Saturday last. The announcement last week of the sad intelligence of the accident which befell the learned Judge at Braidwood on Saturday, the 21st ult., caused general expression of sorrow at the circumstance; but the assurance given at the time that the injuries inflicted were not of a dangerous character afforded cause for thankfulness and consolation in the public mind. Subsequent information came to the effect that on the evening of Wednesday, the 25th, his Honour became worse, and it was discovered that he was suffering from injury to the heart and lungs, but whether caused by the accident or arising from disease of prior origin was not known. All that skill and attention could do to relieve the sufferer was assiduously performed. A local paper, speaking of the operation of reducing the fracture of the jaw, says: "The painful operation of setting the trebly fractured jaw was skilfully performed by Dr. Beer, on Monday morning last, and we are happy to state, with entire success, and to the evident ease and satisfaction of the patient. The modus operandi was ingenious, the patient's head being fixed backward in a reclining posture, and the chin and jaw supported by eight bandages held by several gentlemen who volunteered their assistance, which were pulled as the surgeon manipulated the jaw, thus closing all points of the fracture at once." Medical aid was also procured from Sydney; but all seems to have been of no avail, and at twenty minutes past two in the afternoon of the day above mentioned death terminated his Honour's sufferings. His remains were interred at Braidwood on Monday last, the magistrates of the district bearing the pall, and followed by a large number of professional and other gentlemen who were desirous of paying their last token of respect to one so greatly esteemed.

Noticing the sad event, the Sydney Empire says:—

We regret to state that on Saturday afternoon intelligence reached Sydney of the death of Mr. Justice Callaghan. It will be remembered that an accident befell the learned gentleman at Braidwood a few days since, through his receiving a kick from a horse. It was thought then that the injuries he received would not terminate fatally, although from that moment unconsciousness set in. The late Judge was a Bachelor of Arts of Trinity College, Dublin, and during the period of his graduateship attained to some honour and distinction. He arrived in Sydney by the ship Arkwright in February,1840, and immediately afterwards was admitted to the bar of New South Wales. During the period of his practising he compiled those Acts now known as "Callaghan's Acts," a work the result of much care and attention, and which has been found a most useful book of reference in our law courts. The book subsequently obtained for the author a prize in the Exhibition at London. A few years after he was appointed Crown Prosecutor of the colony, which office he held until promoted to the chairmanship of Quarter Sessions. He afterwards was raised to the dignity of District Court Judge for the Southern District; this office he held until his death. The deceased gentleman, who expired at half-past two o'clock on Saturday afternoon, was attended in the last moments by Dr. Milford, of Sydney, who was sent for from Braidwood; the Rev. Father O'Brien; Mr. Walsh, solicitor; and Dr. Beer. To-morrow the Banco Court will be closed out of respect to the Judge's memory: and on Wednesday morning, at eight o'clock, a solemn high mass will be celebrated at St. Mary's Cathedral, for the repose of the soul of the deceased, and in the evening at seven a dirge will be chanted. Judge Callaghan married on the 10th August, 1847, the daughter of Mr. Justice Milford, and leaves behind him a family.

The demise of Judge Callaghan is an irreparable public loss; and the regretted circumstance has cast a deep gloom over all parts of the Southern District where the able and impartial discharge of his duties as Judge of District Courts and Chairman of Quarter Sessions had gained for him the confidence and esteem of all classes.

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'Callaghan, Thomas (1815–1863)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/callaghan-thomas-1867/text25794, accessed 19 October 2018.

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