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Gordon, Walter Edward (1857–1885)

from Queenslander

The extreme sentence of the law was carried into effect on Monday morning at the Brisbane Gaol on Walter Edward Gordon, convicted of the murder of Mr. Walker Bunning, manager of the Darr River Downs station, and sentenced to death by Mr. Justice Mein at Rockhampton on 16th September. Gordon since his arrival in Brisbane has been very quiet, eating and sleeping well, and apparently manifesting but small concern about his fate. He has been constantly visited while in prison by the Rev. E. Meeres, incumbent of St. Andrews (C.E.), South Brisbane, received all his ministrations with resignation, but persisted in asserting that he had no recollection of shooting his victim, although he spoke freely of the incidents which preceded and followed the murder. The plea of insanity set up by his counsel at the trial was the cause of one or two efforts to obtain a reprieve, and accordingly with a view to set at rest all doubts about his sanity, he was examined by Dr. Scholes and Dr. P. Smith, the present and past superintendents of the Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum, who reported to the Colonial Secretary that Gordon was quite sane.

At two minutes to 8 the chief turnkey emerged from the condemned cell with Gordon, followed by the Rev. E. Meeres reading the burial service. Gordon was pale but collected, though evidently deeply sensible of his terrible situation, and, guided by the turnkey, took his place upon the drop without a word. He was then pinioned, his hands being bound to his sides, and his legs strapped together above the knees. While the executioner was fixing the ring under his left ear, Gordon interrupted him with the exclamation "Hold on, not so high !" The white cap was then brought. Gordon said, "I want to see the people.' Twice he opened his mouth, but seemed unable to speak. Then he said "Good-bye all," looking earnestly beneath him. While the cap was being drawn over his face he worked his head out of it, evidently wishing to speak. The cap was again removed, and after a short pause he said, "I want to speak to the gentlemen. I am innocent of the murder of that gentleman. I conscientiously"—. Here his voice failed him, and he could say no more. The white cap was then drawn over his head, the turnkey left the drop, and the executioner laid his hand on the lever at the side. Some thirty seconds of terrible suspense ensued, during which the Rev. E. Meeres continued praying earnestly. Then the lever was slightly moved, the swing panels flew open, and Gordon was precipitated into eternity.

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Citation details

'Gordon, Walter Edward (1857–1885)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/gordon-walter-edward-14800/text25980, accessed 24 August 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019

Life Summary [details]

Birth

1857
England

Death

26 October 1885
South Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

executed

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