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Walter Bunning (1849–1885)

from Brisbane Courier

The Commissioner of Police has received reports relative to the murder of Mr. Walter Bunning, manager of the Darr River Downs station, on the 2nd May, from which we glean that Sub-inspector Ahern, on arrival at the scene of the murder, found Walter Gordon, the murderer, already in custody. It appears he had been employed on the station for three weeks wool-washing under the immediate control of the overseer, with whose arrangements Mr. Bunning did not interfere. On the 27th April Gordon complained of being ill, and on the 30th and again on the 1st May, at his request, Mr. Bunning gave him some medicine. On the last occasion he asked Mr. Bunning to send him in to Muttaburra, which request that gentleman refused. On the 2nd of May a man came from the station to the washpool, and Gordon asked him "if the boss was sending over a buggy," to which he replied in the negative. Gordon then turned round and made use of the most insulting and malicious remarks concerning his future victim. Bitterness and malice were exhibited in his manner and expressions, though he did not utter any definite threats. Nothing more was seen of him until about 11 a.m. when he was observed coming from the washpool to the station. He was seen to go to the door of the store, look in, and then walk to the window of the office where deceased was at the time. He returned to the store, walked in, and went to where his victim was sitting writing. He placed the muzzle of a large-sized Colt's revolver to the back of his victim and fired. The bullet passed through poor Bunning's body and hit the rail of the table in front of him. There were three men in the store when Gordon entered, and none of them noticed the revolver, which it is supposed he had hidden in his sleeve. After the revolver was taken from him he said, "The dog would not take me to Muttaburra." Gordon, at the date of the first report, was said to be very weak, and still suffering from slow fever. He was under the care of Drs. Overend and Gregg, and reported not to be in a fit state to be brought before the bench. The revolver, which has been stated before was a large-sized Colt's is claimed by a man named Hill, who was working at the woolshed, but he denies having given it to Gordon. He states that Gordon must have taken it out of his tent after he had left it to go to his work. On the 6th instant Gordon was examined by Drs. Overend and Gregg, and it appears that they ascertained that he was shamming to a very great extent, and informed the magistrates that he was in a fit state to be brought before the bench on a charge of murder. Evidence was adduced to show that Gordon on the evening before the murder threatened to shoot Mr. Bunning, and he was seen half an hour before he committed the deed with a revolver in his hand in his tent. The feeling among bushmen in the district is that Gordon was delirious with fever, and did not know what he was doing.

Sub-inspector Ahern has asked for a remand for eight days for the purpose of producing additional evidence relative to Gordon's health during the term he was employed on the station. Meanwhile the prisoner, at latest reports, was being watched day and night.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Walter Bunning

Citation details

'Bunning, Walter (1849–1885)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


6 November, 1849
London, Middlesex, England


2 May, 1885 (aged 35)
Muttaburra, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.