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Emma Maria Dight (1820–1853)

An inquest was held at Baulkham Hills on Sunday last, at the residence of Mr. William Smith, before Mr. Lyons, coroner for the district, on view of the body of Mrs. Emma Maria Dight, a niece of Mr. Smith, who had lately become a widow, and was labouring under mania with delusions. From the evidence adduced it appeared that the lady had been at Baulkham Hills scarcely a week, that she was much deranged at times, hardly speaking a word, and getting quite melancholy. Dr. Greenup had visited her, and was in continual communication with her friends. The disease (puerperal mania) first exhibited itself after the last confinement, and on the recent death of her husband. She fancied that neither she nor her children could get anything that was proper to wear or to have in any way, and that her children were suffering both in body and mind, often calling them little idiots, &c. She appeared to be in such a desponding state that Dr. Greenup had warned her friends to have her watched to prevent self-destruction; and accordingly the door of her room had been locked every night outside, but on the Saturday night the key was missing and could not be found. She was in much better health and spirits that night, when she bade Mr. Smith good night, than she had been for some time. On account of her great disinclination to see Dr. Greenup, he had, (thinking it would only aggravate the disease) discontinued visiting her. On Saturday, he had, as required by law, given a certificate of insanity, to be laid before the Chief Justice, in order to procure her admission into Tarban Creek Asylum. Between six and seven o'clock on this (Sunday) morning she was found hanged by a rope to a pear-tree near the house; Mrs. Smith, on going that way first discovered it, and screamed out, when Christopher Onan, a servant on the estate, heard it, and hastened to the spot, where he, with the assistance of a fellow-servant named Thomas Grant, cut the rope down, but the body was quite dead. She was suspended by the neck, and was but a foot from the ground. The jury, through their foreman, Andrew McDougall, Esq., J.P., returned a verdict that deceased, Emma Maria Dight, had hanged herself while in a state of insanity. Herald's Parramatta Correspondent, Feb. 17.

Original publication

Citation details

'Dight, Emma Maria (1820–1853)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Smith, Emma Maria

Ebenezer, New South Wales, Australia


13 February, 1853 (aged ~ 33)
Baulkham Hills, Sydney, New South Wales, 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.