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Mary Ann Wright (1797–1825)

The following may be depended on as too true an account of the direful deed glanced at in our last:–On Saturday morning, the 5th Feb, between 8 and 9 in the morning, a most barbarous murder was committed on the body of Mrs. Wright, a daughter of Mr. Turnbull's, Portland-head, by her husband.—This dreadful event took place in their own house, 0n the first branch of the River Hawkesbury. The first notice of it was given by one of the children, who cried out to Mr. Cavenagh's people, the nearest neighbours, that her mother was killed, and that her father had run away. On entering the house a shocking scene presented itself. The woman was lying on the floor covered over with the bed, bathed with gore, and quite speechless. On examination she was found to have received several mortal fractures upon the head, besides several bruises in other parts of the body. The axe, which had been the instrument of inflicting these wounds, was lying, at a little distance covered with blood and hair. Medical aid was procured with the utmost despatch; but it was unavailing—the poor woman died on Monday. On the Coroner's Inquest it was ascertained that the woman, as well as her husband, had been seen only a few minutes before the deed was perpetrated. The children had been sent to their customary employments; the eldest, a boy, to mind the pigs; the second, a girl, to frighten away the cockatoos from the maize, who had also to nurse the youngest child, an infant about a year old. There was only this difference; that the father sent away the least boy with some bread to his elder brother, which was an unusual thing. There was no evidence of any domestic quarrel either that morning, or the preceding night; nor of the intoxication of either of the parties.—Some conversation, however, of rather a singular nature, occurred on Friday evening. The woman, on telling her son that she should go with him in the morning to the place where he took the pigs, that she might get some peaches, added—"If I live till the morning, for I may die, or I may be killed;" on which her husband said– 'Killed! why, who is to kill you if I do not?"; she replied, "No, there is no one to kill me if you don't." The Coroner's Inquest was wilful murder against the husband; who has not yet been found, though several persons think they have seen him prowling about in the neighbourhood. By others it is conjectured, as he took his razors with him, that he has destroyed himself.

Original publication

Citation details

'Wright, Mary Ann (1797–1825)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Turnbull, Mary Ann
  • Hartley, Mary Ann

23 December, 1797
London, Middlesex, England


11 February, 1825 (aged 27)
Hawkesbury, 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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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