When a Spade’s a Spade: the hanging of John Hammell

On 7 May 1832, John Hammell (also reported as John Hammill, John Haymell and Charles Hammell) was hanged for the murder of his boss George Williamson. Not everyone was sorry Williamson had been bashed in the head with a spade, but committing murder has consequences....

The first woman hanged in Sydney

On 23 November 1789, Ann Davis became the first woman hanged in New South Wales. Listen to Rachel and Alex on 2SER here Davis was, as we would say today, ‘known to police’. In England, Davis (also known as Judith Jones) had been indicted in April 1786 for feloniously...

Sydney’s Oldest Unsolved Murders

When people talk about the convicts sent to Australia across the early years of colonisation, there are two dominant stories that emerge. There’s the story of the unjustly treated convict: driven, by poverty, to steal basic supplies such as clothing and food to...

Convict travels

Today’s Dictionary of Sydney segment on 2SER was inspired by the fascinating article that recently appeared in The Guardian (here) about an amateur historian in Japan who uncovered evidence that a story long thought to be myth – that a ship commandeered by...