Murder of Patrick Halligan

Patrick Halligan (1838 - 25 April 1869) was an Irish-Australian hotel licensee and gold buyer who was murdered in Rockhampton, Queensland on 25 April 1869.[1][2][3]

Taking up residence in Rockhampton in 1862 following his migration to Australia from Ireland with his new wife Hannah, Halligan became well known in the local community - as a gold buyer, as a horse racing enthusiast and as licensee of the Lion Creek Hotel on the town's western outskirts in the present-day suburb of Wandal.[1]

In February 1869, Halligan moved on to become the licensee of the rebuilt Albion Hotel in Rockhampton's central business district, which he officially opened under its new name of the Golden Age Hotel on 31 March 1869.[4][5] Halligan's former hotel, The Lion Creek Hotel, was taken over by Alexander Archibald who had been granted a publican's license.[6][7] This was despite a prior allegations of criminal behaviour which had led to various court appearances.[8][9][10] Archibald would become the brainchild of a plan to rob Halligan of his gold, which ultimately led to the botched robbery resulting in Halligan's murder.[1][2][3]

Archibald's plan to rob Halligan as he returned from the Morinish goldfields was carried out by Jack Williams and George Palmer when on the afternoon of 25 April 1869, Williams and Palmer ambushed Halligan on his way back into Rockhampton.[1][2][3] However, Halligan refused to give up the gold he was carrying and attempted to shoot Palmer. He missed but Palmer returned fire and shot Halligan in the chest, severely wounding him.[1][2][3] Rather than seek medical aid, Williams and Palmer bound the dying Halligan with rope, stole his gold as well as a gold ring from Halligan's finger and concealed Halligan's body by the roadside.[1][2][3] They left the scene and waited until after sunset when they returned and retrieved Halligan's dead body, weighed it down and dumped it in the Fitzroy River.[1][2][3]

When Halligan failed to return home, concerns about his welfare were raised and an extensive search was organised.[11] Halligan was soon assumed to have been murdered, and a reward of £100 was eventually offered for the discovery of Halligan's body.[12][13] Halligan's body was found on 7 May 1869.[14][15] His body was buried in the South Rockhampton Cemetery on 8 May 1869.[16]

After Halligan's body was finally discovered, several arrests were made in connection with the murder.[17] George Palmer was arrested in the Gympie area.[18] Following a magisterial inquiry,[19] court appearances and their trials, 28-year-old Alexander Archibald, 40-year-old John "Old Jack" Williams and 22-year-old George Charles Frederick Palmer were all separately sentenced to death in October 1869.[20][21]

Palmer and Williams were hanged at Rockhampton Gaol during a morning thunderstorm on 24 November 1869.[1][2][3][22] Following an appeal in which Archibald claimed he had given evidence during his trial on the condition he would be pardoned, Archibald was hung at Rockhampton Gaol on 22 December 1869.[1][2][3][23] The bodies of Archibald, Palmer and Williams were buried in the same cemetery as their victim following their executions.[16] The three men became the second, third and fourth man to be executed in Rockhampton following the hanging of gold commissioner Thomas Griffin the previous year.[1] Just as Griffin's case had done, the Halligan murder drew interest from the national press.[24][25][26]

Since it occurred in 1869, the murder of Patrick Halligan and the execution of the three men found guilty of his murder has regularly been a topic of discussion in the press and in various history books.[27][28][29][30][1][2][3]

In 1977, it was reported that two screenwriters had worked on a script for two years for a feature film called The Morinish Affair, based on Halligan's murder, with hopes the estimated budget of $250,000 could be funded by the Australian Film Commission, the Queensland Film Corporation and private investment.[31]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McDonald, Lorna (1995) Rockhampton: A History of City & District (second edition), Chapter 9: Gold, Black & Sapphire Blue (The Price for Wretched Souls), p267-274, Rockhampton City Council. Accessed 25 June 2019. ISBN 0 9599897 3 0
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pattison, James Grant (1939), Battler's Tales of Early Rockhampton, Chapter 32: Murder of Gold Buyer Halligan, p145-150, Coorooman Press. Accessed 25 June 2019. ISBN 9780980827644
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bird, J. T. S (1904) The Early History of Rockhampton: dealing chiefly with events up to 1870, Chapter 22: Murder of Patrick Halligan, p379-417, Coorooman Press. Accessed 25 June 2019. ISBN 9780980827668
  4. ^ (27 February 1869) The Golden Age Hotel, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  5. ^ (31 March 1869) The Golden Age Hotel, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  6. ^ (10 February 1869) Licensing Meeting, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  7. ^ (15 February 1869) Advertisement: Lion Creek Hotel, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  8. ^ (1 August 1866) Rockhampton Police Court, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  9. ^ (26 September 1868) Assault and Battery, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  10. ^ (11 January 1869) Assault, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  11. ^ (28 April 1869) Missing, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  12. ^ (1 May 1869) Supposed murder of Mr. P. Halligan, The Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  13. ^ (4 May 1869) Supposed murder, The Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  14. ^ (8 May 1869) Discovery of the body of Mr. Halligan, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  15. ^ (8 May 1869) Murder: Finding of the body of P. Halligan, The Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  16. ^ a b South Rockhampton Cemetery Index as at January 2018, Rockhampton Regional Council. Accessed 25 June 2019.
  17. ^ (13 May 1869) The Mystery Clearing Up: Arrest of suspected accomplices, The Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser. Retrieved 25 June 1869.
  18. ^ (2 June 1869) Arrest of Palmer, The Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette. Retrieved 25 June 1869.
  19. ^ (19 May 1869) Conclusion of Magisterial Inquiry - Murder of Mr. P. Halligan, The Northern Argus. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  20. ^ (23 October 1869) The Halligan Murder Case, The Brisbane Courier. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  21. ^ (30 October 1869) The Halligan Murder Case, The Brisbane Courier. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  22. ^ (25 November 1869) Execution of Palmer and Williams, The Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  23. ^ (23 December 1869) Execution of Archibald, The Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  24. ^ (16 June 1869) Extraordinary murder of a gold buyer in Queensland, The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  25. ^ (20 May 1869) The Murder of Mr Halligan, The Age. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  26. ^ (20 December 1869) Execution of Mr. Halligan's murderers - extraordinary conduct of one of them, The Mercury. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  27. ^ (10 January 1953) Thunder in the background to last speech on the gallows, The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  28. ^ Lack, Clem (10 April 1954) Murder in Moonlight, The World's News. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  29. ^ Campbell, Kieran (21 November 2009) Murder, Hangings Part of Early Life in Rockhampton, The Morning Bulletin. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  30. ^ Finger, Jarvis (2012), A Cavalcade of Queensland's Crimes and Criminals: Scoundrels, Scallywags & Psychopaths: the colonial years and beyond 1859 - 1920, 1869: The lure of Halligan's gold, p47-49, Boolarong Press. Accessed 25 June 2019. ISBN 1922109053
  31. ^ (1 October 1977) Feature filmmaking to begin in Queensland?, Filmnews. Retrieved 25 June 2019.