Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Robbery of the Drayton mail in 1858

Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane), Saturday 30 January 1858, page 3



It is supposed that a number of registered letters have been abstracted from the mail forwarded from Drayton on Monday, the 4th instant, for Ipswich. The mail bags were received in Ipswich, and were supposed to be all correct. The affair was quiet until a cheque, which had been endorsed "pay to the credit of W. Handcock," was received by the Manager of the Bank of Australasia. This cheque was duly passed by the Manager to the credit of the endorser, and a communication was forwarded to Mr. Handcock, who discovered, on looking over his books, that the £13 cheque was part of a remittance sent by him to the Bank of Australasia on the 4th instant, amounting to £69 0s. 1d., which had not been received. I am informed that Mr. Witham, proprietor of the Bull's Head Inn, is also a loser to the amount of £130

The following is a list of the cheques forwarded by Mr. Handcock on that day, which you will be pleased to insert for the safety of the public.

No 270 Charles Mason, on Ferriter and Jones, favor J. Plant, 6th Nov 1857, £5 10 7
No 27, E. Lord, on Union Bank, favour W. Handcock, 28th Nov 1857, £5 0 0
No 42, E. Lord, Union Bank, favour Houghe, 2nd Jan, 1858, £5 14 1
Thos. Cout's, on B. N. S. W. Brisbane, Jas. Croves, 15 June, 1857, £8 2 4
No 27 S. Moffatt, on J. S. Bank, Brisbane, favor Watson, 28th May, 1857, £16 2 3
W. Armand, on W. Gray & Co., favour W. Handcock, 1st January, 1858, £15 10 10
No 88, Alport on A. C. Isaac, on Bank Australasia, Ipswich, favor J. MacEutin, 27th Dec, 1857, £13 0 0

Total £69 0 1

The cheques were marked across, "Bank of Australasia Ipswich."

Since we received the above we have been informed of the apprehension of Kelly, the driver of the mail. He was brought before the Ipswich Police Court, on Tuesday, and remanded till Thursday, when he was again brought up, and the evidence of Mr. Lewis, clerk in the Ipswich Police Court was taken. Mr. Lewis deposed that the mail from Drayton arrived at the Ipswich post office on the 4th January, at the usual hour, but contained neither registered letters nor the usual form of letter bill which is always sent with the mail. The Ipswich Postmaster immediately wrote to Drayton on the subject, but up to the present time has not received any reply. In the meantime a crossed cheque had been presented at the Bank of Australasia, which caused enquiries to he instituted. It is believed the robbery was committed by opening the mail bags and afterwards sealing them with a false seal. When apprehended, Kelly had on his person £100 in cheques and moneys, and other money was traced to where he had been spending it. The Bench remanded Kelly to Drayton for examination.