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Journeys : RACT MNJ June July 2010
AMAZING STORIES, EPIC HISTORY Discover more for yourself! -- www.portarthur.org.au Port Arthur, Tasmania Tel: 1800 659 101 He was in a most dreadful state to pass from this world to another.' -- REPORT OF WILLIAM RILEY' S TRIAL IN THE COLONIAL TIMES WILLIAM RILEY WA S A CONVICT WHO WA S ABANDONED AS A CHILD -- AN 'INOFFENSIVE, ORDERLY' BOY TRANSPORTED AT FOURTEEN, A DRUNK BY SIXTEEN, A MURDERER BY TWENTY-NINE -- WHAT HAPPENED TO WILLIAM RILEY? In Tasmania today 45 June /July 2010 While convicts were digging the foundation s for the Port Arthur Church in 1835, Joseph Shuttleworth was br utally murdered by William Riley. What drove Riley to such a violent act? William Riley was 14 when he was tran sported for seven years in 1821. His record describes him as 'inoffen sive and orderly'; his mother was in an institution, his father's whereabouts unknow n. From the beginning he tried to escape his new life in various ways -- he refused to work, absconded, was disobedient and, increasingly, he drank. He was repeatedly flogged but did not mend his ways. After he was freed he continued to be arrested for being dr unk and disorderly, but he was only fined, or placed in the stocks if he couldn't pay. He seems more pathetic than dangerous, at least at first. He graduated to burglary and theft, and kept drinking. But in 1833 Riley was convicted of attempted murder. Sent to Port Arthur, he was no trouble until he suddenly killed Joseph Shuttleworth with three blows to the head with a pickaxe while they were at work building the church. At his trial, William refused to speak and was led away to be hanged. What caused this young man to commit such a brutal crime? Was he provoked by Shuttleworth? The murdered man also had a long record of many floggings for refusing to work. But instead of taking to drink like Riley, he had tur ned violent, and had several convictions for fighting and assault. Three weeks before the murder, Shuttleworth was charged with fighting in his hut; no-one else was charged. Had he assaulted Riley? The only clue that we have comes from Riley's own lips. As he threw dow n the pickaxe he said calmly; 'I am satisfied'. Riley and his victim are remembered each evening at Port Arthur as the Historic Ghost Tour visits the old church, the scene of Riley's crime. Meet William Riley Each evening, our black-cloaked guides lead Historic Ghost Tours and relate spine-tingling stories of strange events and experiences from Port Arthur's past
April May 2010
Aug Sep 2010