Canberra Camps, Settlements & Early Housing

Some of Our Stories

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Canberra Camps, Settlements & Early Housing-Stories-The Locals by Ann Gugler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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See also: The Locals 

Following the publication of Westlake, One of the Vanished Suburbs of Westlake, Westridge & Acton it became clear to me that I needed to gather stories and publish them. This was done in a book - True Tales from Canberra's Vanished Suburbs of Westlake, Westridge & Acton.  Following are a handful of these stories. People were asked to write their own stories and when a number asked me What do you want? My reply - Up to you - what we have in common is that we all came from somewhere.


The Gale Family of Queanbeyan

John Gale

Mrs Susan Gale

Obituary First Mrs John Gale

Obituary Second Mrs John Gale

Death of 14 year old son John Gale by drowning

This man was one who worked to promote the site of Canberra for the Federal Capital.  The following articles are from Lyall Gillespie's cards.

With the passing early on Monday morning of Mr John Gale in the 99th year of his life Queanbeyan is bereft of its most notable and oldest citizen. For nearly three quarters of a century the late Mr Gale was associated with the district though it was not until 1859 that he came to reside here.

As a citizen he took an active part in all public movements and was the leader of many. The planting of the trees in the streets and …was mainly due to him. In his capacity as an honorary magistrate the late Mr Gale had many years of duty in the local Bench while as District Coroner he served something like 40 years.  In this connection it might be stated that in 1922 at the age of 92 years he was called upon to act for Cooma district and obliged to hold three inquests within four consecutive days in which he travelled by rail and road over 532 miles much of that by road being over mountainous country.  John Gale was born in the town of Bodmen Cornwall on April 17th 1831 and after some years in  that town his parents moved to Monmouthshire in Wales. Finishing his primary education he entered Monmouth Grammar School where he and his brother received that sound education that fitted them so well for the most important part they were to play in the new Country  of Australia. Leaving school he entered upon his apprenticeship as a printer on the staff of the ‘Star of Gwent’ newspaper in Monmounthsire, a journal that is still in existence. In those early days papers were printed on the old wooden hand press at a speed of 100 per hour. The modern machines run them through at 75,000 per hour. His hours of work were from 6am to 6pm with 30 minutes for dinner and he had to walk a mile to his work. Apprentices’ wages at that time were 2/6 per week for the first year rising to £1 per week in the seventh year.  While serving his apprenticeship he became a convert to the Wesleyan Church and felt that he had a call to the ministry. He and some other earnest and aspiring young men used to get up at 4am and go to hill near their homes where they studied in the open air.

Finishing his apprenticeship Mr Gale became ordained as a Methodist Minister and with  six other young ministers was sent to Australia in the sailing ship  ‘American Lass.’  They had a rough trip and were driven for hundreds of miles under bare masts. However they arrive safely entering Sydney Harbour on May 24 1854 as the guns were booming the Royal Salute for the Queen’s birthday.  He was appointed assistant minister to the Rev Benjamin Hurst at Goulburn which was then a very extensive circuit.  The Minister (Mr Hurst) being an elderly man it was Mr Gale’s task to visit the outlying portions of the circuit. He used to start from Goulburn and work his way through Gunning, Yass, Binalong, Murrumburrah, Lambing Flat (now Young) and on towards Wagga returning via Queanbeyan. He had many thrilling experiences during these extensive trips and the knowledge and bushcraft gathered by him on these journeys though a very sparsely settled country enabled him to get an inside knowledge of the conditions and requirement of the rural population of New South Wales which stood him in such good stead in his position as a journalist and politician.

In 1857 Mr Gale left the Ministry and took up a position as tutor to the family of the late Mr Steel Caldwell one of his pupils being Mr Steele Caldwell who died this month at Moonbucca. At that time the only pastoral holdings between Wallendbeen and Lake Cowell were Grogan, Moonbuycca, Currabumurra, Bland Plains, Billabong Creek, Lake Cowal and Humbug Creek. The only townships were Yass, Bowning, Binalong, Wagga, Albury on the road to Melbourne and Burrowa and Marengo and the aborigines were very numerous.

Before Mr Gale went to Moonbucca he married Loanna youngest daughter of the late Mr John Wheatley who then resided at ‘Waggalallah’ near Gunnin g. He was two years at Moonbucca. At that time the big gold rush to Kiandra  was taking place whilst at Moonbucca Mr Gale decided that he would enter the field of journalism and had written to his brothers Frank and Christopher to bring a plant and join him at Queanbeyan. Leaving Moonbucca Mr Gale took his family to Narellan and left them there whilst he started the business at Queanbeyan. After the newspaper was established the two brothers mentioned above went to Clarence River and took up sugar plantations. The predeceased him many years ago.  The only means of conveyance in those days were bullock drays and the time of the journey from Sydney to Queanbeyan was six weeks. The paper, which was named ‘The Golden Age’ was successfully launched on September 14th 1859 in a building which old residents will remember stood on a site in the vicinity of Mr Campbell’s chemist’s shop in Monaro Street.

Mr Gale’s first residence was a little old cottage in Lowe St owned by the late Mr WG O’Neill. The paper was a success and became one of the leaving provincial journals in the colony.  At the time the ‘Age’ was started the only papers in existence in the southern portion of the state were the Golden Herald, Alpine Pioneer (afterwards the Monaro Mercury), Yass Courier, Wagga Express, and Gundagai Times.

Some years later Mr Gale started a paper in Braidwood but the venture was not a great success and he abandoned it. Other papers started by him were the ‘Cooma Express’, which he  subsequently sold to the late Mr Gus Miller who was his partner, ‘Gunning Leader, ‘ ‘Manley Spectator,’ ‘Bugnedore …(?)’ and ‘Junee Democrat’.

As a journalist the late Mr Gale had few peers in the state. He was a forceful written and fearless in his advocacy of what he considered was right. There were few also who could excel him as a reporter.

Even a keen student of the land question Mr Gale was always to be found fighting on the side of the man on the land and in 1855 he was chairman of the Land Law Reform Conference which was composed of some of the keenest and most able men in the state. Sir John  Robertson was the Minister for Lands at the time and when the conference took their recommendations to him Sir John jocularly accused them of ‘playing Parliament’ and a wordy battle took place between him and Mr Gale in which the grant old parliamentarians by no means scored a victory.

In 1857 Mr Gale contended the Murrumbidgee electorate. He was elected with the late Mr James Gormley and Sir George Dibbs. The great issue at that time was the Free Trade and Protection and Sir George and Mr Gale often spoke from the same platform though holding opposite views. After the campaign Sir George confessed that the speeches of Mr Gale were so sound was he was convinced that Protection was the right policy. However Parliamentary life did not appeal to Mr Gale owing mainly to the late hours, and he did not offer himself for re-election.

Mr Gale was one of the leading temperance advocates in this state. In 1838 (sic? 1858?) he signed the pledge before the great apostle of Temperance, Father Matthew – all through his life he strongly adhered to his pledge and strong drink was always shunned by him. He occupied the highest position in the Sons of Temperance of New South Wales.

In 1891 Mr Gale left Queanbeyan for Junee and after two years residence there had left that town where he was editor of the ‘Democrat’ handing the position to his son, (Mr AH Gale) returning to Queanbeyan principally because the climate of Junee did not suit him or his wife, the late Mrs Gale. Though not associated with the business side of newspaper work since he left Junee he assisted in the journalistic  work of the Queanbeyan papers and it is only very recently that he has ceased as a contributor.

Among the prominent positions held by deceased in Queanbeyan were District Coroner, Guardian of Minors, Electoral Returning Officer, Member of the School Board and member of the local Land Board. He was a member at the time of his death, attending the previous meeting.   The last meeting was held on July 11th when of course he was too ill to attend. He was one of the first aldermen when the town was incorporated a Borough in 1884. He took a prominent part in ploughing matches of  the early days which led to the subsequent formation of the Queanbeyan P and A Association

A prominent Freemason he was proud to say that more than half of his long life had been spent under the influence of the craft. He was a Master of his Lodge on several occasions as well as Secretary, which latter position he held for fourteen years prior to last year when his impaired eyesight obliged him to resign.

Mr Gale was very fond of fishing and from his boyhood days until a ripe old age was an expert fly fisherman. He was the first man to catch trout in the Goodradigbee River by means of artificial lures – this was in 1903 when with a party he paid a visit to the famous Yarrangobilly Caves and he wrote an account of the trip which was published in the columns of the Queanbeyan Observer.  The publicity thus given made the Goodradigbee known far and wide and it soon became a popular resort of tourists. In conjunction with the late Mr Fred Campbell of Yarralumla Mr Gale introduced the first trout into this district. Three were brought from Ballarat (Vic) and liberated into the Molonglo River built below the first tunnel about the year 1889. His garden was always noted for the wonderful array of flowers, fruit and vegetables.

The late Mr Gale often referred to the occasion of his first seeing Canberra as far back as 1855. A scene of superb and spreading beauty met his gaze prompting the thought, ‘ What an ideal site for a great city of the future.’ Some half a century later that early mind picture led to his advocacy of Canberra as the site for the Federal Capital and his intimate knowledge of the territory as well as that of its rival Dalgety enables him to marshal facts and present the claims of Canberra in a way which proved a potent factor in its ultimate selection.

His last published book, ‘A History of Canberra’ contains much informative and interesting matter and must rank as a standard work on the subject.

Sometime after the death of his first wife, the late Mr Gale in 1921 married Mrs Elizabeth Forrest and her loving care and ministrations were large factors in lightening the declining years of his life.  Mrs Gale and Mrs Shaw (daughter) were in constant attendance during the last few weeks when his condition became critical. When it was realized that the end was approaching Mrs Margrie and his son Arthur assisted, the only absent members of the family being Mrs Fitzgibbons who was away from the district owing to the illness of her daughter-in-law of eleven children, but five are living, namely Mr AH Gale (recently of Harden), Mrs HW Margrie (Bargo), and Mesdames JH Fitzgibbon, F Warren, and JA Shaw all of Queanbeyan. There are 89 descendents living, 31 grandchildren, 52 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Always a man of splendid physique which matched his great mental capacity, Mr Gale enjoyed splendid health and the only sickness he had was in the 70s when he with nearby every member of his family was stricken with typhoid fever, and some four years ago when he had a severe attack of congestion of the lungs and his life was despaired of, but unremitting medical skill and the attention of Mrs Gale pulled him through. It is only quite recently that his wonderful vitality showed any signs of diminishing  and it was then seen that the end of a living and useful life was approaching .

His end was painless and peaceful sinking into unconsciousness on Sunday he breathed his last at twenty minutes past five on Monday morning.  Queanbeyan Age 16 July 1929

The family tragedy: 

Charles Augustus Gale

A terrible tragedy took place 6.15 pm Sunday night at a house in Crawford St near the Bank of NSW and occupied by Charles A Gale, 36, his wife Susan 31 and children, Olive, Doris, Jack and Laochleen May aged 8,7 and 5 years and 2 months respectively. Charles Gale had lately come Hillston having been engaged as editor of the Observer and was joined by his wife three weeks ago. He was addicted to drinking bouts and in one of these he shot his wife. Queanbeyan Observer 25 August1903


Mrs Susan Gale

Photograph courtesy Trish Frei who has led a number of walks in Riverside Cemetry. This is the gravestone of Susan Gale. In Loving Memory of Our Dear sister, Susie, who was cut off suddeny 23rd August 1903 aged 32 years. ERECTED BY HER SORROWING BROTHERS & SISTERS. Peace, Perfect Peace. 

Obituary the First Mrs John Gale (Lyall Gillespie's Cards)

The late Mrs John Gale was born at  Duddleswell Sussex England on 22nd February 1836.  She was the youngest child of Mr John Wheatley who with his wife and family emigrated to Australia in 1839 when the subject of this memoirs was but three years old. Her mother died at sea during the voyage and after a short sojourn in Parramatta where her father married a second time, he removed with his family to Cobbity near Camden where he became a widower. In the early forties the bereaved father removed to Collector and again to Gunning entering upon agricultural pursuits and his only other daughter, the late Mrs Avery of Goulburn, having married upon the deceased young as she was in years devolved the management of the domestic affairs of her father’s household and this she continued to do until her marriage in 1857.  The late Mr John Wheatley was an able and successful Methodist local preacher both in England and the land of his adoption. In his zeal he had been known to walk from Collector to Goulburn – a distance of 27 miles – to conduct early morning prayer meeting, and morning  public worship, returning the same afternoon to Collector to conduct evening service there. This spirit of zeal and earnestness fired the daughter also for whilst her father’s farm at Waggalala, 4 miles from gunning she regularly walked that distance to and fro to attend the week night class meetings and on Sundays the morning and evening services and teach her Sunday School Class in the afternoon. This she did with unvarying regularity heedless of weather conditions, till her marriage called her to another sphere and other duties. 


In 1860 she came to reside with her husband and young children in Queanbeyan and at once entered upon the activities of the church and social life with increasing rather than unabating earnestness and devotion. In the first two or three years following Queanbeyan formed part of the Yass and Gunning circuit and it was her delight to extend the hospitality of her home to both ministers and local preachers whose duties called them to the requirements of our church in Queanbeyan. Her increasing family ties prevented her from continuing Sunday School but t he class, fellowship and prayer meetings held on week nights always found her present. She had a wonderful gift in prayer. How could it be otherwise seeing she lived in the atmosphere of prayer?  A letter of condolence received says, ‘I shall never forget the seven o’clock prayer meeting on the occasion of the Church Jubilee at Dalton when everyone present was struck with the beauty and power of a prayer offered by her.’ The same may be said of the petitions. She was wont to offer in the devotional meetings in her own church in Queanbeyan and her good were not confined to her own denomination… Queanbeyan Age 29.7.1919


Obituary of second Mrs John Gale & death of Susan Gale (Courtesy Trish Frei)

Mrs Elizabeth Gale


Died:  30 July 1933, aged 76 - at Queanbeyan NSW




Mrs Elizabeth Ann Gale, widow of the late John Gale, died suddenly at her home, ‘The Retreat’, Lowe Street, Queanbeyan, on Sunday night following a heart attack.


The deceased had been suffering from heart trouble and had for some years past been under medical advice. On Sunday night last she returned home from Church and after taking her heart tablets fell faint and called for some brandy, but she collapsed and died within a few minutes.


The late Mrs Gale was 76 years of age and a native of England. She travelled extensively and after the death of her first husband, Mr [Reginald] Forrest, she resided in Sydney where, in 1921 she married the late John Gale, who predeceased her in 1929. The deceased was deeply attached to her church and was a frequent worshipper.


She is survived by one daughter, Mrs Percival [Jeannie] Jones of Canada; two step-daughters, Mrs Margrie[1] (   ?  ), Mrs J.H. Fitzgibbon[2] [(Barrad--- Flat), Mrs Fred Warren[3] and Mrs J.A. Shaw[4] (Queanbeyan).


The funeral will leave her residence at 2.30 p.m. to-day, after a short service by the Rev. W.H. Cheetham, for the Presbyterian portion of the general cemetery.


The Canberra Times, Tuesday, 1 August 1933, p.2.


Elizabeth Ann Gale, died 30 July 1933, aged 70. She was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, the daughter of Joseph and Alice (nee Dickenson) Richmond. She married John Gale (second marriage for both) at Queanbeyan on 17 January 1921. John Gale died 15 July 1929, aged 99.

She is buried at Riverside Cemetery, Presbyterian Portion, Section 1, Row M, Plot 6.


…Queanbeyan Pioneer Cemeteries, vol. 1, Queanbeyan City Council, Queanbeyan, [1985], p.31.



Susan Gale (nee Hazelwood)


(Mrs Charles Augustus Gale)


Died: 23 August 1903, aged 32


Domestic Tragedy


Between 6 and 7 o’clock on Sunday night the news of another of those sad events, which adds but one more to the many sequels of the past twelve months, was passed in low and solemn words from one to another. A tragedy had taken place, and each and every one with sympathetic feeling for all so closely concerned were ever eager to learn the fullest particulars. The victim of this heartrending episode was Mrs C.A. Gale, wife of Charles Augustus Gale, editor of the Observer. Not many moments had elapsed before crowds of people in their eagerness to clear their minds of all doubts that existed, collected in Crawford-street before the residence occupied by the deceased with her husband and four children, and the verification of the first report was immediately manifest – that Mrs Gale, who only a few fleeting moments before was alive and well, lay a corpse on the floor, shot in the face by a shot gun, and disfigured beyond recognition. The report was too true, and the crowds of sympathisers, struck practically speechless, conversed in solemn whispers where they collected in groups all over the town. The fatal shot had scarcely proved its disastrous effect than a constable was on the scene of the tragedy and arrested the husband of the deceased, and conveyed him to the lock-up, where he was kept in custody during the night. Astonishment was expressed by everyone. Expressions of sympathy were to be read in the quietude that pervaded the town, and a reiteration of the words ‘It can’t be true,’ were heard everywhere where people were conversing. Mr Coroner O’Brien, of Goulburn was immediately wired and reached Queanbeyan by the following morning’s train.


At 10 o’clock yesterday morning the Police Court was opened, and Charles Augustus Gale formally charged with that he did on the 23rd of August, murder his wife, Susan Gale. Upon application from the Sergeant the case was postponed for eight days for the production of further evidence.


The Coroner’s Court being then opened, a jury of 12 were empanelled, consisting of the following gentlemen – Messrs Dixie, (forman), W.D. Wright, W. Oldfield, Dean, Morton, Colsby, Hudson, Gay, Russell, Anderson, W. Beatty and G.T. Dudley, and after viewing the corpse of the victim, then lying in the jail hospital, were shown the scene of the tragedy. Returning to the Court House again evidence was then taken touching the cause of the death of the victim.


The first witness called was Mary Jordan, wife of John Jordan, and sister of deceased, who resides with her husband in Crawford=street, opposite the residence occupied by Mr Gale. She stated that deceased was born in the New England district, would have been 32 years of age in November, and had been married 13 years to C.A. Gale, on 1st April last. By the marriage there are four children, the eldest being ten years and the youngest an infant of two months. She last saw her sister alive at a quarter to 5 on Sunday evening. Her attention was first directed to the house occupied by her sister by the screaming of the children who weree running towards her home and shouting, ‘Oh! Auntie, come quick, father’s going to shoot mother!’ This occurred at about a quarter past 6, and she ran over to the house, alas, only to find her sister lying on the floor, bespattered with blood – dead! Not a soul was in the room, but in the adjacent room, which was used for a kitchen, the husband of deceased stood with a gun in his hand. Mr Jordan (witness’s husband) at this moment rushed past her and accosting Gale wrested the weapon from him. The deceased when shot held the infant in her arms. Witness could not swear to the state of mind Gale was in when she saw him. To the best of her belief Gale and deceased had lead a happy life, and she never heard complaints of disagreement on either side. They had spent the most of their lives in Hillston and in the Western districts, and it is only three weeks ago since deceased arrived in Queanbeyan.


In answer to Mr Garraway, who appeared on behalf of the afflicted family, witness said that she believed it was true that Gale at times became so intoxicated that he did not know what he was doing; and when she saw him early on Sunday morning he appeared as though he was suffering recovery.


Olive Gale, a bright little youngster of 9 years, and daughter of deceased, was carried into court by one of her relatives, and in broken words mingled with deep and heavy sobs, stated that on Sunday night at tea time she was with her parents. From this witness’s evidence it transpires that when her father came home he lay down on the sofa for a while, and then got up to get his tea. Witness, her brother, and sisters had tea, her mother saying she did not care for any. While at tea she heard her father ask her mother for money, and she refused. And shortly afterwards her father took up a double barrel gun which stood in the corner of the room. Witness did not know what words her father then made use of. Her father often came home in an intoxicated state. That evening she thought he was drunk. He had always been kind to her mother and herself and sisters and brother, and she never heard them quarrelling. Her father was not home to dinner that day, and in the morning when she and her little cousin Norma Jordan were returning from church he was standing in Byrnes’s hotel yard. Norma Jordan tried to get him home but he would only promise to go.


Dora Gale, 8 years of age, and second daughter of deceased, stood the severe ordeal the poor little girl was brought to bear much better than her eldest sister. She gave a straight forward evidence. She corroborated her sister’s evidence regarding going to church. They had with them their cousins Norma, and Elma Jordan. When her father came home, the little child stated, he lay down on a bed; and afterwards the sofa. Witness stated that when her father asked the deceased for a shilling she told him to go and get it, but he refused. He got a gun then, witness says, and she and her eldest sister ran away in the direction of their auntie’s. The little girl continuing stated that her father was always kind to her mother.


John James Oldfield, who resides in rooms adjacent to Gale’s swore to hearing angry words exchanged between deceased and her husband about the time the sad event took place. He heard Gale call the deceased a liar, and she in reply said he was another. In conversation Gale said: ‘Those kids I’ll murder them.’ Then came the words quite clear from the lips of the deceased. ‘No you won’t.’ Gale was then heard by witness to say: ‘You’ll get it,’ and immediately following came the report of a firearm. The words and the fatal shot were almost instantaneous. The screams of children were then heard by witness, and presently Gale was conveyed by some people to the front of the building when he said: ‘I murdered my wife,’ and then: ‘I didn’t kill her.’ At this time Gale did not appear very much the worse of liquor, but on account of his lying down and moaning very much cannot be said of his state of sobriety.


John Jordan, brother-in-law of deceased last saw deceased alive on Sunday morning. On Sunday evening he was sitting by his fireside and was suddenly aroused by the screams of children who appeared to be advancing in the direction of his house. He at once sprang to his feet and very few seconds had elapsed before he recognised the voices as those of the children of the deceased woman. They were saying: ‘Daddy is going to shoot mother.’ Reaching the residence of deceased he found the door ajar, and forcing his way in recognised upon the floor the dead body of his sister-in-law. His wife who had also gone over followed him into the house where the corpse lay. Standing in the opposite doorway was Gale, holding in his hand a double barrel gun, with muzzle pointing to his (Gale’s) head, which he appeared to be attempting to discharge. Witness took the gun away from him. When Gale first spoke he said: ‘What have I done?’ He appeared to be like a man drinking, and apparently did not know what he had done.


Norma Ellen Jordan corroborated evidence in chief given by her little cousins. She had been frequently at her auntie’s place since her arrival in Queanbeyan and was certain that Gale was always very affectionate with his wife and children.


Constable MacMullen swore to proceeding to the scene upon receiving information from Peter Shumack and saw deceased upon the floor. He unlocked the gun and found it contained two full cartridges – one with a ‘snapped’ cap, as though it had apparently been tried. Besides this one empty shell was discovered in the room. Gale appeared to be quite stupid.


Sergeant Willis swore to taking Gale into custody and he said he suffered from asthma a great deal and would like a drink before he went to bed, after which he could sleep well. Witness then charged him with the murder of his wife when he replied: ‘What! Shot Susie! I didn’t do that did I Sergeant?’ Witness replied he was sorry to say it was the truth, whereupon Gale replied: ‘Is she dead?’ and then turned over on the bunk, upon which he lay, and broke into deep sobs.


Dr Blackall gave evidence as to the nature of the wound.


John Callaghan, a bootmaker residing in Queanbeyan, was called and stated that during Sunday morning he saw Gale have a glass of rum in Byrnes’s hotel, after which they took a walk down the river, Gale subsequently returning to the hotel, saying he had to see Mr Chapman. Callaghan had not seen him drink any more that day, but had seen him in the afternoon at half past three in company with others in Byrnes’s yard.


Jas. Egan, a labourer, residing at Byrnes’s hotel swore to having a drink with Gale on Sunday evening. He seemed to have a good deal in, and was bartering with him for the purchase of a sheep dog.


A.M. Fallick, sister of the deceased woman’s husband, also gave evidence. She stated that Charles Gale had been in her employ for some 10 weeks as editor of the Observer, which paper she is proprietress of. On last Friday week she received a communication from the deceased woman making inquiries whether Gale had made any complaints to her about not feeling well, and further stated that he had been very strange towards her during that day and ate nothing. When she spoke to him, she said he only snapped at her and she could not make him out. She further stated that she would do anything to please him. Witness replied to this letter and stated that she was unaware of anything being wrong, any more than he had been very quiet. She recollected his getting a letter one morning from Hillston, the contents which at first she did not know but subsequently found out. It appears that Gale had guaranteed a certain contractor to the Government for a sum slightly exceeding £39, and the contractor absconded, Gale being naturally looked to for the money. However, he concluded that he would advise the Department of his circumstances and if they [did] not receive his plea on satisfactory terms intended to turn insolvent. He said to witness: ‘The man I backed is a broker and I have no money so what am I to do,’ Mr Chapman, witness believed, intended doing something in this matter for her brother. She felt certain he was very fond of his wife. He drank a good deal, and that was the greatest trouble with him.


William Galbraith Alexander, a baker and pastry cook, stated that he had been in close proximity with Gale during a part of Sunday evening. Gale, witness swore, was drinking rum and when he last saw him at 3 o’clock was very drunk from the effects of drink.


The evidence now being concluded the Coroner proceeded to address the jury. He summarised the whole of the evidence adduced and after pointing out to the jury the duty which they were expected to perform dealt very strongly with the fact of Sunday trading in hotels in Queanbeyan. ‘Should this law in this respect not have been broken’ said the Coroner, ‘the poor unfortunate woman who now lied dead in the jail hospital might have been alive this evening.’


The jury, after a very brief consideration returned into Court with the following verdict, ‘We find that the deceased woman, Susan Gale, met with her death from the effect of a gunshot wound inflicted by her husband, Charles Augustus Gale, on the evening of the 23rd August, 1903.’


When the verdict was delivered Gale did not raise his head, but allowed it to remain between his hands on his knees as though he was suffering deep contrition. The Coroner committed him to stand his trial at the Goulburn Circuit court to be held on the 12th of October next, and bound over all witnesses to appear to give evidence on that day.


The Funeral


The body of deceased was removed from the jail hospital yesterday afternoon and lay during the night in the Methodist Church where the usual part of the service was read this morning by the Rev W. Stewart. The remains were placed in the hearse which was followed by a concourse of relatives and friends to its last resting place in the Methodist portion of the Queanbeyan Cemetery, where the interment took place.


The Queanbeyan Age, Tuesday, 25 August 1903.


Susan Gale, shot dead at her residence in Crawford Street on 23 August 1903, aged 32, was the daughter of Henry Hazelwood and sister of Mrs John Jordan, Queanbeyan. She married Charles Augustus Gale on 1 April 1890, at Elm Grove, Queanbeyan. She is buried in the Riverside Cemetery, Methodist Portion, Section 1, Row M, Plot 19.

…Queanbeyan Pioneer Cemeteries, vol. 1, Queanbeyan City Council, Queanbeyan, [1985], p.13.


[1] Evaline Jane Gale, b. 29 Jun 1858, Bland Plains NSW, m. Henry William Margrie at Queanbeyan NSW, 12 October 1883. She died 1938 at Kingsford NSW.

[2] Mary Philadelphia Gale, b. 23 April 1860, Narellan NSW, m. 1) T.E. Capes at Cooma NSW in 1906; 2) John H. Fitzgibbon, at Queanbeyan NSW. She died 28 March 1951, Indooroopilly, Qld.

[3] Laura Alice Gale, b. 5 October 1862, Queanbeyan NSW, m. Frederick Warren, Goulburn NSW, 4 Nov 1886. She died 1947 at Queanbeyan NSW.

[4] Bertha Patricia Gale, b. 17 March 1872, Queanbeyan NSW, m. John Arthur Shaw at Queanbeyan NSW. She died 26 November 1953, Queanbeyan NSW.

Death of John Gale's 14 year old son by drowning (Lyall Gillespie's Cards)

Report of serious accident to Benjamin Gale 14 year old son of John Gale who was thrown from his horse. Goulburn and Queanbeyan Evening Post 2.12.1876


On Wednesday evening last John Benjamin F Gale aged fourteen, son of Mr John Gale, proprietor of the Queanbeyan Age met an untimely end by drowning.  Deceased was a probationer in the electric telegraph office and during the hour for tea had gone to the river near his parent’s residence went for a swim. Two men, AF Hillmund and G Gillespie saw the calamity but could not swim. Gillespie ran towards the town to raise the alarm. Those who assisted in the recovering of the body were William Sims Jnr, Frederick Pooley, George Rolfe Jnr, Henry Bennett and William Saddler. Goulburn Age 24.1.1877