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Reverend William Hill Print Page Print this page

29-November-2014
29-November-2014

Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

A marble tablet commemorates Reverend William Hill who was murdered in 1869 by James Kitson, an inmate of the Pentridge Stockade.

An inquiry into cause of the death of the Rev. William Hill in the Pentridge Stockade on Thursday afternoon, which forms the most shocking incident of prison life in this colony since the murder of Mr. Price, some twelve years ago, was held before Mr. Candler, the district coroner, on Friday. It appears tolerably clear from the evidence then given that the deceased gentleman was attacked immediately on entering Kitson's cell, and the murderous assault was probably begun while he was closing the door, with his back towards the prisoner. The weapon used was an iron hinge strap some eight or nine inches long, which Ritson had removed from his bed board by taking the nuts from the screws that held it by means of a small piece of wood which he had apparently picked up in the yard and grooved for the purpose.

The deceased had not been in the cell four minutes before assistance came, but in that short space of time the prisoner had inflicted no less than twenty-five cuts on his head, and eight or nine in one place, completely smashing the back part of his skull. Death followed almost instantly, the unfortunate gentleman only having time to utter the words, " The Lord have mercy, " which were heard by the prisoner in the next cell, who thought the disturbance which had reached his ears was occasioned by Ritson being taken with a fit. When seized by the warders, Ritson gibbered like an idiot, and continued to conduct himself like a lunatic for some hours afterwards, when he returned to his usual rational state.

He presented a very unconcerned appearance before the court yesterday, and showed no indication of insanity, beyond a slight twitching of the mouth, and a frequent smile, sometimes vacant, but always intelligent when anything was said  affecting himself.  The inquest, which began at noon, terminated at half-past ten o'clock in a verdict of wilful murder against the prisoner, James Kitson.
Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA), 22 May 1869.

 

METHODIST CHURCH - FOREST STREET . In the history of the local church there has been no sadder day than that New Year's Day of 1870, when the memorial tablet erected to the memory of the late Rev. W. Hill, a former minister of the church, was unveiled in the presence of the two orphan sons of the deceased. It is an old tale now, most sad and pitiful, most diabolical and awful, which tells us of the murder of this servant of God on the 13th May, 1869, at the Pentridge Stockade, while pursuing his duty as a Christian minister and a conscientious man. The veil over the tablet was removed by Messrs W. Braiden and Kenny.  The Revs. Wells and Lewis addressed the congregation which was extremely large, and during the remarks of the last-named rev (sic) gentleman the whole of those present, the speaker included, gave way to bitter and unrestrained grief.
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic), 26 December 1908.

Location

Address:25 Forest Street, Forest Street Uniting Church, Bendigo, 3550
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.759279
Long: 144.275839
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Crime

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 1st January, 1870
Front Inscription

In Memory Of The REV. WILLIAM HILL, WESLEYAN MINISTER
MURDERED WHILE IN THE DISCHARGE OF DUTY AT PENTRIDGE STOCKADE.

MAY 13, 1869. AGED 43 YEARS.
He was an able Minister of the New Testament.

Also of LUCY MARY
HIS BELOVED WIFE WHO DIED AT SANDHURST.
DEC. 30, 1868. AGED 35 YEARS.
Her sun went down while it was yet day.

Lovely and pleasant were they in their lives and in death they were not divided.
 

Source: MA
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