Trooper Harry Edmonds PearcePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Mary Beaven

The memorial erected over the grave commemorates Trooper Harry Edmonds Pearce, a member of South Australian Mounted Police Force, who in 1881 was murdered while escorting his prisoner near Kingston in the SouthEast. 

In 1881 Trooper Pearce  was stationed at Kingston when he was ordered to escort a Robert Johnson (Johnston or Johnstone) alias William Nugent to court to appear on charges of having sold liquor to aborigines. Johnson was also in possession of a stolen horse. What seemed like a simple procedure, ended in tragedy. Trooper Pearce had escorted his prisoner for about 2 miles when Johnson dismounted from his horse and refused to go any further. Johnson tackled the trooper with a long knife and during the struggle Pearce’s hands were cut and he was unable to use his revolver. Johnson struck his captor several times and tried to cut his throat as the two wrestled together. Pearce became faint after being slashed in the abdomen and then collapsed. Johnson then turned the trooper’s horse adrift and left him to die. He was found the next morning but died from his wounds on the 18th May 1881. 

Sergeant Morris and two other men tracked down Johnson who offered no resistance when approached. Johnson was committed to Naracooorte Circuit Sessions on a charge of murder and removed to Robe Gaol. After the jury had deliberated for 15 minutes he was found guilty and sentenced to death. The execution took place 18 November 1881 at Mt Gambier Gaol.  The body was left hanging for the customary 60 minutes and buried within the grounds of the gaol after a short formal inquest into the death.


Address:Smith Street, Walkerville Wesleyan Cemetery, Walkerville, 5081
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.891866
Long: 138.613616
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:16-May-1881
Actual Event End Date:16-May-1881


Front Inscription

In memory of Harry Edmonds Pearce
Aged 24 years.

A member of the South Australian Mounted Police Force, who was cruelly murdered while escorting a prisoner near Kingston on 16th Day Of May, 1881.

Erected by the Officers and his late comrades of the South Australian Police Force.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au