Hudson at Murtoa -- Past Links Revealed

George Hudson Inquest

George William HUDSON aged 52, died during the night of the 17/18 November 1907. The Coroner, Robert Hodgson Cole, during Inquest No 935 on the 21st of November 1907, heard the following evidence, which is reproduced by the permission of the Keeper of Public Records.

Deponent, James Cornwell, Caretaker, Wool Exchange Buildings, Collins Street Melbourne.-

"The porchway belongs to the Wool Exchange and the Rialto buildings. This extends about 40 feet. The balcony on the ground floor is about 30 feet and the lower about half. The railing is about 4 feet 6 inches. The top is of iron piping about 3 inches in diameter. There is a stone coping about 3 inches stretching out below the railing, this is level with the floor. Last Sunday night I looked around in that balcony about 10:30pm. I shut the gate and catched it, it can be opened from the Street. The gate was never shut before last January when I took charge. The gate has never been locked. I have never known people to get in. I saw the deceased lying on the bottom. I think he might have fallen from the balcony. I did not think he fell from the ground floor as he would have been broken up more."

Deponent Richard James Francis, Caretaker, Rialto Buildings Collins Street.-

"I live in the top of the buildings, I know the balconies, they are constructed in the same as the other side except the railings about 6 inches higher. I saw where the deceased was lying. I think he must have fallen from some where. He could not have got those injuries by falling from his feet. I could not say which balcony he fell from. There is no coping stone on our side. I think that if he got over and found himself hanging and when he let go his chin would catch on the coping. There is a light opposite the Rialto in Flinders Street. There is no light in the lower basin. The light from the balcony would not shine in the pit. (signed Richard James Francis)."

Deponent, George Michael Hudson, Labourer Victorian Railways, residing at 126 Railway Place, West Melbourne.-

"I saw the body of deceased here and I identified it as that of George William Hudson my father aged 51 years, a ganger with Railways. He lived at Jung. I last saw him in April 1907. I don't know why he came to town. I do not know where he stayed. He had a railway ticket for Camberwell for 17/11/07. I identify the tickets produced. He had not been to Camberwell and had not called on his eldest daughter Mrs. Lindsay who lives there. I don't know of any reason why he should go to the Rialto. He was a moderate drinker. To get the Murtoa ticket, he would have to come to Murtoa on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning. None of the relatives so far as I know has seen him since he came down to Melbourne. He was a widower." (signed G M Hudson)

Police report from John Donivan, Constable 5232, stationed at Bourke Street West Station of the Melbourne Police District on the 18th of November 1907.-

"I have to report that at 5:15am on the 18th inst a watchman named Charles Lear informed me that a man was laying in Rialto Lane bleeding from the head. I went to the place and there saw a man laying in a pool of blood. I examined him and found that he was dead. I had the body conveyed to the morgue. On searching the clothing, I found a black leather purse containing 2-11-1 ($5.11) in the trousers pocket, a silver watch, bunch of keys, a neck stud, 2 pocket knives, 2 receipts one headed Railway Hotel Jung Jung Mr. Hudson Dr. to Mr. Gibsons and the other headed Jung Jung 3rd of Aug 1907, Mr Hudson bought off H G Straford general storekeeper, a single 1st class Railway ticket from Melbourne to Camberwell & a 2nd class half of a railway ticket to Murtoa, a pocket handkerchief with the name A. C. Finch on it. Deceased 40 years of age, 5ft 9" high, heavy build, tanned complexion, dark hair, dark moustache turning grey, no hair on top of forehead, hands and forearms sunburnt, anti rheumatic ring on finger, wore a blue sac suit, white shirt, black tie, natural wool flannel & blucher boots. I made enquires from the lift boys and the caretakers of the building and they informed me that there was no person by the name of Hudson there. I was also informed by the caretakers who reside in the building that as far as they know there was nothing unusual heard during the night. I am of the opinion that deceased entered the building by the Collins Street entrance, the door of which is always opened and walked on to the balcony and got over the iron railing which is about 4 foot high (1 metre) and fell into the lane a distance of about 30 feet (9 metres). A telegram has been sent to the police at Murtoa giving Hudson's address at Jung Jung."

Deponent, Henry Proudfoot, Plain Clothes Police, stationed at Bourke St West.-

"I have examined the Rialto buildings. There is a locked door at the bottom and the man may have gone down and found the door locked and went to climb over the fence at the lower balcony. I know the lower part is dark at night. I think there ought to be a light in the pit and that would be a safeguard." (signed Henry Proudfoot, Constable 3507)

Deponent, John Donivan, Constable of Police, stationed at Bourke St. West.-

"At 5:15am last Monday I got information from Charles Lear. I went to the Rialto Lane and found the deceased lying on his back in a pool of blood. His feet were toward the balcony, about level with it. He was fully dressed, his coat was up under his arms as if the wind had blown it up as he was falling. I think he must have have fallen feet foremost. He was dead. I examined the balconies and did not find any marks. I think he went into the balcony with feet last. The bottom is as black as pitch. I think he fell over and struck the other with his chin. I searched the body and found the property as mentioned in the report above." (signed John Donivan, Constable 5232)

Deponent, John Fullarton MacKeddie, duly qualified Medical Practitioner, Collins St. Melbourne.-

"I made a prior examination of the body of the late George W. Hudson at the city morgue the 18th of November 1907 & found. -

Externally

The body of a strong and well conditioned man of 45 to 50 years of age. The mouth was wide open and full of blood partly clotted from which there ran back to each ear a broad dried track of blood. There were no teeth in the lower jaw apparently a condition of long standing. 4 teeth were found loose in the mouth corresponding to 4 empty sockets in top jaw. Under the left half of the tongue in the floor of the mouth was an irregular jagged wound with some bruising of the surrounding tissues. Of the left upper maxilla, a large piece of the alveolar process was broken off, but still loosely attached to jaw. There was a linear wound and bruising under the chin running from immediately beneath the contact point backwards and downwards to the left for about two inches. There was no mark or injury to the head, no bruises or deformity of the trunk or limbs.

Internally

Brain. - On exposing the brain there was disclosed a thin layer of fully clotted blood over both hemispheres more or less but more particularly the left. There was some slight laceration concealed by the blood on the left side, the base of the brain lay in blood. On removing the brain there showed a fracture running across the entire base of the cranium from the right to the left temporal bone and splitting the middle fossae and allowing the forepart of the cranium with the face to move as if hinged onto the occiput. I could not detect any patent communication between the fractures and back of pharynx.

Lungs. - There was no break of rib or bruising of lung. Both lungs, more particularly the left were extensively anthracosed both in the superficial lymphatics and in the deeper tissues of the lung substances. Tracheal mucous membrane was red and frothed.

Kidneys. - Not reduced in size and beyond a toughness and congestion normal.

Heart. - There was considerable hypertrophy of the left ventricular wall without however any valvular or aortic alteration. Right side was much dilated and full of unclotted blood. Big veins at base of heart engorged.

Liver. - Large and fatty with much engorgement.

Alimentary Tract. - There was some undigested material in the stomach but of ordinary odour.

Cause Of Death
Fracture of the skull and laceration of the brain. The skull was not extra strong. The fracture would agree with a blow delivered on the point of the chin and must have been a very heavy one. I should think there must have been a fixed base."

(signed John F MacKeddie.)

INQUISITION

"An inquisition for our Sovereign Lord King Edward VII, taken at the Morgue, Melbourne, in the State of Victoria, the 21st day of November AD 1907 in the seventh year of our said Lord the King, by me, Robert Hodgson Cole, gentleman, a Coroner of our Lord the King for the said State, upon the view of the body of George William Hudson then and there laying dead. Having inquired upon the part of our Lord the King when, where, how, and by what means the said George William Hudson came by his death, I say that on the 18th day of November 1907 at Winfield Square, otherwise the Rialto Lane off Little Flinders Street Melbourne, George William Hudson was found dead having died some hours previously from a fracture of the base of the skull and lacerations of the brain. I think from the evidence that he fell accidentally from the balcony of the middle basement above."

(signed Robert H Cole)

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Home of George William HUDSON, 215 Ross Street Port Melbourne.