The Casterton Historical Society newsletters, as featured in Nifty Newsletters, ran a series of extracts from the book Tales of Casterton: the Waines murder and other stories by Jack Gorman. In the September 2005 issue, Part 1 of the story stated that convicted murderer George Waines arrived in Victoria aboard the Duke of Richmond.
This is a particularly interesting find as my ggg grandmother, Margaret Diwell, who appeared as a witness at George’s murder trial, also arrived on the Duke of Richmond, along with her husband William. This answers the question has to how she came to know the Waines, other than the fact they lived reasonably close together.
I have a database of Duke of Richmond arrivals and I did a search but no George Waines. I then went to an online passenger list of the Duke of Richmond that I often refer back to. No George Waines.
So a-Troving I went. An article from the Bendigo Advertiser, reporting on the hanging of Waines, supported his arrival on the Duke of Richmond. But there seems to have been a case of mistaken identity Waines was keen to amend before his death.
I did find a George Waines in the Australian Convict Transportation Registers(1791-1868). Convicted in Warwickshire, he left England for Tasmania in 1843.
Back to the Duke of Richmond passenger list. George’s wife was Jane so I thought I would look at first names instead of surnames. Sure enough, there was a George and Jane Whainer both aged 29 from Yorkshire. George’s age matches his birth date of 1823, but Yorkshire? Both the Casterton Historical Society Newsletter and the article above, state George was born in Dorset, England, with the Bendigo Advertiser narrowing it down to Sherborne.
Back to Trove and look what I found:
George was from Sherburn, Yorkshire, Sherburn as opposed to Sherborne, Dorset. This and the claim George “was one of the most notorious poachers in the district” helps support something I found on the England and Wales, Criminal Registers (1791-1892). In 1849, George Waines of Yorkshire was sentenced to three months imprisonment on a charge of larceny. Maybe he wasn’t as squeaky clean as he wanted people to believe. No matter the impression he tried to project, nothing could save him from the gallows.
Using FreeBDM I found a marriage of George Waines in 1847, registered in the Scarborough district of Yorkshire. From the same Volume, there are two Janes, Jane Winter and Jane Jewett.
That settled, back to the original aim of my post, the friendship between Margaret Diwell and the Waines, particularly Jane. So it seems they met on the Duke of Richmond, the same ship another set of ggg grandparents sailed on, James and Susan Harman. The Diwells spent around five years in Portland after arrival, then they went to Casterton in 1858. The CHS newsletter says that once in Casterton, the Diwells lived close to both the Waines and the Hunts. As the Hunts purchased land off George Waines in 1856 at Casterton, the Waines must have arrived in town before the Diwells.
It sounds like Jane Waines would have been a good friend. The CHS newsletter describes her as “a comely woman, a vivacious personality full of joy and fun…”. George was not described in such a favourable way, although he did hold Jane in high regard.
Of course, I did wonder what happened to Jane after George’s death. George had thoughts about what she should do.
On the Victorian Marriage Index, a Jane Waines married Thomas James Brooks in 1861. From there I lose her. I can not find a death record for either Jane or a Thomas James Brooks that I can definitely say is them. I can’t get a lead on the town Jane lived in so that is making it hard to search for her at Trove. I wonder if she stayed on in Casterton? Did Margaret Diwell see her again? Did Margaret and Jane’s relationship falter during the trial period, given Margaret also knew Mrs Hunt well. So many questions.
As the Harmans were also on the Duke of Richmond, I have a picture in my mind of James Harman back in 1860, then at Muddy Creek, looking up from his paper of choice, maybe the Hamilton Spectator and Grange District Advertiser and remarking “Do you remember the Waines and the Diwells from the ship, Susan?”
This post was part three of a series of posts about the Casterton Murders. You can read the first two parts on the following links:
Part 1: Witness for the Prosecution
Part 2: Witness for the Prosecution – New Findings
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