Now . . . this was a strange feeling: freedom. A touch cold. His hand, loosed from sleep, against the silently scudding early autumn sky, something rough, hempen, against the palm. Meeting something soft, yielding (the left hand), with his hand, oddly unfeeling (the right). Pushing, as if into soil, until it meets resistance . . .


He turned in bed. Her back, turned from him as always, warm to the touch under the flannelette top, abandoned to sleep. Scapula and ribs. The motorway quiet time (circa 3am). He hated waking in the night because unseen worries became terrors to him, so assured was he that the world was as it seems.


Now he remembered: struggling up the hill from the town, him more purposefully than he needed, her slightly behind, happier in the moment, dragged. Westward home up Queen St and along the ridge on the Great North Rd. She resting beside the road in the heather; he lying with her, then drifting into sleep.

James D. Richardson, Looking East from Arch Hill towards Eden Terrace.


They had been at each other’s throats—or rather, she at his—over something. Him dragging his feet, probably, as per. Her struggling not to call him boneless. Money, the house, some half lie. Not talking until saved by his falling into sleep, as per.


A dark dream between them. She “dangerously wounded by some person unknown while asleep at Arch Hill.” An “accusation.” “A dying declaration” to no effect.


For once, he thought, I’ll show her. He was gentle at first, allowing her to half-wake, and turn towards him, then he stabbed at her, his midriff on hers like twisting vertebrae, elbows like a yoke across her shoulders pulling him into her. Free (him). Wheeling away into unconsciousness until the sun comes bleeding into the room to right the world.


Now then, son, come quietly, the constable said.

See “As She Lay Dying: An Arch Hill Mystery (1889),” Te Ipu Pakore, 11 Aug. 2009, web, 5 July 2010.


Meanderings about Cox’s Creek

Today I was surprised to find out that the source of Cox’s Creek—or Opoututeka (Opou, for short)—is the spring that was tapped by the old DYC vinegar factory behind Allendale House, the ASB Community Trust building on Ponsonby Rd. (It’s now the giant grave of the Soho development.) The area was called Tukitukimuta, “the beating of the flax,” presumably because the spring offered ready water for the preparation of flax. The creek that ran in a crescent down and around to what is now Cox’s Bay in Westmere provided a natural boundary between the territories of the Ngati Riu (based at Te Reho on Waioteao [Motions Creek] and elsewhere) to the west and the Ngati Huarere (based at Okahu [Orakei], Horotiu [Queen St and environs] and Te Tatua [Three Kings]) to the east.

Wonderferret, “Stables,” Flicker (21 Oct 2006) [from where the hole now stands—or doesn’t]

It ran (to anticipate) from Pollen St, down Williamson Ave, through Grey Lynn Park, through some intervening streets and across Richmond Rd near Woolworths, then through Cox’s Creek Reserve into Cox’s Bay in Westmere, as represented in the line that snakes through Grey Lynn Park here.

The Path of Cox’s Creek. Detail of “Street Map of the City and Suburbs of Auckland Compiled from the Latest Information” (Auckland: Upton, 1917), Auckland City Libraries [see Google Maps].

The gentle slopes about the stream were a mahinga kai, a place of seasonal food gathering, and thus a wahi tapu (likewise, from soon after the arrival of the British, John and Jane Cox [!] had market gardens downstream in Richmond on the Bay).

Harold Young, “Grey Lynn Looking Towards Coxs Creek” (16 Apr. 1898), Auckland Art Gallery/Toi o Tamaki.

The area, like the isthmus of Tamaki (Auckland) as a whole, was much contested, from the 1680 incursion by the Ngati Whatua led by Kawharu on. After the withdrawal of Kawharu’s taua, the Waiohua, led by Kiwi Tamaki and based at Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill), settled the abandoned territory—at least until another hapu of Ngati Whatua, the Te Taou, invaded about 1750. The Ngaoho line of Te Taou united Ngati Whatua and Waiohua. Settlement by Ngati Paoa (from the south-east) on the Tamaki and incursions by Ngapuhi (from the north) followed. From 1820, the area was ruled from Mangere by Apihai Te Kawau of Ngaoho. Ngaoho helped Ngati Paoa repulse the Ngapuhi (c. 1821-22), then settled at Te Reho with satellite settlements at Pahurihuri (in Kaipara), Okahu Bay and Horotiu. They were joined by Te Taou and Ngati Tahinga (from the south) by 1824. By 1835 they had gained muskets and a more secure hold on the isthmus, but by 20 March 1840, when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed with the British, they were again under threat and ensconced in two fighting pas at Okahu.

In the wake of the Treaty, Te Kawau lobbied for Tamaki as the new colonial capital. Hobson agreed, the land was gifted to the British as a tuku rangitira [see pp. 3-4] in consideration of the advantages to be gained from commerce, education and health and the protection of all under the law, and the Surveyor-General, Felton Mathew, finalised the site. After a brief negotiation led by the police magistrate Captain Symonds and Te Kawau and others, the British “bought” the isthmus in several blocks, Grey Lynn being part of the first and smallest block of 3,000 acres, the Mataharehare, Opou and [Maunga] Whau block, traded in September 184o for £200, 4 horses, 30 blankets, 10 cloaks, one tent and one sealing box (or, some say, for £200 worth of goods).

From 1841 what we know as Grey Lynn and Westmere were together called Newton District, an area of 900 acres (3.6 km²), being Sections 8 and 9 of the County of Eden. The land was auctioned off from June 1844: most of what is now Grey Lynn was sold to John Kelly, a surveyor, then, soon after, via a land agent, Jean P. Du Moulin, to John Israel Montefiore for about £1000.

Three years later, an area of 314 acres bounded by Surrey Crescent to the west, Richmond Rd to the north, Ponsonby Rd to the east and Great North Road to the south was onsold to James Williamson (1814-88) and Thomas Crummer (c.1814-58). They farmed it as Surrey Hills Estate.

Harold Young, “Surrey Hills Looking Towards Great North Road” (1897), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.

In 1883, Williamson and Crummer sold the farm to the Auckland Agricultural Co. Ltd., run by Thomas Russell; he subdivided it into 272 residential lots.

Plan of Surrey Hills, Arch Hill and Eden Terrace, Compiled from Original Plans and Surveys by Boylan and Lundon, District Engineers” (Auckland: Wilson & Horton, 1880), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.

In 1868 the Newton District, divided into the Surrey, Sussex (Grey Lynn) and Richmond (Westmere) Wards, had become the Newton Road Board area; in the early 1880s it became the Newton Road District, and in 1885 the borough of Newton. In 1898 it was renamed Grey Lynn, to commemorate its parliamentary representative from 1891-93, Governor George Grey. By 1902 the land had been further subdivided into about 800 rateable properties owned by about 720 ratepayers; the population of the borough was 4100. Most of the houses in Grey Lynn—mainly Californian bay villas and bungalows—were built from the 1880s to the First World War, and have never been replaced, making the suburb reputedly the largest concentration of 19th-century wooden houses in the world.

As it is described in the Cyclopedia of New Zealand (1902), Grey Lynn sounds as bourgeois as it now is (skipping over its working-class heyday in the first half of the twentieth century and the influx and efflux of Pasifika settlers in the second):

It consists of undulating land, and is dotted with large clumps of trees. The average level is considerably higher than that of Auckland city, and it is recognised as a healthy suburb. One of the best views of the beautiful Mount Eden is obtainable from Grey Lynn; to the north, overlooking Ponsonby, the glimmering, placid waters of the Waitemata are seen; and on the south-west, the horizon is formed by the Waitakerei [sic] Ranges, which genially shelter the district from the cold southerly winds. The visitor is struck with the new and neat appearance of the buildings—not an old residence is to be seen, and in every part of the borough building is in full swing. This sign of progress is not to be wondered at, considering that, apart from its other advantages, sections are cheaper there than in any other district adjacent to the city. Yet as the land is being so rapidly taken up the prices of property are continually advancing, and local residents who bought sections a few years ago could now sell them at treble their purchase prices.

In 1914 it was amalgamated with Auckland City.

  • “Grey Lynn,” The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Christchurch: Cyclopedia Co., 1902) 523-26.
  • Kaaren Hiyama, High Hopes in Hard Times: A History of Grey Lynn and Westmere (Auckland: Media Studies, 1991).
  • Kawaru, Hugh. Land and Identity in Tamaki: A Ngati Whatua Perspective. 2001 Hillary Lecture. Auckland War Memorial Museum Maori Court. Auckland: 2001.
  • E. Earle Vaile, “The Suburbs,” Some Interesting Occurrences in Early Auckland: City and Province, ch. 21 (Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1955) 46.

Puhihuia and Ipu Pakore

Two stories exist about the origin of the name “Te Ipu Pakore” (the broken gourd or calabash), which relate to two locations, one in Mt Eden, one in Grey Lynn named after a battle over the Mt Eden site . . .

1. Enfield Street

Near the rail over-bridge on Enfield Street, off Mt Eden Rd, is the site of a spring that was the principal water source for the nearby Maungawhau (Mount Eden) Pā and—for that reason, perhaps—a wāhi tāpu (sacred site). It was named Ipu Pakore for the ambush of two women returning to the pā from fetching water during the raids of the famed warrior, Kāwharu. The spring is commemorated in the name of an adjacent road, “Water Street,” now no more than a lane, as the spring is no more than a swampy patch behind the Horse & Trap tavern.

Te Ipu Pakore

It was here that Puhihuia, a highborn daughter of Te Waiohua (Te Wai-o-Hua, a confederation of Tāmaki hapu united under Te Hua Kai Waka), after whom the summit road on Mt Eden is named, met her lover Ponga, of Ngāti Kahukoka from Āwhitu, before they eloped across the Manukau Harbour to escape the opprobrium his lower social status brought upon her parents. The lovers escaped across the harbour to his home pā, pursued by an avenging taua.


The war that would inevitably have ensued between the iwi was avoided when Puhihuia faced a series of duels. She defeated her opponents and the taua returned to Maungawhau, accepting her choice of a husband. (John White, Ancient History of the Maori, vol. 4, 1889, online at “Ponga and Puhuhuia”; Grey’s version is also online).


Arthur Adams (“Puhihuia,” The Collected Verses of Arthur H. Adams [Melbourne: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1913] 27-33) paints her differently:

Puhihuia Arthur Adams

2. Arch Hill

The ridge that became Arch Hill may have been the site of a celebrated battle in 1730: the Broken Calabash Attack, when Ngāti Whātua-o-Kaipara attacked Waiohua. Ngāti Whātua hoped to take the Ipu Pakore spring. The paramount chief of Waiohua, Kiwi Tāmaki, was killed and they abandoned the pā for a last stand at Mangere. Ngāti Whatua killed the warriors, took the morehu women as wives and established mana whenua over Tāmaki Makaurau.

A Domestic Tragedy (1905)

Papers Past—Evening Post—15 August 1905—A DOMESTIC TRAGEDY.

The Evening Post reports a case of revenge gone awry by an estranged husband, jealous at his wife’s apparently taking up with another man (“Domestic Tragedy,” Evening Post 70.39 [15 Aug. 1905]: 5, repr. Poverty Bay Herald 32.10436 [15 Aug. 1905]: 2, as “Shocking Domestic Tragedy,” Feilding Star 27.18 [15 Aug. 1905]: 2, and as “A Tragedy,” Colonist 47.11410 [16 Aug. 1905]: 4; the case was later summarised in “An Auckland Tragedy,” Otago Witness 23.2684 [23 Aug. 1905]: 18).

A Domestic Tragedy. Attempted Murder and Suicide.

[By Telegram.—Press Association.] Auckland, this day.

A domestic tragedy occurred at Arch Hill last night. John Davies [sic; for “Davis”], a man aged thirty-five years, followed his wife [Mrs Annie Davis] to the residence of Mrs. Alice Porter [in Russell St—now Cooper St, parallel to Commercial St], where a single young man named Richard Chapman was [also—or now, Mrs Davis having moved on] staying. The husband entered the house, found his wife and Chapman together, drew a revolver and fired at his wife. The shot missed her [because she threw herself on the ground—Davis apparently thought she was wounded], and the man then fired at Chapman, the bullet grazing his stomach. He next turned the weapon on himself shooting himself in the forehead. The man died instantaneously. Constable McGilp[, out in plain clothes on an operation] had observed a man prowling around suspiciously, and, following him, heard shots in the house. The constable rushed in. Davies turned a revolver at him, but did not fire, immediately afterwards blowing out his own brains.

Later: Mrs. Davies and Chapman came here from Sydney recently. Davies followed them [not so, says the Otago Witness, which reports evidence that Mrs Davis and Chapman did not even know each other; she had returned to the house where she had lodged to pick up her “machine”]. Last night, Davies was observed by the police evidently in a dangerous mood. He was watched by a policeman [McGilp] and another man [Murphy]. Davies, seeing he was followed, started running, jumped over a fence into the backyard of Mrs. Porter’s premises, pressed his lace against the window, and then entered the scullery. He fired a shot at his wife, who threw herself to the ground and escaped. Davies rushed past her and fired at Chapman. Mrs. Porter, on entering, ordered Davies off her premises. He then in her presence and in the presence of the constable blew his own brains out.

A report of the inquest the next day filled in more detail (“The Auckland Tragedy: Evidence at the Inquest,” Evening Post 70.40 [16 Aug. 1905]: 5):

[By Telegram.—Press Association.] Auckland, 15th August. An inquest concerning the death of John Davis, who committed suicide after attempting to shoot his wife, was held at 2 o’clock before Mr. T. Gresham, Coroner.

Dr. Sharman stated that when he arrived at the house at about a quarter past eight on Monday night, he found deceased lying on the floor of the back room, dead, and bleeding from a wound in the forehead about one and a half inches square. Death had taken place a few minutes before his arrival.

Richard Chapman, painter, of Arch Hill, declared that he could not identify Davis, as he had never known him.

Sergeant Williams: “Why, he lived with him for some time!”

The Coroner ordered witness to stand aside, observing, “I shall know how to deal with him by-and-bye.”

Constable McGilp said that last night at about eight o’clock, several persons complained to him that a man, who turned out to be [the] deceased, was prowling about at the back of some houses, as if searching for somebody boarding with Mrs. Alice Porter. [. . .]

The Otago Witness reports an ominous prophecy earlier that evening about “a strange man, who haunted backyards”: “As the constable passed up Russell street, a lady residing there stopped him, and said that the residents were very much terrified by the goings on of a strange man, who haunted backyards, going in and out. The constable walked away, and the woman called out to him, ‘It seems to me that something serious will happen at Mrs Porter’s house to-night.'” The Evening Post continues:

He [McGilp] called on Mrs. Porter, and she told him the man was John Davis, and that he was looking for his wife, who was in her [Porter’s] house. Witness and Mr. Murphy, a cabinetmaker, went to search for Davis, to ask him why he was prowling about. They had not gone far before they heard a shot. Meeting Chapman, he [McGilp] asked what he had been firing at. Witness then saw Davis on the verandah with Mrs. Porter. Davis pointed a revolver at witness, and then turned the revolver to his forehead and fired. He dropped dead at once. Chapman was very reticent right through. He made a remark, “It’s a good thing he’s gone, anyway” (meaning Davis). Mrs. Porter told witness Mrs. Davis was going to leave that night. She also stated that on a former occasion deceased had taken Mrs. Davis from a room where she and Chapman were together. Four or five weeks ago witness [McGilp] asked Chapman about Davis going to the house and taking his wife away, but Chapman refused to say anything.

Annie Davis deposed that her husband was a steel expert. He came from Sheffield about four years ago. He failed in business in Auckland about five months ago, and they agreed to separate. He then went to Dunedin, and she took rooms at Mrs. Porter’s. About three weeks ago her husband returned, and early one morning came with a revolver to where she was living, and told her to come with him. He took her to the Central Hotel, and a few days afterwards they went to live with Mrs. Scott in Queen-street. While there her husband tried to cut her throat with a razor, but Mrs. Scott prevented him. She then left him, and took rooms in Cook-street. On Monday evening she went to Mrs. Porter’s. Chapman and her husband were strangers, and there was no cause for jealousy. Her husband had been carrying a revolver for some time, and had threatened her life on many occasions.

Richard Chapman said he did not know deceased. Davis had no reason to be jealous of him.

The jury returned a verdict that deceased committed suicide whilst temporarily insane.

So, on one reading, there was a love triangle—the man of steel and the woman of little substance at the base, the woodworker at the vertex—that had begun in Sydney (assuming they came together, not just together) and migrated to Auckland several months earlier. Though Annie Davis had come to New Zealand and cohabited with her lover Chapman, she had taken up again, under duress or otherwise, with her husband, who had followed them here. Under this somewhat unlikely transformation, the curious triangle was reduced to its original dimensions when Mr drew a bead on Mrs Davis and fell well short. Temporary insanity—or sanity, given it was, perhaps, an admission that he was wrong about the affair—or, at least, in the wrong in what ensued. On the other reading, the third dimension of the love triangle was a figment of Davis’s fervid imagination: Annie Davis and Chapman came together, but not together; insane with jealousy, Davis wrongheadedly read prehabitation as cohabitation.

(P.S. In 1898 Constable McGilp was the sole charge police officer in the Hokianga; on April 28 he went to Waima to confront a gang of armed men led by Hone Toia refusing to pay the dog tax. They announced their intention to march on Rawene, the Hokianga administrative centre, to continue their dispute with the county council. McGilp called in reinforcements and the confrontation escalated. It became known by the somewhat hyperbolic title of the Dog Tax War.)

A Thrill of Horror Ran Through the Town . . . (1886)

Papers Past — Otago Witness — 10 April 1886 — MURDER & SUICIDE.

“Murder & Suicide,” Otago Witness 1794 (10 April 1886): 11.

Murder & Suicide: Shocking Tragedy Near Auckland.

Auckland, April 2.

At Arch Hill this evening a young woman named Emily Keiling [sic], aged 16, while returning from work, was met by a young man named Edward Fuller, aged 26. A conversation took place, and a few minutes afterwards a loud report was heard, and the young lady fell. She was, carried into an adjacent shop, and immediately afterwards a second report was heard. It was then discovered that the young man had shot himself through the head. Both died soon afterwards.

The Arch Hill Murder” gives fuller details (Nelson Evening Mail 20.81 [6 April 1886]: 2):

Per Press Association, Auckland Saturday.

It will be seen from the following letter, which was found upon Fuller’s body by Constable Clark and produced at the inquest this afternoon, that Fuller had fully laid out his plans, and that he deliberately determined not only to commit suicide, but also to murder the unfortunate girl for whom he had conceived such a violent passion. The letter was written in red ink, and all the characters are evenly formed, there being no evidence of haste. The note paper was closely ruled, and in no instance had the lines run into each other; this proves conclusively that the crime had been carefully premeditated. The following is the letter, which is headed “Friday afternoon,” but no date is appended-—

“Dear sisters and brothers,—This will be the last time that I shall be able to write to you; for by the time you get this letter I shall be dead, as l am going to shoot myself to-night. Life is a misery to me now. I love Emily Keeling as no one ever loved before, and she cannot go with me because she is afraid her father would make a row again. If he had consented when I asked him first time this would never have happened. I don’t think she likes me so well now as she did then. It don’t matter where I go, as I cannot stop, and that is the reason that I could not stop at Henderson’s Mill, so I have made up my mind to shoot myself, as I cannot live without her. I shall speak to her to-night and ask her whether she will have me without her father’s consent. If she objects we will die together. You can divide my money between you and Lizzie. So now I bid you all good-bye for ever. I am your loving brother, Edward James Fuller.”

The following letters were also found in the breast pocket of Fuller’s coat. They are signed with the names of his victim, and no doubt were written by her. Both letters were written in lead pencil, and must have been carried for some time in Fuller’s pocket, as they were almost undecipherable on the outer side; in fact the greatest trouble was experienced in reading them. It is apparent from these that the unfortunate girl had been clandestinely keeping company with Fuller. The first letter is headed Monday, but unfortunately there is no date. It is as follows:—

“Dear Edward,—I am writing this letter to you on the quiet. My mother told me I was not to write to you. We are going out tonight to a tea meeting down at the Church, If you are anywhere about I will speak to you. I don’t know whether we are going out on Wednesday night, so am very sorry that I cannot see you, but you know that it is not my fault. Mother says that if father saw me with you he would not let me go with you at all, and she says she will try to make him let me go with you before I am 18. I would go with you if I could, you know that. On Sunday morning I think my father saw you go out, because he said he might be upon the New North road, and I did not want to be caught. I do not think you love me as much as you say you do, or else you would not do things that you are ashamed to let me see. I thought it made you look very low to be smoking a pipe. If ever I hear of you drinking, even if you only taste it, I shall give you up, although it would be hard for me. My mother was very much surprised at you. She would not believe it was you till we got up to you. Bessie gave me such a scolding on Sunday, but I only laughed at her and told her she was an old maid. You must not be offended; I don’t mean anything by what I have said. Please write to me as soon as you can. You must excuse writing, as you know I am unwell, and I am sitting up to write this to you, and I am in my nightdress, and it is cold. My very best love to you, and a kiss. I remain, dear, yours truly, Emily Keeling.”

“Dear Edward,—If ever you want to speak to me, or see me about anything, go up to the paddock on Thursday morning, so as father may not see you. I think that you seemed rather white or sick. Is anything the matter with you? I love you as much and better than I have done before, so cheer up l am having such a time of it. My father is so cross and angry; we can’t move or speak for him. My best love to you and a kiss. I remain, yours affectionately, Emily Keeling.”

See also “Love and Crime. Fearful Double Tragedy at Arch Hill. A Young Lady Shot by her Lover. Suicide of the Murderer. The Crime Premeditated” (Te Aroha News 3.149 [10 April 1886]: 5):

From the Auckland Star. Auckland, April 3.

A thrill of horror ran through the town last evening when it became known that the horrible crimes of murder and suicide had been committed at Arch Hill. The sad news was first conveyed to the Newton Police Station by a youth named Arthur Shannon, who at that time simply knew of the suicide of the murderer. Constable Clark sent word to the central police station, and at once proceeded to the scene of the crime. It was not until some time afterwards that it was known that the perpetrator of the rash act had also committed the fearful crime of murder. It subsequently transpired that, as usual in these sad affairs, love might be considered as the cause of the crime.

The Particulars

It appears that a young girl named Emily Mary Keeling, who would have been 18 years of age next month, was proceeding up King-street, Arch Hill, on her way to the Bible Class at the Alexandra-street Primitive Methodist Church, when she was met by a young man named Edwin James Fuller, with whom she had been acquainted for some time. He was seen by a young woman who was passing to address her, and then seize her by the arm, she apparently wishing to escape from his importunities. Immediately afterwards two shots were fired, Mr J. E. Thomas, who keeps a grocery store at the opposite side of the road, hearing the reports, ran across the street and got between the murderer and his victim. Fuller than ran rapidly along Stanley-street until he reached the corner of Brisbane-street, where he completed his crime by taking his own life.

Death of the Victim

Meanwhile the girl had crossed the street and sat down on the doorstep of the grocery store. Mr Thomas at once came over to her, and finding her in a fainting condition, he, with the assistance of his son, Mr W. A. Thomas, conveyed the unfortunate girl inside his house and placed her on a sofa in the parlour, where she died about twenty minutes afterwards. The girl retained consciousness until the end. Dr Lawson was quickly in attendance, and found that two bullets had entered her right breast.

The Scene of the Crimes

King-street, where Emily Mary Keeling was murdered, is the second street past the Newton West School, leading from the Great North Road to the New North Road. Stanley-street is the first thoroughfare parallel with the Great North Road. It crosses both King and Brisbane-streets. At the corner of King and Stanley-streets is situated Mr Thomas’s store, in which the poor girl expired, and it was at the opposite corner that the murder was committed. The perpetrator of the crime then ran along Stanley street past the rear of the public school until he reached the corner of Brisbane-street, which also runs parallel with King-street, and it was at this corner that he completed his work by committing suicide, just at the side of the residence of Mr George Stanton. In his case, death must have been instantaneous, as the bullet passed through the mouth and a portion of the brain, and ultimately lodged in the nape of the neck at the left side.

The Discoverer of the Suicide

A boy named Arthur Shannon, aged 11 years, who resides with his parents in Stanley-street, states that he saw Fuller running rapidly towards Brisbane-street. He watched him turn the corner, and immediately afterwards he heard a shot fired. Shannon ran to the place, which was about fifty yards away, and he was horrified to find Fuller lying on his face in a pool of blood. The lad at once called his mother. Meanwhile a youth named John Murphy, about 16 years of age, arrived upon the scene. He resides in Kepple [sic] street, and hearing the shot, he immediately ran up to see who was firing. The next to arrive was Mr Deerness, who immediately sent the lad Murphy to the police-station. The news was received by Constable Clark at about 5 minutes to 7 o’clock, and he, with commendable promptitude, despatched the lad for Dr. Challinor Purchas. He then hurried off to Arch Hill, and arrived upon the scene about 7.10 o’clock. Almost immediately afterwards Dr. Challinor Purchas arrived, but at once pronounced life to be extinct. Constable Clark found Fuller lying on his right side, face downwards. In his right hand doubled under his body he held a British bull-dog revolver, apparently quite new. His thumb was upon the trigger guard. Upon examining the revolver, it was found that three barrels were loaded, and also that three had been discharged Fuller was dressed in a black sac coat and waistcoat, and light tweed trousers. In the pockets were found several letters, £3 9s 10 1/2d in cash, an open-faced silver watch, one pipe, and six revolver cartridges. The constable at once obtained assistance and removed the body to the house of Mr J. Jenkins, in King-street. It was while doing this that the startling information was received that the man they were carrying had also murdered a Girl.

Further inquiries were made, and soon elicited the facts as stated above. The news had also been conveyed to the Central Police Station, and Senior-Serjeant Pratt was soon in attendance, accompanied by Dr. Tennent and Detective Walker. Naturally large crowds soon gathered, and all along the street there were for hours small groups of people speaking with bated breath of the terrible tragedy that had occurred in their hitherto quiet district. Other groups seemed to find special fascination for the pools of blood that had oozed from the body of the murderer as he lay in Brisbane-street.

Description of the Murderer

Edward Fuller, the perpetrator of the terrible double crime of murder and suicide, is a young man who has hitherto borne an excellent character. It is stated that he was always quiet in his style, and never exhibited any peculiarities that would have marked him as the perpetrator of such a fearful deed. He was between 21 and 22 years of age, about 5 feet 8 inches in height, of fair complexion, and moderate build. Did not wear a beard, but had a light moustache. He was the brother-in-law of Mr Jenkins, builder, who resides in his own house in King-street. Fuller was a labourer, and had worked for some time in the brick-yards at Henderson. About a year and a-half ago he went to the Northern Wairoa district, but returned to town for Christmas, remained with Mr Jenkins, and assisted him at the building trade.

His Victim

Miss Emily Mary Keeling, whose life was so ruthlessly cut short, was the daughter of Mr George Keeling, bricklayer, and his wife Emily. Miss Keeling bears an excellent character, and appears to have been somewhat of a favourite with the neighbours, who all speak of her in the highest terms. She was decidedly good-looking, about medium height, with blue eyes and brown hair. She was not engaged in any business, but resided with her parents in King-street, next door but one to the house in which he who caused her untimely end resided. As previously stated, she was at the time of her murder on her way to attend a meeting of the Bible-class of the Primitive Methodist Church, Alexandra street, at which, it appears, she was a regular attendant. We learn that the unfortunate girl was to have delivered an essay on April 16th, the title being “Mount Ararat.” Her companions in the class describe her as an intelligent and engaging young woman, and she was evidently a favourite with all who knew her. Although the hour was early, strange to say no person actually saw the shots fired, though naturally there were people close at hand when the terrible crime was committed. It will perhaps be better to give their own versions of the sad occurrence.

Miss Hattie Burgess, who resides in Home-street, about 200 yards from the scene of the tragedy, states:—”At 20 minutes to 7 o’clock I was coming down past Thomas’s store at the corner of King and Stanley Streets, I saw the young man Fuller standing at the opposite corner of the street, and looking as I thought somewhat peculiar or strange. I saw the young woman, Miss Keeling, attempt to pass him. He took her by the arm, and said something to her. I passed by. Immediately afterwards I heard a shot fired, and then a second one. When I turned round I saw her running towards the shop. The young man first ran towards her, and then ran along Stanley-street. I returned to the girl, and found her in the arms of Mr J. E. I Thomas and his son, Mr W. A. Thomas, who carried her inside the shop. I was not then aware that Fuller had shot himself. After Miss Keeling had been carried into Thomas’s I went down and told her mother what had happened.”

Statement of Mr Thomas

Mr Jabez Edward Thomas, store-keeper, corner of King and Stanley streets, stated:— “At about 20 minutes to 7 o’clock I was in my shop, when I heard the report of firearms, at once ran to the door, and looking across the street, saw a girl standing at the opposite corner. I heard her scream. I also saw a man standing alongside of her, but did not recognise him. I ran across the road, and the girl cried, ‘Oh, save me.’ I went between her and the man to save the girl. The man then ran up Stanley-street towards Brisbane-street. The girl also ran across the road to my shop, and sat down on the doorstep for a few seconds, when she fell forward and again said ‘save me.’ I then, with the assistance of my son William A. Thomas, took her into the house, and my wife came to assist. We laid her on a sofa in the parlour. My son immediately went in a trap for a doctor, and returned with Dr. Lawson, who arrived shortly after 7 o’clock. The doctor found that two shot wounds had been inflicted on her, both entering her right breast, and apparently penetrating the lungs and the heart. She was still living, and quite conscious when he arrived. She retained consciousness until the end, and died about fifteen minutes past 7 o’clock.

Statement of Mr Thomas Jun.

Walter Arthur Thomas, son of the above, states:—”I was lying on the couch of the parlour at 20 minutes to 7 o’clock, when I heard two reports. I at first thought that the shop shutters were falling. I ran into the shop, and mother said, ‘Oh there’s a poor girl shot.’ I went to the door, and saw Miss Keeling lying on her back on the steps of the shop in my father’s arms. She said, ‘Oh, save me.’ I assisted my father to carry her inside, and we laid her on the couch in the parlour.

I then rushed out to find a doctor. On going round the corner, I saw a cart belonging to Mr Campion. I jumped in and told him to drive for a doctor, as a girl had been shot. We drove to Dr. Lawson’s residence, Karangahape Road. I found him at home, and he sent me to telephone the news to the police station. Upon returning with the doctor, the girl was just dying.

The Scene of the Murder

Our reporter also visited the scene of tho tragedy this morning. Save in the mournful, subdued look of the residents of the vicinity there is nothing in the surroundings consonant with the hideous occurrence of the previous evening. He examined the spot where the shooting took place. It is a patch of rough scoria on the junction of King and Stanley-streets, about a dozen yards from Thomas’s (late Cuckson’s) store. The locality was examined with great minuteness, but not a spot of blood could to seen, neither were there any stains between the place of shooting and the store, distant about twelve yards. Thomas’s is a small grocery store of the same type as dozens that may be seen in our suburbs. It is approached by a flight of three steps, on the lowest one of which Miss Keeling sat after her agonised run across the road with the fatal bullet in her breast.

Fuller’s Body

Fuller’s body as it lay in Mr Jenkins house this morning presented a most gruesome spectacle. It was placed in a pleasant-looking, neatly-furnished, little room in the point of the house, which even the drawn blinds and the awful presence of death did not deprive of an air of cheerfulness. The corpse was stretched on a rude temporary table, the top of which was apparently constructed of the door of a cupboard. The body was fully dressed, but was covered with a clean white sheet. When the upper portion of this was removed, the blood-stained visage of the murderer was exposed to view. It was the face of a very personable-looking young man of twenty two years, though he looked much older His ruffled hair was light brown, and a crisp little moustache of the same colour shaded the upper lip. With this exception, the face wag shaved, there being a short stubble on the chin. Tho nose was slightly aquiline, with an uncommonly shaped point, and the nostrils were rather broad. The forehead was slightly retreating and the contour of the chin and lower part of the face indicative of considerable determination. On the back of the neck a small protuberance could be felt, occasioned, no doubt, by the lodgement of the bullet under the skin or a displacement of a portion of the vertebrae of the neck. On the face and especially the left ear were ghastly smears of blood, and a few marks of earth showing that he had fallen on his face.

Fuller’s Antecedents and Peculiarities

One of our reporters interviewed Mr John Jenkins this morning at his house in King-street, and was very obligingly furnished with a clear and straightforward statement concerning the deceased young man. Mr Jenkins said:—”Edward James Fuller was my wife’s youngest brother. Until three years ago he lived with his brothers and sisters in his native village of Drayton, near Norwich, in the County of Norfolk. His parents were both dead, and hearing that he was desirous of leaving Home, I sent to him to come out to New Zealand in order that he might better his condition. Ho accepted the invitation, and came out here by the ship Rangitikei, accompanied by a younger sister, who is now Mrs Yearbury. Dr. Erson was a passenger by the came vessel, and next month it will be just three years since he arrived. He took up his residence at my house, and worked with me on my building contracts for the first three months. He then seemed to tire of carpentering, and as he had been brought up on a farm he had a longing to go farming again. He accordingly went out to Avondale in search of a job, and being offered employment in a brickyard there he took it, He remained at this place for six months boarding and lodging out at Avondale, but coming home to us on Saturday night, and returning again on the following Monday mornings. Towards the end of this period he obtained a job at the Arch Hill Brick Yard, and left Avondale in order to take it. About the same time he seems to have made the acquaintance of Miss Keeling, whoso parent’s house was only separated from his brother-in-law’s by that of Mr Mclntosh. He was too reserved by disposition, however, to take anyone into his confidence or to talk freely of his affairs The girl was very nice, and as innocent as a child. My brother-in-law worked at the Auckland Brick Yard for over 12 months. When it was shut up, as usual, last winter, he left along with the other men. He bought a double-barrelled gun and some powder and shot, and went up to Dargaville to do some shooting of game. While there his whare took fire in his absence, and his gun and other belongings were destroyed. He was left merely with what he stood up in. Up till that time I do not think he had any intention of stopping in the Wairoa, but after that he got work as a carpenter on the Railway Wharf, which was being constructed at Kaihu. He wrote to us saying that he would come down to town about Christmas last, but he did not arrive until after the New Year. Since then he has remained with us and been without employment. He had a little money saved, and wanted to pay us tor his board and lodging, but we declined any payment, telling him to keep his money. He had money deposited in the Auckland Savings Bank (some £12 13s), and gave his deposit book to my wife to keep for him. As I have already said, he was habitually reserved, but during the last few days we can now recall the fact that he was more reserved than usual, although the difference may not have impressed us much at the time. He kept more to his room, appeared to sleep longer, and showed no inclination to see the Star when it reached us the last two nights. This was the more remarkable, as always before he had been the first to ask for them.

His Doings Yesterday

Yesterday morning be went out after breakfast, and was away for a short time. He was back for dinner. He stayed in the house for the rest of the day, and this reminds me that he had not been out of the house the previous day. Yesterday afternoon he spent mostly in his room. When tea was ready he was called and came and took his place without speaking a word. Ho did not ask for the Star, but took his tea very quickly indeed—so quickly, indeed, that although I was half finished when he came he was done before me. After tea he sat down on the couch by the window and gazed out of it in the direction of King-street, of which it commands a view as far as Thomas’s shop. It was Miss Keeling’s custom to go up the street about this time with her little foster-sister in her arms in order to meet her father arriving from work, and Fuller was evidently on the look-out for her. He had a patent medicine pamphlet in his hand, but seemed to give no attention to it. While I was out in the yard, and Fuller was at the window, I saw Miss Keeling go up the street with the baby in her arms. She returned some time afterwards, having evidently failed to meet him, and I have since learnt that that evening he came home by way of the paddocks, lower down the street. She must then have gone home to change her dress in order to set out for the Bible class. I was still in the yard, my brother-in-law left the house, going out, I believe, by the back stairs, instead of by the front door, as usual. Outside I understand he met one of my little boys, and gave him a packet of lollies, telling him to give Annie (my little girl) some. Another of my boys—some years older than the one just referred to—saw the deceased a little later standing at the corner of Stanley-street, and addressing him familiarly said, “Halloa, Ted,” but received no answer. He was then apparently waiting for Miss Keeling, and a few moments afterwards they must have met. He would have completed his 22 years this month, So far as I could judge, he was not a man of nervous temperament, but he was very reserved in manner, and always has been so. He was addicted to light reading, and perused with much interest the stories which run through the Star and “Herald.” He was also a heavy sleeper. In this respect be was strange. I have known him when leaving the house in the morning for work to run back if a shower of rain has been falling, and go to bed again. He would stop in his room for days together. I remember saying to him once, banteringly,

“Ted, There Must be Something Wrong with you. You must have some disease. You are always so ready to lie down.” There is no doubt that he was very fond of Miss Keeling, but it is wrong to say that he had asked her in marriage. He may have intended to marry her, and doubtless wished to do so, but he had not asked her to marry. His desire seemed to be to be allowed to keep her company, Latterly he appeared to be very miserable, but kept the cause to himself Mrs Jenkins corroborated her husband’s statement, and also added that after Mr Jenkins left the house her brother did not speak. He went out quietly while she was undressing the baby,

Miss Keeling’s Dying Moments

Our reporter subsequently interviewed Mrs Thomas in her shop, and that lady, with much emotion, described the affecting death of the poor young girl. She said: I was in the shop, when I saw a flash of light on the opposite side of the street and heard a report. I felt no alarm at the report, for I thought the noise was made by some children playing, but the flash attracted my attention. It was followed by a loud and piercing shriek of agony, and I went towards the door. The night was dark, but 1 saw a girl running across the street towards me. She sank down on the lowest step from the door, and then slid gently towards the ground. As she sat down she exclaimed, “I am shot; save me. Take me in.” My husband had meanwhile heard the report also, and rushed across the street. He came back, and assisted by my son, carried the poor young thing into my parlour, which is just off the shop. We laid her on tho sofa, and I saw that she had been shot just below the right breast. There was a hole where the bullet had entered, and her clothing around it was singed. I undid her dress, and saw a wound. Blood was slowly trickling from it. She said, ‘Take off my boots and gloves, and put my feet up. Oh, my mother.’ In a little while, as her life seemed to be ebbing away, she put up her arms to me saying, ‘Love me, l am dying.’ I answered, ‘Yes, darling, I will, God bless you.’ I asked her who had shot her, and she replied ‘Ted Fuller did it.’ Her parents came in, and she recognised her mother, and when asked by her who did the deed she returned the same answer that she had given to me. I gave her some wine, and she remained conscious until just before she died. She passed away so peacefully, that the change could hardly be noticed. About twenty minutes after she came to the shop she was dead. Meantime my son had gone for medical aid, and he arrived with Dr. Lawson just two minutes before death. When the doctor came the poor girl was gasping for breath.

Sundry Particulars

It only remains to add to this moving narrative that Dr. Lawson afterwards probed the wound for the bullet, and that Detective Walker and Mr Thomas carried the deceased to her parents’ home. Our reporter visited them this morning, and found them quiet and composed, although stricken hard by their sore distress. The Rev. A. J. Smith was present offering consolation. Both father and mother were anxious to give all the information in their power touching the sad affair. The deceased was a modest-looking and handsome girl. She was of the average height of women, of alight and graceful figure, and regular and very pleasant features. Her brown hair slightly overhung her forehead in a short fringe, and behind her neck it fell in short ringlets. There was nothing flashy or vain about her appearance. She was evidently a quiet, well-behaved girl, and an affectionate and obedient daughter—a girl in short who would have made a loving and loveable wife. From inquiries made this morning at the Newton branch of the Auckland Savings Bank, our reporter learned that Edward James Fuller opened his accounts there on March 14th, 1885, and that closed it on Wednesday last, March 31st, by drawing out all he had to his credit, viz., £12 16s 8d. Mr J. W. Watts paid him the money.

The Mother of the Victim

Shortly after the occurrence, one of our staff visited the residence of the parents of the murdered girl in King-street, and naturally witnessed a most distressing scene. The mother appeared scarce able to realise the terrible bereavement which she had sustained, and as the big tears rolled down her face she could only say, ” Oh, sir, she was my companion; my only girl,” and as she held the light in order that the body of hei child might be seen, she said, “to think that not an hour ago she went out to Bible Class all well.” Meanwhile the father stood by bearing his sorrow with the stern, stoical silence of one who was stricken sore, but still determined to bear it like a man. The mother further stated:—”My daughter, Emily Mary Keeling, was 17 years of age, and would have been I8 next month. She had been acquainted with Fuller for about two years. He lived in the next house but one. She had not been keeping company with him. He was away at Dargaville for some time, but returned at Christmas, and since then had been constantly annoying her. Her daughter had told her mother that she had done everything to get rid of him. He had asked for her two years ago, but they had refused because she was so young, little more than fifteen years of age. Last night my daughter went out to go to Alexandra-street Church Bible class and I know nothing more except what Miss Burgess told me. We have one son, 19 years of age, who is now residing in Brisbane. She was our only girl. We have no other children except a little boy that we have adopted.

(“Murder and Suicide at Auckland,” North Otago Times 31.6019 [5 April 1886]: 2 and “Shocking Tragedy Near Auckland,” Bruce Herald 17.1738 [6 April 1886]: 3 cover much the same territory. There is a fuller treatment at “The Murder Premeditated. Letter by the Murderer,” Te Aroha News 3.149 (10 April 1886): 5.)

In the Otago Witness (1794 [10 April 1886]: 15), it is reported that

At the inquest on Edward Fuller, the principal in the Arch Hill tragedy, a verdict of felo de se was returned, also of the wilful murder of Emily Keiling [sic]. The girl’s funeral was attended by 7000 persons [!]. . . .

Mr Jew Killed on the Hill (1921)

Auckland Mystery,” Ashburton Guardian 41.9558 (19 July 1921): 4:

Death of Young Man. Stated To Be Case of Murder. (Per Press Association.) Auckland, July 18.

Within a few minutes of the discovery of the body of the young man [Francis Edward, i.e. “Frank”] Jew [of Arnold Street, Grey Lynn, a grocer’s assistant at Tracey’s of Grey Lynn; “a carefree 20-year-old youth-about-town,” according to the Encyclopaedia of NZ], Superintendent Wright, Inspector Eales, and Detective-Sergeants Cummings and Ward, with practically all the remaining members of the detective force and a considerable number of plain-clothes policemen arrived on the scene [at 7.30 am on Sunday 17 July]. A thorough search of the [vacant] section [next to St Joseph’s] was in progress where the body was discovered [at 11.20 am on Saturday 16 July] and a slope overlooking Arch Hill. The gully is covered with blackberry bushes. Many of these were cleared away but no clue was discovered. Detective-Sergeant Cummings stated last night that there was no doubt that it was a case of murder, but there was no suggestion that robbery was the motive, as the clothes of deceased were not disarranged in any way. There was a sum of money in the pockets of the trousers. J. H. Jew, deceased’s father, stated that he had not attached any importance to the fact that his son did not arrive home for tea on Saturday evening, for he frequently was in the habit of visiting the home of a friend. It was thought that he had gone there. This friend, however, informed the police that deceased did not go to his house on Saturday evening. He had not seen him since shortly after the football match. The matter meantime is shrouded in mystery. Those who know deceased can offer no suggestion or any reason why he should have been brutally battered to death. Later. There is no development in the murder case. Doctors are of opinion that death was instantaneous, resulting from the first two blows [with a fence paling]. A postmortem revealed internal bleeding. The upper jaw was smashed, and the right arm broken at the elbow.

A few days later, a reward was offered for information about the victim (“The Arch Hill Murder,” Ashburton Guardian 42.9561 [22 July 1921]: 4).

Police Offer £250 Reward. (Per Press Association.) Auckland, July 21. A reward of £250 is offered by the police for evidence leading to the conviction of the Arch Hill murderer. The detectives are unable to trace the movements of Jew, the murdered youth, on Saturday evening.

Nothing was forthcoming, however (“Local and General,” Ashburton Guardian 42.9580 [13 Aug. 1921]: 4):

Nothing has transpired of late to afford the detectives any hope that they are getting nearer a solution of the Arch Hill murder mystery (says the Auckland “Star”). Although every possible avenue of investigation has been explored, every probability weighed and sifted, every rumour analysed, the affair remains an apparently impenetrable puzzle. Yet the Criminal Investigation Department’s men are not hopeless of an eventual satisfactory solution. There must be, it is conjectured, more than one person who could tell the terrible tale of the death of young Jew.

At the inquest two months later, his movements were elucidated (“The Inquest Continued,” Ashburton Guardian 42.9605 [13 Sep. 1921]: 5).

Movements of the Deceased. (Per Press Association.) Auckland, September 12. The inquest on Francis Edward Jew, who was found murdered at Grey Lynn on July 17, was continued before Mr McKean, Coroner. Dr. D. N. W. Murray testified that about 12.30 p.m. on July 17 he examined the body of the deceased on the section at Grey Lynn. The body was on its back, inclined to the left, the left arm being outstretched. Witness minutely described the attitude and appearance of the body and clothing. Describing the injuries, witness stated that the bone of the nose and the upper and lower jaws were broken. The wound extended from the upper lip to the nostril. There was a gash to the bone in the upper part of the forehead. Two wounds, also bone deep, were over the right ear, one of them having fractured the bone. The head was resting in a pool of blood that had soaked into the ground, having come from the ears and wounds. Post mortem rigidity was well marked, and had come from the back. The wounds were not self-inflicted. [The autopsy took place at 3pm that afternoon.]

To Mr Meredith: There was no sign of a struggle at the spot. From the small amount of blood on the overcoat witness would conclude that the coat had been placed over the young man’s legs after he had fallen. He would say that death would have occurred not longer than 20 hours before he saw the body, and not less than 12 hours. Then you think death must have occurred at least before midnight, and not earlier than 4 pm the previous day?—Yes. Among other witnesses, Stuart Alfred Smith, professional fighter, said he lived at the Whangarei Hotel, Whangarei, but in July last was living at “The Vines,” in Symonds Street. He was with a man named Prosser on July 17 last, graining with him. They left Prosser’s house in Great North Road, Grey Lynn, at about 10 o’clock on Sunday for a spin along the road, and returned along Arch Hill Gully and over a hill. Witness then described the finding of the body of the deceased with a piece of board [a fence paling—the murder weapon] lying near it. “I was at the Prossers’ house the night before,” said witness, “and we went to the pictures. We all left the house at about 7 o’clock, I think. I returned home with the Prossers. We came out of the pictures about 9 o’clock, and went straight home. We had been in a picture theatre opposite the Strand.”

Mr Meredith: What was the picture you saw?—Some Italian picture, I think. Did you see the end of that picture?—No. Did you see the beginning[?]—No. Then where did you go?—Across to the Strand, and we could not get in. And then?—We strolled down the road to Court’s, and got the tram. When you went to catch the tram at Grey Lynn, did you see a man under the influence of liquor?—We thought he was. He was sitting on a box, and looked half asleep. How close were you to him?—About 25ft. What time did you finally leave Prossers’ to go home?—About 11. And where did you catch the tram?—At the same place.—Did you know deceased before?—No. A number of other witnesses were examined at length [sixty-six, in fact, out of the 1,500 interviewed by the police]. The enquiry will be resumed tomorrow.

See “Who Killed Francis Jew? The Grey Lynn Murder Mystery. Evidence at the Coronial Enquiry. Jew’s Jovial Evening and its Tragic End. Some Startling Evidence” (NZ Truth 828 [24 Sep. 1921]: 5) for a full account of the events leading up tp the murder. “The Murder of Frank Jew. Conclusion of Coronial Inquiry. Searching Examination of Thomas McMahon. Blood-stained Clothing—Unexpected Interruption of Proceedings by Alleged Psycho-Analyst,” NZ Truth 829 [1 Oct. 1921]: 6 continues the story of the trial.

Apparently “[a] woman of unstable mentality complicated matters with a fantastic confession, but she withdrew her story when the police were able to demonstrate its complete impracticability” (“Case of F. E. Jew” at 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand). But despite all the enquiries and the sifting of “[a] large crop of rumours, anonymous letters, and family representations,” the case went unsolved. The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand suggests that his drinking partner—Thomas (Tom) Edward (a.k.a. “Billy”) McMahon, 23, according to the Truth—may have been the culprit:

A young companion of the murdered youth, who had been in his company throughout a daylong drinking spree, and who later was sent to prison for another serious offence [the theft of money and tram tickets from the National Electrical Engineering Co. in Wellesley St.], was the last person to be seen in Jew’s company. The most exhaustive inquiries produced nothing but mere suspicion against this man, and certainly nothing to support a charge.

(The case was also reported in Melbourne’s Argus (19 July 1921): 5.)

See “Case of Mr Jew” at the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

As She Lay Dying: An Arch Hill Mystery (1889)

The Arch Hill Mystery,” Marlborough Express 25.91 (17 Apr. 1889): 2.

The Arch Hill Mystery

A Charge of Murder. (United Press Association.) Auckland, [Tues.] April 16. Mary Ann Wilson, who reported she had been dangerously wounded by some person unknown while asleep at Arch Hill [on Friday 5 Apr.], died to-day [after having arrived at Auckland Hospital at 3.30 pm on Saturday, 6 Apr.]. In her dying depositions she accused Louis Pagit, a man with whom she had been living, with having committed the injuries, but said he made her promise not to tell. Pagit is already in custody and will be charged with murder.

Arch Hill Hotel on Gt Nth Rd

Early Life in Grey Lynn,” subtitled “The Arch Hill Hotel, and Tram Service along Great North Road.” 22 Feb. 2002.

The famous namesake of “Pagit,” Ephraim Pagit (1575?-1647), author of Heresiography; or a Description of the Hereticks and Sectaries of These Latter Times, &c. (1645), has as the epigraph to that text a passage from Matthew 7: 15:

Beware of false Prophets, which come to you in Sheepes clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.

The continuation is apt in the case of Mary Ann’s lover: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” She lay folded in the embrace of sleep as the watcher sharpened his blade, and woke only long enough to whisper the tale soon lost to the longest sleep. We can only guess at the heresy that seized him: a fit of jealousy or madness, a grievance from his or their past, an abdication of humanity in the cause of some animal or angelic animus (or aitua). The fact that “he made her promise not to tell” suggests that he repented his heresy on her deathbed. Hmm. A cruel twist . . . to be followed by a twistier one: that the last thing she uttered was his execrable name was either a final curse or a blessing in disguise.

The affair became something of a cause célèbre. We learn elsewhere that his name was Payet, not Pagit, and that he came from “New Calidonia [sic]”—”not as a convict” he wanted known—hence the French surname (“Telegraphic: Auckland Murder Case,” Bay Of Plenty Times 16.2408 [18 Apr. 1889]: 2). Hugh Shortland, possibly a Crown-appointed solicitor, appeared on his behalf (Shortland, a “pretty specimen of the genus blackguard” according to the Marton Mercury, was two years later convicted and jailed for libelling a young woman upon whom he had intentions [qtd in “The Hugh Shortland Case,” NZ Observer 11.666 (3 October 1891): 4; see “The Charge Against Hugh Shortland,” NZ Observer 11.664 (19 September 1891): 3]).

Fuller details had emerged at three separate deposition hearings (16, 18, 26 Apr.) in the Te Aroha News (Arch Hill Tragedy. Death of the Woman. Dying Depositions” [16 Apr., publ. 20 Apr.], “Arch Hill Murder” [18 Apr., publ. 20 Apr.], “Statement of the Victim” [16 Apr., publ. 20 Apr.], and “The Murder Case. Payet Committed for Trial” [27 Apr., publ. 1 May]. Te Aroha News 6.361 [20 Apr. 1889]: 3, 5 and 6.364 [1 May 1889]: 4).

In “Arch Hill Tragedy” we hear about a deposition hearing at Mary Ann’s dying bed.

Auckland, April 16. It was stated in yesterday’s issue that a change for the worse was noticeable in the woman Mary Ann Wilson. . . . This morning still worse symptoms were observed, and Dr. Bell telegraphed to Inspector Broham to that effect, in order that her depositions might be taken. Inspector Broham at once despatched Detective Hughes in a cab to Mount Eden Gaol to bring to the Hospital Louis Payet. . . . A second cab containing Inspector Broham, Chief Detective Brown, Messrs J. P King and S. Y. Collins, justices, and Mr E. Rawson, clerk of the Court, started for the Hospital at 11.30 o’clock, where the accused and Hughes were in waiting. As the prisoner is a Frenchman, Di Davy was, sworn in as interpreter. Chief Detective Brown laid an information against Payet, and then Inspector Broham proceeded to question the woman, Mr Rawson writing down the depositions.

Her statement follows (“Statement of the Victim”):

Mary Ann Wilson deposed:— “I know the accused; I have known him to the best of my knowledge about three months. I have been living with him. I lived with him about two months. I have lived with him at Tupaki and Waikomiti. I remember Friday night, the 5th of this month. I left Auckland with him for Waikomiti about midnight. It must have been after 11 o’clock. The hotels were closed. I remember getting as far as Arch Hill. Both of us went into the bushes to have a rest when we got to Arch Hill [the area was still mostly in farm, having been let as such since at least 1855].

Looking East from Arch Hill towards Eden Terrace

James D. Richardson. Looking East from Arch Hill towards Eden Terrace. N.d. Auckland City Libraries, Heritage Images Online (4-4431).

I don’t know if it was midnight. I had had some drink, but was not so drunk as the accused, because he had a bottle of beer, and drank it all himself. When we were in the bushes together, I must have been asleep, as I do not remember what first took place. When I awoke I found him stretched on the top of me with a knife in his hand. I tried to prevent him getting at my throat and he dragged the knife through my hand. When he could not cut my throat he stabbed me there (pointing to her breast). He stabbed me on the right breast. I don’t think he stabbed me more than once. When he stabbed me I must have fainted, as I did not wake until the morning. I was groaning and moaning with pain when he awoke. It must have been early in the morning. I asked him to give me a drink of water and he did so. Then he broke down some ti-tree for me to lie on and wanted to go away and give himself up to the police, and I said, “Oh don’t leave me to die, you come to the Hospital with me.” He came to the Hospital with me. He went away very quick. I have previously stated I could not tell who stabbed me. The accused asked me not to tell, and I didn’t like to punish him. I didn’t provoke him in any way to use this violence to me. He was saying something while he was on the top of me, but I could not tell what it was. I have marks on my neck and hands from the injuries I received. He pushed me down on the Wednesday before the Friday. I remember getting the letter (marked A) from the accused. . . . I can’t tell what became of the knife.” Cross examined by the accused: “You did do what I have stated you did. No one else was present but you and I.” This was signed by mark, Mary Ann Wilson [because she was apparently too weak to sign], and witnessed. . . . As [Payet] left the room when the woman finished her deposition he turned round to her and said, “God bless you,” and then asked, “Are you very bad?”

So, Payet stabs her, falls asleep, nurses her on waking and, after suggesting that he wants to give himself up, takes her to the hospital, asking that she keep his secret. Later, when he is in Mount Eden Gaol, he writes to her (the letter is quoted along with her statement), his tone at once self-exculpatory and sheepish, solicitous even:

Dear Mary Ann,— l was greatly surprised and grieved to find that I am charged with a wilful act against you, which I would be the last to think of doing, and of which I have not the slightest idea or recollection, and if done by me must have been a pure accident. I am very anxious to hear that you are mending or to know just how you are getting on, and till I do hear from you I shall be very uneasy about you in remembrance of the old times when we were happy together. This matter is in your hands now and the police will, of course, try to make it out as done wilfully, but you know that I was too fond of you to let anyone do it, much less to do it myself. When you receive this, please let me have an answer how you are getting on, and send full particulars. I am remanded till next week (Monday). I hope to see you before very Iong if all goes well.— l remain, yours affectionately, Louis Payet.”

A drunken fugue: not a “wilful act,” but one out of character and mind—assault by accident? The wolf repents.

Mary Ann expires upon giving her statement (“Death of the Woman”):

[A]s the party were leaving the Hospital Dr. Beale came after them, and stated that the woman had fallen back dead. While she was making her statement she was interrupted by fits of coughing at intervals, otherwise she did not appear near death to a casual observer. When it became necessary for her to affix her mark to the document she was so weak that Inspector Broham rendered her some assistance. As soon as the business was done and the party had retired another fit of coughing set in and the woman died almost immediately, most probably from hemmorage [sic] of the lungs. When the woman was first admitted, Dr. Bell expressed the opinion that the lung had been punctured, and this has no doubt been the case.

The next day another depositions hearing was convened at the Hospital mortuary, the evidence being taken by the Coroner, Dr. [Thomas Moore] Philson, Inspector Broham examining the witnesses on behalf of the police and Hugh Shortland representing Payet (“Arch Hill Murder”). We find out more about the days before and after the assault:

Richard Walsh, assistant bailiff at the R.M. Court, Auckland, deposed to having met the deceased on Saturday, the 6th of April. He noticed that her cloak was covered with blood. Payet was in her company. Witness asked her by whom she had been stabbed. She said she die not know. Witness next asked, “Is that the man who stabbed you?” and pointed at Payet. She again said that she did not know. She said that the wound was still bleeding. Witness told her to rest while he went for a doctor. Payet said that there was no cause to bring a doctor, as the woman was going to the Hospital, and she said, “I can’t get as far as the Hospital.” Witness told Payot to let the woman rest and he would bring a doctor. Witness then telephoned to the police and went over to the residence of Dr. Lewis. When he returned he saw Payet and deceased crossing the Cemetery Bridge. Patrick Long, licensee of the Arch Hill Hotel [on the southern corner of Great North Road and Tuarangi Road at what is now the Surrey Crescent shops (the ASB Bank is on the northern corner); built in the early 1880s], deposed to seeing Payet and deceased together on Friday, the 5th of this month, when they were at his hotel. That was about 8 o’clock in the morning. They had a glass of beer each. He never saw the woman after they left. On the Saturday morning Payet came for a bottle of water about 9 o’clock [a whole day later? They must have spent that day in town]. Did not say what it was for. Witness said to him, “I thought you were going up to Hendersons Mill yesterday!” He replied “So I was, but she would not go with me.” He said something about having no money. He then went out, and witness did not see him again. He seemed drowsy-looking at the time. Payet told witness on Saturday morning that he and the old woman had slept out in Surrey Hills [later “Grey Lynn”] that night.

Arch Hill Hotel

The Arch Hill Hotel. “Appendix 11: Design Guidelines for Traditional Town Centres.” City of Auckland District PlanIsthmus SectionOperative 1999. 10 Sep. 2008. A6.

By Mr Shortland: He did not see any blood on the man’s hands and clothing. Witness did give Payet a glass of beer, as he had slept out. There was nothing suspicious about Payet’s manner.

Dr. Thomas Bell deposed that he was House Surgeon at the Auckland Hospital. Deceased was admitted at 3.30 o’clock on Saturday, April 6th. She was brought by Constable Kelly, and was accompanied by Payet. She did not look particularly bad. She was pale and weak, and complained of pain in her chest. He noticed that her clothes were covered with blood. She was undressed and put to bed. An examination showed that there was a punctured wound beneath the right breast an inch long, and penetrating between the ribs. The wound seemed to have been inflicted by a pointed instrument with a sharp edge. She said she had been stabbed, bub she did not know by whom, or with what instrument [later she “remembers”]. She also had wounds on her right hand. The palms of both hands were abraded, and she had several scratches on her throat, as well as her face being bruised in one or two places. Deceased’s clothing was handed over to Detective Hughes. The ulster had a gash in it corresponding to the wound in the chest. Deceased was attended by Dr. [Edward Duncan Montgomerie] Mackellar [onetime Medical Officer, i.e. Surgical Resident, successor to  Philson, who was incapacitated as a surgeon by a surgical infection], who handed her over to Dr. Davy on Tuesday morning, as she was rapidly growing worse. She died later on the same day at noon. Witness had made a post mortem examination of her body that day (April 17th). He found that the wound had passed between the fifth and sixth ribs on the right side, through the lower margin of the right lung. The lung was gangrenous and breaking down. The heart was not injured. He considered the cause of death was the penetrating wound in the chest, resulting in septicaemea [bacterial infection] and acute pyaemia [blood poisoning].

By Mr Shortland: The wound might have been inflicted either standing up or lying down. If a man wanted to murder a woman he should think he would not stab her on the right side. Such a wound might have been self-inflicted.

It would be difficult for a right-handed attacker to stab his victim in the right side (especially if lying on them face-to-face)—but easier for the victim to stab herself (but what about the defensive wounds on her right hand, then)?

Dr. E. D. Mackellar deposed to having attended the woman and witnessed the post mortem examination. He corroborated the testimony of Dr. Bell. He should think that the wound was not self-inflicted. The cause of death was blood poisoning resulting from the wound in the chest. Death was the result of the wound.

By Mr Shortland: Deceased told witness that she had been stabbed while lying down, but she did not know by whom.

Dr. T. G. Davy deposed to having attended deceased on the day of her death. He found her collapsed and syncoped. She was in great distress and struggling for breath. She was in fact dying, but perfectly conscious. She lived an hour and twenty minutes after he saw her. Witness had just left the ward when Dr. Bell came down and said she had died. Witness was present at the post mortem examination. He corroborated the statements made by Dr. Bell. He considered the cause of death was the being stabbed in the chest with a dirty knife, which resulted in septic matter being introduced into the lung. That accounted for the morbid appearance found.

Other witnesses are examined, exhibits presented, and the scene described.

William Thomas, aged 19, deposed that he resided at Avondale. He knew deceased and Payet by sight. Had known Payet for about six months. They used to live at Waikomiti [Waikumete]. Payet was gum digging. The two of them were at the store on Wednesday, April 3rd. The woman wanted to come into the shop, and Payet would not allow her. She did come in and he then put her out, and she fell on the bricks in front of the shop. They went away together.

Richard Denniston, aged 10 years, deposed that he lived with his father at Arch Hill. He saw the deceased in the plantation last Saturday week, near the Arch Hill Hotel. That was about 12 o’clock. He had shown Detective Hughes where he saw her.

Chief Detective C. T. Brown produced the clothing worn by Payet at the time he was brought to the Police station. Witness pointed out blood on Payet’s hat. Payet said to him in the detectives’ office that “She (deceased) was lying on that.” Payet’s shirt also had blood on the wrists. Prisoner said to him that he went for a bottle of water to wash deceased’s face, and in doing that he got blood on his shirt. There were bloodstains on the trousers, and prisoner said, “I got that blood on as I was lying on the grass beside her.” He led witness to believe that the bloodstains on his clothing came there innocently.

Detective Hughes deposed that he examined the grass at Arch Hill where the deceased was said to have been lying. He found clots of blood on the ground and also on the stem of some ti-tree on which she had been lying. He also produced the clothing worn by deceased at the time, and showed the marks of the knife passing through all.

Constable Kelly deposed to accompanying the deceased to the Hospital and arresting Payet. Witness charged him with having stabbed the deceased. He said, “I did not do it.”

After a retirement of about 15 minutes the jury returned a verdict of “Wilful murder against Louis Payet.”

(I’m assuming that this means that it was decided the case against Payet should proceed to court.) After the following evidence given on 26 April, Payet is committed for trial at the Supreme Court (“The Murder Case”):

Michael Foley, licensee of the Avondale Hotel at Avondale, deposed to knowing the accused and the woman Wilson. He only saw them once. He saw them on the Wednesday before the alleged assault, i.e., 3rd instant. They were at his hotel between 10 and 11 o’clock, where they had a couple of glasses of beer each. The woman left the hotel and the accused a little before her. He returned and asked witness if he had seen his wife. Witness replied that he had not. Prisoner searched tor her, but could not find her. Accused gave witness a parcel to take charge of. This parcel he handed over to Detective Hughes. He saw the prisoner cutting tobacco in the bar with a clasp knife. It was a very long knife with a long blade.Constable Kenny, stationed at Auckland, deposed to knowing the accused and the accused woman. He remembered being on duty at the comer of Pitt and Greystreets about 20 minutes to 12 on the night of the 8th inst. He heard a woman’s voice screaming down Grey-street. He went down to see what was up, and he saw the deceased sitting on the footpath and the prisoner trying to get her along. Witness asked what was the matter. Prisoner replied that he was trying to get Mary Ann home, as she was living as his wife with him at Waikomiti. He said she had a drop of drink in her and wanted to stay in town. Payet was quite sober, but the deceased was rather under the influence of liquor, but was able to walk. Witness told her that if she did not get up out of that he would take her to the lock-up. She replied, “I do not care whether you do or not; you can lock me up if you like.” Prisoner said, “Oh, no; do not lock her up; she is able to walk home with me.” She said, “He is very nice before you: but when he gets me home he knocks me about and does all sorts of things, and he will do for me one of these days.” Witness asked the woman why he used her in such a manner and she said she did not know. Prisoner said, “Oh, I never knock her about; she is a very good woman.” She replied, “You are a coward and scoundrel.” She shortly afterwards got up and walked away.

William Kelly, mounted constable stationed in Auckland, deposed to arresting the prisoner at the Hospital on the 6th instant about a quarter past four, on a charge of stabbing Mary Ann Wilson. When the charge was read to him the prisoner said, “I did not do it.” He identified the clothes produced as being those of the prisoner. Constable Kenny was recalled, and at the request of Mr Shortland the Bench asked him if he saw the deceased after death. Witness replied that he had not. Counsel said that he could not therefore identify her with the woman he saw on the night in Grey-street.

Charles Brown, chief detective stationed at Auckland, deposed to finding bloodstains on the prisoner’s clothes, giving the same evidence as adduced at the inquest. Edward Hughes, detective stationed at Auckland, gave similar evidence to that given by him at the inquest.

Inspector Broham put in the dying depositions of the woman Wilson taken at the Hospital and already published in our columns, with this closing the case.

Prisoner reserved his defence beyond saying that he was innocent of the charge. He was committed to take his trial at the next criminal sittings of the Supreme Court.

The sequel, according to the Evening Post (“The Suspicious Death at Archhill,” Evening Post 37.143 [18 June 1889]: 2): on 17 June, at the Supreme Court, Payet is acquited of (wo)manslaughter (Judge Gillies sitting [Evening Post 37.136 (10 June 1889): 3], Mr Tole appearing for Payet). (Oddly, the Ashburton Guardian reports that “Paget” was acquited of murder, but convicted of (wo)manslaughter; see “Supreme Court,” Ashburton Guardian 7.2147 [13 June 1889]: 2.) Mary Ann’s “evidence, taken before her death, was not admitted as a deposition, but was put in merely as a dying declaration.” Payet walks—and perhaps Mary Ann now walks abroad on the Hill.

As revenant she is a dusky cloak upon the door—an absence like widow’s weeds, untimely uprooted by the hand of her paramour, widowed by his timely death.

William Ellis on an "affecting instance of infanticide"

A thoughtless thought-experiment

From William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, ch. 13 (

“We have long known that the Sandwich Islanders practised infanticide, but had no idea of the extent to which it prevailed, until we had made various inquiries during our present tour. . . . The Society Islanders buried the infants they destroyed among the bushes, at some distance from their houses; but many of the infants in the Sandwich Islands are buried in the houses in which both parents and child had resided together. In the floors, which are frequently of earth or pebbles, a hole is dug, two or three feet deep, into which they put the little infant, placed in a broken calabash, and having a piece of native cloth laid upon its mouth to stop its cries. The hole is then filled up with earth, and the inhuman parents themselves have sometimes joined in treading down the earth upon their own innocent but murdered child.”

The principal grounds were apparently:

  1. “to satisfy hunger,”
  2. as a sacrifice to marauding sharks,
  3. out of “idleness” (because a child hinders their nomadic lifestyle or is sickly or cries too much).

Ellis continues his thoughtless thought-experiment: “The bare recital of these acts of cruelty has often filled our minds with horror, while those who have been engaged in the perpetration of them have related all their tragical circumstances in detail with apparent unconcern.”

The tragical foibles of casual parents, ae? Who could imagine I would end up thus: interred in a “broken calabash,” cries smothered with “native cloth” . . .

Te Ipu Pakore

Te Ipu Pakore: the broken vessel . . . I am forgotten as a dead man out of time: another ghost settler trapped between worlds, living by correspondences. I cannot return (to who knows where) because my vessel is broken on the shore; my mind holds nothing (I forget why, but it is happily so).

A view through the cornucopia of the Gate of Horn—though the landscape is not exactly plentiful . . .

This is the view from our cottage, now obscured by ti tree, flax and an eight-lane motorway, from what I like to think of as Te Ipu Pakore: Arch Hill.

* * *

Four centuries ago, the Wai-o-Hua, the dominant power on the Tāmaki isthmus with several thousand warriors, a federation of tribes formed under Hua-O-Kaiwaka and linked to the Te Arawa tribe Ngā Oho, build fortifications against invasion from the north. 178 years ago (c. AD1740), Arch Hill is the site of the decisive “Broken Calabash attack” on Wai-o-Hua by Ngāti Whātua-o-Kaipara. Ngāti Whātua hoped to take Te Ipu Pakore (“the broken calabash”), the principal water source for the nearby Maungawhau Pa and—for that reason, perhaps—a wahi tapu. The paramount chief of Wai-o-Hua, Kiwi Tāmaki, is killed and they abandon the pa for a last stand at Mangere. Ngati Whatua kill the warriors, take the morehu women as wives and establish mana whenua over Tāmaki Makaurau.

In 1820, the Ngāpuhi chief Hongi Hika acquires muskets and over the next few years attacks Tāmaki repeatedly. He destroys the Ngāti Pāoa and Te Kawerau-a-Maki settlements to the west of the isthmus; after a decisive defeat at the battle of Te Ika-a-Ranganui near Kaiwaka in 1825, Apihai Te Kawau, chief of the Ngāti Whātua, abandons the isthmus and takes his people into exile. When the ghost settler Dumont D’Urville visits in 1827, he is startled to find the fertile isthmus depopulated: “We did not notice any trace of inhabitants, nothing but one or two fires a very long way off in the interior. There can be no doubt that this extreme depopulation is due to the ravages of war.” Ngāti Whātua cautiously return to the Manukau about 1836 and, out of fear of being overwhelmed by Ngāpuhi, invite William Hobson to site the colony of New Zealand’s capital on the isthmus in 1840.

With the coming of the hordes of ghost settlers, the spring and its stream become a gathering place. Women come to collect water and wash clothes, men to wash their horses, milk cans and tools. It goes rancid, falls into disuse and remains so until submerged in ashphalt in the 1960’s.

* * *

Could it be that the scent of water is what attracts me to such places? I am a divining-rod, a body whose heartwood has never hardened? Or is it that water can find the level, as they say—something we find hard to do in life? It will not rest on permeable ground, but finds its nadir. To follow that scent peels back the occult layers of the palimpsest; the water, like magic ink, supplies the negative charge to draw out what the positivists would have stay hidden.

Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,

Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,

Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.

Like prolonged echoes mingling in the distance
In a deep and tenebrous unity,

Vast as the dark of night and as the light of day,

Perfumes, sounds, and colors correspond.

– Charles Baudelaire, “Correspondences,” The Flowers of Evil, trans. William Aggeler (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

Here begins life by correspondence.

E. Cameron et al, A Field Guide to Auckland: Exploring the Region’s Natural and Historical Heritage (Auckland: Godwit 1997).
A. Jamieson, “Volcanic Auckland,” New Zealand Geographic 16 (Sep. 1992): 90-113.

R. C. J. Stone, From Tamaki-Makau-Rau to Auckland (Auckland: AUP, 2001).