Constable Robert WATERWORTH

Assault – Axe


27 June, 1831


On 27 June, 1831 Constable Waterworth was searching an area between the Windsor Road and the Governor’s Arms Hotel, Parramatta for five bushrangers who had held up and robbed a cart the previous Saturday morning. Near an area referred to as the “Veteran’s Huts” he came upon one of the bushrangers named Thomas Lucas who was cutting shingles with an axe. Lucas engaged the constable in a conversation before suddenly attacking him, striking him three times to the head and inflicting fatal head injuries. Lucas later said that he had gone into the bush to retrieve some hidden bags of sugar, proceeds of the robbery, when Waterworth appeared and, fearing the constable would discover he was one of the men he was searching for, he decided to kill him.


The court records of the trial of Lucas and two accomplices, Moylan and Knowles, indicates that “Lucas attacked Robert Waterworth & with an axe held in both hands inflicted a wound to the left side of the face & head, a wound & fracture of breadth of 4 inches & a depth of 1 inch“.


The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser of 10 September, 1831 reported on the trial.



Thomas Lucas was indicted for the willful murder of Robert Waterworth, at Parramatta, on the 27th of June last; and John England, as an accessory after the fact.Mr. John Thorn – I am chief constable at Parramatta; I knew the deceased; his name was Robert Waterworth; he was a constable for the district of Parramatta, about forty years of age, and six feet in height; the last time I saw him was on the 26th of June in the present year, when I accompanied him on the Windsor road, in search of some persons suspected of a cart robbery; he was armed with a gun, a pistol, and a cutlass. On the 27th or 28th, I can’t say which, he was reported absent to me by his wife, who lives on my farm, and on whom I called to enquire after him; on the 3rd of July following I saw him dead at a place called the Governor’s Arms, in the bush, about three miles from Parramatta; near some huts erected for the Veterans; he was lying on the broad of his back, with his arms stretched out, and the left side of his skull beaten in; he was dressed in a blue jacket, white duck trousers, striped waistcoat, white shirt, black handkerchief, and laced half-boots, but no hat; his feet were lying under a small oak tree which drooped over him; on the 4th of August, I found a pistol, about four miles from the spot where the body was found…


Constable Waterworth had arrived in Sydney as a convict in 1820 aboard the ship Agamemnon and was granted his Ticket of Leave on 30 May, 1828. At the time of his death he was aged about 42 years and was stationed at Parramatta.