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William OXLEY


William OXLEY

Is the Great Grandfather of Constable John Frederick YORKE – NSWPF

New South Wales Police Force


Assault with Stick – Murder


Born 1804 in Rolvenden, Kent, England

Married Eliza Santer (d: 4 Jan 1869 in Mudgee) on 4 June, 1829 in Benenden, England,

Father of Albert, Mary A., Own, Rachael, Jane E. Arnold & William I. Oxley

Appointed Constable at Mudgee in 1851

49 old

19 May, 1853

Gravestone in Mudgee Pioneer Park

William OXLEY - NSWPF - Manslaughter - 19 May 1853 - Gravestone 1

On the evening of 29 April, 1853 Maurice Dalton, a former publican, attempted to gain entry to Freeman’s Public House in Mudgee. After being refused entry by the owner Freeman, Dalton threw a large stone into the building. He then crossed the street where he came upon a man named Brandon who was playing a clarinet. Dalton knocked Brandon to the ground, asking him what business he had playing the instrument. Brandon then went and reported the incident to Constable Oxley. A short time later Oxley located Dalton and asked him, “Is that you, Maurice Dalton?” Dalton replied, “Who are you?” and then went on, “Oh, I know you for a b—– trap by your buckle.” He then struck Oxley a severe blow to the side of his head with a large stick, knocking the constable to the ground. He then kicked the fallen constable as he lay on the ground.


The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Adviser of Wednesday 8 March, 1854 informed the community that “Oxley lived for 19 days after, and even performed duties at times, but at length died from apoplexy induced by the wound, the brain being greatly inflamed under the wound. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter, and prisoner was remanded for sentence.”


The constable joined the police force in June, 1851. At the time of his death he was 49 years old and was stationed at Mudgee.


The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser ( NSW )  Wednesday  1 June 1853  page 2 of 4

SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST A PUBLICAN.- In the month of April ultimo, Maurice Dalton, a publican at the Maitland Bar, on the Turon, was committed for trial by the Mudgee Bench of Magistrates for assaulting a policeman named Oxley.  Mr. Dalton was admitted to bail, but as the case assumed a serious aspect, and Oxley has died, Mr. Dalton’s sureties surrendered him to the Gold Police, from whom he effected his escape, and is still at large.-Empire, May 30.

Empire ( Sydney )  Friday  6 January 1854  page 5 of 8

MURDER. – A man named Maurice Dalton was placed in the dock by Sergeant McGhee, charged with having committed a violent assault on Constable Oxley, of the Mudgee Police, from the effects of which the constable had subsequently died. The offence was committed in the month of April last, near Bathurst, and prisoner was apprehended on a warrant from the Mudgee Bench, which had since been sent to Port Phillip, where it was supposed he was residing. The prisoner denied the charge laid against him. At the request of Mr. Wearin, he was remanded till this morning.

Empire ( Sydney )  Saturday 7 January 1854  page 3 of 8

MURDER AT MUDGEE. — Maurice Dalton was again placed before the Court. A witness named Hugh O’Donnell deposed, that he lived some time since at Mudgee, and knew a person named Maurice Dalton ; witness did not believe the prisoner was the same man ; if so, he had very materially altered in appearance. Sergeant McGhee produced the Hue and Cry, wherein, under date 28th April, 1853, was given the   description of a man named Dalton, charged with a violent assault on Constable Oxley, from the effects of which the latter afterwards died. The description published corresponded exactly with the personelle of prisoner. A letter was found on the defendant, having reference to the alleged assault. Their Worships, after consultation, remanded prisoner to the Mudgee Bench for examination.




The Sydney Morning Herald  Monday 13 February 1854  page 5 of 8

On Friday the 27th ultimo, Maurice Dalton, who had been apprehended in Sydney for the murder of William Oxley, one of our constables, in May last, was brought into our township and safely lodged in the lockup.

The Sydney Morning Herald  Thursday 16 February 1854  page 3 of 8

MAURICE DALTON — This somewhat notorious individual was forwarded from Bathurst to Mudgee about a fortnight ago, to be present at the investigation touching the death of the policeman who fell by his hands, at the last Mudgee races. He was fully committed to take his trial at the forthcoming assizes for an assault resulting in the death of the attacked, and reached Bathurst on Monday last.


Empire ( Sydney )  Saturday 4 March 1854  page 3 of 8



Maurice Dalton was indicted for that he, on the 29th April 1853, at Mudgee, in New South Wales, did feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, kill and murder one William Oxley.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL stated the facts of the case, and called

James Lucas Brandon: I live at Mudgee ; I lived there in April last ; I saw the prisoner on 28th April ; he insulted me, and knocked me down ; I was going home, playing the clarionet, when the prisoner came across and asked me what  business I had playing that bloody thing, and knocked me down ; I went to constable Oxley, and told him, and he told me to go home ; when I got home I heard stones thrown against my hut ; I was frightened to stop, and I went out for constable Oxley, and then I saw the prisoner :   Oxley spoke to prisoner, and asked what he was about, kicking up that row at that time of the night for ; prisoner asked him who he was, and said, I know you are a b—dy trap, I know you by your buckle ; I then saw Oxley fall, no one   was near him when he fell but prisoner ; I was 100 yards off ; I could not say whether prisoner had a stick or a stone in his hand ; when Oxley fell I went up to him, and found him bleeding profusely from a cut on the head, he was not able to speak, he appeared to be insensible ; I think Oxley lived for a month afterwards.

Cross-examined by Mr. Holroyd : After he was knocked down, and before his death I often saw him on duty in the streets of Mudgee ; I had been playing the clarionet in Tuckerman’s public house, in Mudgee. I drunk nothing that day but     peppermint and ginger beer – three glasses of port wine in the evening.

William Freeman : I live in Mudgee ; I recollect 28th April, 1853 ; I recollect seeing prisoner   that night ; he used to keep a public house at Maitland Bar ; on that night I was called up by the mistress, who said some one was breaking into the house ; I went outside and found prisoner there ; I told him to go away, but he would not go away ; I then went back to my house and he followed me round and threw a large stone into my house, which fell on my wife and child ; I spoke to him, about throwing the stone, and he then went away ; I saw him then walk towards   the witness Brandon, who was coming down the street, and I saw them scuffling, and Brandon called out for Oxley ; I afterwards saw Oxley bleeding about the head, about half an hour after I saw prisoner scuffling with Brandon.

Cross examined by Mr. HOLROYD; He had no stick in his hand after he threw it on my wife’s bed.

Donald McDonald ; I am a surgeon, I knew the late William Oxley ; I was called to see him in the morning of 29th April, 1853 ; he was lying on his bed, bleeding-profusely from a cut on his head, it was a contused wound such as might have been caused by a stone ; he lived eighteen or nineteen days after I first saw   him ; I made a post mortem examination ; I   should say that his death was caused by the injury received on his head ; I knew deceased for several years, he was a healthy man ; the scalp was inflammed, and on opening the cranium I found the membranes of the brain were inflammed, caused by   the wounds ; other causes might have accelerated his death.

Cross-examined by Mr. HOLROYD : I think the wounds were sufficient to cause death ; I believe deceased was a free liver, and had the appearance   of a man that drank ; I saw deceased do duty as a constable ; I cautioned him not to drink ; I believe but apoplexy was caused by the blows on   the head.

David Picton: I live at Mudgee ; I recollect   the night Oxley was wounded ; I saw a man near Brandon’s, house ; whilst I was in Brandon’s house two stones were thrown in ; Brandon then went to Oxley for assistance ; Oxley went up to the man and said, “Is that you, Maurice   Dalton?”. Prisoner said, “Who are you?” and then     said “0, I know you are a bl–dy trap, by your buckle” and struck him a blow with a large stone. Oxley fell when he got the blow ; I helped Brandon to pick him up.

Cross-examined by, Mr. HOLROYD : I was 20 yards off Oxley when the blow was struck. .

Mr. Bailey, Clerk of Petty Sessions, Mudgee:

I knew William Oxley, the constable ; I know he is dead ; Oxley was examined before the Bench   on the 30th April, 1835 ; the magistrates present were M. P. Bayley, and Basil Dickenson. ( Deposition put in and read. )

Mr. HOLROYD addressed the jury for the defence, and contended that the death was caused   by other causes, and called the following witnesses in support of such a view of the case :-

John Ashton : I am a constable in Mudgee ; I knew the deceased, I recollect his meeting with this injury ; I know that he had fits ; he had one   on 26th February last year between the time of the accident and his death ; he went on duly 12   miles from Mudgee ; he went on horseback ; this was about 15 or 16 days after he received the injury.

Cross-examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL :

The first time I saw him in a fit was on 26th February last year ; I don’t know what caused the fit ; I never saw him have another fit ; he appeared a very healthy man.

George Taylor ; I am an innkeeper at Mudgee ; I knew Oxley the deceased ; I recollect his taking a journey to Cloudy Bay ; after his return from Cloudy Bay, I saw him in a fit ; this was in the morning ; I saw deceased lying in a fit on the ground ; I assisted him by lo??ing his handkerchief, and then went for the doctor ; he was very apoplectic looking ; I saw him occasionally on duty from the time of the assault to his death.

Cross examined by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL :   He went to Cloudy Bay some days after he got the wound ; it was not quite healed.

Alexander-Watt : I knew the prisoner whilst he was in my employment ; he was a very well behaved man.

Cross-examined, by the ATTORNEY-GENERAL ; It is ten or twelve years since he was in my service ; he was a few weeks in my service employed mowing.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL replied at some   length.

After an address of some length from the Judge and a careful recapitulation of the evidence by him, the Jury returned their verdict of

Guilty of Manslaughter.



The Sydney Morning Herald  Wednesday  15 March 1854  page 3 of 12

Maurice Dalton, manslaughter, was sentenced to five years hard labour on the roads or other public works, the two first to be worked in irons. He presented a petition to his Honor setting forth amongst other things that his victim had died from the effects of falling upon the scraper, but this his Honor stated to be impossible, the wound behind the head was caused by a blunt not a sharp instrument, a fact which was established by the circumstance that the skin was not cut outside. His conduct he said had been most savage and unprovoked and he would mark it by very severe sentence.



Grave location is:  Mudgee Memorial Park


NOTE:  1 June 2014:

It has been revealed that this person is NOT mentioned in the States Honour Roll nor the National Honour Roll of Fallen Police.

The following message has been sent, this date, to the NSW Facilitator for this to be remedied:


G’day Andy

It has come to my notice that Constable William OXLEY, killed as a result of work related assault, who died on the 19 May 1853, is NOT mentioned in the National, nor NSW Honour Roll.

See my website:

I have listed all the relevant newspaper articles of the time, in relation to the matter and it is shown that the offender ( Maurice Dalton ) was finally convicted of the Manslaughter of Constable William OXLEY who is buried at the Mudgee Pioneer Park.


Regards mate
Greg ‘ Cal ‘ Callander
Retired SenCon 17463
02 4844


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