Dancing in Police Reports

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser was first published in 1803 and is one of the colonial papers which reported police incidents and details of dancing. Courtesy of The National Library of Australia.

This is a list of colonial Police Incidents where dancing was mentioned.  It covers the period from 1803, when the first newspaper was printed, through to 1840. [currently under construction]

Dancing was not illegal, but the circumstances surrounding it lead to it being reported. The most common reason for this was the prevalence of dancing in unlicensed public houses. These were also known as “disorderly houses” where fighting, gambling and prostitution took place. Other reasons for it being reported arose when convicts were absent without permission, or  making an uproar after hours.

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Caroline Cochrane or Marton, free, charge with keeping a disorderly house, open for the reception of loose characters at unseasonable hours, and with encouraging fiddling and dancing therein, was brought up, and fully committed for trial. POLICE REPORT. (1825, August 25). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2184378

Sometimes the term “dancing” is a metaphor other activities, such as a drunken stagger or jumping about excitedly.  As it is not always clear that this is the case, all references to dancing have been included.

The journalists reporting these incidents often added a comic twist to the story, referring to the treadmill as the “dancing academy” where prisoners were sent to “practice their steps”.

Josiah Davidson and John Kenn … ordered to cut a few capers for three days at Murray’s dancing academy. POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, July 11). The Sydney Herald. p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847243

Similarly, the Female Factory at Parramatta under the control of Mrs Gordon, was known as “Gordon’s coercive school” , “Mrs Gordon’s dancing academy”, or “Mrs Gordon’s villa”   where women were sent “to study the graces” in “the comfortable apartments”.

Mary Macpherson … charged with being found in a genteel assembly, as busy as a bee, going down a country dance of twenty or thirty couple, with most fascinating activity …. One month Mrs. Gordon’s Dancing Academy. POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, June 18). The Sydney Herald. p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12844717

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Name

Date

Location

Summary

Abbot,John 13-2-1829 Private house, Sydney Saw the two escaped prisoners dancing
Appleby, Charles 7-2-1833 Sydney Dancing pas seul…sent to play ballet master
Armstrong, Mrs. 23-1-1827 Disorderly house, Parramatta Fiddling and dancing at 10 o’clock last night
Ashmore, John 15-9-1834 House in Frazier’s-lane, Rocks, Sydney Dancing after hours
Baker, Dinah  24-4-1840 Mr Walton’s Tavern, Hobart Dancing in tavern last night
Ball, William  10-6-1833 In the street, Sydney Dancing seraband [sic] to mouth organ
Biggs, Willam 11-4-1837 George Street, Sydney singing and dancing round a constable
Boyle, Catharine  24-2-1827 Disorderly house, Sydney Fuddling, fiddling, dancing and capering
Bradshaw, Thomas  23-5-1827 Unlicensed house There was no dancing, nor yet any music in the house that night
Brown, Mrs. 9-7-1840 Disorderly House, Castlereagh Street, Sydney Midnight revels in elegantly furnished upstairs ballroom
Buckley, James  25-4-1827 Sydney Fiddling and dancing
Bull, Thomas  5-3-1833 Cambridge Street, Sydney Harbouring a  runaway, dancing
Burn, Sarah  10-11-1835 Her master’s house, Hobart Dancing a reel in the kitchen
Burns, Frances 2-7-1838 George Street, Sydney Dancing and singing in the street
Cairns, Margaret 2-8-1832 Sydney the Irish fling at a soirée
Cochrone, Caroline  25-8-1825 Disorderly house, Sydney Encouraging fiddling and dancing
Cole, William 15-5-1840 Public house, Hobart Amusing themselves on the light fantastic toe
Coust, Thomas  11-4-1837 George Street, Sydney Singing and dancing round a constable
Cox, Ellen 28-5-1835 Disorderly house, Sydney A great noise of fiddling and dancing
Crankey, Jam’s 2-9-1830 Disorderly house, in Castlereagh Street, Sydney  Amusements of the evening being accompanied with fiddling, dancing
Crowd dancing to itinerant musicians 2-5-1834 Street in Hobart Kicked off their brogues and began to dance. Shuffling and shaking their dirty duds
Dancing Master strikes pupil  5-7-1832 Sydney Dancing master, struck pupil’s toes violently with his fiddlestick
Davidson, Josiah 11-7-1833  Sydney Ordered to cut capers for three days at Murray’s dancing academy
Denham, Thomas  14-4-1840 Mr. Walton’s  public-house, Hobart Misconduct, dancing with a favorite lady
Disorderly Dancing House  14-1-1832  Sydney One of those public pests, and enemies to all good order
Disorderly Public Houses  24-4-1840  Hobart A low haunt … where a system of dancing is kept up,
Dixon, Ann 24-4-1840 Mr Walton’s Tavern, Hobart Dancing in tavern last night
John, Dixon 16-5-1833 Kent Street, Sydney Practising the last set of quadrilles
Dodman, Mrs  16-2-1837 Neighbour’s house Dancing to pipe and tabor
Duffey, Michael 12-9-1833 Sly grog shops Three days to Bell’s dancing academy
Duggan, Johannah  25-5-1837  Sydney Absconding … to trip it on the light fantastic toe
Emanuel, Elizabeth  24-6-1833 Police Office Yard, Sydney Dancing a pas seul 
Erskine, Harriet  20-6-1833 In her master’s house, Sydney Dancing a Highland fling
Fay, Mary  15-11-1832 The Sydney St. Giles [the riotous area] Waltzing and showing off
Fight  18-8-1832  Parramatta Said he could dance a hornpipe
Fisher, Elizabeth & Matthew  2-9-1833 On the King’s Wharf Dancing a reel to the music of a black fiddler
Fitzgerald, Mary  2-5-1832 A bad house in George Street, Sydney Tripping on the light fantastic toe
Gaol Breakers  13-2-1828 The Rocks, Sydney Carousing and tripping on the light fantastic toe
Giles, Jonas  22-8-1833  Sydney Found twirling round in the soft mazes of the waltz
Goodberry, Sarah 30-7-1832 The Rocks, Sydney Tastefully dressed for a hop
Gorman, Ellen 8-11-1836 In George Street, Sydney Dance a three-handed reel
Gould, John  7-3-1812  Sydney Songs and dancing before a murder
Hackett, Thomas 11-4-1837 George Street, Sydney Glee singing and dancing round a constable
Hathaway, John and Hannah 26-5-1825 A private house in Sydney Dancing, singing, and fiddle playing
Hathaway, John 17-1-1833 Sly grog shops, Sydney Play the fiddle like a Paganini, and dance a good stick
Hely, Maria 8-11-1836 In George Street, Sydney Dance a three-handed reel
Horden, William 10-6-1833 In the street, Sydney Dancing seraband [sic] to mouth organ
Hoy, Kate 8-11-1836 In George Street, Sydney Dance a three-handed reel
Hicks (a woman)  6-3-1834 In the public streets, Sydney Dancing a highland reel in a state of nudity
Hill, Mic  25-2-1833  Sydney Sent to trip it on the light fantastic toe at Murray’s dancing rooms
Hop shops,
Byrne, Jeremiah
 6-12-1832 Two-penny hop shops on The Rocks, Sydney  In the habit of spliting the ears of the groundlings.
Howell, John  19-3-1832 Sydney Sent to trip-it on the light fantastic toe ..on the treadmill
Hunt, Sarah 21-1-1839 Loft in the rear of a house Elizabeth Street, Sydney A motley crowd at a fancy ball
Irish Dancing Master  8-8-1829 Kent-street, Sydney To the tread-mill for getting drunk, and keeping a disorderly house.
Jackson, Ellen  8-11-1832 A house in Kent Street, Sydney Dancing, singing, eating, and drinking
Jackson, Mary  13-5-1837 In the vicinity of the theatre Shouting, laughing, dancing.
Johnstone, Ann 4-2-1837 George Street, Sydney Practising the Highland fling
Kenn, John 11-7-1833 Sydney Ordered to cut capers for three days at Murray’s dancing academy
Kingshaws  30-8-1826 Convict wedding, Sydney Wedding feast celebrated by dancing and drinking, and eating and singing
Kirby, Mrs 31-12-1835 Picnic near Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney I do so like to dance on the green, green sward
Lacey, Timothy 26-11-1826 Mr Nash’s hop, Parramatta Footing it away on the  light fantastic toe
Lambert, Ann 17-10-1834 A house in Goulburn Street, Sydney In the act of dancing an Irish jig.
Leary and Sweeny 12-9-1831 Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney Singing, dancing and cutting capers after attending a wake
Leary, John 12-5-1840 In a public-house, Hobart Disorderly characters, singing and dancing
Lindsay, Eleanor  3-6-1826 Disorderly house, Sydney Shuffling the brogue to the humming drone of a bag-pipe
Littleworth, Harry 21-2-1833 Sydney Dancing, singing and smoking
Lochraine, Catherine  15-12-1832 In her master’s house, Sydney Dancing a hornpipe on the tea-table
M’Cormack, Patrick 5-9-1833 In one of the Sheban houses on the Rocks Sent to dance on the spring board for seven days
M’Cormack, Catherine 7-2-1833 In the grog metropolis Tripping it on the light fantastic
M’Cormick, Patrick  3-9-1833 In one of the Sheban houses on the Rocks Tripping it on the light fantastic toe to the tune of Paddy Carey
M’Carroll, Margaret 1-1-1827 Sydney Taken to a dance by her husband
M’Guigan, James 25-2-1833 Kent Street, Sydney Footing it most merrily at a hop
M’Guire, James 1-11-1832 In his master’s house, Sydney Holding a dance for a dozen guests without permission
M’Mahon, Mary 14-7-1838 Charged with not finding her way home At wakes, fairs, and dances at home
M’Shea, Mary  8-8-1833 In a house of very questionable repute, Sydney Tripping it on the light fantastic toe
McMahon, John 16-5-1833 Kent Street, Sydney Practising the last set of quadrilles with great vivacity
Macpherson, Mary 18-6-1832 In a genteel assembly, Sydney A country dance of twenty or thirty couple. Sent to Mrs. Gordon’s Dancing Academy
Marshall, Jane 28-10-1833 The Rocks, Sydney Genteel hops  on the Rocks … frolic rewarded by six weeks at Gordon’s dancing academy
Martin, Mary  5-5-1829 Harrington Street, Sydney Willingly allowed dancing and fiddling in her house every night
Miller 23-1-1843 Disorderly house in St. John-street, Hobart Fined £50, for allowing dancing, &c., without a license
Muir, James 19-9-1833 Sydney Dancing to tune of Paddy Carey
Mulhony, Sarah 28-10-1833 The Rocks, Sydney Genteel hops  on the Rocks … frolic rewarded by six weeks at Gordon’s dancing academy
Murray, Hamilton 2-9-1833 On the King’s Wharf Dancing a reel to the music of a black fiddler
Murphy, Sarah  1-11-1832  In her master’s house, Sydney The maizy waltz
Nixon, Margaret  8-8-1833 Sly grog shop  Danced round the room, snapping her fingers for castanets
O’Brien, Mr.  5-1-1832 Private house, Sydney Dancing a hornpipe
O’Brien, Mary  29-10-1836 At a fancy ball, The Rocks, Sydney Dancing a pas suel to music  of a barrel organ
O’Brien, Mary 25-5-1837 Sydney Absconding  to go to a hop
O’Connel, Daniel 7-10-1833 George Street, Sydney Shouting, singing, dancing in the street
Oldfield, John 16-5-1833 Kent Street, Sydney Practising the last set of quadrilles
Pamington, John 16-5-1833 Kent Street, Sydney Practising the last set of quadrilles
Parr, Arthur 10-6-1833 In the street, Sydney Dancing seraband [sic] to mouth organ
Peppermill, John 4-7-1838 George Street, Sydney Dancing a hornpipe in the street
Perkin, Jeremiah 25-2-1833 Kent Street, Sydney Footing it most merrily at a hop
Phoir, Henry 20-7-1837 George Street, Sydney Dancing and shouting to the amusement of a rather numerous mob
Pike, John 24-9-1829 Disorderly house, The Rocks, Sydney A fiddle in the house; dancing in the tap room
Quigley, Catherine  18-10-1833 Mistress’ bedroom, Sydney First set of quadrilles and waltz
Quinn, Ester  18-7-1833 In all parts of Sydney Keeping it up for two days..Dancing and singing
Quin, Esther and Patrick   18-7-1833 At the head of the 4th Regiment Dancing to The British Grenadiers
Quinn, Patrick  18-7-1833 At the head of the 4th Regiment Dancing a Spanish fandango
Reardy, Edward  6-7-1831 Sydney Dance the mazy round of Mr. Murray’s spiritual rectifier [aka the treadmill]
Riley, Hugh  29-12-1831 A peccadillo warehouse [aka disorderly house] Footing it on the light fantastic toe
Riley, Kate 5-12-1831  Sydney Footing it away to the tune of ” Off she goes “
Rogers, Mary Ann 26-8-1833 Sydney Forty-eight hours  spent in boozing and dancing
Saulter  18-8-1830 Under the New Custom House Regular Subscription Balls
Saunders, Martha  26-1-1837 A hop upon the Rocks, Sydney howing off on the light fantastic toe
Savage, Ellen  6-11-1826 Windsor, NSW Begs leave to go to dance
Sheridan, Patrick 14-1-1828 Kent Street, Sydney Dancing at  midnight
Smith, Ann  9-8-1832 In the Market-place, Sydney Jigging a Dutch hornpipe
Smith, Ann 1-12-1836  Sydney Her master kept a fiddler who taught her to dance
Smith, Sydney 30-5-1831 In the street, Sydney Dancing to Drops of Brandy
Snacks, John 2-9-1830 In a certain disorderly house, in Castlereagh Street, Sydney Found at ” the midnight hour”  fiddling, dancing
Snipe, Lavina 17-5-1832  Sydney Waltzing at a ball
Stewart, Mary 9-5-1833 Mistress’ bedroom, Sydney Danced a pas seul before the looking glass
Stolen dancing shoes 16-2-1826 Sydney Nice, neat, satin shoes  for mincing it down the middle in a country dance, or shuffling heel to point in a solitary hornpipe
Sweeny and Leary 12-9-1831 Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney Singing, dancing and cutting capers after attending a wake
Sweeney, Charles 11-11-1834 The Calcutta Tap, Hobart Enjoying himself on the light fantastic toe after hours
Thomas, Isabella 22-11-1836 Sydney Tripped off to the stocks with an air, as though leading down a country dance
Thomas, Mary 16-12-1837 George Street, Sydney Curvetting and dancing a pas seul
Thomas, Sarah 20-2-1832  Sydney Tripping it on the light fantastic toe at a secluded hop
Tompkins, Mary 1-3-1834 Sydney Duck-legged spouse…could foot a dance with anybody
Thompson, Julietta 8-9-1834 Harrington Street, Sydney Sailors Hornpipe and Quadrilles,
Turley, James 5-4-1826 Sydney  “shuffle the brogue”, in the proper jig style to half blind fiddler
Turner, John 12-7-1823 House of ill-fame in O’Connell Street, Sydney Music and dancing, outcries and confusion
Vaughan, Emily  8-9-1834 Harrington Street, Sydney Sailors Hornpipe and Quadrilles, half-past one in the morning
Wainwright, Sarah  13-7-1827 Fuddling  houses, Sydney Skipping, dancing
Wainwright, Sarah  6-1-1838 In Market street, Sydney  Dancing a pas de zephyr to the infinite amusement of a crowd
Walsh, David 9-7-1840 Disorderly House, Castlereagh Street, Sydney Midnight revels & elegantly furnished upstairs ballroom
Ward, James 26-9-1833 George Street, Sydney Rehearsing the farce  ” Devil to Pay,” by dancing, singing, and breaking  heads
Wheeley, Henry 26-9-1833 George Street, Sydney Rehearsing the farce  ” Devil to Pay,” by dancing, singing, and breaking  heads
Whittaker, Mary  11-3-1833  Sydney Liked to figure at a hop, fight or masquerade
Wilson, John  15-5-1840 Public house, Hobart Amusing themselves on the light fantastic toe
Woodhouse, Mary 7-2-1833  Sussex Street, Sydney At an evening dancing academy…let’s have a ball
Wright, George 13-2-1829 Private house, Sydney Noisy fracas, saw the two escaped prisoners dancing

ARMSTRONG,  Mrs.

Fiddling and dancing at 10 o’clock last night

Parramatta 20 January 1827

Mrs. Armstrong was brought forward, charged with keeping a disorderly house. Brown and Crummy heard fiddling and dancing at 10 o’clock last night. Mrs. Armstrong is notorious for keeping a house of ill-fame. Ordered to find sureties to keep the peace.

Police Report. (1827, January 23). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2187471

 

ASHMORE, John

Dancing after hours 1834 Sydney

John Ashmore, assigned to a person in Liverpool street, was placed at the bar charged with being found in a house in Frazier’s-lane, on the Rocks, after hours, tripping on the light fantastic toe, to the tune of ” Britons never will be slaves.” Thirty-six lashes.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1834, September 15). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 1 (Supplement to the Sydney Herald.). Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12850439

 

BAKER, Dinah and DIXON, Ann

Dancing in tavern, 1840 Hobart

Ann Dixon and Dinah Baker, two ticket-of-leave ladies, were charged by Constable Adams with dancing in Mr. Walton’s tavern last evening; fourteen days in a cell on bread and water.

Domestic Intelligence. (1840, 24 April 1840). Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 – 1843), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31728125

 

BALL, Horden and Parr

Dancing seraband to mouth organ,  1833 Sydney

THURSDAY.-William Ball, William Horden, and Arthur Parr, three of the Sydney swell mob, . were placed at the bar, to clear themselves of the charge of vagabondism, which was made against them, they having been picked up in the street late overnight, dancing a seraband to music pulled out of a mouth organ. It appeared, that the prisoners were part of a gang of eight, who pig together in a wretched hovel, behind the market-place, from which they make nightly sorties on expeditions, that may be guessed at. There being no positive proof of any offence against them, anti they stoutly maintaining they were engaged on board ship, the Bench discharged them, with an order to the charleys to keep a bright eye upon them.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, June 10). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2 (Supplement to the Sydney Herald.). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12846998

 

BOYLE, Catharine

Fuddling, fiddling, dancing and capering. 1827 Sydney

Wednesday.—Thos. Fellowes, prisoner, Catharine Boyle, free, and a ticket-of-leave man, whose name bears some affinity to leeks or garlick, were found by that gallant champion of the baton, Fitzpatrick, in what he said was a disorderly house; and it appeared also that the parties had been therein fuddling, fiddling, and dancing at the hour of 12 last night.

Kitty’s eloquent chops, in answer to some questions put by the Bench, were instantly in motion. She stated that her owld man was ill at home, and had been so for a considerable time back ; that she had just come down the country with another man (heaven forbid that we should report him to be a fancy man, although there were some significant looks in the Court) and that she went in pursuit of Ned Tutty, and landed in the aforesaid house quite without her knowledge at all at all.

Mr. Hely advised Kate to go home and attend to her sick husband, sentenced the Sydney Orpheus who kept the people capering at their midnight orgies to 5 days solitary confinement on bread and water, and Fellowes to the treadmill,

Police Reports. (1827, February 24). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), , p. 3. Retrieved August 10, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2187733

 

BUCKLEY, James

Fiddling and dancing, on the night of Good Friday

James Buckley appeared by summons to answer the complaint of constable Brown, for fiddling and dancing, on the night of Good Friday. Reprimanded and discharged.

Police Reports. (1827, April 25). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2188106

 

BURN, Sarah

Dancing a reel, 1835 Hobart

Monday, 2 November

Sarah Burn was charged with having helped herself to a bottle too much. She had been entrusted in her master’s cellar to get some wine; shortly after she was found dancing a reel in the kitchen, her merry mood led to an enquiry and search, and in her bed room was found two bottles of her master’s wine. The discovery altered her step, and she was danced to durance vile until Saturday.

“Durance vile” is an archaic term for imprisonment or confinement.

Hobart Town Police Report. (1835, 10 November 1835). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8648691

 

CAINS, Margaret

Irish fling, 1832 Sydney

Margaret Cains, exhibiting the Irish fling at soirée, to the great delight of a numerous assembly, who were shouting ” Go it Mog, you’r the girl for bewitching them; hurrah, ould Ireland for ever, &c.” when the Charleys, who were attracted by the hubbub, introduced themselves, and the unfortunate Margaret was conveyed to the watchhouse. She now appeared to treat the case as a trifle, and was greatly astonished on being ordered for a month to Mrs. Gordon’s dancing academy.

*Mrs Gordon’s dancing academy refers to Mrs Gordon, the matron of the Female Factory in Parramatta.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, August 2). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12844964

 

COCHRONE, Caroline

Encouraging fiddling and dancing, 1825 Sydney

AUGUST 20.  Caroline Cochrone or Marton, free, charged with keeping a disorderly house, open for the reception of loose character at unseasonable hours, and with encouraging fiddling and dancing therein, was brought up, and fully committed for trial.

POLICE REPORT. (1825, August 25). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2184378

 

CONSTABLES

Dancing reels, 1836 Sydney

THE SYDNEY STREETS.

A few more constables’ stations on the South Head Road would not be amiss; they should also be scattered, not lounging in groups, or dancing reels; the result of such conduct is, that persons are robbed, though the South Head Road be comparatively free from robbers, with impunity, without a chance of being protected by the very men placed there for that purpose.

THE SYDNEY STREETS. (1836, April 16). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2203803

 

CONVICT women

Dancing in the tap room, 1850-54 Hobart

Court records in Hobart for 1850-54 give some insights into the master-servant relationship.  They are full of charges against the convict women:  ‘going into a brothel with a man’; ‘not proceeding to be married’;…taking the master’s child to a pub;…dancing in the taproom;…not in the proper care of her husband.

Daniels, K. (1998). Convict women. St. Leonards, N.S.W: Allen & Unwin. p. 87

 

COUST, HACKETT, and BIGGS

Glee singing and dancing round constable

Thomas Coust, Thomas Hackett, and Willam Biggs, a trio of the most amiable description, were charged with glee singing in George-street.

” A boat a boat and to the ferry, For we’ll go over to be merry,

To laugh and quiff and drink old sherry.”

A constable amazed at this course of proceeding, stepped up and wished to know what they were at, when they joined hands and danced in a circle round him; irritated at this, he surrounded them, as Pal would say, and conveyed them to the lock-up ; they now looked in each other’s face with amazement and appeared astonished at their vagaries. The usual question touching the pecuniary having been put and answered in the negative with a melancholy shake of the, they to the Stocks took their lonely way, there to repose and enjoy the healthful breezes and glorious sunshine for one hour each.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1837, April 11). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2210369

 

CROWD dancing

Shuffling and shaking their dirty duds in street, 1834 Hobart

POLICE REPORT.

The following police report of a case which was tried at the Mansion-house in October last, will serve to amuse the reader, and as an example to the justiciary in this island, of the practice pursued in similar cases at that great fount of police perfection, before one of the first and most successful chief magistrates of the city (Sir Peter Laurie) who has yet sat upon that bench:–

William Bonteflein and John Clarke, the one a violin player, the other a horn blower, were charged under the following circumstances:–

A police officer stated that as he was walking in Moorfields, the defendants, who were accompanied by two other musicians, a bass violincello player and a flute player, stopped to perform. The moment they struck up a crowd collected, and two Irish labourers, who were half drunk, kicked off their brogues and began to dance. The dancing caused a greater crowd, and at length the street was completely blocked up. The witness thinking it would be less dangerous to attempt to check the nuisance by expelling the musicians than by interfering with the Irishmen, requested that the former would shift their quarter, or, at least, play some slow tune that would not be so likely to innoculate people’s heels. This request, however, seemed to inspire the sons of Orpheus with greater spirit and energy, and they scraped and blew in such a manner that the whole crowd, men, women arid children, set to

“Shuffling and shaking their dirty duds”.

As the horn blower made the most noise the policemen went up to expostulate with him seriously, but, instead of making any impression upon him of the right kind, received such a salute to convinced him that there were more ways than one of sounding the horn. On receiving the blow he, of course; laid hold of his assailant, and both defendants fell upon him and tore his coat. The music, thereupon, suddenly stopped, and the Irishmen danced off to the next public house.

The Lord Mayor –Did they positively cause an obstruction? for if they did not you were wrong in preventing them from playing, as it is their way of getting bread and keeping themselves from the lazy ignominy of a poor house.

The officer said the obstruction caused by the Irishmen, who certainly would not have danced but for the music, was very great. Nobody could pass without getting a kick on, the shins at least, or perhaps in the face; they capered so high — (laughter).

The Lord Mayor–Well, defendants, what have you to say to this? I have not the slightest objection to your trade, but I can’t allow you to obstruct or to beat my officer.

The horn blower declared that the officer assaulted him first, and assured the Lord Mayor that there was no obstruction caused. It was true the people began to dance, but that he considered to be a good effect of his music, which never failed to enliven and invigorate even those who had hungry bellies. He had travelled through France and was convinced that music made all the difference between that lively people and stupid John Bull? (laughter).

The Lord Mayor–How long have you been street musicians?

The Horn blowers — Ten years my Lord, but we pick up very little. Although we are able to make a crowd shake their heels till they oil the ground, we can very seldom shake anything out of their pockets? (laughter).

The Lord Mayor — You must get this officer’s coat mended.

The Horn blower — I offered to mend it my- self but he wouldn’t consent, and I think his object was to get the very thing he refused to let us earn out of us — money.

The officer declared that he could not take money from an itinerant musician, who. in his opinion, was very little above a ballad singer or a beggar man.

The Horn blower — That’s because you have no ear for music. I’ve blown men into a good humour, but whatever way you give him the horn, it doesn’t signify, he’s dissatisfied — (laughter).

The Lord Mayor, finding that the officer thought nothing of the awkward manner in which he was made to contribute to the sound of the horn, desired the defendants to get the man’s coat mended in a proper manner, and discharged them.

POLICE REPORT. (1834, May 2). The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 – 1839), p. 4. Retrieved January 21, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4185340

 

DANCE at The Midas public house

1827 Sydney

Correspondent sends us the following sketch of High Life below Stairs.

“Mine host of ‘The Midas’ on the Parramatta Road, erected the standard of mirth, the rallying post of gaiety, within his hospitable walls on – Tuesday sen’night. He had patriot blood within his veins; a day of note approached,

“The great, the important day, Big with the fate of  hundreds of expatriated Britons, and he celebrated it with a wide diffusion of the rites of hospitality.  About the hour when “The Curfew tolls,” the votaries of Comus ranked round the aforementioned standard, and they, were many – a revel without a dance would have been like a dinner without a pudding, and a dance without the women,. “dear craters,” would have been ten times worse, and so the boisterous manners of the one sex, were harmonised by ‘the winning softness of the other – there were beaux with their belles, and beaux without them, and the latter envied doubtless their more happy neighbours.

*Comus, a character inspired by the Greek god of revelry

[celebrating the ascension of King George IV , 1820?  Difficult to ascertain the source of celebration.]

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE. (1827, February 3). The Monitor (Sydney, NSW : 1826 – 1828), p. 2. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31758184

 

DANCING in house of ill-fame

1823 Sydney

On Tuesday last the Police was occupied for a considerable time in consequence of sixteen low and disorderly persons, of both sexes, having been apprehended the preceding night; at a house of ill-fame in O’Connell-street, by the Assistant Superintendent of Police and a party of constables, and brought up for examination.

It appeared that the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr. Middleton, accompanied by constables, had surrounded the house, where they heard music and dancing, outcries and confusion, at the hour of 11 at night, and demanded admittance, which was refused; there they waited till 2 o’clock before the doors were opened, and that, during the time they waited, they heard dreadful threats and imprecations denounced against the Police by some of the company within; and when the Peace Officers got admittance they found the house in a state of darkness, the lights having been blown out, and the wretched group in various parts of the house in a most disgraceful state, and presenting a scene of the most shocking depravity. After some feeble resistance they were at length secured, and lodged in the watch-house.

John Turner, as the master of the house, was convicted under the Police Regulations as a rogue and vagabond, and keeping a loose and disorderly house, and sentenced to be confined to hard labour, in the house of correction (the county goal) for 3 calender [sic] months. His visitors, consisting of 3 free men, were in like manner convicted and sentenced; under the Police Regulations, to 28 days hard labour in the house of correction; one man James Kelly, holding a ticket of leave, together with seven others, prisoners of the crown, were sentenced, Kelly to have his ticket of leave cancelled, and with the rest, to be sent to Emu Plains, there to work in the goal gang for the term of 3 calender months; and the four women, all common and notorious prostitutes, were sent to the, factory, under the Police Regulations, for 28 days. This salutary measure, following the conviction of such a disgraceful party, will, it be hoped, operate to prevent a repetition of such gross and disgraceful outrages.

MAGISTRATE FOR THE WEEK, E. WOLLSTONECRAFT, Esq. (1823, 12 June 1823). Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2181944

 

DANCING master strikes pupil

1832 Sydney

A man applied at the Police Office, on Monday, for a summons against a dancing master, who had struck his toes violently with his fiddlestick, because they had not a sufficiently angular inclination, hothe applicant-had no idea of such treatment, as he was severely troubled with corns. The Bench dismissed him with a hint at the old adage, ” if you play at bowls, you must take rubbers.”

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE. (1832, July 5). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842),  p. 2. Retrieved August 10, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12844822

 

DAVIDSON, Josiah and KENN, John

Ordered to cut capers, 1833 Sydney

Josiah Davidson and John Kenn, from absenting themselves from their master’s house, and philandering it in the Domain with a couple of Rovers, was ordered to cut a few capers for three days at Murray’s dancing academy.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, July 11). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847243

 

DENHAM, Thomas

Dancing in a public house, 1840 Hobart

Thomas Denham, holding a ticket-of-leave, was charged by constable Martin with misconduct, in being in Mr. Walton’s  public-house, dancing with a favorite lady. His ‘ticket-of-leave was suspended, and he was sent to hard labour on the roads for six months.

Hobart Town Police Report. (1840, 14 April 1840). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8750654

 

DISORDERLY dancing house

1832 Sydney

Rex versus Powell.- The defendant, who is proprietor of one of those public pests, and enemies to all good order, disorderly dancing houses, appeared to plead to an information-charging him with harbouring on the 12th tilt, one Henry Tate, a prisoner assigned to Mr Steel ; the said prisoner being at the time absent after the prescribed hours, without the consent of his master. The defendant acknowledged himself guilty, and was sentenced to pay a fine of twenty-six dollars, together with the costs of the proceedings.

Police Report. (1832, 14 January 1832). Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2204471

 

DISORDERLY house fined for unlicensed dancing

1843 Hobart

Temperance Coffee House. — An information was recently laid against a man named Miller, the keeper of a disorderly house in St. John-street, which having been known formerly by the above name, continues to retain it. We feel it almost unnecessary to inform the public that the house in question has no claim to such title, unless it be part and parcel of the leasehold.

We are glad to see the attention of the police directed to its proceedings, and hope they may be successful in suppressing it. Mr. Stoneham of the Temperance Coffee House, in Patterson-street, complains that the police report in the Chronicle has been misunderstood by many as. applying to his house and requests us to remove the impression. Miller was convicted, under the New Act for regulating public entertainments, and fined £50, for allowing dancing, &c., without a license. The Sydney Teetotaller Baye, and we think with truth, that ‘the Launceston Teetotallers are more active and determined in carrying out their principles than those of any other place in the Southern Hemisphere.’

 Temperance Coffee House (1843, 23 January 1843). Launceston Courier (Tas. : 1840 – 1843), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article84674385

DISORDERLY public houses (a response to the above report)

1840 Hobart

PUBLIC HOUSES.-Neither of the houses referred to under this head in our last is that kept by Mr. Millar, which, we learn, is one of tire best conducted in town, The one we meant is a low haunt in the neighbourhood, where a system of dancing is kept up, and where what is not already depraved must become vitiated by contamination

PUBLIC-HOUSES. -There are now two hundred and twenty-three applications for publicans’ general licenses posted at the Police-office. The number of public-houses in flourishing trade, in a town containing less than twenty-five thousand inhabitants, shows that there is ample scope for the exertions of the Temperance Society in Sydney. The magistrates should be very careful in examining into the character of the applicants, so that licenses should not be granted to disreputable persons, or those who have heretofore kept disorderly houses.

PETTY SESSIONS.-The petty sessions stand postponed till Monday next, in order to give publicity to the names of the applicants for publican’s licenses, a list of whom may be seen at the Police-office. The reason for so doing is that the public at large may have an opportunity of inspecting the names of those so applying, to enable them, if they know aught against the character of any individual on the list, to communicate it at once to the magistrates.

Domestic Intelligence. (1840, 24 April 1840). Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 – 1843), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31728125

 

DISORDERLY houses defined

[In London] Sailors sometimes tore down bawdy houses because they were so regularly fleeced and cheated in them.

Any house having a room for music, dancing, drinking or public entertainment, which was not licensed for that purpose, would be deemed a disorderly house.

Norton, R. (2012). The Georgian Underworld: A Study of Criminal Subcultures in Eighteenth-Century England Retrieved from http://www.rictornorton.co.uk/gu04.htm

 

DIXON, Ann and BAKER, Dinah

Dancing in tavern, 1840 Hobart

Ann Dixon and Dinah Baker, two ticket-of-leave ladies, were charged by Constable Adams with dancing in Mr. Walton’s tavern last evening; fourteen days in a cell on bread and water.

Domestic Intelligence. (1840, 24 April 1840). Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 – 1843), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31728125

 

DODMAN dancing to pipe and tabor

1837 Sydney

On Sunday a woman named Bridget Quigley was given into the custody of the Police, on a charge of cutting and maiming, under the following circumstances; -A Mrs Dedman, who resides next door to Mrs. Q. in Pitt-street, upon coming home from church, was startled at hearing the sound of pipe and tabor, and dancing in her neighbour’s house. She observed it was scandalous such a circumstance should occur upon the Sabbath ; on hearing which, Mrs. Q. rushed up the steps of Mrs. D.’s house, and struck her two or three times; Mrs. Dodman pushed her away, upon which Mrs. Quigley went into her house and brought out a dinner knife, with which she struck at the face of Mrs. D. several times ; the blows were warded off, but in so doing Mrs. D. received a severe wound in the right arm.

SHIP NEWS. (1837, February 16). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2209416

 

DUGGAN, Johannah and O’BRIEN, Mary

Going to a hop 1837 Sydney

Johannah Duggan and Mary O’Brien were jointly charged with absconding from their service to which they had been assigned the enormous time of a week. They were taken into custody on the Race Course, and were evidently going to a hop, a bundle being found with them containing sundry fancy dresses well adapted for that purpose, together with pumps, silk stockings, and caps of a cut and ornament not to be sneezed at, so that it was clear to trip it on the light fantastic toe, was the object, and that alone. The only defence they attempted to offer, was looking with a vacant stare into each others face. The Bench cut the matter short by sending each to the Factory for two months.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1837, May 25). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2211061

 

EMANUEL, Elizabeth

Dancing a pas seul, 1833 Sydney

THURSDAY–Elizabeth Emanuel advanced trippingly to the bar, charged with the following dereliction of duty which she owed to her lord and master. The day before she went out early in the morning, and having become “hard-a-weather and she cracks,” put all fear of the Police in her pocket, and proceeding to the Police Office Yard gave a war whoop, and sprung on the centre of the green and commenced dancing a pas seul ; the charleys horrified at this sacrilege committed on the sunctum sanctorum, called on her to desist, instead of which she redoubled her evolutions ; finding their author-ity thus set at defiance, two of them thought to hand her into the Watch-house, but they had reckoned without their host, for no sooner had they approached within arms length, than they found themselves sprawling on their backs, they again made a similar attempt and again bit the dust ; the whole corps was now put into requisition, and after a good deal of hard fighting she was secured neck and heels and carried off. She now snivelled and looked prim, but the Bench gave her, and her spouse to understand, that a short visit to the third class would most certainly be her doom. “Oh, Oh ! pray don’t ” said John-

” For I prefer the least ringlet that curls,

“Down her beautiful neck, to the thrones of the world.”

The Bench however from her repeated tricks of a similar description, turned a deaf ear to the melody of John, and sent her to give Mrs. Gordon a step for two months. Mrs. Elizabeth on this, attempted to become bouncible, but was again borne off in funeral procession.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, June 24). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847090

 

ERSKINE, Harriet

Dancing Highland fling 1833 Sydney

Harriet Erskine, a very how came you so sort of a lady, was charged with kicking up a rare shindy in her master’s house on Sunday, boxing her fellow servant’s ears, pulling the pot off the fire, and clapping it on her head, danced the Highland fling, shouting and singing most discordantly, in contravention of the act in that case made and provided. Harriet had but little to say for herself, and that little availed not, for she was sent to the academy for a month.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, June 20). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847070

 

FAY, Mary

Waltzing, 1832 Sydney

TUESDAY.-Mary Fay, a tol-lol, so-so body, was placed, kicking and struggling at the’ bar of the Court, on a charge of visiting the Sydney St. Giles’s, whenever opportunity presented itself, and on the previous night was diskivered, as the constable said, waltzing and showing off with a fal-la-lal, lal-lal-lal-la, and no mistake, your Worship, but of all the rumbustious customers I ever met vid, this is the crowner.

Mary.-I’ll crown ye, you rapscallion; och, murthei, sure, you don’t credit the wiitin.

The Bench not only credited the statement, but gave her a bill on Mrs. Gordon at six weeks date.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, November 15). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12845741

 

FIGHTING and hornpipe

1832 Parramatta

Supreme Court

FRIDAY. AUGUST 17. [except]

(Before Mr. Justice STEPHEN.) William Jaques, Hugh Taylor, Joseph Rookin, Charles Blakefield, James Hashman, and Thomas Barrett, were indicted, William Jaques as principal, and the other prisoners as accessories, for the feloniously killing and slaying one John Stone, at Parramatta, on the 14th of May last.

I cannot saw how long the fight lasted, or how many rounds there were; they fought a good while

Stone was knocked down several times during the fight I saw a person having the appearance of a gentleman, whom the people said was time-keeper ; the prisoner, Rookin, is like the gentleman whom the people said was time-keeper ; I can’t swear he was time-keeper ; I only heard the people say so ; there were seconds-men who picked up the combatants as they fell ; Tom Corduroy was one ; the prisoner, Barrett, is the man I call Tom Corduroy ; I have heard that is his name, I have heard him called Tom Corduroy, and Tom the Brewer ; he acted as second to Jaques ; I don’t know him by the name of Barrett, but there he stands at the bar alongside Jem Hashman ; a man who went by the name of Bumble at the fight acted as second to Stone ; he is not here ; a few rounds before the fight ended, two gentlemen in a gig, whom I heard the people say were umpires, said that Stone fell without a blow, and the fight was ended ; I was at the other side of the ring, and I heard a heavy fall ; I then went over and saw Bumble supporting Stone on his knee, and his head was loose on his neck (!) ; I saw Bumble picking up Stone ; before the fight really ended, the umpires gave it in favour of the native, as Stone fell without a blow ; then there was a great argument ; Stone said he was not half beat, that he could dance a hornpipe ; Tom Corduroy said that the money was won by Jaques, and so did the prisoner, Blakefield ; after Stone said he was not beaten, and that he could dance a hornpipe, he came up to his man in a fighting attitude, and they fought a few rounds more before I beard the heavy fall which I have already described ; there was no more fighting after that ; I never hoard Stone speak again ; he did not appear to be much beaten ; Jaques appeared to be more punished than he ; when they found that Stone was senseless, the greater number of persons went away to the public house; a few people remained and tried to recover him by slapping his hands and throwing water on his face ; I then took him on my back and carried him to the huts of the party he belonged to ; he was alive then, but quite speechless; he died about daylight next

The jury found the prisoners not guilty.

Supreme Court. (1832, August 18). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2208117

 

Fisher, Elizabeth & Matthew; Murrary, Hamilton; a black fiddler

Dancing a reel on the King’s Wharf

Thursday.-EIizabeth Fisher, Matthew Fisher, and Hamilton Murray, belonging to the Waterloo, were charged with dancing a reel on the King’s Wharf, at the hour of eleven overnight, to the music of a black fiddler*, who, seated on an anchor stock, most manfully scraped away, all parties being at that time in a very happy state of forget-fulness. On the charleys making their appearance, the three prisioners made some demur to their sports being interuptcd, which caused them to be marched off to the Watch-house ; the black fiddler being too good a judge to be caught in that man-ner, bolted, pulling out of his instrument as he went ” Off she goes.” Elizabeth and Matthew were discharged, as their faces were new to the Bench ; Hamilton, was under the necessity of handing out the rhino, to prevent an exhibition of his ancles.

*possibly John Randall

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, September 2). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847612

 

FITZGERALD, Mary

Dancing to St Patricks day in the morning, 1832 Sydney

Sentenced three months third class factory Mary Fitzgerald for leaving her employ without leave, and being picked up in a bad house in George-street, in company with a blind fiddler, and two sailors who were tripping on the light fantastic toe, to the dulcet strains of ” St. Patrick’s day in the morning” performed by our Botany Paganini* on two strings, was sentenced six weeks to the third Class of the Factory. The Bench informed the prisoner, whose circle of acquaintance extended over the rocks, that a recommendation would-be forwarded, that she should be assigned in Sydney no more.

*The Botany Bay Paganini was the blind fiddler, Joe Love.

Domestic Intelligence. (1832, May 2). The Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 – 1838), p. 3 (AFTERNOON). Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32077505

 

GAOL breakers tripping it on the light fantastic toe

1828 Sydney

Next day it happened that the nimble pair … were trapped whilst carousing and tripping it “on the light fantastic toe,” in a house of no creditable character, situated in an obscure part of “the Rocks”.

GAOL-BREAKING. (1828, February 13). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37073324

 

GILES, Jonas

Twirling round in the soft mazes of the waltz, 1833 Sydney

Jonas Giles arrayed in a very poetical suit of black, and his whiskers which were very luxuriant, trimmed nicely and scientifically to a point, lounged to the bar to show cause why he, the said Jonas Giles, had cut his stick from his master’s domicile three days previous, and why he should have been found doing the amiable to a little hit of womanhood, whom he was found twirling round in the soft mazes of the waltz, apparently forgetful of every thing but his charmer, until the ruthless hand of the trap awoke him from his reverie, and made him alive to the horrors of his situation; in consideration, of his character being tol lol, he was ordered to cut capers on Bell’s spring board for fourteen days.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, August 22). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847531

 

GOODBERRY, Sarah

Tastefully dressed for a hop, 1832 Sydney

Sarah Goodberry, tastefully dressed for a hop, was placed at the bar all tears, having been defeated in her intention of paying a visit to a select party to which she had been invited, in the neighbourhood of the Rocks; when the constable took her into custody, she kicked in a manner completely assinine, and reduced the shins of the guardian of the peace to a jelly, she now tried all the arguments which females know so well how to bring to their aid, but the Bench sent her to the Factory for 1 mo. 3 C.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, July 30). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 1 (Supplement to the Sydney Herald.). Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28654109

 

HATHAWAY, John and Hannah

Dancing & fiddle playing, 1825 Sydney

MAY 20.— John Hathaway and Hannah, his wife, both holding tickets of leave, stood at the bar to answer to a charge made against them by three of the Sydney constables, for obstructing, resisting, and assaulting them in the execution of their duty. Mr. Solicitor Allen attended for the parties charged, and displayed a considerable share of legal ability and discriminative judgment in conducting the defence. It appeared that the constables had entered a private house in Sydney, between the hours of 8 and 9, having heard dancing, singing, and a fiddle playing therein, and that on their entering the house, a violent scuffle ensued, producing a reciprocity of hostilities, confusion, and disorder, in the course of which the male prisoner was severely cut, and his wife, in attempting to rescue her husband, received some personal injury. After the evidence of the three constables had been taken, witnesses were called to support the charge and, as Mr. Allen stated, would shew that the constables had been the aggressors. Four were examined, whose depositions certainly went to the confirmation of Mr. Allen’s statement. The case occupied the attention of the Bench for a considerable time. The characters of the parties accused were found to be reputable, and the result was that they were discharged. The Magistrates, however, took occasion to observe to the constables, that they had in this instance exceeded their duty (to say the least of it), and gave them to understand, that any outrage of that nature, in which they might hereafter be implicated, would subject them to the visitations justly due to any violation of the public peace, which they were bound as well to protect as to preserve.

POLICE REPORT. (1825, May 26). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2184072

 

HICKS

A highland reel naked, 1834 Sydney

A woman, by the name of Hicks, was taken in charge on Monday night, for dancing a highland reel in the public streets, in a state of nudity. She was taken to the police office, and sentenced to pay £5, and in default of payment, to be confined in the Sydney Gaol for 2 calendar months.

“ACCIDENTS, OFFENCES, &c.” The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842) 6 Mar 1834: 3. Web. 3 May 2013 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12848812>.

 

HILL, Mic

Sent to trip the light fantastic, 1833 Sydney

Mic Hill, a lad who would have money, he’d get honestly if he could, but he gave his master plumply to understand, without any circumlocution, that he  would at all events get it, and he therefore advised his master to tip up without delay. ” Come old shaver,” said Mic, “rout out your money bags.” Instead of which his master routed out a constable, and sent him to the P. O., and the Bench sent him to trip it on the light fantastic toe at Murray’s dancing rooms*.

*The Treadmill

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, February 25). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12846298

 

HOP Shops on the Rocks

Jeremiah Byrne, musician for two-penny hops

Jeremiah Byrne, an itinerant, who is in the habit of spliting the ears of the groundlings at the two-penny hop shops on the rocks, was placed at the bar, having been taken out of one of those public nuisances at a very late hour of the night. A man named Brown to whom he is assigned, denied that he had his permission to be absent from home, and the Bench accordingly called upon him to know what he had to say for himself, ” Why may it it please your Worship” said, Jeremiah Byrne, “I’m a musicianer, and I plays on the flageolet, I can play, ‘Bobbing Joan’, ‘Darby Kelly’, ‘Paddy Ward’s pig,’ or ‘Judy Callaghan’ with any musicianer in the country;” and thereupon Jeremiah Byrne placed his flageolet to his mouth, and struck up a tune that had well nigh inflicted the Cholera Morbus on all present. “Do you call that playing?” exclaimed the constable at his elbow, snatch-ing the instrument, ” I’ll show you how to play you imposter. What will your Honor please to have?” His Honor however, being perfectly satisfied with the piper’s specimen, declined hearing the indignant constable’s variations, and ordered Jeremiah Byrne, as he must be pretty well tired of piping, to dance for the next seven days.

Police Report. (1832, December 6). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2209764

 

HOWELL, John

Sent to trip-it on the light fantastic toe, 1832 Sydney

MONDAY.-John Howell was pulled up to the bar on a charge of being a bolter from Argyleshire, and drunk the previous evening, at which time he was attempting to delude a lady of the Pavé, with “Will you come to the bower that I’ve shaded for you – when a-Charley politely intimated that his company was required at the watch-house, ” don’t you wish you may get it,” said John, offering to show fight ; come, come, said Charley, follow me, and John did follow, thinking it would be better for him; John was sent to trip-it on the light fantastic toe for seven days

* Lady of the Pavé = lady of the street

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, March 19). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 4. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28654083

 

HUNT, Sarah

A motley crowd at fancy ball 1839 Sydney

 FANCY BALLS.-Mrs Sarah Hunt appeared on Friday last, to answer the information of the Chief Constable for selling one gill of rum, without being duly licensed, contrary to the Act &c., on the third day of January instant, to which she pleaded not guilty. It appeared that on the morning of the day named.in the information, -between the-very seasonable hour of three and four o’clock. Constable’ Brooks went disguised as a- gentleman, with frock coat and .corresponding costume, to a loft-in the rear of a house at-the corner of – and Elizabeth-streets, where there was a fancy ball held, not for the purpose of mingling with the motley crowd (who were tripping it on the” light fantastic toe”) at the said ball up tile ladder, but to regale himself and a brother of the staff with a ball below, and where the worth) Mrs Hunt was dispensing bacchanalian favors in the shape of pot of ” heavy wet,” and half pints of lighter cordials to the mirthful revellers with untiring zeal-and smiling complacency. ” A gill of rum, if you please ma’am ?” – Oh certainly, Sir, but ” no tick;” you understand me?” Oh! certainly, ma’am.” Tile money was paid, the liquor swallowed. and the law broken. Mrs Hunt flatly contradicted .the statement of the constable in every particular, and protested they had most shamefully foresworn themselves but unhappily, this excellent matron produced no evidence to shake their testimony. Sentenced to pay a fine of £30, one half to the informer, and the other to be appropriated as the law directs, with 40s. costs; and-in default of payment within seven days, to be imprisoned for the period two calendar months.

Police News. (1839, January 21). The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (NSW : 1838 – 1841), p. 2 (MORNING). Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32162623

 

IRISH dancing master

Convicted 1829 Sydney

An Irish dancing-master, carrying on his profession in Kent-street, was, on Thursday last, sent to the tread-mill for ten days for getting drunk, and keeping a disorderly house.

 

“Fibs and Facts.” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842) 8 Aug 1829: 2. Web. 18 Jul 2013 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2193109>.

 

JACKSON, Ellen

Dancing, sent to Parramatta Almacks, 1832 Sydney

Ellen Jackson was charged with being found a few hours before as merry as a crow in a gutter, in a house in Kent-street, dancing, singing, eating, and drinking, and all that sort of thing, to the no small scandal of the charley who captured her, who utterly deprecated such proceedings.

Charley,  “Your Worship, such doings are scandalous and immoral; time it was put a stop to; dancing and a fiddle ; jorums of punch, oh dear.”

The Bench, ” As Ellen could not account for these nightly orgies, ordered that should spend the ensuing month at the Parramatta Almacks*.”

*Almacks was the most fashionable dancing venue in London. Parramatta Almacks was a satirical reference to the Parramatta Female Factory.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, November 8). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12845675

 

JACKSON, Mary

Dancing near the theatre

Mary Jackson, one of the stamp from whose phiz a vast deal of intelligence might be gathered, stood charged with disturbing the vicinity of the theatre the other night by shouting, laughing, dancing, &c., and when called upon to refrain from such exercises, by giving the conservator of the public peace clearly to understand and be informed that she, Mary Jackson, who was up to a thing or two, was not to be had upon such terms, her innocent amusements were not to be curtailed by any Jack in office, he had better therefore, if he had any respect for himself, stand on one side, and leave her to her amusements. As she still continued kicking up n row, she was  immediately shopped.

Bench-Were you drunk ?

Mary-Arrah now aasy jewel, aisy, is it drunk you would be after asking me. Why sure now I was only mellow.

Bench-Then you must pay five shillings.

Mary -Divil a tinpenny have I, my honey.

Bench -Stocks one hour.

Mary (to the constable)- Och then bad lack to ye, ye spalpeen. Here Mary put herself into attitude for a regular jawing match, which being perceived, she was ordered to march to the stocks instantor, for fear she should commit herself, and thereby obtain something additional.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1837, May 13). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2210882 additional.

 

JOHNSTONE, Ann

Practising the Highland fling in George-street, 1837 Sydney

Ann Johnstone, a good-looking, rosy cheeked dame, who came smiling to the scratch before their worships, was charged with practising the Highland fling in George-street, and whooping in true Gallic, at the witching hour.

Bench–”You must pay five shillings to the poor.”

Ann–” I cry you mercy, fair sir ; ’tis quite impossible.”

Bench–” Stocks one hour.”

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1837, February 4). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2209175

 

KENN, John and DAVIDSON, Josiah

Ordered to cut capers, 1833 Sydney

Josiah Davidson and John Kenn, from absenting themselves from their master’s house, and philandering it in the Domain with a couple of Rovers, was ordered to cut a few capers for three days at Murray’s dancing academy.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, July 11). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847243

 

KINGSHAWS

Dancing at convict wedding 1826 Sydney

Kingshaw v. Wife Jane — This was a case of matrimonial strife, and unhappily one in its leading features not at all unfrequent in this country. Defendant is a currency lass. Fifteen moons have filled their “horns” since she and the confiding, deserted, forgiving, disconsolate, “stronger vessel” had joined their mutual hands, and apparently hearts, at the altar, whence many a pair had before sailed on their matrimonial cruise, some still favored by the prospering breezes of love, duty, and affection, whilst others had their course retarded amongst the shallows of strife and bickering, and all their dearest hopes, wrecked by the gales of adversity. Only a few short months previously and their wedding feast had been celebrated by dancing and drinking, and eating and singing, but now how changed — the three last months had glided away in somewhat of a less cat and dog-like, nature, but before the sixteenth moon from the time of their nuptials could shew her ruddy face, “or e’er those shoes were green,” the fair or frail one packed up all the worldly goods with which her partner had endowed her, and also a part and parcel of other articles, to wit, some “marvellously foul linen,” which were entrusted to her for the purpose of being fairly rid of their very foul incumbrances. She trudged it away right merrily to Sydney, leaving her unsuspecting rib to put up with his fate, as re-resignedly as his temperament would admit, and engaged as a fille de chambre. The yet loving spouse, by some natural instinct, scented her place of concealment: What will not love effect? He procured a simple warrant for her apprehension; despite of this, she continued housed, for a few weeks longer, but un-luckily being once seen, and that once too often, was apprehended, sent to gaol, and, to “sum up this sad eventful story,” brought before their worships for disposal. Plaintiff was resolute in a desire of having his wife returned to her home, but the obstinate frail one was as resolute in keeping aloof, and preferred the idea of becoming an inmate of the Factory’s drear halls, rather than returning to partake of matrimonial comforts. Here the case rests for the present, defendant being ordered to be remanded; an opportunity of altering her re-solution being thus afforded her.

“POLICE INCIDENTS.” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848) 30 August 1826: 3. Web. 10 Aug 2016 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37072080>.

 

LACEY, Timothy and Mr NASH

Footing it at a hop 1826 Parramatta

Monday last, it seems, was a choice day of fun and variety to the Parramatta folks. In the first place six women eloped, some time in the evening of that day, from the Factory. Mr. Nash’s winning horse Junius took a stroll through the town decked out with blue ribbons and otherwise most “gorgeously apparalled;” and Mr. Nash himself gave a “hop” and supper to many friends which. were kept up unremittingly to a late hour that night. A native youth named Timothy Lacey, who had been confined in Parramatta Gaol for selling spirits without a license, and who, it was intended, should remain there for a term of three months, hearing of the route, and that a certain currency lass, to whom he had but lately been paying his devoirs, was footing it away on the ” light fantastic toe,” broke from his coujineuienr,~ made his unexpected appearance among the merry party, as merry as the best of them, and after dancing away until midnight, returned again to his solitary confinement, before the constables who went in quest of him, armed with blunderbuss, pistols and cutlass, could reach the prison house.

No title (1826, June 24). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 3. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37074780

 

LAMBERT, Ann

Irish Jig, 1834 Sydney

Ann Lambert, assigned to Mrs. Hely, made her appearance at the bar for about the twentieth time on a charge, viz. being fond of roaming without leave having been obtained.  She was taken out of a house in Goulburn-street, at ten o’clock on Tuesday evening, by a trap, while in the act of dancing an Irish jig. To affect a change in her roaming prowess, Ann was sent to the third class of the Factory at Parramatta, to ruminate for 3 months.

Police Incidents. (1834, October 17). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 3. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42005131

 

LEARY, John

Dancing in a public house 1840 Hobart

Tuesday May 5, 1840

John Leary, holding a ticket-of-leave, for misconduct in a public-house, singing and dancing, was sent to the cells for fourteen days on bread and water.

Hobart Town Police Report. (1840, May 12). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 7. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8750711

 

LINDSAY, Eleanor

Shuffling the brogue 1826 Sydney

Eleanor Lindsay, appeared to a summons taken out by a Mr. Pashley, on Wednesday last, for keeping a disorderly house. A legal objection which was started on behalf of the defendant, contended that the present charge was brought under the 25 Geo. 2d. chap. 36, which rendered it necessary that certain forms should be gone through before a party could be put upon trial; these forms not having been observed — the present information must fail. The case was dismissed.

The defendant was again detained on another information, for selling spirituous liquors without a licence. Chapman a Constable, deposed, that at the hour of twelve o’clock at night, on Saturday last, he saw twelve persons of both sexes, congregated in the defendant’s house; some of them were seated, whilst others, kept “shuffling the brogue,” to the humming drone of a bag-pipe; there were moreover to be seen glasses of all dimensions, with liquids suited to many tastes, spirits, wine, and that refreshing beverage ginger beer. Campbell, another constable, had witnessed the same sights. —Rochester attempted to account for all this carousing, alleging that it was he, upon becoming mate, of the brig Minerva, who gave a treat to which he had invited some ship-mates, and other “jolly dogs,” and that he had paid for spirits and wine, which were supplied from a neighbouring public-houses. Jas. Merrington corroborated the last witness’s testimony, but the Bench being of opinion that no credence should be given to a story, evidently made up; convicted the defendant in the penalty of 25/- and costs

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1826, June 3). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 3. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37071390

 

LOCHRAINE, Catherine

Hornpipe on the tea-table 1832 Sydney

Catherine Lochraine, was accused by her master of getting drunk and dancing a hornpipe on the tea-table. Kate declared that ” her master had given a very incorrect version of the affair ; the fact was, he asked her to take a glass of rum, and because she didn’t choose to take it, he sent her to the watchhouse. This tale wouldn’t go down, and the Bench sent her to reside a month with Mrs. Gordon.

 

Police Report. (1832, December 15). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 12, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2209904

 

McMAHON, John, DIXON, John, OLDFIELD, John and PAMINGTON, John

Practising the last set of quadrilles with great vivacity

MONDAY —John McMahon, John Dixon, John Oldfield, and John Pamington, were charged with having been taken up in Kent-street, practising the last set of quadrilles with great vivacity. The only music they had to keep time to, was McMahon whistling Michael Wiggins. They marched in an orderly manner to the watch-house, and now marched equally as orderly to the stocks, where they were billeted for three hours each.

Police Incidents ( 16 May 1833). Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12846824

 

M’CORMICK, Patrick

Tripping to tune of Paddy Carey 1833 Sydney

Patrick M’Cormick, assigned to John Mackaness Esq., was brought up by his master, charged with absconding from his employment, and neglecting to attend to a horse which was placed under his charge, in consequence of which his master was put to serious inconvenience. Pat, instead of looking after the animal, was found in one of the Sheban houses on the Rocks tripping it on the light fantastic toe to the tune of .”Paddy Carey,” when he was seized and put into durm a vil. The bench sent him to the tread-mill for 7 days.

*Sheban – (especially in Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa) an unlicensed establishment or private house selling alcohol and typically regarded as slightly disreputable.

Police Report. (1833, September 3). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2213719

 

M’MAHON, Mary

At wakes, fairs and dances 1838 Sydney

Miss Mary M’Mahon, a fascinating Emerald Islander, stood charged by Mr. Deau of Prince-street, with not finding her way home. Mary who was all blandishment, and from whose ears were suspended drops, that would do credit to the “Maid of Judah,” appeared all contrition, but it was no go ; Mary innocently having scraped acquaintance with what is called a “Smasher” at home ; that is one of those gentlemen that pass the imprint of our Sovereign on what is vulgarly termed, candlestick gold. It appeared that Mary and her testimonial had been at wakes, fairs, and dances at home, and that she poor soul was still inconsistent. Under all the circumstances the Bench adjudged a short crop of Mary’s flaxen ringlets, together with one months’ ruralizing in the Female Factory, accompanied with an intimation from the Bench that she was henceforward to ruralize in the bush.

Police Incidents. (1838, July 14). Commercial Journal and Advertiser (Sydney, NSW : 1835 – 1840), p. 2. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article226459353

 

MARTIN, Mary

Allowed dancing every night 1829 Sydney

A woman named Mary Martin, living in Harrington-street, was brought before the Bench, charged with harbouring a prisoner of the Crown. This woman, upon being asked, acknowledged she frequently transgressed the sixth commandment; and, moreover, that she was a fomenter of mirth and merrymaking, as she willingly allowed dancing and fiddling in her house every night. Not-withstanding this frank acknowledgment, Mrs. Boniface was fined 50 dollars, which if not paid within three days, were to be raised by levy on her goods and chattels; or in default thereof, she was to suffer personal imprisonment for three calender months.

POLICE INCIDENTS: (1829, May 5). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 3. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36864370

 

M’CARROLL, Margaret

Taken to a dance 1827 Sydney

Margaret M’Carroll, a prisoner, wife of William Radborn, was brought before the Bench by her husband, charged with being toxicated with liquor on Tuesday last, with striking at her lord and master, the slut, and with attempting to draw a knife across his throat. It appeared, however, that Mr. Billy had repeatedly struck her for all these naughty doings, which caused her to say that she would be a bitter pill to him the longest day that she lived. The prisoner on being. interrogated stated, that she had been taken to a dance by her husband, that he accused her of being drunk, and he there and then murdered her, although she was perfectly sober. The constable who apprehended the woman declared that she was perfectly sober at the time, and as the conduct of Bill, to his unfortunate wife, appeared to be no better than it should have been, the parties were recommended to make the matter up.

Police Reports. (1827, January 1). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2187224

 

M’CORMACK, Catherine

Tripping it on the light fantastic toe. Sydney  Police Report 1833

Catherine M’ Cormack, a vestal of the new school, was brought up by her master, Mr Ralph Hind- marsh, charged with having displayed a bad taste for rural enjoyments, by quitting his very picturesque little farm on the Parramatta road, and trip-ping it on the light fantastic too, to gulp down large libations of the luxuries of the grog metropolis. But cruel fate had decreed that Catherine’s pleasures should not last for ever, for scarce had she finished her seventh week, when she felt the rude gripe of an over vigilant trap dragging her to her account with his Worship, for the said gentle slip of the foot. Catherine’s master not wishing to be very hard with her, declined saying anything further; when his Worship, kind soul, taking into consideration the fatigues attendant on an unrestrained course of pleasure du-ring seven weeks, was pleased to consign her to the comfortable apartments of Mrs Gordon’s villa for 2 months, 3d class.

Police Report. (1833, February 7). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2210660

 

M’GUIGAN, James and PERKIN, Jeremiah

Footing it most merrily at a hop, 1833 Sydney

James M’Guigan and Jeremiah Perkin were charged with taking a jaunt from Canterbury into Sydney, for the purpose of appearing at a hop in Kent-street, where they were found footing most merrily. The Bench thinking a little music would  be in keeping with the dancing, sent them to try Jack Ketch’s  music to the tune of twenty fire.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, February 25). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12846298

 

M’SHEA, Mary

Tripping it on the light fantastic toe to Joe Love, 1833 Sydney

Mary M’Shea, a troublesome little customer, who set every law and authority at defiance that did not chime in with her ideas of ease and comfort, was charged with playing off her old pranks in bolting, and resorting to a house of very questionable repute, where she was discovered tripping it on the light fantastic toe, to the Paganini-like performance on the violin, of Joe Love ; when ordered to about ship she pouted her pretty lips, and threatened to send packing the charley who dared to interfere with her innocent pastime ; finding this would not do, she offered grog, then a brace of Spaniards, these being of no avail, she caught the guardian of the night in her arms, and smothered him with her caresses ; this was still worse, for he walked her off instanter-six weeks to the Mother o’ the Maids.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, August 8). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847422

 

MUIR, James

Dancing to tune of Paddy Carey, 1833 Sydney

James Muir was brought to the bar, charged by Ann Williams, a notorious customer at this office, with attacking her on the previous evening, about 12 o’clock, knocking her down, dancing upon her to the tune of ” Paddy Carey,” and, finally, easing her of the sum of seven shillings and sixpence, in British sterling money: all which she was ready to prove ; aye, and ten times more, but the Bench had so often before experienced from her sufficient proofs of her capability in this respect, that they were under the necessity of compelling her silence, the more particularly so as she evidently did not appear to have recovered the effects of a too free indulgence of the rum bottle on the preceding evening. She swore most lustily that the prisoner had robbed her as aforesaid, and the Bench committed him, allowing him bail-himself in “£50 and two sureties in “£25 each.

Police Report. (1833, September 19). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2213970

 

MURPHY, Sarah

The maizy waltz 1832 Sydney

Sarah Murphy, for smuggling a strapping young emeralder into her master’s kitchen, treating him with bottled heavy, and singing ” Wake, dearest wake,” in a fine mezzo soprano, and swimming round the larder in the maizy waltz, was sent to be domiciled at Mrs. Gordon’s for 6 weeks.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, November 1). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12845592

 

NIXON, Margaret

Singing & dancing to tune of Paddy Carey, 1833 Sydney

MONDAY -Margaret Nixon, or Hixon, or Flixon, with a strong esquimaux cut of her jib, and a tongue that blightly followed its occupation, in spite of all the muzzle lashings attempted to be put on by the Bench, was charged with receiving a pass from her mistress on Tuesday week to proceed to hospital, in consequence of being troubled with the mulligrubs, instead of getting a good drench, she pastured at the first sly grog shop, seated herself by a fire quite cozey; called for a can of dog’s nose and pipe, then sipped and smoked, and smoked and sipped again; by the time a couple of quarts of the delicious mixture had trickled down her throat, she began to find herself at home, trowled glibly off her tongue ” Paddy Carey oh!” and danced round the room, snapping her fingers for castenets. This game went on all very well til Sunday, when she took a lounge to the Domain, and was taken into custody for her pains. The Bench, to teach her the merits of schedule A. on the Reform system, sent her to study under Mrs. Gordon for two months.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, August 8). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847422

 

NO dancing in the house that night

Police report 23 May, 1827

There was no dancing, nor yet any music in the house that night, it  was quiet place.

[Recorded as a comment on the unusual nature of the quiet house]

Police Report. (1827, May 23). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2188271

 

O’BRIEN

Dancing a hornpipe on her person 1832 Sydney

Wilkinson versus O’Brien.- Misther O’Brien, an importation of extraordinary dimensions, from ” the land of paraties,” made his appearance, much against his will, to answer a charge of assault, which Mrs. Wilkinson, a lady from the West-end, was in waiting to prefer against him. The parties are neighbours, but it were presumption, indeed, to consider that a reason why a person of the defendant’s plebeian extraction should dare aspire to terms of intimacy with one who carries in her veins the blood of all the Wilkinsons ; still more, that he should take the unwarrantable liberty, as now alleged, of walking into her room, and seating himself in the midst of the snug party she had assembled to partake of her Christmas nic nacs.

” Dear me, how very rude you are, Mr. O’Brien,” exclaimed the fair hostess, on observing this unwelcome intrusion, “well, I wow and pertest, I do’nt know how some people was brought up ; but I’d have you to understand, as we wants none of your company.”

The defendant, however, finding himself in the midst of good cheer and pretty faces, was not a whit inclined to take the hint, and some more complimentary speeches were exchanged, which at length so ex-cited his choler, that he laid most of the party right and left at his feet, bestowing an especial snare of his fistic favours on the ladies, considering, probably, that they would be less likely to repay the loan than the other sex. The plaintiff ran to the assistance of one who had been thus served, on which he very gallantly knocked her down also, and wound up the amusements of the evening by dancing a hornpipe on her person. These matters having been sworn to by the witnesses, Mister O’Brien was held to bail, to answer the charge at the Sessions.

Police Report. (1832, January 5). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2204335

 

O BRIEN, Mary

Danced to barrel organ at fancy ball, ordered to practice Bell’s quadrilles, 1836 Sydney

Mary O’Brien was charged with bolting, it appeared that Mary had a taste for tripping it on the light fantastic toe, and to indulge that innocent propensity she had made herself scarce the evening before, and betook herself to that classical part of Sydney y’clipt* the Rocks, where a fancy hall was to be held that evening, having attired herself in the character of a match girl, she commenced amusing the company by dancing a pas suel to music ground out of a barrel organ, in the middle of one of the smartest evolutions, one of those destroyers of harmony a charley obtruded his head, a most unwelcome guest, and claimed Mary as a prize ; Mary clung round his neck to suffocation, and tried every blandishment to have her spree out, but the man was made of opposition stuff, and cared as little for the tear of beauty as he did for that phenomenon in mechanics, the fifth wheel of a coach. Mary was ordered to practice Bell’s new set of quadrilles for a month, by which time it is calculated she will be perfect.

 * to call; name (now chiefly in the past participle as ycleped or yclept).

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1836, October 29). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2207450

 

O’BRIEN, Mary and DUGGAN, Johannah

Going to a hop, 1837 Sydney

Johannah Duggan and Mary O’Brien were jointly charged with absconding from their service to which they had been assigned the enormous time of a week. They were taken into custody on the Race Course, and were evidently going to a hop, a bundle being found with them containing sundry fancy dresses well adapted for that purpose, together with pumps, silk stockings, and caps of a cut and ornament not to be sneezed at, so that it was clear to trip it on the light fantastic toe, was the object, and that alone. The only defence they attempted to offer, was looking with a vacant stare into each others face. The Bench cut the matter short by sending each to the Factory for two months.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1837, May 25). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2211061

 

PEPPERMILL, John

Dancing a hornpipe in the street, 1838 Sydney

John Peppermill was charged with dancing a hornpipe in George-street, against the peace of our Sovereign Lady, &c. Fifty lashes.

NEWS OF THE DAY. (1838, July 4). The Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 – 1838), p. 2 (MORNING). Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32160594

 

PERKIN, Jeremiah and M’GUIGAN, James

Footing it most merrily at a hop, 1833 Sydney

James M’Guigan and Jeremiah Perkin were charged with taking a jaunt from Canterbury into Sydney, for the purpose of appearing at a hop in Kent-street, where they were found footing most merrily. The Bench thinking a little music would  be in keeping with the dancing, sent them to try Jack Ketch’s  music to the tune of twenty fire.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, February 25). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12846298

 

QUIGLEY, Catherine

First set of quadrilles and waltz, 1833 Sydney

FRIDAY.— Catherine Quigley, who wished to array her pretty person upon All occasion a la Paris was charged with, being found in her mistress’s bedroom the previous evening, standing before a large looking glass combing our her locks, and making, them fall in graceful ringlets round her polished brow.  Having completed this important part of her toilet, she put on a spic and span new silk dress, silk stockings, and blue kid pumps. She then rehearsed the first set of quadrilles, and languished through the waltz, with a chair for a partner. This was not done without some noise, and on her mistress going to the room to find out the cause, Miss Catherine had just sunk into an arm chair exhausted. A constable was. sent for, and having caused Catherine to pull off her borrowed plumes, she was taken away. Very sorry, and all that sort of thing was the course of the defence, but the Bench were not to be gulled in that way, and packed her off to study the graces at Gordon’s Magazine des modes for one month.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, October 18). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 3. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42006037

 

QUIN, Esther and Patrick

Dancing to British Grenadiers, 1833 Sydney

WEDNESDAY.—Esther Quin, was charged with keeping it up for two days, and a regular roaring game she had of it, for she was to be seen dancing and singing in all parts of Sydney, and smacking the hats of the male pedestrians over their eyes, which amusement she denominated bonetting the flats. The bench to make up for this conduct, sent her to recline in a genial shower which was then falling for two hours.

Patrick Quin, was charged by Captain Rossi with being dressed in a long brown coat like a Spaniard, and hat in hand, dancing at the head of the 4th Regiment on Monday, while they were proceeding towards the Race Course, and flourishing his hat in the soldiers’ faces until it touched their noses. Mrs. Quin then joined her spouse, and they whirled round in mazy circles to the tune of the British Grenadiers, up King-street, until the arm of the law was interposed and they were removed. Mr. Windeyer ordered Pat, who told a very grievous tale, to be milled for twenty-one days.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, July 18). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12847297

 

QUINN, Patrick

Dancing a Spanish fandango, 1833 Sydney

Patrick Quinn (an Emeralder of course), made his debut, charged by Captain Rossi with being drunk, disorderly, and dancing a ” Spanish fandango” accompanied by his ” Cara sposa,” in front of the band of His Majesty’s 4th Regiment, as they were proceeding to a field day on Monday last; and also, with being absent from his district, which is Parramatta. The Bench sentenced Pat to 21 days to the mill, and to be returned to his district.

Police Report. (1833, July 18). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2212987

 

REARDY, Edward

To dance on spiritual rectifier, 1831 Sydney

Edward Reardy for being speechless drunk in the King’s highway for twelve hours on a stretch, was sentenced to dance the mazy round of Mr. Murray’s spiritual rectifier* for three days.

* The treadmill

Domestic Intelligence. (1831, July 6). The Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 – 1838), p. 4 (MORNING). Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32075718

 

RILEY, Hugh

Footing it on the light fantastic toe, 1831 Sydney

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES.-MARCH OF RUM !

Hugh Riley, who was found between eleven and twelve on Christmas-eve, ” footing it on the light fantastic toe” in a peccadillo warehouse, was ordered to ” practise his steps” for three days at Mr. Hinks’s dancing-school.

Police Report. (1831, 29 December 1831). Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2204231

 

TWO Runaways dancing

1833 Sydney

Thomas Bull, a house keeper, residing in Cam-bridge-street, was brought up by summons, on a charge of harbouring two runaway prisoners, as-signed to J. Palmer, Esq., of Parramatta. Benjamin Ford, a constable, deposed, that passing the defendant’s house, on the 22nd of February, he heard music and dancing about 2 o’clock in the morning, he went in, and found one of the prisoners dancing, and the other sitting down ; suspecting from their appearance they were runaways, he apprehended them. The defence set up was, that the defendant was merely a lodger in the house, the house being kept by a female named Rosanna White, who alone was responsible. It was, however, proved by the landlord of the house that the defendant had paid the rent, and had always acted as the master. The Bench found him guilty of the offence, and awarded that be should pay a fine to the King of 100 Spanish dollars, and costs, in three days, in default of which to be confined in gaol until the same be paid.

Police Report. (1833, March 5). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2211011

 

SAULTER subscription balls under the custom house

1830 Sydney

POLICE INCIDENTS.—King v. Saulter. The defendant in this case, the landlord of the Kings’s Head Harrington-street, appeared on summons to answer the charge of the Chief Constable for selling spirits out of his own house to wit, under the New Custom House. The defendant pleaded Guilty. It appeared by the evidence, that the defendant was in the habit of having subscription balls under the Custom H6use to which he removed the kegs of liquor from his own house, and retailed it in the unlicensed place. He was warned twice previously of the illegality of the proceeding, but Jilks [the constable] finding caution useless sent on the last occasion some of his staff to “trip it on the light fantastic toe,” and who purchased on. the occasion sundry half pints of rum.  In fact, the ball room was fitted up in every respect as the bar of a public house. The bench sentenced the defendant Saulter to pay a fine of 30l.to the King and 1ls. 3d. expences within three days, if not, his goods would be sold, which if not sufficient, he would be sent to the Jail for  four months.

COOPER’S COLONIAL GIN. (1830, August 18). The Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 – 1838), p. 2 (AFTERNOON). Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32074079

 

SAUNDERS, Martha

Showing off at a hop on the Rocks, 1837 Sydney

Martha Saunders, with laughter in her eyes, and quotations on her lips, was charged with having attended a hop upon the Rocks, where she had been the star of the evening showing off on the light fantastic toe, to the admiration of a snug party of happy youths, who pressed her so closely with glasses of dog’s nose, that upon leaving she was thought by the party to be all the worse for her exertions in every sense of the word; twenty admires immediately offered their aid to see the bewitching damsel to her home, but her bashfulness prevented her from accepting the proffered assistance, and she departed in solitary loneliness. Her  walk which at first was not so steady as it ought to be, degenerated into a stagger, and finally a fall laid her snugly into a nice hole filled with the sollest[?] deposit. Here she was found, and extricated at the expense of the charley’s upper Benjamin, who conveyed her to a place of security.

Bench. – What have you to say?

Martha -” Man has no charms for me, nor woman either.”

Bench.- Have you five shillings for the use of the poor?

Martha. – He who steals my purse steals trash. –

Bench.- You must go to the stocks for one hour.

Martha.-Adieu kind Sir, adieu!

 

NB *A dog’s nose is gin & ale

POLICE INCIDENT. (1837, January 26). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2209043

 

SAVAGE, Ellen

Begs leave to go to a dance, 1827 Windsor

MONDAY, NOV.6.

Ellen Savage was charged with insolence and improper conduct in her service. She gives vent to very unbecoming expressions; drinks a little freely, and begs leave to go to a dance, occasionally at Wilberforce, although not allowed so to do, which points out that Ellen is admired. “Advance Australia!” Ellen is about to be married, and her master would willingly encourage her better prospects in life. Ellen became affected at the sympathy expressed, and shed a tear or two on the occasion; but she had taken a glass of some- thing in water, and thus it operated. She expressed sorrow —was admonished in the kindest manner; and it was ordered that should be discharged early in the morning into the care of a sober constable to convey her home, without tasting one single dram. She would think such a sentence harsh enough.

“Police Reports.” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842) 15 November 1826: 3. Web. 10 Aug 2016 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2186911>.

 

SCOTT, Ellen

Dancing in a public house after hours

Owen’s friend Ellen Scott, who probably organised her daring escape, had a very different background.  She was a ‘lifer’ from Limerick in Ireland.  She had only one conviction, for vagrancy, before she was transported for the theft of a watch chain.  She was 18-years-old, small in build, and single.  Her record in the colony was more impressive: refusal to work, refusal to proceed to service, absconding, dancing in a public house, out after hours – all evidence of a rebellious rather than a criminal disposition.

Daniels, K. (1998). Convict women. St. Leonards, N.S.W: Allen & Unwin.  pp. 155-156

 

SHERIDAN, Patrick

At a midnight dance 1828 Sydney

Patrick Sheridan, a prisoner of the Crown, apprehended by the chief constable, at a dance, about 12 o’clock at night, in Kent. ‘ street, was sentenced for 6 month to an iron-gang.

Police Report. (1828, January 14). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2189748

 

SMITH, Ann

Jigging a Dutch hornpipe, 1832 Sydney

Ann Smith, found on Sunday evening rather queer in the Market-place, dancing a Dutch horn-pipe in the middle of a score of men, who were whistling in concert, as she jigged, was placed at the bar. By way of defence, she said she merely went in there out of the rain, and to keep her blood in circulation, she certainly did trip it on the light fantastic toe. The Bench ordered her to pay five shillings. ” No, no,” said Ann, ” I know a trick worth two of that.” In consequence, she was escorted by one of the politest Charleys to the stocks.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, August 9). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 1 (Supplement to the Sydney Herald.). Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12845005

 

SMITH, Sydney

Dancing to Drops of Brandy, 1831 Sydney

“Sydney Smith, for being riotous, drunk, &c., and dancing in the street to the tune of Drops o’ Brandy, which he himself played on a mouth organ, had to cash up five bob, and was warned in future to hide his musical talents under a bushel.”

Police Incidents. (1831, May 30). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12843096

 

SNIPE, Lavina

Waltzing at a ball, 1832 Sydney

Lavina Snipe was charged with eloping to a ball, where she was discovered waltzing in Turkish trowsers; at the moment the constables made their entre she was languishingly reclining her head on her partner’s shoulder from sheer lassitude, while he was busily employed in bathing her temples with Eau de Cologne. The grasp of the Charley on her delicate shoulder soon brought her to rea-son, and she was borne off melting like a second Niobe ; 1 month Gordon’s ” at home”.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, May 17). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12844495

 

SONGS and dancing before a murder

1811 Sydney

[Trial transcript], R. vs John Gould, C.C.J., 6 March 1811, evidence of John Limeburner, in Byrne 1993, 247

She began to play with the prisoner and pull him about. She sat upon his knee. My wife made answer “Mrs. Finney do not make so free with that man for he will not stand it.” She got up from his knew but did not say anything … After this Catherine Devereaux sung a song, after that my wife sung one. After that the deceased said she never saw two old women so comfortable in her life “Now old Betty, I’ll give you a jig first to please.” The deceased was quite sober. This was her usual mode of behaviour.

“SYDNEY”, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (7 March 1812), 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article628435

 

STOLEN dancing shoes. Dance steps described.

OFFENCES, CHARGES, &c. 1826 Sydney.  

Among the many singular applications for its kindly inter position, with which the police bench is being continually assailed, that of a certain “gay ladie” some few days since was not the least remarkable. 

A portly slip-shod, gaily-attired female where a wooden barrier separates obtruding guests, from the judgment seat. Traces of some occult grief might be observed lurking in her features, almost threatening to displace those never dying artificial roses, which still in spite of fate, maintained their position on her cheeks in all the pride of vermilion or Dutch pink — it’s immaterial which.

At length the sole “rhyme   and reason” of this damsel’s visit was made known, assistance,   prompt and effectual assistance in making efforts to recover her [l]ost “under-standing” was the required boon: but to understand this, it may not be unnecessary to premise, that the desponding complainant had been a very little time back the happy possessor of a pair of shoes — nice, neat, satin shoes, the exact fit — indeed a prettier or more becoming pair could not be seen in a day’s walk. Many an envious glance had they received from her own sex, and many an admiring one from the lads, when mincing it down the middle in a country dance, or shuffling heel to point in a solitary hornpipe. They would balances in a quadrille, or twirl in a waltz with equal ease and lightness, if put to the trial — but “Madame” was not ‘”up to them ere tricks”— Be all this as it may, this pair of “soles,” more than once pronounced by a learned member of the “gentle craft,” as ” exquisites” had most unaccountably walked themselves off. They might forsooth even now be wearing out body and ” sole” under the stumps of some laughter-loving dame — degraded (shocking thought) to the rank of slippers.

However, if proper help would be afforded, this cruel spoiler might yet be brought to refund. — It was now inimated that a person under a similar charge had offered an appearance this morning at the office, but was al- lowed again to disappear for want of accusers, and that the pre- sent application came too late. Complainant moved for a new   trial, but not being enabled to procure one, was commencing an animated argument, when a repetition of the pertinent old pro- verb, “ne surfor ultra crepidam,” or something like, that, forced her to face about and attempt to regain her lost ”footing” in some other way.

OFFENCES, CHARGES, &c. (1826, February 16). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 4. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37073134

 

 

SUPPRESSION fiddling and dancing after 9 o’clock

1828 Sydney

The Sydney Bench have given positive orders to the Chief Constable to suppress all fiddling and dancing in public-houses after nine o’clock in the evening. Mr. Hely has expressed himself determined, in all cases where it may happen to come within his knowledge, of any Magistrate granting permission to publicans to have such entertainment in their houses after nine o’clock, that lie will report the same to his Excellency.

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE. (1828, July 12). The Monitor (Sydney, NSW : 1826 – 1828), p. 2 (EVENING). Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31760359

 

Against suppression of fiddling and dancing

1828 Sydney

The, ‘ Sydney Bench of Magistrates, it is said, have been talking about prohibiting cat-gut scraping, or other music, as well as any dancing in any licensed public-house in the town of Sydney. If this be true, it strikes us as an indiscreet and needless restriction ; for if people desire to kick up their heels to the scrape of the fiddle, or the snore of the bagpipe, and withal enjoy a ‘ wet,’ they will contrive to do so in spite of all the magistrate can say or do to the contrary. If the pastime is not to be had  in the licensed public-house, there are plenty of private houses to resort to ; and if there, in such case, occur no outrageous disturbance of the peace, what can a magistrate or a constable do.  No, no there is no need to be altogether so very puritanical. Were something in the shape of general and public amusement better encouraged than it is, then might there be expected less of drunkenness and outrage here.

No title (1828, July 23). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 2. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36867972

 

SWEENEY and LEARY

Singing, dancing and cutting capers at Barracks after attending a wake, 1831 Sydney

1 Monday, September 5.-Two break o’ day lads, cognominated Sweeney and Leary, were placed at the bar, with no little difficulty to give an account of sundry tricks played by them in the Barrack-square the previous day. It appeared, that on Saturday they had been at a wake, and being determined to keep it up, they proceeded to the Barracks, were they commenced singing, dancing, and cutting divers capers on the grass; when ordered to walk, they declared they would not, as there was a degree of esprit de corps in their amusements, that would exactly suit the taste of the officers. They were sent to the stocks for six hours each, as penance for their offence.

NB – esprit de corps  -a feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members of a group.

Police Incidents. (1831, September 12). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12843495

 

SWEENEY, Charles

Dancing after hours, 1834 Hobart

Charles Sweeney, for enjoying himself on the light fantastic toe at the Calcutta Tap after hours, was reprimanded only, his character standing well upon the record.

Hobart Town Police Report. (1834, November 11). Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), p. 7. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8647909

THOMAS, Sarah

Tripping at secluded hop, 1832 Sydney

 FRIDAY.-Sarah Thomas appeared at the bar a Niobe, all tears, charged with tripping it on the light fantastic toe at a secluded hop the previous evening, to the subversion of all feminine modesty. One month’s rural seclusion at Paramatta.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1832, February 20). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12844130

 

TURLEY, James

Shuffle the brogue with rude harmony, 1826 Sydney

It seemed that the company, after exhausting not a few pots of “heavy wet” and a tolerable portion of the old “Jimakey,” to keep every thing snug and warm,  prepared to “shuffle the brogue”, in the proper jig style, while a half blind fiddler scraped away at some discordant measure, ‘”in concert and rude harmony.” The party continued to ‘”foot it on the light fantastic toe,” until between dancing and drinking, they kicked up such a row, as to reach the ears of some passers by.

OFFENCES, CHARGES, &c. (1826, April 5). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), p. 3. Retrieved January 21, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37071502

 

VAUGHAN, Emily and THOMPSON, Julietta Misses

Sailors Hornpipe and Quadrilles, 1834 Sydney

Miss Emily Vaughan, and Miss Julietta Thompson, (two small packages of goods, part of an investment received per Layton,) were charged with kicking up a bit of a” shindy” in Harrington-street, on Tuesday last, about half-past one in the morning, contrary to the Police Act, and to the annoyance of the ” Charleys” in that neighbourhood, who had, according  to ancient usage, turned into their weary night-caps, about three hours previous to the aforesaid ” Shindy.”

Constable Orr (who by-the-by is always “awake,” and therefore never asleep), in his usual droll manner stated, that early on Tuesday, between one and two o’clock, he heard a deuce of a noise in his district, and following the ” cry,” came within a short distance to the disturbance, which was created by about forty sailors, several Rockite ladies, with Misses V. and T. in the midst. Being inclined to the inquisitive, (as what constable is not ?) he grounded his arms, and stuck his staff in the earth, and there sat like “Patience on a Monument smiling at” mirth.

The party had just turned out from the ” Finish”-some of the ladies proposed a game of “leap-frog,” others ” Bull in the Pound,” when a rusty old Jack-Tar, (who from the length of time he had been in oil, smelt like a cask of red herrings,) sung out from the bottom of his voice, ” Stand out for a bend !” ” A hornpipe” resounded through the mob ; a ring was formed, and ” fishey” started ; but before it was finished the ladies and gentlemen had formed themselves into gallop-hard, and quadrille parties,-and the scene had become too much for a constable’s description. As soon as the ” Rock-band’ ‘ struck up, Orr determined to stop their whistles, and take the foremost of the ceremonies under his protection. Miss V. was rather the worse for negus, and her companion Miss T., having taken lemonade, maintained | her sensibility. Emily was ordered to pay five shillings, or two hours in the dernier resort, and Julietta discharged, with an admonition.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1834, September 8). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 1 (Supplement to the Sydney Herald.). Retrieved January 31, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12850369

 

VIVID excitation of animal spirits

1827 Rocks, Sydney

A complaint, for breach of the peace, was made on Wednesday last, before Captain Rossi, eliciting some circumstances respecting the state of a number of houses upon the Rocks, which imperatively call upon us, as guardians of the public morals, to make a few remarks concerning them.

…the extreme degree of immorality which characterizes these unlicenced houses.

But with respect to the inferior constables, I have to remark, that numerous instances of their drinking liquor in unlicensed houses have come to our knowledge

The youth of both sexes are attracted to these dens of destruction, by the vivid excitation of animal spirits, which music and dancing, and unrestrained  mirth produces. In licenced houses these, amusements might be allowed, because they arc so much more under the control of the Police. That which in some houses would be au innocent amusement, would in others degenerate into that kind of loose pleasure which is the root of every thing infamous and abhorrent. We hope this subject, once brought forward, will not escape the attention of the Superintendent of Police.

Shipping Intelligence. (1827, March 31). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2187958

 

WAINWRIGHT, Sarah

Fuddling, skipping, dancing. Sydney 1827

Sarah Wainwright, free, was brought forward at the suit of her husband for absconding from him, carrying off his property, running him in debt, going into fuddling houses, skipping, dancing, and getting her living by prostitution, so that this Adam and Eve must have lived but a queer sort of cat and dog life. Sentenced to the 2d class in the Factory for two months, as the House of Correction,

Police Report. (1827, July 13). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2188581

 

WAINWRIGHT, Sarah

Dancing a pas de zephyr

Sarah Wainwright appeared at the bar with one eye elegantly surrounded by a purple hue, and the other peeping from underneath her grizly locks, the whole of her elegant headpiece surmounted by a cap the color of which bespoke the long odds between it and the washing tub. This lady stood charged with displaying her elegant accomplishments in Market street, and dancing a pas de zephyr to the infinite amusement of a crowd who had collected to witness her exertions upon the constables endeavouring to take her in charge, she soon convinced them that ” she was famed for deeds of arms.” In her defence she observed that she was at the time merely taking a little innocent  recreation, the Colonel remarked he would not deprive her of her favorite predilection, and accordingly sent her to the 3rd class of the factory, thereto be kept to hard labour for the space of three calendar months.

Police Incidents. (1838, January 6). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2549530

 

WHITTAKER, Mary

At a hop, fight or masquerade.  1833 Sydney

THURSDAY.-Mary Whittaker, a very passable sort of customer at a hop, a fight, or a masquerade, to each of which she was attached, and at which she liked to figure, was charged with rigging her-self in her best togs, and flitting overnight; when found, which was about two o’clock in the morning, she was three-quarters sprung, and hiccupping out, ” oh that vornan should put an enemy in her mug to steal away her brains.” The only defence Mary had to this conduct, was that, ” when the  liquor was in the wit was out. One month third class.

POLICE INCIDENTS. (1833, March 11). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12846398

 

WILSON, John and COLE, William

Dancing in public house 1840 Hobart

John Wilson and William Cole, assigned to Mr. Nuttall, were charged with being in a public-house amusing themselves on the light fantastic toe ; fourteen days treadmill.

HOBART TOWN POLICE REPORT. (1840, May 15). The Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen’s Land Gazette (Tas. : 1839 – 1840), p. 4. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8747866

 

Research conducted at Queensland University of Technology.

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Header credit: Lowest life in London. Tom, Jerry, and Logic among  the unsophisticated sons and daughters of Nature at ‘All Max’ in the East.  Illustration by George Cruikshank (1792 – 1878). ©Trustees of the British Museum

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One Response to Dancing in Police Reports

  1. Christine Keast-Fuller says:

    Very good Information. Thank You.

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