Monthly Archives: May 2021

The Streets of Adelaide: Edmund William Jerningham


The Streets of Adelaide: 

Edmund William Jerningham

Most of the streets in Adelaide and Gawler are named after buyers of allotments of the Adelaide survey and the Gawler Special Survey, conducted by Colonel William Light

Edmund William Jerningham, born 5 September 1805.[1] He was the oldest son of William Charles and Anne Jerningham (nee Wright).  William and Anne had four sons and three daughters.  The Jerningham family were direct descendants of the 6th Baronet at Costessey Hall in Norfolk, Sir William Jerningham. Their lineage is traceable to the time of Queen Mary, and their family is famous for the defence of their Catholic faith in the face of anti-Catholic reforms across the UK. [2]

 Jerningham purchased 252 acres in the Gawler Special Survey, an estate known historically as the Para Para.[3]


Costessey Hall

Jerningham was often in the English Royal court, being invited to the palace to meet with King George IV and King William IV.[4] Later, he would later be a guest at Queen Adelaide’s birthday in 1831, through the good graces of his Aunt, Lady Bedingfield, who served as the lady-in-waiting to Queen Adelaide. [5]

Jerningham marries Matilda Waterton on 25 June 1829, they had six daughters and one son. Their son, William died in infancy.[6]

Jerningham worked for the banking Company Wright and Co. Wright’s as it became informally known, was a family business begun in 1699 by a Catholic family. In 1835, the directors were John Wright, Anthony George Wright Biddulph, Henry Robinson, and Edmund Jerningham. Jerningham was a brother in law to the Wrights. The business operated from 6 Henrietta Street in the Parish of St Paul, Covent Gardens, London. [7]
 Jerningham was a member of the Reform Club in Pall Mall, an auditor for the Protector Fire Insurance Company and a committee member for the London Southampton Railway Company, he was on the committee for the South London Union railway.

Went bankrupt in 1840 after John Wright illegally used the bank\’s money 938 Wright had heavily invested in a white-lead-manufacturing company in Lambeth that failed. Wright also offered shares in other companies he had invested in, where the shares were barely taken up. When it became time for the money from the investment to be used, it fell upon Wright to pay up, which overdrew the companies’ balance.[8]

Edmund Jerningham’s share of the failed bank debts was much smaller than the Wright Brothers, being £7,117 10s. Id. [9] By 1840, Jerningham had begun to recover from the bank’s loss, via support from his family. He joined the South Australian Society in 1840.[10]

Edmund William Jerningham died 2 November 1860, aged 55. [11]


For a more comprehensive overview of Edmund Jerningham, please read Dr Jeff Nicholas extraordinary work Behind The streets of Adelaide, published by Torrens Press.


Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020.

[1] Jean-Charles Terlinden, Edmund William Jerningham, Geneanet, (2020), 

[2] Nicholas, Jeff & Grenvell, Julian, Lord, Baron of Kilvey, (writer of foreword.), Behind the streets of Adelaide : the unrevealed history of the roads and pavements of a modern city, Limited edition hardback set, Torrens Press, (Malvern, Victoria, 2016), pp. 932-3. 

[3] Ibid., p. 932. 

[4] Ibid., p. 935. 

[5] Ibid., p. 936. 

[6] Ibid., p. 926. 

[7] Ibid., p. 932. 

[8] \’LATEST ENGLISH NEWS.\’, The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal (10 April 1841), p. 3., 

[9] \’ENGLISH EXTRACTS.\’, The Courier, (18 June 1841), p. 4., 

[10] Nicholas, Jeff, Behind the streets of Adelaide., p. 938. 

[11] Jean-Charles Terlinden, Edmund William Jerningham.

The Stepney Tragedy.


The Stepney Tragedy.

Dr Ewbank SLSA: [B 11286/6/1]

 Last week I wrote about Police Inspector Charles Le Lievre who was a member of the South Australian Mounted Police Force between 1877 and 1929. I published a transcript of his encounter with some ruffian sailors at Nairne. At the end of his story, LeLeivre recounts that one of those men would later murder his wife at Stepney, South Australia. This is that story.[1]

 Louisa Jane Fisher was a newly married 22-year-old living on Henry Street, Stepney, with her new husband, Frederick Fisher. Louisa was a daughter of John Lampey, a builder in Balaklava. The couple had met when Fisher had taken a job with her father. Unbeknownst to her, Fisher had recently been released from gaol for threatening to kill a police officer in Nairne. 

 The Fishers had moved to Glenelg, and camped on the sand dunes, before finding their humble cottage in Stepney.[2]

The Express and Telegraph newspaper described the house:

The interior of the bouse wore an extremely forlorn aspect, and was suggestive of the direst poverty. In the front room, there was absolutely nothing in the shape of furniture or effects. The kitchen was almost as barren, and with the exception of a little firewood, and an axe, was also empty. There is also a middle room, which had evidently been used as the bedroom… which was likewise unfurnished. On the floor were spread a number of blankets, which had apparently been used as a bed. Several articles of clothing were lying near, a silver watch was hanging on one of the walls, and on another wall was a neat American clock. [3]

 Frederick Fisher was 28 years old, an ex-sailor, and a recent gaol inmate.

On 18 January 1900, at about 7pm, a gunshot was heard fired within the Henry street cottage. Within minutes, Fisher had run to his neighbour, Mrs Emma Richards house next door, and told her his wife had accidentally shot herself. He asked her if she would go to the police station, which she refused. Fisher then ran to the St. Peters police station and reported the event to Constable Richmond, who told Fisher to go directly to Dr Ewbank.

 Dr Ewbank, Fisher, and a police constable all arrived on the scene at the same time. Meanwhile, a phone call about the shooting had placed at the Norwood police station. Sergeant Burchell of Norwood informed the coroner, then made his way to the house.

On the arrival of the coroner, an examination of the body was made, and it was discovered that the bullet had penetrated the left breast, and was lodged in the lungs. The ambulance van was sent for, and the body removed to the morgue.[4]

 An inquest was held a week later at the Elephant and Castle Hotel. Dr Ramsey Smith, the city Coroner, presided over the inquest, with Dr A. Mackie, a member of the hospital board present.

Dr Ewbank delivered his evidence: He stated he had found the woman’s body lying on its back on the floor. Her left arm was across her chest and her right arm by her side. Her clothing had been drawn back across her chest. Ewbank watched a police constable find the revolver 10 feet away among the ragged bedding on the floor.

 Ewbank also conducted the post mortem examination, in which he deduced that the bullet entered her body near her sternum under her third rib, it had travelled through her heart, and into her spine. He found no black scorch marks on her skin or clothing.

 Ewbank stated further:

That from the direction of the wound it might have been self-inflicted, but not accidentally.  As a rule, in cases of suicide by shooting there were evidence of burning or scorching, but in this case, the traces might have been obscured by the blood on the clothing. The skin would not have been visibly blistered through the clothing. If the deceased had been standing up the shot would have been fired from above, but if lying down by someone behind her head, or someone stooping over her. Taking all the circumstances into consideration he would not feel justified in saying whether the death was accidental, suicidal, or murderous. Deceased might have emitted a spasmodic shriek as she fell.[5]

 Charles Richards was questioned as a witness, he stated that non the night in question, he had seen Frederick Fisher in the backyard. He claimed Fisher entered the house, and a few moments later the gunshot rang out. He then heard Fisher out the front shouting for someone to call the police. When he (Richards) got out the front, Fisher was running along Henry Street toward the police station.[6]

After a short retirement, the Jury delivered the following verdict: “We are of opinion that the deceased, Eliza Louisa Jane Fisher, came to her death from a bullet wound, but that there is not sufficient evidence to show by whom the shot was fired.”[7]

Many people had assumed that Frederick Fisher had shot his wife, even though he had stated in court it was an accident. Immediately after the jury delivered their verdict, Frederick Fisher was arrested. As it turned out, when police were investigating the death of Eliza, they had stumbled upon some loose floorboards in the home. On pulling them up they found a large cache of stolen goods, which they had taken and identified as stolen from the Glenelg area.

 Fisher was charged committing a burglary in Glenelg.

In court, Fisher’s only excuse for stealing from the Glenelg homes of Phillip Simmons, Robert Hood, George Blyth, and Agnes Storrie was, “I was destitute at the time.” [8]

 Fisher pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and larceny, of which he pleaded guilty to all accounts.[9]

Frederick Fisher, an old offender, was sentenced to two terms of three years, and one term of two years for breaking and entering and larceny, respectively.[10]

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020.

[1] \’MEMORIES OF AN OLD POLICE OFFICER.\’, The Register, (6 October 1925), p. 12.

[2]\’SHOOTING FATALITY.\’, The Express and Telegraph, (19 January 1900), p. 3. (ONE O\’CLOCK EDITION),


[4] Ibid.

[5]\’FATALITY AT STEPNEY.\’, Chronicle, (27 January 1900), p. 22.,

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8]\’AT THE POLICE COURT.\’, The Express and Telegraph, (22 January 1900), p. 2. (ONE O\’CLOCK EDITION),


[10] \’THE CRIMINAL SITTINGS.\’, The Advertiser, (20 February 1900), p. 4.,

Ship Ahoy! A Murderous Scoundrel.


Ship Ahoy! A Murderous Scoundrel.


Charles La Lievre

Inspector Charles Le Lievre was a member of the South Australian Mounted Police Force between 1877 and 1929. He was stationed at various outposts, including Henley Beach, Salisbury, Nairne, and Renmark. Before coming to Australia from the Channel Islands, Le Lievre was a sailor.

 Le Lievre recounted many stories about his time in the police force to local newspapers after his retirement. This is one of them.


While at Nairne in 1897, and making my usual round in the township, I heard someone shouting,- \’Ship ahoy!\’, I went up to see what was the matter and saw a man in a drunken state near the hotel. I asked him what was the matter? He told me he was calling, for his mate. I said to him, \’You had better come, with me and have a camp,\’ and took him to the station.
  When there he asked me if I would give him a feed, as he had not had anything to eat that day. \’ I gave him a good feed and\’ two pannikins of hot tea.

He sat eating what I had given him on the sill of the cell door. After he had finished, I said to him, \’You bad better go in and have a camp.\’
He got up and said, and said, “What do you take me for, a ____ mug?” and made a violent blow at me.
A scuffle took place, and I bundled, him into the cell. Shortly afterwards several local men came to me and informed me that a man was going about the street vowing that he would “knife the ____ trooper that had caged his mate,\’ and that he would knife him if he attempted, to arrest him; and, that whatever I did to be sure and take my revolver with me, as he appeared to be mad drunk.

I thanked them for telling me, as forewarned was forearmed. I took my staff, which I placed inside my jacket; and went in search of this man.

I asked one of the men to follow me in case I needed assistance. I had not proceeded far when I heard a man using vile and blasphemous language under the verandah of one of the hotels further down the street. As I approached him he said, “You\’re the ____ that caged my mate,\’ and so on.
  He kept his hand on his side and the handle of a sheath knife; which was in his belt. \’

There are various stages of drunkenness, such as helplessness and maudlin, but this man was mad drunk and was like a perfect demon. I could see that he would not hesitate to knife me.
I had to use stratagem with him: but I was determined at all costs to arrest him.
 I said, “I don\’t know what you mean by caging your mate. He has just had a feed, and is now having a camp at the station.”
 “Well,“ he said, \’there\’s his ______ swag, you can take that too.”
  I was taking no risk in doing that, for I saw that he was waiting for an opportunity to take me off my guard, and knife me. I turned around to the landlord, who was standing by, and said to him, \’Take the swag inside, and give the owner of it a pint of beer at my expense when he calls for it.”
 He said to the landlord, with an oath, \’Leave the swag alone; I\’ll take it to him.\’ – I said, “Very well, you can do that if you like.”

He seemed to be nonplussed at the cool way I was acting towards him, for I remained calm and collected. He slung the swag over his shoulder and walked with me towards the station. I kept close to him and was determined that at the slightest attempt he made to draw his knife I would use my baton on him.
 After proceeding a little way, I said to him, “I hear that you are a sailor and that you have a knife you are going to put into me. Do you\’ call yourself an English sailor?\’\’
 He replied with an oath that he was. I said to him, “I too have been a sailor, and I never yet knew an English sailor who would use his knife against another. I want you to hand me that knife, let me have a look at it.”

 With that, he drew it out of its sheath. Simultaneously as he raised his arm, I caught hold of his wrist, giving it \’a sharp twist, and took possession of the knife. I was then master of the situation. He was taken by surprise, and said, “\’Oh, matey, you\’re not going to keep my knife, that is the only one I have to cut my tobacco with.”
 I told him I would cut what he wanted.

At the station, I arrested him and placed him in the cell with the other \’prisoner.

He stamped and swore and acted like a madman. He opened the swag and drew out from it a new tomahawk, put it on the cell floor, and walked to where his mate was lying asleep. I nodded to the man who was with me to get it. He swiftly crossed the cell floor and brought it out.
 I immediately bolted the cell door. Seeing what we had done he used blasphemous language. In the morning I opened the cell door, but was prepared for any emergency, and asked them for their names. The prisoner I had taken the knife from asked “What\’s the charge, sergeant; no knifing I hope, for I\’m a ____ when in drink?\’ I replied, \’Fortunately for you, it is not.”
 They were both sentenced to a term of imprisonment at the Nairne Police Court.

 The knife, an ugly looking one was handed over to the Commissioner of Police, and he ordered it to be placed in the police museum, which contains almost all the weapons with which the murders and attempted murders and suicides recorded in the State have been committed. Each article is numbered, and a concise record kept of the circumstances surrounding the tragedy with which that exhibit, is associated.
  One of these knives had been included in the collection not on the account, as it says, of association with a crime, but it testifies to the bravery of a mounted constable\’ (M.C; Le Lievre) when at one of our southern townships Upon being told that a sailor, had threatened to use his sheath knife if he attempted to arrest him, the officer determinedly faced the man took possession of the knife and arrested him. I heard no more of this man until the Stepney Tragedy, which occurred a year or more after this incident.[1]


Next week: The Stepney Tragedy.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2020

[1] \’MEMORIES OF AN OLD POLICE OFFICER.\’, The Register, (6 October 1925), p. 12.




Oh, have you heard the latest news

   Of how a ghost was seen,

By people whom we cannot say

   Are altogether green.


To Dawsley they had been, it seems,

   To hear a parson preach;

And service done they harried on,

   Their cosy homes to reach.


T\’was Sunday night, the moon was young,

   And cast a silver sheen

On all the gum trees in the vales,

   And o\’er the hillocks green.


ln such, a scene, oh, would that I

   Could wander on that road,

Acknowledge to some charming girl

   The debt of love I owed.


Alas! I\’m old, and now from me

   Suck, happy scenes ace fled

With mem\’ries of a lovelit past,

   Long buried with the dead.


But these good folk that trudged along

   Were lassies bright and fair,

Whose silver laughter rang upon

   The balmy evening air.


And laddies, too, with buoyant heart.

   Beside the lassies strode

With manly, light, elastic step,

   Along that Dawsley road.


Old fogies, too, serene and calm.

   Were walking with the young,

Whose blended voices harmonised.

   And through, the wattles rung.


In jocund mood, they strolled along,

   Bereft of every care;

When lo! their merry mood was changed

  To grim and horrid fear.


From out beneath a bridge was beard

   A deep sepulchral moan.

Soon followed by unearthly sounds,

   And then a horrid groan.


“Come down,” a ghostly voice called out,

   “Come down at once, I say;”

But rooted to the spot they stood,

   Upon the Queen\’s highway.


The ladies all began to scream,

   As nicely as they could,

While all the men with trembling knees.

   In silent horror stood.


Then bounded from that sullied group,

   Young brave and stalwart Joe,

Declaring by his lady love,

   Beneath the bridge he\’d go.


Like hero true he plunged below,

   That bridge so drear and dark,

Declaring he would catch the ghost.

   And prove the thing a lark.


He soon returned, and said he saw

   A figure white and tall

Quick vanish through a wooden fence

   Through panels, post and all.


He said he thought it was no ghost,

   But some \’owdacious\’ fellow

Whom he would like to pommel well,

   Until he\’d roar and bellow.


The ladies all admired Joe,

   And gave him each her blessing,

Each wishing he\’d got the chance

   To give the wretch a dressing.


So let us hope with all our heart,

   When next he sees a ghost

He\’ll grab him by the heels or neck,

   In spite of rails or post.


I send this yarn with true intent,

   In hope that you may know

In Nairne there dwells and flourishes

   That brave young miller Joe.[1]


An original poem written by Mr F. Lines in 1877, describing a ghostly incident near Nairne.[2]

Researched by Allen Tiller. 2020

[1] \’DOTTINGS FROM THE DESERT.\’, Bunyip, (24 August 1877), p. 4.

[2] \’NAIRNE, AUGUST 27.\’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (1 September 1877), p. 21.,