James Tait Russell

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James Tait Russell
Died 1929
Hawthorn, Victoria
Occupation Publican
Years active 1866-1873
Known for Glasgow Arms
Criterion Hotel
Home town Ballarat

James Tait Russell was a publican in Ballarat, <1866-1873>.

History[edit | edit source]

A James Russell was a witness at the Ballarat East Court in April 1866. He, and several other publicans, had paid their license fees at the Town Hall, but the money was embezzled by the clerk, Lewis Daniel Levy.[1]

In October 1866, Russell was advertising his prices at the Glasgow Arms in Main Road, for liquor by the half pint and bottle.[2]

In February 1867, his application for a night license for the hotel was refused after the Sergeant Larner objected at the hearing.[3]

In January 1870, Russell transferred his license for the Glasgow Arms to Charles Besta.[4]

James Tait Russell was declared insolvent in January 1871:

James Tait Russell, Ballarat East, hotel keeper. Causes of insolvency—Depression in trade and sickness in family. Liabilities, £416 19s assets, £95; deficiency, £321 19s 4d.[5]

Russell was at the Criterion Hotel in Bridge Street, Ballarat, by February 1872, when his wife found an intruder was discovered hiding a hotel bedroom:

At about noon on Wednesday Mrs Russell, of the Criterion hotel, Bridge street, heard a noise in one of the upper rooms, but upon going upstairs she could not find any one there. The noise was repeated, and she got a man to go up with her. After searching about for some time they discovered a bundle of bedclothes, belonging to the house lying in one of the rooms as if ready for removal, and upon looking under the bed they found a young man named Ryan, who has often made his appearance in the police-court as a prisoner. Ryan was at once given in charge to the police.[6]

The license for the Criterion was renewed in December 1873.[7]

After leaving Ballarat, James Tait Russell applied for a license for a hotel at Barraport, in December 1879:

SHIRE OF SWAN HILL, COLONY OF VICTORIA. NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR A PUBLICAN'S LICENSE. I, JAMES TAIT RUSSELL, of Barraport, in the County of Gladstone, do hereby give notice that I desire to obtain; and will, at the next licensing meeting to be holden at Durham Ox in the County of Gunbower, on the Twelfth day of December, 1879, apply for a certificate authorising the issue of a Publican's License for a house situate at Barraport, containing five rooms exclusive of those required for the use of the family. Dated the Twenty-seventh day of November 1879.[8]

In September 1900 the hotel was robbed by the "Boort Bushranger", and Russell was tied up during the robbery:

THE BOORT BUSHRANGER BEFORE THE POLICE COURT. A FULL CONFESSION. THE ACT OF A WEAK-MINDED YOUTH. Yesterday morning William Henry Hawthorne, the youth who was arrested in the Mall by Constable Doble on the previous evening on the charge of stickingup and robbing Russell's Hotel at Barraport on Sunday evening last as fully detailed in yesterday's Bendigo Independent was brought before the Police Court. Messrs. J. G. Edwards, D. B. Lazarus Dr. James Boyd, and Mr. T. Morrow were on the bench. The court was crowded with spectators, who were evidently very keen to see "the bushranger.” The occupants of the dock, however, were only two drunkards. After these had been disposed of the dock door was opened and a tall simple looking country youth, weak and gawky in build, and sleepily blinking as though not very wide awake, nor apparently awake to the seriousness of his situation, advanced to the front of the dock. He was ushered down to the seat by a constable. “William Henry Hawthorne,” the court orderly read out, and prisoner rose again, leaning nervously against the corner of the dock near the door, "You are charged that at Barrapoort, near Boort,” the orderly continued, “on September 23, 1900, being armed with an offensive weapon to wit, a revolver; you did feloniously steal, take and carry away from the dwelling of James Russell, £4 in silver; 5s in copper, four new saddle straps, seven pocket-knives; a number of sleeve-links, a number of lady’s brooches, a number of solitaires, and a quantity of tobacco, the property of James Russell.” Detective Wilson stepped into the witness box and stated that accused was arrested on the previous night in the Mall for sticking-up an hotel at Barraport on Sunday evening last He went to the hotel, which was a small one armed with a revolver and tied up the proprietor and two young men who were there. He made them hand over £4 in silver, while he took the rest of the articles mentioned. At the lock-up that morning he made a full confession to witness of everything he did. He had apparently not withhold any details.

The court sat at Boort every Thursday and, as the Supreme Court sat at Bendigo next week he would have to ask for a remand for a week to this court, and then another remand to Boort to the following Thursday. The chairman of the bench (to prisoner): ‘"Have you anything to say why you should not be remanded?” “No, I have nothing to say sir," prisoner replied in a meek voice." He was accordingly remanded to appear before the court on Friday next. The spectators as they left the court expressed the greatest surprise at the inoffensive and mild appearance of the prisoner. The general, opinion was that the youth must be weak-minded to have attempted such a daring robbery, and subsequently invite arrest by his unguarded actions and statements. The prisoner was removed to the gaol, but apparently he does not fully realise the gravity of the situation he has placed himself in for he remains calm and unconcerned, and evidently does not feel his position acutely. From remarks he has let fall he is more concerned for the trouble he is giving his father and brother and sisters, than about anything that may happen to himself. As might be supposed of a youth who is only 17 or 18 years of age, and has lived in the country all his life, he is not much of a man of the world. He showed in conversation with the police that he knew nothing about trial by jury, but reckoned that he would be required to compensate the man he robbed by working for him until he had rendered an equivalent for the goods taken. He talks rationally enough, on most subjects, and the confession he has made would point to the fact that he is possessed of cunning.

In his confession he states that he has been in the habit of travelling about the country for some time past in search of work as a farm laborer. On Saturday, 15th inst. he states, he purchased a single ticket for Bendigo at Boort, and came to the city in search of work. He then carried with him his swag and the pea-rifle, which was found on him when arrested, and which he is in the habit of taking round the country with him. After staying in Bendigo two or three days and get ting no employment he resolved to return home as he was getting short of funds. He had sufficient money to purchase a ticket to Charlton and on reaching there struck across country for home. He arrived in the vicinity of Barraport on Sunday and on that afternoon he alleges he saw two young men shooting in the bush. When they observed him they fired two shots in his direction, an in reply he fired two shots back with a revolver he had. He then hung about the vicinity of the hotel, and at dark approached it to obtain food, when, he says, he was suddenly confronted by one of the young men he had seen in the afternoon. As the man appeared to threaten violence the impulse suddenly came upon him, he says, to stick the place up, and accordingly he did so. Making good his escape that night he reached Bendigo by the first train on Monday morning, putting up at the Iona Dining Rooms in Mitchell street. The pocket knives he sold to Mr. Lazarus, pawnbroker, of Mitchell street. The cheap stolen jewellery he tried to sell at various places, including Mr. Horace Bradley’s. Finding he could not get a buyer he went into the Upper Reserve on Thursday and flung it out as far as he could into the top dam.[9]

His diamond wedding anniversary was celebrated in February 1924:

Mr and Mrs James Tait Russell, of 30 Auburn parade, Upper Hawthorn, celebrated yesterday their diamond wedding. They were married at St. John’s Church, Ballarat East, by the Rev. Duncan Fraser, on St. Valentine’s Day, 14th February, 1864. Despite their advanced age, both are in excellent health. Mr Russell, who is now in his 89th year, arrived in Melbourne in December, 1852, by the clipper ship Aberfoyle, on his first voyage out from Glasgow. After residing in Ballarat, Mr and Mrs Russell went to the Boort district, where they lived for many years. Mr Russell devoted himself to pastoral pursuits. Their family consists of two sons and one daughter, 12 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.[10]

His death was noted in July 1929:

Mr James Tait Russell 94, of Auburn Parade, Upper Hawthorn, who arrived in Melbourne from Glasgow in the sailing vessel Aberfoyle. in 1853, has died. He joined in the gold rush to Ballarat. and in 1874 became one of the pioneer pastoralists in the Boort and Barraport districts. Mr Russell, who retired some years ago, has left two sons and a daughter. His wife died about two years ago.[11]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1866 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 28 April, p. 1. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE BALLARAT STAR), viewed 30 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112869097
  2. 1868 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 16 October, p. 3. , viewed 30 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113848175
  3. 1867 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 February, p. 4. , viewed 31 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112861271
  4. 1870 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 25 January, p. 4. , viewed 31 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112858077
  5. 1871 'NEW INSOLVENT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 January, p. 3. , viewed 24 Sep 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197559509M
  6. 1872 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 February, p. 2. , viewed 02 Mar 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197626750
  7. 1873 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 December, p. 2. , viewed 09 Jun 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article201608881
  8. 1879 'Advertising', Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (Vic. : 1877 - 1889), 5 December, p. 3. (WEEKLY.), viewed 29 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66494895
  9. 1900 'THE BOORT BUSHRANGER', The Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 - 1918), 29 September, p. 4. , viewed 02 Nov 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article181023522
  10. 1924 'Personal', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 February, p. 1. , viewed 29 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article213958019
  11. 1929 'THE HUMAN INTEREST', Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954), 6 July, p. 9. , viewed 29 Oct 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224405634

External links[edit | edit source]