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William James Broadbent (1864–1915)

In our last issue we mentioned that the body of Mr W. J. Broadbent, manager of the Corowa branch of the Bank of New South Wales, and formerly of the Creswick branch, had been found, he having been missing for about a month. Referring to the discovery of the body and the opening of the inquiry, the "Corowa Chronicle" has the following:—

All doubts about the disappearance of Mr W. J. Broadbent, late manager of the Bank of New Soath Wales (particulars of which appeared in our issue of a month ago), have now been set at rest by the recovery of his body in Pearce's Creek, near the Mooratunka boundary. Late on Sunday afternoon a son of Mr Chas. Anderson's, of "Brocklesby House", noticed the body of a man floating in a back water in the creek, and told his father, who communicated with the police, and they recovered the body. Evidence was not wanting to identify it without a doubt with that of the missing bank manager. The body was removed to the hospital morgue, and an inquiry opened before the district coroner (Dr Wm. Short) on Monday afternoon, particulars of which appear below.


William Thomas Armstrong, police constable, stationed at Corowa, deposed yesterday evening, the 1st instant, he left Corowa on a bicycle for South Corowa, and went to Mr Charles Anderson, junr.'s, house. Saw Mr Anderson and his son, Roland. Went to Pearce's Creek, a tributary of the Murray, with Mr Anderson and his son. The latter pointed out to him the body of a man, which was lying face upwards in the water, about three or four yards from the bank. Under instructions from Sergeant Field, pulled the body out of the waiter on to dry land. He then returned to Corowa. Left Corowa about 5 o'clock this morning, in company with Constable Fleming, and removed the body from the spot where he had placed it the night before to the morgue at the hospital. Was present this morning when Constable Fleming searched the body. One set of sleeve links was taken from the wrists of his shirt, engraved "W.J.B." one gold collar stud removed from the shirt, and a gold ring was taken off the little finger of the left hand; also three threepenny-bits were found in the vest pocket. A pocket book (produced), with "W. J. Broadbent, Bank of New South Wales, Corowa," written on the first leaf of the book, which contained other entries referring to the names of horses, and appeared to be the names of racehorses, was also found. In the pocket book was a receipt from Godfrey Abraham, financier, 352 Collins-street, Melbourne, dated 10th June, 1915, to Mr W. J. Broadbent, Bank of New South Wales, Corowa. The amount was for £30, and under neath it appeared the word "settled". There was also a portion of a letter from Godfrey Abraham. The collar (produced) was worn by deceased, and was stamped "W. J. Broadbent".

Henry K. Ireland, vigneron, resident at Wahguuyah, deposed he visited the morgue at the public hospital that afternoon. Constable Fleming showed him the body of a man lying there, which he recognised as Williams James Broadbent, late manager of the Bank of New South Wales, Corowa. Recognised him by his nose, teeth, and height. His nose appears to have been broken and his teeth had gold filling-one, a front tooth, and the other was situated on the side of the mouth.

Henry Fleming, police constable, stationed at Corowa, deposed about 5 o'clock that morning, in company with Constable Armstrong, he conveyed the body of a man to the morgue at the hospital. To-day at 12 o'clock he raised the body, and found it in a very decomposed state. The flesh round the left eye was missing, otherwise the body did not show any external marks of violence or other marks whatever. In his opinion the flesh missing from around the eye would be accounted for by crayfish and shrimps eating it. He should think that the body had been a month in the water. Portion of the left eye still remained. He examined the bone round the eye, which was in a sound condition. The deceased was the late W. J. Broadbent, manager of the Bank of New South Wales.

The inquiry was continued on Saturday last, when the coroner re turned an open verdict.

Original Publication

Citation details

'Broadbent, William James (1864–1915)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Kingston, Victoria, Australia


30 June, 1915 (aged ~ 51)
Pearce's Creek, Corowa, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.