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John Edward Collins (1832–1902)

John Edward Collins (1832-1902) was born on 21 January 1832 at Hobart, the son of John Collins, plasterer, and his wife Elizabeth Williams. He married Margaret Matilda Poultney on 24 March 1856 at St John the Baptist, Hamilton; the couple had five children.

Collins was found guilty, along with Patrick Kelly, of robbery under arms on 28 October 1863 at the Supreme Court, Hobart. According to the trial evidence Collins, who was a coach driver, was the one who planned to rob Alfred Bolter, a collector of money who Collins was driving around on 20 August. Kelly carried out the robbery using a fake gun. Collins later gave up Kelly's name to the police. Kelly subsequently pleaded guilty to the charge and became a witness against Collins. Both men were found guilty of the charge of robbery under arms and were sentenced to death. Their sentences were later commuted to 10 years penal servitude for Kelly and 14 years for Collins. Collins was freed from gaol on 26 February 1873.

Collins moved to Victoria becoming a farmer at Woosang and Richmond Plains. Claiming he was a widower (he gave his wife's death date as 4 September 1864) he bigamously married Martha Davis on 1 December 1881 at the Presbyterian Manse, Inglewood. He gave his occupation as farmer and his place of residence as Woosang. 

Collins died (as John Edwin Collins) at Tarnagulla, Victoria, on 20 February 1902.

Original Publication

Citation details

'Collins, John Edward (1832–1902)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Collins, John Edwin

13 January, 1832
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


20 February, 1902 (aged 70)
Tarnagulla, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.

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