People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Joseph Charles Newman (1845–1857)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Joseph Charles Newman (1845-1857) child killed while a coal mine employee

Birth: 22 November 1845 and baptised on 1 March 1846 at St Paul’s, Hammersmith, Middlesex, England, son of Joseph Newman (1820-1904), bricklayer and labourer, and Mary Ann Ledgerwood (1824-1899). Unmarried. Death: 21 March 1857 at Newcastle, New South Wales. Religion: Anglican. 

  • Young Joseph’s maternal grandfather William Ledgerwood (1804-1859), a constable convicted of stealing, was transported to Sydney arriving aboard the Norfolk on 27 August 1829.
  • The boy arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, on 16 November 1853 with his parents, siblings and his mother’s family aboard the Mobile.
  • By 1855 the Newman family was living in Newcastle, New South Wales, and Joseph senior was employed at the Australian Agricultural (A.A.) Company Limited’s Borehole Colliery, Hamilton.
  • In February 1857 young Joseph was employed at the same colliery. His regular employment was to take a spare horse about half a mile along the road to meet the loaded trains. He would then return by riding in the waggons.
  • On 21 March he was in charge of a horse assisting other horses drawing the loaded waggons up the ascent and had got on the waggons as usual. But he got off again to go for a drink when he was run over by a rail carriage: “it is supposed that he had attempted to jump up between the last two waggons, had missed his footing and one or both wheels passed over his head”.
  • The subsequent inquest was informed that boys, generally the children of the miners, “were employed by the coal companies from a desire to help their parents”. The Jury censured the company for “employing boys of such tender years at such dangerous work.”
  • Newman is said to have been the youngest person killed in the course of employment in the northern coal mines.
  • Newman's name is included in the Jim Comerford memorial wall of people who lost their lives in the northern district coal mines. In 2022 the wall included some 1792 names.

Frank Maxwell and Elaine Sheehan (compilers), Nineteenth Century Coalmining Related Deaths, Hunter Valley, NSW (Newcastle Family History Society Inc., Adamstown, September 2004), pp 142-143.

Additional Resources

  • inquest, Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) 25 March 1857: 3
  • inquest, Armidale Express (NSW), 4 April 1857, p 5

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Newman, Joseph Charles (1845–1857)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


22 November, 1845
London, Middlesex, England


21 March, 1857 (aged 11)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

mining accident

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.

Passenger Ship