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Charles Prior (1854–?)

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Charles Prior, also known as Henry Prior (1854-1932?) labourer, gaoled trade unionist 

Birth: 1854 in Victoria. Marriage: unknown. Death: perhaps 9 September 1932 in Toowoomba. 

  • Claimed to have worked at Coombe Martin station in 1882. Was said to have been a disqualified jockey. Had worked at East Darr. But was a considerable time out of work. In 1893 was at Murweh, near Charleville and police later reported that he was discharged without a reference for being troublesome. There he won a revolver, later produced in evidence at his trial.
  • On 20 July 1894 Prior was at a meeting of striking shearers at Coombe Martin where he shot a fellow unionist, Charles Ashford, with a revolver. Inspector Carr knocked Prior down and accused him of the shooting. Other witnesses claimed that it was Carr who had shot Ashford. Prior himself never denied that he had done so.
  • Prior's trial at Rockhampton was said to have been one of the longest ever held there.
  • On 29 September 1894 Prior was sentenced by Justice Real to six years penal servitude.
  • Prison records described him as a labourer, aged 41, born in Victoria, 4 feet 9¾ inches (146 cm) in height, of slight build with dark brown hair, blue eyes, weighing 8 stone 4 lbs (52.4 kg) on admission. He had tattoo marks on his right arm, a slight scar on the back of his neck and was going bald.
  • In St Helena Island prison, he worked in the tailors’ shop.
  • He was discharged on 25 July 1899, weighing 7 stone 3 lbs (45.5 kg).

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'Prior, Charles (1854–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 April 2024.

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