[Editor: These brief news items, extracts from the news section of the The Sydney Morning Herald of 9 September 1851, are indicative of the harsh sentencing and working conditions in Australia’s early years; although they were probably little different to those in other countries at the time.]
AYING. — This man is becoming quite a notorious character. Not satisfied with the lesson read to him at the Police Office on Wednesday last, on Friday he refused to obey the lawful commands of his master — he insisted that he had no right to work before breakfast, nine o’clock being, in his opinion, quite early enough to commence the labours of the day; not satisfied with this he nursed himself until, on the following day, he heard of the arrival of the constable, when, suspecting that his misconduct was the cause of the officer’s presence, he turned out and was willing to work. It was then too late, and he was under the necessity of accompanying the constable to the lock-up. When brought before the Bench yesterday, he had nothing to say until the sentence of fourteen days’ imprisonment was passed, when he said he would prefer to return to his master’s work. Mr. Johnstone was not inclined this time to shelter him from the consequences of his misconduct, and Aying had no alternative but to submit to his hard fate.
TRUANT APPRENTICE. — A youth named Roberts, apprenticed to Mr. Robinson, tinplate worker, was yesterday found guilty of absenting himself without leave from his master’s service, and sentenced to pass three days in a cell. This was the second offence within a short period, but on the former occasion he was begged off by his master.
DISTURBING A CONGREGATION. — A man named John Davis was on Sunday evening taken into custody for disorderly conduct, making a noise at the door of St. James’ Church, to the annoyance of the congregation. On being brought before Alderman Egan, yesterday, he was ordered to find sureties for his good behaviour, or in default to be imprisoned for seven days.
The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Tuesday 9 September 1851, page 2