Inquest Patrick Rogers Axedale 1882

The inquest of Patrick Rogers was held at Drake’s Hotel on April 12, 1882 before Robert Strickland JP.

North Western Police District
4th April 1882

Report of Constable Feeley, relative to a man found drowned at Axedale. I beg leave to report for the information of the Coroner, that about noon today, a man Rogers, who lived at Axedale, near the bridge over the Campaspe, was found drowned in the river, at the usual place where he used to go for water. Mary Cabey first saw him in the water, his back was not under the water. She told William Shawburn and William Winzar, who took the body out of the water. There are no marks of violence on the body. The deceased’s bucket was found in the water, close to the body. William Smith saw the deceased between 9 and 10 am, the same day, taking wood into his hut.
(signed) Constable Feeley.

There are also witness statements outlining similar details from Mary Cabey, William Shawburn William Winzar, and William Smith

Witness Statement from William Smith, Carpenter, Campaspe River, Axedale.
I have known the deceased Patrick Rogers, whose body is now here lying dead, for about 16 years, during which time he has lived on the banks of the Campaspe River. He lived alone and was about 70 years of age. He was accustomed to walk with a stock and his back was doubled up. Last saw him alive yesterday (Tuesday) morning the 4th instant, at half past 9 o’clock on the roadway near his own place. He was gathering wood to make a fire. In about two hours afterwards, I heard that he had been found drowned in the river. The river bank is about 150 yards from the back of deceased’s place. The bank is very steep and is approached by a small pathway made by deceased himself. The body was found in a few inches of water, quite dead. On being searched, five shillings was found in deceased’s pocket.
(his mark x ) William Smith

Witness Statement from Edwin Hinchcliff, legally qualified medical practitioner, residing at Sandhurst
I have this day made a post mortem examination of the body of Patrick Rogers, here lying dead. It is that of a man between 60 and 70 years of age, stout and well nourished. There was a small contused wound on the left lower eyelid, but no other mark of violence. I found the right lung congested in the lower lobe but there was no trace of water in the bronchi. The left lung was firmly adherent to the walls of the chest and was in the same state of congestion of the right lung. The blood in the lungs was very fluid and dark colored. I removed the larynx and trachea. On opening out the larynx, I found this small piece of a clay tobacco pipe (produced) about half an inch long. It was stuck across the vocal chords. This by it’s presence would lead to asphyxia, which would cause of deceased’d death. There was no mud or trace of foreign matter in the mouth, larynx or stomach. There was no evidence of drowning.
(signed) Edwin Hinchcliff

Coroner’s Finding

Re: Patrick Rogers, deceased.
I find that on the fourth day of April, 1882, at the Campaspe River, Axedale, the deceased, Patrick Rogers died from asphyxia caused by the deceased accidentally swallowing the stem of a clay pipe (tobacco)
Dated the 5th day of April, 1882 at Axedale.

The Campaspe River today

©2022 copyright. All rights reserved


The Axedale Platypus

The Axedale Platypus is a sculputre that sits alongside the Campaspe River on the Axedale Riverwalk. In 2013, the Axedale River Reserve was rejuvenated, and the platypus was an addition that was made at the time. The reason for choosing a platypus as the sculpture to depict Axedale, was because native playpus are known to inhabit thie Axedale section of the Campaspe River.

Victorian artist, Yvonne George was the artist selected to create a sculpture depicting “an exciting aerial view interpretation of a platypus, moving through and creating, rippled water movements” –

Before the form of the statue was decided, the artist held an outdoor workshop at the River Reserve, with residents, who gave her their inpu, and contributed ideas towards the design of the statue.

The finished statue is made of steel and stands over two metres tall. If you are on the Axedale River Walk, which is abutts the Reserve, and forms part of the O’Keefe Rail Trail, you cannot miss the imposing presence of The Axedale Platypus.

Along with the installation of the Platypus structure, at the Axedale Riverwalk, there are now native plantings, new picnic tables and benches.

The Axedale Riverwalk is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit in any season, and while there, I never tire of looking at this sculpture. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen a platypus in the river, but I always look when walking or riding by.

From: The Riverine Herald, Saturday, 07 March 1908, Page 2

Friday. March 6

In yesterday’s “Bendigo Advertiser” a paragraph appeared, re the finding of a platypus at Axedale, and also stating that the animal is rarely found in Victoria. There are numbers of Ornithorinchi, in the Campaspe, in the neighborhood of Rochester, and on any evening, they can he seen disporting in the deep holes, by anyone who can keep quiet.

The rivers in Gippsland, notably the Morwell, Tyers, Tarwin, and the Traralgon Creek are alive with them. In the Morwell river a dozen can be seen at a time in one hole. There is also a goodly number in the Merri and Hopkins rivers at Warrnambool. The Gellibrand and Carlisle Rivers, in the Beech Forest are a favorite haunt. Dozens of streams, which the writer has visited, contain the animals, but they are generally to be found away from towns. – The platypus is far from being extinct in Victoria.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3943.jpg
This sign can be seen on the Axedale Riverwalk

*Ornithorinchi – refers to Ornithorhynchus anatinus which is the species name of the platypus, sometimes called the duck billed platypus. The platypus is a semi aquatic, egg laying mammal.

ROCHESTER. (1908, March 7). The Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 – 1954; 1998 – 2002), p. 2. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

©2021 copyright. All rights reserved

Fatal Accident at the Campaspe 1866


from: Bendigo Advertiser, 24 April 1866, page 3

axedale inquest




Yesterday Dr Pounds, the District Coroner, held an inquest at the Campaspe Hotel, Axedale, touching the death of Joseph Scott Bradshaw, who died from a gunshot wound accidentally received on Sunday last.

It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, in company with William Baxter, Thomas Dorham and Alfred Bailes, started from Sandhurst in a spring cart at seven o’clock p.m. on Saturday, for the Campaspe, upon a fishing and shooting excursion.

They reached their destination at ten o’clock that night, and camped out on the side of the river about a mile from Axedale.

They commenced shooting at about five o’clock the following morning, near the spot where they had camped, and at about four p m, when they were thinking of returning to Sandhurst, Bradshaw, Derham and Bailes said they would first enjoy a bathe.

Baxter said that in the meantime he would fire off a couple of shots, and as they had only two guns, he requested the deceased, who carried the powder flask and shot pouch, to load one of the guns, a double-barrelled one, for him.

Bradshaw took up the gun to comply with the request, and whilst holding the butt end on the ground, his left hand over the barrels near their top, and as he was pouring the powder from the flask with his right hand, and before he had put a wad upon it, the other barrel, which was charged with powder and duck shot, exploded, and deceased fell back on the ground, when blood gushed from his face.

The other two young men ran to the spot, and Bailes at once went for Dr O’Grady. After receiving the wound, deceased only lived some ten or fifteen minutes.

Mounted Constable Wright, of Axedale, who was sent for, deposed to finding the gun with one barrel which appeared to have been recently discharged, and both lock hammers down, and under each an exploded percussion cap.

George William Hart, mining, surveyor, said that the deceased had been apprenticed to him. He was not quite nineteen years old,  and was a well conducted, sober lad. He had lent deceased the gun, which was a perfectly safe one. There was no danger of the hammers going off at half-cock.

Dr Atkinson, who had made a post mortem examination, stated that death had resulted from a gunshot wound.

The jury having heard the evidence found  ‘That the deceased, Joseph Scott Bradshaw, came suddenly by his death at the River Campaspe from injuries to his body, caused by the accidental explosion of his gun, it being then charged with powder and shot’.

(Punctuation and paragraphs  have been added to the above transcription for ease and speed of reading)


A little about Axedale

The discovery of gold in Bendigo, in the 1850s brought many travellers through Axedale, as they were on the search for  their fortune. They would have found Axedale to be a pretty spot, on the banks of the Campaspe River. Some of those travellers, rested by the river and continued on. Some settled in Axedale.

Axedale soon became a thriving community, with many hotels, a bakery, store, post office and churches. There were also industries such as a blacksmith, coach service to Bendigo, brick kilns, sawmills, along with mining of gold, sandstone and bluestone.

Today Axedale is a thriving rural hamlet, offering a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle. Being only about 20 kilometers from Bendigo, many have settled in Axedale and commute daily to Bendigo for work.