The Magisterial Chair

We recently stumbled across this story in Trove and thought it too good not to share:

The Magisterial Chair at Wagga Wagga

On Monday last Mr. Thomas Hammond, of Junee, was sworn in a magistrate of the territory before Mr. Henry Baylis, P.M. [Police Magistrate], under a writ of dedimus protestatem [sic].  After the oath had been taken, it was of course, competent for Mr Hammond to take his seat upon the Bench, but this was easier said than done, seeing that there was nothing to sit upon.  At present the furniture in the Court-house at Wagga Wagga, belonging to the Government, consists of one chair, or rather the remains of a chair, for it has only three legs and no bottom, and on the whole presents a prospect of anything but security or comfort to the occupant.  Of course it would have been impossible to ask Mr. Hammond to risk his neck on anything of the kind, for, except the position of the Forster Ministry, we know of nothing nearly as rickety as our one Government chair.  After the entire police force had scoured the neighbourhood for some hours, we believe a chair was borrowed, and the first of our new batch of J.P.’s was duly installed.  What will be done should there ever be a full Bench here at one time we cannot conceive and doubt if even the fertile resources for which the chief constable is so noted, and which led to the white-washing of a cell for the accommodation of the jury at the late District Court, will suffice for the exigencies of such a case as we have supposed. – Wagga Wagga Express

The story appeared in “Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Review” on 10 December 1859.


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