Breamlea, Victoria

Breamlea, Victoria

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Poor Mr. Minton and the Drunken Mayor of Melbourne in 1865

Thomas Minton minding his own business runs into the drunken Mayor of Melbourne, Mr. Wragge in 1865.

The Mayor of Melbourne has got himself into a mess with Thomas Minton.

Sorry I haven't posted anything lately.  I have been researching the Minton family for some good friends of ours. Amongst my travels, I discovered this little gem in Trove.  I don't know if this newspaper article belongs to any members of the particular branch I am researching, but I hope so! This is just too good to pass up.

22 July 1865. 

VICTORIA. The Mayor of Melbourne has got himself into a mess. 

The Herald says:-" Shortly before the rising of the City Court on the 12th instant Mr. Thomas Sarsfield Minton, nephew of Captain Minton, an old colonist, applied to the Bench to know if a charge of vagrancy, which had been preferred against him by Mr. Wragge, Mayor of Melbourne, on the previous night, was going to be heard. Mr. Sturt replied that there was no case of that description on the charge sheet against him. Mr. Minton then asked to be allowed to state under what circumstances the charge had taken place, as he had suffered a most uncalled for indignity. The Bench, however, refused to hear him, and so far the matter dropped. 

The officers of the police, however, inquired from their subordinates, and from their statement and Mr. Minton's, it appears that he (Mr. Minton), about 20 minutes past 11 o'clock, on Tuesday night, while walking towards the Melbourne terminus, saw a man being pitched forcibly from a door of a house into the street, but he did not take any notice of the affair until the "eliminated" individual came up, and exclaimed, "Ho! Policeman," at the same time clapping him on the back. Mr. Minton replied that he was not a policeman, whereupon he was asked who he was. He declined to answer, and his questioner then said, "I am Mayor of Melbourne, and I have a right to know what every vagabond does who roams about at this hour of the night," or words to that effect. Mr. Minton replied the he did not believe him, but he was quickly undeceived by being given into the custody of Sergeant Robinson on a charge of vagrancy, and was taken to the watch-house.

On arriving at the lock-up the clerk, as usual, asked what was the charge. Robinson looked bewildered, but said he had no charge against Mr. Minton ; but the high civic functionary who had given Mr. Minton into custody would not be satisfied, and charged that gentleman with vagrancy. The watch-house clerk declined to take the charge, and stated his reasons for doing so, for the information of his officers, in the most lucid manner, in a book kept for such purposes. The reasons were, we need scarcely say, the reverse of creditable to the Mayor.

We are informed that proceedings at law have been commenced to recover damages for false imprisonment. The Age of 14th inst states: -We learn that an action has been commenced against Mr Wragge, the Mayor of Melbourne, by a Mr T. S. Minton, for false imprisonment. Damages are laid at £2000. It seems that, on Tuesday night, Mr Wragge having been elected a life member of the Victorian Poultry Society, the convivialities upon the occasion were prolonged to a rather late hour, and that upon returning home, his Worship, laboring under some extraordinary misapprehension, gave Mr. Minton into custody as a rogue and a vagabond. The watchhouse clerk, perceiving that Mr. Wragge was strangely at fault, refused to enter the charge, and nothing further was done until the following morning, when Mr. Minton put in an appearance at the police court, but was told there was nothing against him. He then gave his solicitor instructions to proceed in the manner we have indicated.

Who knew that the Victorian Poultry Society could be so rambunctious?

Historically and hysterically yours,
Valerius Copernicus

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APA citation
VICTORIA. (1865, July 22). Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), p. 7 Edition: MORNING.. Retrieved December 13, 2015, from

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