1855-1980 Accidents, Fatal Farm and Riding deaths

1871 Boy Drowns in Clyde North

1887 Farmer Robbed in Melbourne

1890's Ellinor-A Girl's Story

1892 Death of a Clyde Jockey

1894 Rescued by his Brother

1904 Accidental Shooting of Farmer

1908 Breach of Promise

1912 Life in Clyde-Keith Escott

1916 Killed in a Gravel Pit

1922 Sad Story of a Clyde Blacksmith

1930 Murder Suicide

1944 Fire Destroys Houses


Stories and Inquests
1908 Breach of Promise

Music Teacher and Carpenter - Plaintiff gets £75.

The duty devolved yesterday on Mr. O'Halloran , the prothonotary of the Supreme Court, of assessing the damage which a lady sustained by reason of a breach of promise of marriage. Early in the year Miss Ethel Swanson, of Moreland-road east, Brunswick, commenced an action against James Stick, of Clyde, farmer's carpenter, claiming £500 for breach of promise. She alleged that, in February, 1906, and at other times the defendant promised to marry her; that he had not fulfilled his promise, and that early in the present year he had married another lady. The defendant did not enter an appearance, and judgment was given against him. Mr. Justice Hood referring the matter to the prothonotary to assess the damage sustained. When the case came before Mr. O'Halloran yesterday, Mr L.B. Cussen, (instructed by Mr. Leslie F. Russell) appeared for the plaintiff, while the defendant again failed to appear.  

The plaintiff said she had been engaged to the defendant for three years, and had been keeping company with him for ten years. She was 28 years of age, and defendant was 27. They were on very affectionate terms until March of this year, when defendant married. She had, purchased a wedding dress in anticipation of her wedding, and the news of the defendant's marriage was a great blow to her. The dress cost £5, and she bought other clothing of a total value of £10. Prior to her engagement she had been teaching music. She had five pupils, each of whom paid her a guinea per quarter.  Her musical connection was growing, but she gave up her pupils at the suggestion of the defendent.. During her engagement she had had other admirers, one in particular, a commercial traveller; but these she did not encourage. Defendant had told her that, on the death of his mother, he would be entitled to £500 or £600. The defendant's weekly earnings were about £2. She had received a number of letters from him, the last, dated January 15, being as follows:

  Clyde .Jan. 11. 1908.
"Dear Ethel,-Some months past I wrote to you, asking you to remove all your belongings, but as you have not made any progress in doing so. I thought it my duly to remind you once again that, as I have no further interest in you, I wish you to remove then as soon as you can manage, as they are only destroying here, and I do not want anything of yours while in my possession to get damaged. When I took these articles to care for you is a much different time than what it is now. I have now lost all thoughts of you, and I wish you to lose all thoughts of me, the reason you already know. If I was once false, I never knew it, and I never will again; the fault is your own. I want no fuss. Part us you desire friends - I desire. I will send all your articles to you as you notify me to do.-I am your sincerely.. JIM."

That was the first he had ever said of breaking off the engagement.
Mr Cussen read extracts from other letters. One, dated June 9, 1907, commencing "My dearest Ethel," expressed sorrow at the illness of plaintiff's sister, and proceeded:-
  "I feel very lonely and miserable to-day, after being with you this day last week, but, pet, It is only a matter of time, and all that shall be wiped off the slate. Instead of me waiting for you, it will be you waiting for me to come home to tea. Darling .... Hoping you are well, and your patient speedily improving, I must, with best love and kisses, conclude. Good-bye, my little darling.-Your ever true loving James."

In another letter defendant wrote, ex pressing regret that his circumstances did not allow them to get married at once, as He was gaining nothing by being single. The letter proceeded:
  "I have this place done up neatly, and nicely furnished. I shall be ready for you at once, dearest, and when I take you, I hope to better  you, make you happy and comfortable; not make you miserable and want. I am very sorry that I am not rich enough to see you every week, or rich enough to take you altogether at once, but, darling, I sincerely hope It will not be long now, Good night, my little darling. Write soon, and don't forget your old love."

Another letter commenced. "My dearest Ethel Girly Wirly Wig." Its contents included the following passages:-"You say you are getting quite an expert in poultry. If so, you can choose me a good setting of eggs, and send them up to me, as I have a broody hen."

Evidence was called to show that the engagement was openly admitted. Mr. Cussen then contended that, as the defendant had deserted the girl in a most contemptible manner after keeping company with her for ten years, she was entitled to substantial damages.
Mr O'Halloran assessed the damage at £75, with costs.
The Argus 15 May 1908

Editor's Note: According to the online Stick family tree, James Stick married Alice Louise Pruden in 1908. He died in Dalmore in 1967.
His daughter was enrolled in Clyde, State School No 3664. James Stick is mentioned in our Cricket Team history.

prothonotary = principle clerk of a court ( the first of the recorders in the court)
plaintiff = the person with the complaint against another
breach of promise = until the early 20th century, a man's promise of engagement to marry a woman was considered, in many jurisdictions, a legally binding contract. If the man were to subsequently change his mind, he would be said to be in "breach" of this promise and subject to litigation for damages.
breach = a breaking of an agreement
broody hen = when a hen has a strong desire to stay sitting on eggs and is unwilling to move