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Time for a happy dance! Well kind of .....poor Catherine!

Brickwall knocked down at last!  Catherine Rhall was murdered by her partner James Baker Worldon on the 14th February 1855 at Beechworth.  The Trove articles do involve my 4th Great Grandparents James Baker Worldon and Catherine Rhall!  I guess the family tree book will need updating now ;)
I looked up the following record from the Public Record of Victoria and bingo the details match my ancestors records.  Catherine Rhall's fate is now known at last, she was murdered by her partner and he was only sentenced to two years imprisonment for it and by the look of it was released early in 1856!  I also found out he used the alias Milbank, which will give me new avenues for future research.

Public Record Office of Victoria

Series title:Central Register of Male Prisoners
Sub-Item title:Worldon, James; (Milbank); (Jas Baker Worldon): No. 2265
Sub-Item number:Page 199
Date range:1854
Public access:Open
Source: Public Record Office Of Victoria.  Retrieved from


  1. Thanks Tracy for your great detective work - even though it's a sad and tragic series of events. Like you, I wonder what happened to the younger children.
    My grandparents were James Baker Worldon born 1880 and Ethea Christina Sheather so I've enjoyed some of your other posts too.

  2. Thanks Brian! Hopefully one day soon we will be able to find out more about what happened to the children during this time. According to my genealogy program you are my half 1st cousin two times removed! Your grandfather (my great great grandfather) has proved to be quite interesting to research, as I knew next to nothing about him and had assumed (prior to getting into genealogy) that he died when Grandma (my great grandmother Stella) was quite young. His longevity and the existence of your branch of the family came as something of a surprise when I first started researching back in the mid 1990's. It is lovely to hear from someone from your branch of the Worldon tree! I have read a few articles that mention your grandparents on Trove and they seem to have had a happy life together, I certainly hope so anyway!

    1. The depression hit Jim and Etty hard and from that time they were never wealthy. Your earlier post about Jim looking for gold in 1929 confirms that times were tough for a while. But when I knew them in the 1960's they seemed happy together. I have a few photos and possibly some other information that you may find interesting. Do you mind if I contact you via email? I've already noted your email address.

    2. I would love to hear from you and find out more information about your side of the family.

    3. i find myself confused,my fathers name was james,rhall........................................i am 36 years of age,and have two brothers and two sisters i know of?

  3. Hi Tracy,
    I have a strange question but do you happen to know where in Beechworth James and Catherine lived?

    1. Hi,

      No sorry I don't at this time unfortunately. From the newspaper accounts of the murder trial it seems as if they were living rough in a tent on the diggings at Snake Valley, Beechworth. The local Beechworth musuem and the Victorian State Archives may very well have more information on them but at the moment I am not able to chase it up due to family circumstances. As soon as life allows however I intend to follow up these leads.

    2. Hi belgibbs
      Catherine Rhall is my GG/Grandmother I have been trying to find where she is buried but no luck.She lived in a tent at Snake Valley which is now Stanley just out of Beechworth

  4. The photo of Catherine Rhall and James Baker Worldon. Does any one know where it came from and is it really them,some trees have her as born in 1829 but that would make her eleven or twelve when Sarah Jane was born

  5. Brian, Roma Waldron who wrote the Bell Worldon Connection should be able to tell you the origin of the photograph if you get in touch with her. Catherine was born in England ? about 1820 and came out to Australia with her parents on board the ship 'Hooghly' in 1828. Her marriage certificate to John Casey in 1835 has her listed as being 15 years old and a free emigrant, so definitely not born in Australia.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I have sent you a private email with regards to this Brian.

  7. Hi Tracy. Hi everyone. I'm new to this thread, so let me take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is John Wells and I am the GGGG grandson of James Waldon, father of James Baker Waldon, the convict. Since 2005, I have completed a novel which I presently call 'Durra Durra. It is a biofictional story based on the life events of James Baker Waldon, accurately researched from records both here in Australia and in England. You may follow my blog regarding the book at In answer to some of your questions. Belgibbs, If you look at the account of the trial on my blog, I think you'll find James and Catherine lived in a tent at Beechworth, since it was an active area during the Australian Gold Rush of the early and middle 1850's. Times were tough and the grog was strong, clearly taking it's toll on poor Catherine Rhall. I look forward to answering any of your questions regarding James B Waldon since I have a great deal of research material about him gained from Australian and English records. looking forward to further chats. Best wishes, John.

    Please feel free to pay a visit.

    Here's a link to a full transcript of the trial of James Baker Waldon for the murder of his wife Catherine Rhall.


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