Eliza Jane Baker
- Born: Cir 1858 1
- Partnership: John Henry Hubert
- Died: 2 Oct 1876, Dublin, South Australia 2 3
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954) Monday 9 October 1876 Page 7 of 8
EXTRAORDINARY CASE OF
An inquest was commenced on Tuesday, October 3, at Dublin, South Australia, to in- quire into the circumstances connected with tbe death of Jane Baker, a girl about l8 years of age, who was found in a tank on the premises of a farmer named John H. Hubert, near Dublin, on the morning of Monday, October 2 The evidence of the first three witnesses is reported as follows by the South Australian Register :-
"Alfred Barrett said-Saw deceased sitting agains the door soon after 7 in the morning Deceased got up a few minutes afterwards and jumped down the tank, saying, ' You won't see me any more ' Could catch nothing else. She did not ask for anything. Went on her knees and tumbled in. Mr Hubert, witness's stepfather, was in bed when deceased tumbled in. Called my step- father, who put on his trousers and came out. He (Hubert) tried to get deceased out with a hook, but did not go into the tank. He came about two or three minutes after I saw her jump in. She was sunk when Hubert got there. Heard the dogs bark at night. Hubert got up, but could see no one. The girl was dead. Deceased opened the lid of the tank. Might have prevented her, but did not know what she was going to do Had never seen her before. Never spoke to the deceased, and did not know her. She díd not speak to me Usually got up just after sunrise. My brother and I were both looking down at the same time. We had the rope at the tank when Hubert came out. They (father and mother) said they got up in the middle of the night, but I did not know myself that they did. Did not know how long Hubert was up. Neither Hubert nor my mother has directed me how to give my evidence here today. Would swear Hubert said nothing to me about how to give my evidence. Did not see deceased while in the tank drowning. My brother and I were up at the same time. Both saw her at once at the door. Mr. Hubert told me to run and get a rope, and get hold of her when I told him a woman had fallen in the tank. She was sitting at the front door, facing the east. The dogs were tied 30 yards away. Deceased had been away about nine weeks, I heard mother and Hubert say.
" Herbert Barrett said -Between 6 and 7 o'clock yesterday morning went to let the dogs loose at Mr. Hubert's house. Saw a woman sitting at the front door, and after five minutes she came along the road, opened the lid, and jumped into the tank. I ran to get a stick, but it was not long enough. Then went and said, 'There's somebody jumped into the tank.' My brother Alfred was with me at the time. Mr. Hubert got up as quickly as he could. He got a stick, and sent me after help from Mr. Martin's. Usually got up between 7 and 8 o'clock. Sun was not two hours up when we got up yesterday morning. It was a little after 6. Deceased was sitting at Mr. Hubert's front door when I saw her first. It was about a quarter of an hour after. Never saw her before. Deceased had a handkerchief over her face. Both looked into the tank before Mr. Hubert came out. Saw her move her hand just once. I said yesterday I did not know whether it wasthe girl that was working there or not. Heard no noise at night, and don't know whether there was any. I sleep with my brother. Do not know that Mr. Hubert got up during the night. Neither Mr. Hubert nor my mother has directed me what to say. They told me not to let my tongue run too much. Did not let my tongue run loose. I will swear I did not tell anybody that the police pumped me coming up. Reported the matter to the police at Two Wells. I put down the stick, but could reach nothing. We went to the tank before we called Hubert, and put the stick into it. Shouted out that some young woman had jumped into the tank. Both shouted together. Mr. Hubert was in the room furthest away from the tank. Have been up here a couple of months. Mr. Hubert brought her to the surface. He said, ' I wonder what possessed her to do that'. He never mentioned her name at breakfast. Brother said, ' That's the girl that was work- ing here ' My mother was in the house cook- ing the breakfast when they were taking deceased out of the tank,
"John Henry Hubert deposed,- I was in bed yesterday morning about 20 minutes after sunrise. Heard one of the lads call out that a girl had jumped into a tank. I said, ' Good gracious ' See if you can got hold of something to keep her above water till I come out.' I slipped on my trousers and boots and went out directly. Both boys had sticks and were poking about in the water. They had a long stick, which I took away from them and tried to feel the body, but could not bring it to the surface. I got a hook and tied it on, and then brought her to the top of the water. The part of the dress to which the hook fastened gave way, and the body dropped again. Tried again, brought her to the surface of the water, but could not bring her up. Sent for assistance, and kept her head out of the water. While I held the body two of Mr. Martin's sons came up and helped me to take the body out. Will swear a rope was not put round her neck to pull her out. I did not suggest using the rope for pulling out the body. Kept the body above water all the time till Martin came. Did not attempt to resuscitate life. Have known the deceased about three years. Got her from the Destitute Asylum. She has been in my service as general servant until nine weeks ago. Was to give her 5s.
per week. Discharged her, but she came back again. There was no agreement the second time she came back. She gave birth to a child about 10 months after the second engagement. Don't know anything about the father of the child. I did cohabit with her, and we always lived on good terms Advertised for a wife last year and this year, the last time about three months ago. Obtained a wife through adver- tising. The deceased (Jane Baker) remained about two days after I brought my wife to Dublin. Did not send her away. Did not want her to stay. My wife and deceased had no quarrel. Never said that I would put the contents of a revolver into her if she did not be off. Offered her some money, but she would not take it. Did not know how much - a note and a handful of silver. She never grubbed roots or ploughed, but she harrowed my crops for two years. She did all the domestic work and was hard-working and industrious. Have acted towards her like a gentleman. The money I offered her was in excess of what I owed her. Did not offer to make her any compensation for ruin- ing her character. Was doubtful about her sanity'
Other evidence having been taken, the jury returned the following verdict -" We are of opinion that the deceased, Jane Baker, was found drowned in a tank at Mr. Hubert's, but there is not sufficient evidence to show how. Wa append the following rider -'That the conduct of Hubert in this affair was both disgraceful and unmanly, and deserves the utmost contempt of the community; and we also censure him for not adopting means to restore life to the body '|"
Eliza had a relationship with John Henry Hubert, son of John Bee Hubert and Elizabeth Harriet Goulston. (John Henry Hubert was born Cal 1826 in Shareshill, Staffordshire 4 5 and died on 2 Dec 1912 in Wandsworth (reg) 6.)