Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Trove Tuesday: John Auld v Penny and Mason

Scottish born John Wallace AULD arrived Williamstown Victoria in 1852 on-board the Emigrant. A journeyman baker by trade, John was a fully qualified baker who had served the required apprenticeship and mastered the trade of baker and then became self employed. In 1855 he married Jane FAIR.

In the same year that John arrived in Victoria, gold had been discovered to the north around Beechworth. This was the start of the Ovens gold rush. Previously undertaken research revealed that by 1857 John AULD had established himself as a baker in Sebastopol Flat and was listed in the trade directory The Oven’s Directory. The how and why he ended up around Beechworth was a mystery, but it was assumed he joined the many thousands who had traveled north with the prospect of a secure job.

As more and more new regional newspapers are added to the fantastic resources of Trove, it is worth remembering to check those new resources from time to time with the prospect of finding that rare piece of alluvial information.

Beechworth Country Court

With the regional newspaper that covers the Beechworth area, the Ovens and Murray Advertiser includes a rare glimpse of what John AULD was up to during the 1855-1857 period.


BEECHWORTH COUNTRY COURT. (1858, September 20). Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1855 -1918), p. 2.  Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112898271

According to the court report of Saturday 18 September 1858, John AULD appeared as the plaintiff attempting to reclaim unpaid wages whilst working as a journeyman baker.

John Auld v Penny and Mason.
An action to recover 86l 5s.
Mr Clarke for plaintiff.
Mr Mayne for defendant.
Plaintiff deposed that he had been engaged as journeyman baker to defendant at the rate of £5 per week. Served 22 weeks and received on account £5 in cash, a gold watch valued at £17, and a violin worth 35s, this left the balance to recover which this action had been brought.
Mr Mayne for the defence contended that plaintiff had been a partner in the concern ; plaintiff himself admitted that when he was engaged, he was offered a share in the business so soon as his wages amounted to £100; his reply at the time was that he should like to become a partner but had no money.
His Honor without hearing evidence for the defence found for the defendant.
Mr Clarke gave notice that he should move for a new trial.

The result from the first hearing was the judge found for the defendant. Three days later on Tuesday 21 September, John AULD appeared before the judge again moving for a new trial...

BEECHWORTH COUNTY COURT. (1858, September 22). Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1855 -1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112898326

Unfortunately the judge didn't see the same and upheld his initial decision. 

Auld v Penny and Mason
Mr. Clarke moved for a new trial in this case on the ground, that there had been no sufficient proof of the existence of a partnership between the parties. At the very outside Mr. Clarke contended it could only be shown that there was some talk of a partnership being entered into when the plaintift's wages should amount to £100, but they had never amounted to that sum, for although he had remained in the service of defendant for twenty two weeks he had received by cash &c., £23 5s. It was also clearly proven that plaintiff had been invariably treated as a servant, and not as a partner.

Mr. Clarke also submitted that even supposing that the plaintiff had at any time intended to form a partnership with defendant he had a perfect right to repudiate his bargain.

Mr. Mayne having been heard on the opposite side, His Honor said that he saw no reason to alter the decision which had been given in the case on Saturday. It was very clear that Auld had intended to form a partnership, and there could be no doubt that if the business had paid he would have considered himself a partner. He admitted that he might have told people that he was a partner, and this admission when upled with his demeanour whilst making it, evidently meant that he had told people so.

Besides, why was such a long period as two years suffered to elapse before taking proceedings to recover the amount ?
New trial refused with costs £2 4s 6d.

Although the decision was against John AULD, it does give an insight into what he was doing during this period. More to the point, it highlights the importance of rechecking your sources in this digital age when more and more new information is been constantly added.