Interesting graves in South Australia: Jane Macmenimen

Jane Macmenimen, a waiter at the then very remote Salt Creek wine shanty, was murdered by Malachi Martin in early February 1862 because he suspected that she had found out about his previous murders. Later Martin was accredited with at least two other murders in the area.Macmenimen
Jane Macmenimen, an Irish immigrant was a hardworking woman of decent character originally employed by the proprietors of the establishment, William and Catherine Robinson (nee Bracken). After Catherine Robinson was widowed in June 1856, she married her employee, Malachi Martin in 1858.
Just why Martin came to suspect Jane knew of his past deeds was never disclosed. However, something caused Martin to develop an elaborate plan to dispose of the Irish servant.
In February 1862, he persuaded his wife to take a holiday at Macclesfield where the Robinsons had lived prior to going to Salt Creek and Mrs Martin left in one of the vessels that serviced Salt Creek from Goolwa. On 4 February Martin sent Wilson, the other servant, to a neighbour's place on a mission to borrow a saddle.
When Wilson returned, Jane had gone and Martin claimed that she had taken up with some overlanders en route to Mount Gambier. Wilson became suspicious when he discovered that Jane had taken nothing with her and her quarters had become very untidy and yet she was known for her tidiness. While Wilson never took the matter any further, Jane’s sister in Wellington then became concerned and after many enquiries, traced and contacted all parties who passed through Salt Creek at the right time.
On 27 May 1862, an aborigine from Kingston named Major McKenzie out hunting about two kilometres to the north of the wine shanty discovered Jane’s body. The body was recovered and taken to Wood’s Well where, after the formal identification, she was buried about one kilometre north of the homestead. The police quickly traced the crime back to Martin and after a trial, he was executed at the Adelaide Gaol in December 1862 and so became, himself, the subject of an interesting grave, a topic to be detailed in a future article.

Tom McCourt & Hans Mincham, The Coorong and lakes of the Lower Murray, Gillingham Printers, Adelaide 1987, pp94–105.
Jill Statton [ed], Biographical Index of South Australians 1836–1885 Vol 3 p1372.
Tony Cobiac [ed], SA Marriages Index of registrations 1842 to 1916
Tony Cobiac [ed], SA Deaths Index of registrations 1842 to 1915

Click to email Proformat Subscribe