A Dish to Reward Maitland’s Police Magistrate
Setting out early one day in December 1840, a tall, dark-eyed Irishman named Edward Denny Day (1801-1876), the local Police Magistrate, led a police posse through the bush around Scone, not far from Maitland. They were tracking the escaped convict turned bushranger Teddy ‘Jewboy’ Davis and his gang, who for two years had been ‘terrorising’ the region.
Finally, around 6pm, Day’s party spotted drays and campfire smoke at Doughboy Hollow, outside Muswellbrook. Galloping their horses down the slope, they took the outlaws by surprise and after a shootout, the bushrangers surrendered and were arrested. Much relieved, the people of the Upper Hunter region presented Day with this valuable silver and platinum lidded entrée dish, to show their gratitude.
After serving in India as an officer of the British army, Day had arrived in Sydney in 1834. He was appointed Police Magistrate for the Vale of Clwydd, Maitland and Muswellbrook, and was celebrated in 1838 for arresting the men responsible for the massacre of Wirrayaraay people at Myall Creek, near Liverpool Plains in the Hunter Region.
Day played a prominent role in Maitland’s community, laying the foundation stone at Maitland Gaol in 1844, and becoming visiting magistrate to the new gaol for many years. Despite being later appointed to the prestigious role of Superintendent of Police in Sydney, Day returned to Maitland in 1858 to continue to serve as magistrate where he was highly regarded by the local community.