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Dalton and Knibbs

Richard Ennis (1815-1857)

In 1844 Irishman Richard ‘Long Mick’ Ennis of the 15th Light Dragoons was sentenced to seven years’ transportation for vagrancy. He’d previously been convicted for deserting his regiment. ‘Long Mick’ was 6 feet 1 inch (185cm) tall. He left behind in County Kildare a wife called Mary.
In 1856 Ennis and Doherty, escaped convicts turned bushrangers, raided the home of James Knibbs for supplies, but left the Knibbs family unharmed. Later that evening George Sturgeon was murdered on his way home. Ennis and Doherty were implicated and charged with murder.
Although Ennis protested his innocence to the end, and many respected people spoke in support of his claim, he was found guilty and sentenced to hang. At age 42, Richard ‘Long Mick’ Ennis was executed at Oatlands Gaol on 27 October 1857.

Oatlands Gaol, designed by the colonial architect John Lee-Archer was one of the most important regional gaols in Van Diemen’s Land.  Between 1844 and 1860, eighteen men were executed by hanging at Oatlands. In 1855, just two years before Ennis’ execution, the Private Executions Act banned public executions in Tasmania.  The execution yard was then moved behind the high walls of the gaol away from public view.  Ennis protested his innocence to the end.
Oatlands Gaol, designed by the colonial architect John Lee-Archer was one of the most important regional gaols in Van Diemen’s Land. Between 1844 and 1860, eighteen men were executed by hanging at Oatlands. In 1855, just two years before Ennis’ execution, the Private Executions Act banned public executions in Tasmania. The execution yard was then moved behind the high walls of the gaol away from public view. Ennis protested his innocence to the end.

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