John Gavin (convict)

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John Gavin (or John Gaven) (1829 – 6 April 1844) was the first European settler to be legally executed in Western Australia.[1] He was executed for murder at the age of fifteen.[2]


Born in 1829, John Gavin[3] was convicted of an offence while still a juvenile, and was transported to Western Australia as a Parkhurst apprentice, arriving on board the Shepherd in October 1843.

On 3 April 1844, he was tried for the murder of his employer's son, 18-year-old George Pollard. He confessed[4] to killing the sleeping victim with an adze.[5] but he seemed unaware of a rational motive. Three days later he was publicly hanged outside the Round House in Fremantle. After a death mask had been taken and his brain studied for "scientific purposes" he was buried in the sand hills to the south without ceremony.[4]


  1. ^ "A Very Old Resident - The Late Mr George Pollard". The South-Western Advertiser and Murray Wellington Times. 1929-04-05. p. 8. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  2. ^ "Fremantle Prison Timeline". Archived from the original on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  3. ^ "The Old Court House Law Museum". The Law Society of Western Australia. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  4. ^ a b "Confession of the murder of George Pollard". The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal. 1844-04-06. p. 3. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  5. ^ "Quarter sessions". The Inquirer. 1844-04-10. p. 2. Retrieved 2014-08-03.