The Stockwhip Case – The Newsboy’s Association

© Chris Woodland

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The Stockwhip Case

On Wednesday 27 February the Narrandera Court heard what the press titled The Stockwhip Case, the defendant was William Mills (Saltbush Bill) and the plaintiff was Martin Breheny [sic] (Martini). Saltbush Bill had joined Martini’s Buckjumping Show in Sydney the previous year for £3 per week with board and lodging. He was employed as a performing whip cracker, having a collection of whips of his own and using the long one obtained by Martini for £7 10s. The length of this whip was, depending on the press report, either 54 or 55 feet in length and Martini held the receipt for its purchase.

Saltbush Bill had left the show with the whip at some stage and following the testimony of Martini and several of his employees, such as Harry Kennedy, the advance representative of the show, Billy Waite and Bennett Myers, who had shared Mills’ trap travelling around the shows, the court found in favour of Martini. Saltbush Bill was to pay the professional and witness costs of £3 7s.

Saltbush Bill (Mills) used an interesting reason for claiming the Henderson whip as his own. Kennedy had worked for Fitzgerald’s Circus for twelve years and he explained to the court that the show’s properties were often referred to as if belonging to the artist. Of course, it is common to refer to your horse or your machine, or whatever, when in fact it is the employer’s property. However, it is not common to take it literally!


The Newsboy’s Association

Sydney’s Evening News of 9 March 1907 contained a letter to the editor penned by a Mr W. Lowe, Chairman of the Newsboys’ Association. He explained that every year his association collected funds so that the 500 struggling Sydney newsboys could enjoy an annual picnic. Mr Lowe was seeking donations for the next Sydney Newsboys’ Picnic and mentioned:

Last year’s event was a gala day, for when the day’s sports were ended the whole of the boys were taken to see Mr. Martini’s buckjumping show at his kind invitation.

There were many such philanthropic contributions by Martini during his travels.

It was said that the show held on the White Tank Paddock in West Wyalong:

… was attended by one of the largest ever seen at an entertainment on this field.

That was on 16 March and they held another performance at the same venue four days later.

When the show turned up at Cobar three weeks later it received the usual glowing praises:

Martini lived up to his reputation; The seating accommodation is very good, a very large number of chairs being provided, and ladies can visit the show without fear of anything. Martini is in for a record season.

It was also announced that a Mr E. Cook was billed to ride the Kangaroo Valley colt in his own saddle.

While in Cobar it was reported that Billy Waite and another of Martini’s riders attempted to ride some of Skuthorpe’s horses, both shows having overlapped in Cobar. No doubt that the two proprietors had manufactured an evening of competition between the two well known shows. Waite sat to Skuthorpe’s famous Snips for just over fourteen seconds when he was thrown clean over his head.