Inspector Harry Bolton and the Hetherington Murder Case

After leading a police career said to read like a fiction thriller, Joseph and Mary Ann Bolton’s eldest son, Inspector Harry Bolton, became head of the New South Wales Mounted Police and the Police training depot in Sydney in 1921. Under Harry’s direction the NSW Mounted Police gained a reputation as one of the best mounted forces in the world and many firsts in modern policing were introduced. Harry’s last official duty before his retirement was to lead the mounted escort for the Duke and Duchess of York in Sydney and for the opening of Parliament in Canberra for the first time in 1927.

Harry had gained fame for several feats in his early career, one notable case being the “Hetherington Murder Case”. In 1903, Harry was the local copper at Kiandra, an isolated town high in the snowy mountains. Along with pioneering skiing and snowboarding in Australia, the Snowys were home to several goldmines, in one of which a local man, William Hetheringon, held shares. In 1903, Hetherington died, the local coroner ruling his death as being due to natural causes. Harry, however, believed differently and on detailed evidence he caused an inquest to be held during which the finger of suspicion pointed to Hetherington’s wife, Jane. Harry succeeded in persuading a judge to have the body exhumed and the local medico having removed the stomach contents and other tissue, Harry maintained the chain of evidence by personally delivering it in sealed jars to the government analyst in Sydney. Enough strychnine was found in Hetherington’s body to kill him several times over and following an intensive trial, Jane Hetherington was found guilty of murder and Harry gained fame for bringing one of the first cases in which a capital conviction was secured on circumstantial evidence alone.

Written by Inspector Bolton’s great-great-niece, the “Hetherington Murder Case” is covered in detail in “The Boltons of Ginninderra”, in which is also found a “peep” into the New South Wales police training depot in the 1920s.

Boltons excerpt 1Boltons Excerpt 2