Quarter Sessions Cases, 1824-37
The papers also often include depositions, which are the sworn statements of the accused and/or witness(es) which were given before the police or magistrates.
Acknowledgement: The case papers for each person tried have been indexed by Mrs Joan Reese and this is the basis of the Quarter Sessions Index 1824-37. State Records wishes to acknowledge this work.
There are over 6000 entries to search. The Index contains entries for the following areas:
- Bathurst Nov 1832-Aug 1836
- Campbelltown Jul 1828-Aug 1836
- Liverpool Nov 1824-Jan 1828
- Maitland Feb 1830-May 1836
- Newcastle Aug 1826-Feb 1829
- Parramatta Feb 1825-Aug 1836
- Sydney Nov 1824-Jul 1837
- Windsor Nov 1824-Aug 1836
Part of this index was compiled by NRS 845, Depositions and other papers, Sydney and Country, 1824-1831.
Some of the Quarter Sessions cases are available to view on microfilm in our reading room. Original, uncopied records can be viewed in the reading room at the Western Sydney Records Centre
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The Clerk of the Peace acted as registrar to the Quarter Sessions court and was responsible for prosecutions in criminal matters.
Jurisdiction and powers of the court
Quarter Sessions were first held in New South Wales in 1824. The Quarter Sessions court was an intermediate court with greater powers than the local court or bench but not as great as the Supreme Court. It could hear all crimes and misdemeanours where the crime was not punishable by death. Only the Supreme Court could try the most serious crimes such as rape and murder.
Quarter Sessions had a summary jurisdiction over convicts. It could extend a convicts' time or order transportation to another penal settlement. It could also hear appeals from local courts (that is, the Benches of Magistrates).
Administration and location of the Court
The Quarter Sessions was a circuit court and met four times a year at each location. The Quarter Sessions were composed of two or more magistrates presided over by an elected Chairman. The Chairman served the entire colony. In 1973 the courts of Quarter Sessions were abolished and a criminal jurisdiction conferred on the District Court.
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