Northern Territory Library


Photo No:






Date taken:





Marella Collection.


The grave of Bennett and Hazard on the summit of Fort Hill. Fort Hill was removed in the 1960s





below photos from Darwin General Cemetery




Birth Index

John William Ogilvie Bennett born 11/11/1845 Lovely Valley, dist Adelaide SA

Book/page 1/132, Parents Thomas and Elizabeth Wiggins





The below is a portion of an article published by the Argus, Saturday 20 November 1869 in regard to the Survey Party which was sent

 to Northern Territory with the aim of establishing settlements in that part of Australia


The vital statistics of the settlement have been, with one exception encouraging. Not a single death happened which might be fairly

attributed to the climate or the work. One man succumbed under a broken constitution, which he had brought with him, aggravated

by rheumatism, which he had contracted in camp. Another was killed by the blacks in a dastardly outrage at Fred’s Pass-

Mr W O Bennett, a promising young draughtsman, who, with Guy a labourer, had been left in charge of Knuckeys’s Camp. This was

situated beside a lagoon, near one of the inland townships. There had been originally four survey parties in the vicinity and while

they remained together very little was seen of the natives.

Towards the end of May three of them removed, and Knuckey’s party remained to complete that portion of the country. The natives

began to increase as the whites decreased and unfortunately the whites, so far from having their suspicions roused in consequence,

relaxed the precautions which Mr Goyder had originally enjoined. Bennett, who had been at Escape Cliffs and associated a great

deal with the natives, was supposed to be a great favourite with them. His comrades in fact, relied as much on him for protection as

on their revolvers. The latter were the last thing they thought of requiring to use against a dozen or so of apparently inoffensive

blacks, and when really wanted they do not seem to have come handy. On the 24th May, Bennett was sitting alone at work in the tent,

when several natives appeared at the entrance, and without any warning discharged a volley of spears at him. Two entered his lungs

and the other two inflicted only superficial wounds about the head. Bennett immediately called to Guy to look out, but before he

could reach his revolver an old native had planted a spear in his back. He courageously broke it off, leaving the point in the flesh.

While he was attempting to show fight, Bennett sho had now secured a revolver, fired and put the wretches to flight. Guy then crawled

into the tent and for several hours, the two bathed as they were in their own blood, kept guard over the lagoon in which the blacks had

concealed themselves. It was nearly 2 o’clock before the survey party returned and the leader (Mr Knuckey) started at once for the next

camp. A guard of seven men was sent up, and the intelligence was simultaneously despatched to ort Point which it reached early next

morning. Dr Peel, by dint of the most persevering exertion, got to Fred’s Pass within 24 hours of being called. Fortunately there was a

spring dray at the camp and on this the two wounded men were conveyed to the river from whence they had an easy journey to

Fort Point in the lifeboat. From his first examination of the wounds, the doctor had no hope of saving Bennett, but Guy was easily

relieved. Poor Bennett spent another day in intermittent delirium and on the morning of the 28th he died-the first fatal breach in the

expedition and all the more sad that it had befallen so treacherously.

The Government have not had time yet to arrange for the removal of the party remaining at Port Darwin, much less to decide on the

future administration of the settlement……. etc


Northern Territory Times & Gazette, Saturday 2 October 1875

Hearing of the good preservation of the graves on the Roper River, our curiosity was excited as to the condition of that of

Mr J W O Bennett, and we paid a visit to his last resting place on Fort Hill. We regret to say that the fencing is in a very dilapidated

state and in some places broken down, and the writing is becoming effaced by exposure. Could not the Government afford the trifling

expenditure necessary to put this grave in order and clear the grass round it. It would not cost much


Northern Territory Times & Gazette, Friday 31 March 1899

Buried on Fort Point – To the Editor

Sir, In the Observer of Feb 25th is published the death of Mrs Elizabeth Bennett, at Moonta aged 88 years. It may not generally be

known that this very old lady was the mother of Mr J W O Bennett, who was speared by blacks at Fred’s Pass during the progress

of Mr Goyder’s Survey and was buried on Fort Point. I think Mr Bennett was the second victim at Escape Cliffs, a member of the late

Hon. B F Finniss’ Expedition away back in the sixties. I am Sir, Yours, etc Alfred Giles



headstone at Moonta Cemetery

being the parents and possibly the brother of JWO Bennett




Northern Territory Times & Gazette ,Friday 7July 1911

We understand from someone who recently took a saunter to the summit of Fort Hill, that the inscription on the solitary tombstone

on that hill-which is so interesting a relic of the very early days of settlement in the Territory is completely obliterated, and needs


The tombstone itself is also said to be badly cracked. If we remember rightly, it is some six or seven years since this grave(or graves)

was last attended to and in this climate of wide extremes the processes of disintegration are to rapid to permit of long neglect.


Northern Territory Times & Gazette, Saturday 31 May 1919

It is interesting to note that Wednesday, the 28th instant, carries the clock of time round to the 50th anniversary of the death of

Mr J W O Bennett, who was murdered by blacks, and whose grave is on Fort Hill, Darwin, and in connection with which we make the

following extract from our issue of September 17th 1917:-

This grave marks the last resting place of two of the very earliest pioneers. The original inscription on the tombstone was painted by

William Webster Hoare, formerly Surgeon’s Assistant and artist in the late G W Goyder’s Survey Party in September 1869-just on half

a century ago. This inscription was repainted and the headstone repaired a few years back, but apparently renovation is again badly

needed. The text of the original inscription is as follows:

“Sacred to the memory of Mr JWO Bennett, who died on the 28th May 1869, age 23 years, from spear wounds inflicted by the natives at

Fred’s Pass on the 24th day of the same month. Mr Bennett placed implicit confidence in the blacks and treated them with familiar kindness.

They requited his kindness and confidence by treacherously spearing him when off his guard.”

“Sacred also to the memory of Richard Hazard, who departed this life at Fort Point, 9th August, 1869 aged 43 years.”


It may be of interest to state that the old artist who painted the above inscription is still alive and well. He lives in England and continues

to take the keenest interest in anything pertaining to the N.T. The latest development in this matter is outlined in the following letter,

dated September 5th, addressed to H E Carey, Esq., Govt. Secretary, Darwin, which has been handed to us for publication:

Mr Jackson, Chief Engineer of the s.s. Changshu, has presented the Northern Territory, on

behalf of himself and Mr J Green, Electrician of the Taikoo Docks, Hong King (previously in the employ of Vestey’s Bros. Darwin) with the

accompanying tablet for erection on the Monument at Fort Hill, and as you have taken a great interest in this matter, may I request that

you will be pleased to recommend that it be fixed free of cost and that an entry be passed at the Customs.”

The brass tabled so generously presented by Messrs. Jackson and J Green, measures

21 1-2 x 28 inches, and contains the following inscription:


In Memory of J.W.O. BENNETT

Died May 28, 1869.

Age 23 years.

(Murdered by Natives).



Died Aug. 9, 1869

Age 48 years



Northern Territory Times and Gazette, Friday 31 October 1902

The Grave on Fort Hill

A correspondent drew attention in our issue of October 3rd to the obliteration of the inscription on the tombstone erected over the grave

on Fort Hill, suggesting that so interesting a memento of the early days should be preserved from oblivion. Mrs E Luxton appears to have

had a copy of the inscription taken some years ago, which she kindly forwards for publication and also very generously encloses the sum

of 5s to form the nucleus of a fund for the repair of the grave and tombstone and renewal of the inscription. We shall be glad to receive and

acknowledge any further donations for this object, which cannot be regarded as other than commendable. the following is a copy of the

inscription from which it would appear that the name of the second person buried  there was “Hazard” and not Guy as given recently by

Mr J A G Little.

(Inscription is the same as the original above except the age of Hazard is this time given as 42 years of age)



Little has been found on Richard Hazard. Below is another article published in the

Northern Territory Times & Gazette, Thursday 7 January 1915


A resident of Darwin who took a newcomer up Fort Hill during the week to have a look at the monument thereon was surprised to note that

the original inscription had become illegible and that there was nothing to devote to whom the monument had been erected. The acting

editor, himself a comparative newcomer, is informed that the monument was erected to two members of the Northern Territory survey

service-Mr Bennett, who was speared by blacks at the Adelaide River and died on the 28th May 1869 and Mr Richard Hazard who died

a natural death on the 2nd August 1869.

Anyway as pioneers, they deserve to have their memory recorded and the cost we understand would not be much.


A possible match for the above Richard Hazard is by way of a marriage index located in South Australia. 


Richard Hazard Married Ann Graham 1/6/1863 St Paul Church, Adelaide

Groom age 32, status not known, father Richard Hazard

Bride age 25, status not known, father Cornelius Graham

Book/page 54/311




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