SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S FIRST SERIAL KILLER

THE SALT CREEK SERIAL KILLER

Salt Creek Serial Killer

Salt Creek Serial Killer

Salt Creek Serial Killer

In 1862 the only road between Melbourne and Adelaide was via Mount Gambier, the Coorong and down through Mount Barker.

Travellers passing through Salt Creek, ½ way along the Coorong in mid-1862 would come across an eerie sight.

The Travellers Rest Inn at Salt Creek lay totally empty of humans.

All the furniture, books, Alcohol etc, still sat in its place. Doors wide open, Cats, goats and chickens wandered in and out as they pleased.

For months the Inn stood like this.

It wasn’t until the travelers arrived in the next township would they hear the story of what had happened in the Inn back in February of 1862.

For the full story, we must go back further in time.

THE BEGINNING

Malachi Martin was born in born 1830 and raised in the Willunga area south of Adelaide.

His family was well known in the area and as a teenager, Malachi worked as a mail coach driver from Encounter Bay to Kingston SE and Naracoorte.

He was sacked from his position and charged with theft from the post office.

He was tried in Adelaide but found not guilty. Six days later, his mother died in strange circumstances by drowning in a pond near the family farm.

The inquest into her death declared that she had committed suicide, and it was believed that she was deeply affected by her son’s criminal trial.

Her death was made even more tragic due to the fact that she was heavily pregnant at the time.

A few years later, Martin moved to his father’s new pastoral lease near Salt Creek.

While living in the area he became friends with William and Catherine “Nellie” Robinson who ran the Traveller’s Rest Inn at Salt Creek,

It was believed that Catherine and Martin were having an affair.

On 14 June 1856, William Robinson’s body was discovered with his throat cut. Martin was a suspect but was never charged with his murder.

While living in the area he became friends with William and Catherine “Nellie” Robinson who ran the Traveller’s Rest Inn at Salt Creek,

It was believed that Catherine and Martin were having an affair.

On 14 June 1856, William Robinson’s body was discovered with his throat cut. Martin was a suspect but was never charged with his murder.

Martin was a suspect but was never charged with his murder.

MOVES INTERSTATE

Several weeks later, he moved to Sydney for two years before returning to South Australia and marrying Catherine on 23 June 1858.

During the 2 years, Malachi was in Sydney a woman named Jane Macmanamin, originally from Ireland.

She had been working at the Wellington Inn for the past 2 years came to work at the Travellers Rest for Catherine as a servant.

In 1862 she went missing from Salt Creek and Martin stated she had moved away on a whim to the Mount Gambier area in the colony’s south east.

April 1862, Jane’s sister, who had constantly stayed in contact with her, sent a letter to the police in Adelaide.

He was suspicious that she had not heard from Jane in some time.

 

PEOPLE START TO DISAPPEAR

After an investigation and thorough search, Jane’s body was discovered in May 1862.

Half concealed in a wombat hole at Salt Creek, not far from the Traveller’s Rest.

Another man, William Wilsen, claimed he had been engaged to Jane.

Martin was charged with 2 counts of murder.

Wilsen was charged with being an accessory after the fact in the Macmanamin case.

During the investigation, several other disappearances came to light. There was also suspicion as to the disappearances of two men from the Salt Creek area in 1859.

There was also suspicion as to the disappearances of two men from the Salt Creek area in 1859.

Was this the work of the Salt Creek Serial Killer?

A man named Harry Kirby and a jeweler named G. F. King stayed at the Traveller’s Rest and subsequently disappeared.

The police also investigated reports from local aboriginals that Martin had murdered an aboriginal teenager who he had had an altercation with.

Sometime after the boy’s suspicious disappearance.

A group of Aboriginal people were bathing in a deep water hole near Salt Creek.

BODY COUNT INCREASES

This incident occurred sometime in late 1859 or early 1860.

The police were unable to find any witnesses who had actually found the body.

Only people who had heard the story from others.

Martin was tried and found guilty of murdering William Robinson and Jane Macmanamin.

The Salt Creek Serial Killer was hung at the Adelaide Gaol on 24 December 1862 (Christmas Eve) and is buried between the walls within the

He is buried between the walls of the jail. Wilsen was found guilty of assisting Martin after the murder and sentenced to four years hard labor.

He was deported to Tasmania to carry out his sentence. Catherine Robinson/Martin left the Inn the next day and was never heard of again.

The Travellers Rest Inn remained as it was left for about 4 months.

It was burnt to the ground with all the belongings still inside by persons unknown.

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