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Chief Justice Mathew “The Hanging Judge” Begbie kept law and order throughout a vast area, full of rough characters, and with very few officials. Judge Begbie rode up and down the interior valleys, often sleeping in a tent which in the daytime served as his chambers. Regardless of the circumstances, he always wore his robes, as a reminder that the whole power of the government was behind him. Although often called ‘The Hanging Judge’, very few executions took place in this period.  He spoke several aboriginal languages and allowed people of other cultures to swear an oath of truth on an object sacred to them in place of the Bible. He was also an active naturalist and sang opera!

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