|John Watson Rosier jnr worked for his father in the well-known gun shop in Bourke St, central Melbourne. JWR jnr also had a workshop and a backyard firing range at his suburban home |
Eltham in Elsternwick. Probably as a result of not protecting his ears whilst firing, JWR jnr had a significant hearing loss by the time he was in his late 40s.
Ben Thomas comments:
The events of 5 June 1908:
James ‘Jim’ Rosier Jnr was, much like his father, broad-shouldered and thickset. He was not overly tall at 5’10“, had a roundish face and, adopting the fashion of the early twentieth century when this description was given was clean-shaven, with the exception of a moustache. He smoked a pipe, and had a reputation ‘of being a remarkably accurate marksman, being able to accomplish almost any kind of difficult shooting feat.’ Combined with a pleasant, good-humoured personality, his skill with a gun made him easily recognisable and well-liked among Melbourne’s sports shooting community.
JWR jnr’s sister Eda had been divorced by her first husband and married Hugh Kyle Dunn, of Sydney, who was 13 years younger than herself. Hugh was known to beat Eda
cruelly when he was drunk. In May/June 1908, Eda sought refuge from Hugh by staying with her brother JWR jnr. On the evening of 5 June 1908, Hugh arrived unannounced at JWR jnr’s home to retrieve Eda. Various arguments ensued, and eventually there was an altercation between JWR jnr and Hugh Dunn. During this event, Hugh grabbed a loaded shotgun that was lying around Rosier’s house and, in the struggle, the gun was discharged, wounding Dunn fatally in the chest. JWR jnr, to his surprise, was charged by the police with murder and locked away. A coroner’s enquiry on the 17th June 1908 into the death of Hugh Dunn became a
mini murder trial for JWR jnr. At the end of the hearing, the coroner’s jury found that the shooting had been accidental, and that blame did not attach to any person. The next day, the police withdrew the murder charge.
The case made news in Victoria and the adjoining states of NSW and SA. The following are copies of some of these reports: