The only murder in Boolarra (for 90 years) occurred on the first day of the 20th Century. A man was found on the roadway deceased. Groups of people had passed by him on their way home. One group had beat the life out of him. Breaking his ribs and causing blood vessels in his brain to burst; ultimately lead to his death. Another group of people believing he had passed out, balled up was a nearby waistcoat put it in a bag and under his head.
Walter Doolan was brutally killed.
On the 15th of January 1900, brothers Thomas Pryke and Albert Pryke were arrested because of Albert’s waistcoat. The police believed he took it off to better to return punch. The Lawyer informed he had not received any evidence linking the men to the crime. The Judge at Morwell said due to the severity of the charge, murder, he would not allow bail. The lawyer requested a move to the Sale court as the men were imprisoned at Sale Gaol. The next court case was made for the 27th of January 1900.
The court date on 27th of January was unable to run due to the magistrate called away unexpectedly. The bail was further denied.
Finally, at the end of February, the court case wrapped up after hearing 18 witnesses called. None of whom identified the Pryke brothers yelling threatening words. Another witness Scott had said if given the chance he would kick in Doolan’s head. He did not dispute this. One of the witnesses informed they had found Albert’s waistcoat further way and was bringing it with them, and when they saw Doolan sleeping they put it under his head.
A jury of peers at Sale Court found the Pryke brothers not guilty and they were released after spending a month in jail.
No one was ever convicted for the only murder in Boolarra.