Life in Mole Creek has not always been as comfortable and pleasant as it is today. An interesting and gruesome story of dire happenings in Mole Creek in the 18th century has come to light, courtesy of Helen Rogers, a historian from the UK, who stayed here at Mole Creek in November 2009.

Helen is researching a group of convicts who, over a period of a few years around 1840, spent time in Yarmouth Prison. Mainly petty offenders, some were transported to Van Diemans Land. Helen’s visit to Mole Creek was aimed at trying to find any local lore about one such prisoner, Isaac Riches, who met an untimely end here, and, if possible, to locate his final resting place.

Briefly, Isaac Riches found his way to Mole Creek after being released from Port Arthur. Here he co-habited with Hannah, who took his name although there is no record of a marriage having taken place, and the two lived in a hut with a man by the name of John Lambert. In November 1875, Hannah was found murdered and Isaac close to death after being bludgeoned with an iron poker. He died of his injuries a few days later. John Lambert was found hanged nearby. The official verdict was double murder and suicide – and there ended the sad history of Isaac Riches.

Helen kindly supplied copies of extracts from the Melbourne Argus and Hobart Mercury newspapers from that time. They are a bit hard to read, so here is a transcript.

And if anyone knows where Isaac Riches is buried or has any more written or anecdotal information to add to this story, please contact Webwoman who will pass your details on to Helen.