Johnny DinnLast Name
Johnny Din, Johnny (a Chinaman)Arrival in Queensland
1848Date of Birth
1830Place of Birth
ChinaPlace of residence in Queensland
Dinn was indicted on 27 July 1875 for wounding William Tighe at Corella Downs on the Thompson River. At the hearing at the Rockhampton Assizes in October, evidence was given that Tighe was suffering from dysentery and had declined to eat any meals containing meat. However, Dinn refused to believe this explanation and stated that Tighe was refusing to eat the meat because he knew it had been poisoned. Dinn was concerned that if anyone ate the meat and died, he would be executed. An argument ensued and Dinn stabbed Tighe twice in the arm with a butcher's knife.
Tighe testified in court that Dinn took large quantities of opium each night and walked around talking about "shooting, poisoning, and sticking". He also said that Dinn believed that people were constantly talking about him and "conspiring to kill him".
Thomas Ang Wong served as interpreter, though the 'Daily Northern Argus' reported that:
"Dispensing with the interpreter's aid, the prisoner [Dinn] cross-questioned Tighe in good broken English, and afterwards addressed the jury in a fluent speech, embellished with oratorical flourishes. He manifested great good humor [sic], and seemed to enjoy the situation."
Johnny Dinn also told the court that God had told him he was a Chinese king and that he wanted to return to China. In summing up for the jury, the judge stated that he had the impression that Dinn was "mad" and referred to Dinn's habit of "eating quantities of opium" which caused him to talk of poisoning and so on.
After a fifteen-minute deliberation, the jury found Dinn guilty of unlawful wounding and sentenced him to three years' imprisonment. No further trace of Dinn's life in Queensland has yet been found.
Researcher and author: Jan Richardson, Harry Gentle Resource Centre.
Date of publication: 6 May 2022.
Image (above): Photographic record, description and criminal history of Johnny Dinn, c 1875, No. 243 (Queensland State Archives, Item Representation ID DR18526).
Photographic records, descriptions and criminal histories of male and female prisoners - HM Gaol, Brisbane.
Photographic record, description and criminal history of Johnny Dinn, c. 1875, No. 243.
Daily Northern Argus [Rockhampton]
5 Oct 1875
5 Oct 1875
Online ResourcesGriffith University, Prosecution Project, Trial ID 128627.