Camelia Grove Hotel, Alexandria

Camelia Grove Hotel Alexandria 1930
Camelia Grove Hotel, Alexandria, August 1930. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University.

‘Push’ Feud in Sydney

A YOUNG man fired a revolver into a group of men outside the Camelia Grove Hotel, Alexandria, Sydney, last Friday night, and John Edward Thornton (34), a railway worker, of Brandling street, Alexandria, fell to the footpath mortally wounded. A confused scene followed, some of the men running for safety, others attending the fallen man, and some endeavouring to close with a young man who stood a few feet away, with a formidable old-fashioned six-chambered revolver still smoking in his hand. Three more shots were fired and then the assailant ran swiftly down the street. Subsequently Reginald Bell (25), of Erskineville, was arrested and charged with murder. The detectives learned that a long-standing feud existed in the neighbourhood; that there had been threats of violence, and counter-threats of retaliation; and that matters had been developing in an ugly fashion tor some days.

Brisbane Worker, December 31, 1930

Cecil Reginald Bell was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of John Edward Thornton in May 1931. Bell’s sentence of death was later commuted to 10 years imprisonment after an appeal.


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